How Writing Blog Posts Can Make You A Better Fiction Writer:
a guest post by Desiree Villena
Any fiction writer worth their salt is constantly on the hunt for tips and tricks to improve their writing. There’s the straightforward stuff we’ve all heard before — read endlessly, write clearly, be merciless with your editing — but something you might not have considered is becoming part of the fun and friendly world of blogging.
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True, a blog post and a piece of fiction writing may not seem like bosom buddies. The former is usually nonfiction, an opinion piece or report of some kind, whereas fiction relies on an active imagination and allows for more latitude to experiment with form and presentation. But they both require a fine command of language, an ability to communicate and express your ideas lucidly, and a keen eye for what needs to be left on the cutting room floor.
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When you think about it that way, it makes perfect sense that blogging can help your fiction writing. If you’re wondering exactly how, read on!
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Plus, who doesn’t love blogging from the comfort of your bed?
All writing should have a clear purpose, whether you’re reviewing a popular novel or writing a novel of your own. We all know that a surefire way to turn a reader off is producing a rudderless piece of writing that’s unsure of itself and what it wants to convey. But how can one strive to avoid this?
That’s where blogging comes in. The mission of a blog post is to share digestible information that, depending on the topic, is not too dense — much like publication articles, blog posts are designed for people to read quickly, with a morning coffee or between bites of a sandwich on a lunch break. To that end, precision is the golden rule. When blogging, always sketch out what you want to say beforehand to ensure you avoid convoluted phrasing, unnecessary addendums, and lengthy introductory beats.
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The same rules apply to fiction writing, so honing these skills by blogging will definitely set you on the right path! Of course, a novel is a different beast to a blog. You’ve got much more time and space to delve into character development, backstories, dialogue and subplots — but that doesn’t mean the way this reads needs to be drawn out.
Indeed, much of the best fiction writing (at least in this reader’s opinion) is as sharp as a news report. This doesn’t mean you can never go on descriptive tangents; only that you should try to keep precision (and concision) in mind if you want to tell a good story.
Writing blog posts is also a great way to practice juggling multiple projects and meeting deadlines.
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Creating multiple posts per week, often on top of other long-form projects, is a low-stakes way to build these habits without driving yourself up the wall writing, rewriting, and rewriting some more because you’re determined to get that one piece absolutely perfect.
This is an especially good solution if you tend to get stuck on longer fiction projects — since with longer pieces of writing, and personal projects in particular, the lack of a concrete deadline can actually be demotivating and make us sluggish. Getting into the habit of blogging will teach you to write faster and, over time, do so without sacrificing any quality.
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As a bonus, taking your mind off a fiction project while still doing something productive can be just the ticket to getting your creativity flowing so you can revive that old story. If you find yourself suffering from a bout of writer’s block, switching your attention to a blog post could very well be your salve — ultimately helping you get two pieces done for the price of one, and all in a reasonable amount of time.
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Blogging can inspire you just as much as books can!
With short pieces like blog posts, you have to be ruthless with your editing. I’m always getting attached to sentences that I think pack a punch, when in truth, they’re not adding all that much to what I’m saying. Like it or not, the age-old rule is true: you must kill your darlings.
That said, editing is an often-overlooked part of the writing process. You might be a wizard with words, but if you can’t discern what’s crucial to your narrative — whether it’s a short tale you’re spinning in a blog post or a full-length novel — then your work just isn’t going to hit home. Blogging will help those of you that get a bit precious when it comes to pressing backspace.
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Overall, by cutting your teeth on blogs, you’ll be able to develop a more discerning eye. This way, when it comes to your fiction writing, you can do the bulk of the editing yourself before you send it off to any eagle-eyed friends or industry professionals for a second look.
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Hopefully, this post has you sold on the perks of blogging and what it can do for your writing. It’s definitely another string to your bow — and you might find you really enjoy it, and make a whole load of new friends in the blogging community. (I know I have!) It’s also never a bad thing to get your name out there. Who knows, you might even get yourself a book deal. So keep writing blog posts and fiction, keep on hustling, and remember that any writing you do is valuable experience for the rest of your career.
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