Most of us these days are active on different social media whether that’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Something that each of these platforms have in common is that they all require some form of writing. Most of the writing that goes into those posts is just plainly a stream of consciousness. Sometimes, this works out! On the other hand, I would be lying if I told you all of my tweets and posts were flawlessly free of grammatical and spelling errors. (Honestly, some aren’t even coherent thoughts.) We all make mistakes and a lot of those happen to appear as a comma error on a Facebook status.
If you would like to further laugh in the faces of the mistakes others publically made, please feel free to head over to this Buzzfeed article.
The type of writing I want to address here is more focused on writing pieces that are intended for the web with some sort of audience. This could be anything from writing an article, to writing a blog post, or even creating a meaningful Facebook post. But for those of you who’s only form of web writing is regurgitating a tweet, you may also want to stick around. We all know you can’t successfully be a witful genius if you write one-star tweets like a 5th grader.
Before I share my learned wisdoms, I would just like to preface that I am not, in any way, a professional writer. These tips have been collected through personal experience in being an English major as well as writing for my personal website. So if you’re an actual professional writer and I am heinously incorrect or you would like to add other insights, please do not hesitate to share your own thoughts with us.
The Significance of Finding Your Voice
Having a consistent voice throughout a piece of writing is, in my opinion, the most important part of writing for an audience on the web.
By voice, I’m referring to the tone and intention of your piece that you want your readers to have. For example, I always intend to write as if I am speaking to another person. The conversationalist tone I use is consistent throughout most of my writing because I want my readers to hear my voice in their heads if I were actually talking to them.
Voice can vary based on your intention of the piece you’re writing. When writing a piece that is meant for my personal website, I intend for my voice to be quick witted and humourous which is a reflection of who I am in a casual setting. On the other hand, if I am writing a post that is intended to provide information or is intended to be read in a more professional setting, I will use a more focused and efficient voice that would hopefully support my writing credentials. (This particular post gives you a taste of both of those voices, lucky you.)
Write, Rewrite, Erase, Write, Repeat
If there is one thing I learned as an English major, it is that writing is a whole process. There are definitely people that exist that can word vomit for 10 pages, turn in an assignment, and do decently well. What we don’t realize is that those papers are full of random errors that would then forbid them from getting a perfect grade. (And honestly, being just “good enough” is totally okay for a lot of exhausted college students.) Something I’ve learned in writing is that the backspace key is very important in the writing process. I’ve probably hit it more times writing this post than I did all of the letter keys combined. It’s important to play around with different wording to help you achieve your intended voice so that your audience stays active and engaged.
Take a Break, For Real
In the process of writing this post, I have online shopped, completed two math assignments, went to dinner, fed my Tamagotchi, and even gotten 10.5 hours of uninterrupted slumber. All in all, writing is a process that encourages brain breaks throughout. These breaks help to center your focus and encourage you to look for inspiration outside of your computer screen. Don’t fret if it’s taking you longer to write something. Take advantage of your brain breaks and use them to help push you through your writer’s block.
Find Other Work That Inspires YOU
Plagiarism is definitely a real thing and should be taken seriously. Copying other work is certainly frowned upon but finding inspiration within other’s is something that can help spark your brainbox and encourage growth in your work.
Something that is worth noting is inspiration can come in many forms. As a writer, I find inspiration through music, other pieces of writing, and other artwork. Don’t be afraid to explore different.