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Blog like Hemingway: 5 Writing Tips to Improve Your Blog

This is a guest contribution from Victoria Elizabeth, writer for the Ometria Blog.

Type writer - in the beginning

If Ernest Hemingway were around today, he would have made an excellent blogger. From online news sites to individual industry experts and straightforward enthusiasts, people are using blogs as a way to attract consumers to their goods, services and information. With all the blogs out there on the internet, it can be difficult to weed out the good from the bad.

Although what makes a good blog post can differ with context, you should keep in mind that bloggers and content marketers are always pressed for time. So making your blog posts as digestible as possible will ensure that you keep them interested and engaged with your writing.

Hemingway’s short, snappy prose delivers a clear message and his writing scarcely strays into flowery descriptions. Online content writers in-the-know understand why his style is worth emulating, and so should you.

Here are 5 blog writing tips that Hemingway would have definitely approved of:

1. Short Sentences are KeyScissors with letters

This tip seems obvious but if writing isn’t a regular habit for you, then it’s easy to fall into writing longer run-on sentences. Hemingway was fond of short clear sentences and thought little of elaborate language.

You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.” Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast.

Your writing should be similarly straight to the point as an online audience won’t hesitate to leave your webpage with a click once they get bored or confused by your language.

2. Research the Truth

Hemingway wanted to find the truth within stories, and his research heavily drove his writing pursuits. Research is vital to writing truthfully, and this should always be your priority as a blogger.

If you want to move people with your message, then you must convince your audience of the truth in your writing. Hemingway also wasn’t a fan of adjectives, and bloggers who use words like ‘great, exciting, amazing, etc.’ tend to betray their creative insecurities. These words detract from your message instead of adding value so beware the verbose adjectival pitfall (See what I did there?)

A laptop with books - Internet research

3. Brief Clear Introductions

Not only do short clear introductions allow your readers to gauge whether they will read on, it is also the best opportunity to hook them in. No one likes to read four paragraphs if they can read four sentences instead. In marketing, time is money, and reading time is something that people are less likely to extend solely for your long elaborate blog post.

4. A Specific Beat or Topic of Specialty

You can’t write about all of your knowledge in one blog post. Your purpose should be to educate and convince people, and you should always have material left for another time. Never give away all your secrets as this will shorten the lifespan of your blog, and leave you with no material to keep writing about. The trouble is figuring out what the right balance should be. How much is too little, or too much? Evaluate your topic to see how much information should be included in one post and try to stick to a consistent word count as well.

5. Writing HabituallyNotepad and coffee - a writing habit

Writing effectively means that you form a habit of doing it everyday. This is difficult for most people, but if you train yourself it will undoubtedly become easier. Hemingway typically wrote about 500 words a day from daybreak till noon, and tried not to think about his writing until the next day.

Hemingway’s habit had a twofold benefit. First, the morning is a good time to write because your mind is fresh and the day’s distractions are limited. Second, leaving your writing aside for the afternoon allows you to digest and process what you write, while you focus on other important things. You will find your afternoon workload lighter because you already accomplished so much, and may get more ideas from subconsciously digesting what you wrote earlier.

Stick to these simple little tips and you will ensure that your writing style stays clear and concise for your readers to enjoy.

Victoria Elizabeth writes for the Ometria Blog. See her recent article on the Wild West of Big Data.

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Comments

  1. Roman Likhtin says:

    Thanks, Victoria. Pieces of good advice! And they really help to make the blog better.

  2. You’re so right! Particularly about the short sentences – definitely the way forward. I use short, snappy sentences on my blog even if it makes absolutely no grammatical sense to do so.

    And I write for a living!

  3. Vizzi says:

    Love the post and tips Victoria! You bring up some great points. You mentioned two of my favorite blogging tips and ones we reiterate all the time on VizziBlog:

    1. Short sentences are a bloggers best friends. Not only do they add to the readability of your writing, they make your writing extremely easy to understand. Both of which are crucial to communication.

    2. A catchy intro. Besides the title, your intro is the most important aspect of a blog post. A lackluster intro is the quickest way to lose a reader. In today’s fast-paced society you have to GRAB your audiences attention if you want them to read your posts.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for the great read!

  4. Brad Castro says:

    Loved the post, although I think if Hemingway had a blog, he probably wouldn’t post every day. More like once a week.

    Every writer can learn a lot from Hemingway. It wasn’t so much that his sentences were short, but that they were painstakingly polished and tightened (unlike this sentence) until they contained absolutely nothing extraneous.

    I think World War I was so disillusioning for Hemingway that he had an animosity toward more flowery language – one, it gave a false reckoning of reality as he’d experienced it, and two, sentimentality is often used to mask a lot of sh*t.

    Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style” is another classic resource for writers, in particular Principle #17 – “Omit Needless Words.”

  5. C.A Brown says:

    This is some great advice, just what I needed to keep writing. I think writing shorter sentences is an idea I should implement. thank you kindly this was an awesome read.

  6. Angel Cuala says:

    As a paid web content writer, I totally agree when you mentioned short sentences being a key. It allows the readers to breathe and helps them grasp the message of the post in one reading.

    One of their earlier clients back in 2009 required me to have a maximum of 25 words per sentence. I have been trying to follow that since then, and I think it works.

    But for the time when to write best, I think it totally depends on the writer. I usually write at night because I am living on the other side of the world. Most of my clients are from US and I have to adjust my sleeping time so that I can easily respond to them. So far, I think I got used to it.

    Speaking of Hemingway, I can also add that his writings have a strong connection with the readers. With that, I can say that the ability of the writer/blogger to build a connection between them and their readers is a very big factor.

    Thanks.

  7. Great article Victoria. I just loved how you took the example of Hemingway in blogging.

  8. I think writing everyday in the morning is HUGE. It lets you get going without having to worry about distractions and doing it daily trains you to become a much better writer. A lot of writers complain that they need “inspiration” to write, but as Seth Godin says, “You don’t get talker’s block do you?” Writing everyday has been huge for me in avoiding writer’s block and I’d HIGHLY recommend a daily practice to anyone else serious about writing.

  9. Using Hemingway was a good choice. I wouldn’t have read this article if you’d said “Write like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.” Yes yes yes to making writing a habit. Will do that. Tomorrow. :D

  10. Short and punchy writing works so well Victoria! Dead on post here ;) Hemingway was genius because he made an impact in few words. Be economical. Say more with less. Make an impact by doing what few writers do: cut it short ;)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  11. Steve says:

    Hey Darren,

    Long time lurker, first post on your site! I really enjoyed your presentation at WDS, you were one of my favourite presenters and I took away so much from your talk. It was one of those “a ha” moments where something so simple just finally clicks in your brain!

    Anyways, I’ve really been enjoying reading your tips and recommendations and can say I’ve soaked up a lot from everything. The connection to Hemingway you make makes me want to go read his book.

    Also, love the idea of writing in the morning and then later in the evening so you can start fresh and then digest and get back to it. But a good afternoon shower is need, right?? :)

  12. Jake says:

    Great post Victoria! It would definitely be amazing if Hemingway was alive today.

  13. Julia says:

    It’s only been in the last year or so that I have started to write in shorter sentences, rather than long, rambling paragraphs. I may not be Ernest Hemingway, but at least it’s easy to read ;)

  14. Ya, I could say these 5 tips, one required to be followed and needed to be focused also as it is the crucial key points behind the success of any blogger.

  15. doncyber says:

    what a great tips here…. i will change for good as at now

  16. Saif says:

    Excellent work, It seems that if you write true things and if you write on quality that attracts visitors and that makes visitors engage in your blog then you got every thing !
    Thanks

    Saif

  17. Shana Norris says:

    Thanks for the great reminder, Victoria. William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is a great writing guide to check out for anyone struggling with numbers 1 &3. He’s all about pared down writing.

  18. These 5 tips will definitely be useful for blog. Using Hemingway was a good choice. I would recommend that technique to all bloggers

  19. Excellent advice and writing truthfully is important for creditability. I agree with short sentences and would also encourage simple words.

  20. Tanvir says:

    it is very good for us……http://www.prothom-alojobs.com

  21. This is really an informative article regarding the World of Blogging.

    It was good to find great things here.

  22. Victoria, these are some pretty impressive tips!!! I hope they will make a better blogger from me!!!

  23. Rina says:

    been almost 4 months my blog was not experiencing significant growth
    thanks for the tips above, it is very useful for me :)

  24. Abhijith V M says:

    The tip about short sentences is nice. In fact I always think about it while reading looong blog posts. Why don’t they just make it a little shorter and thus making it easier for the reader.

  25. John says:

    Great post Victoria! I liked the portion on short sentences. May be I will think on my writings differently now onward.

  26. mohit says:

    thanks for the info!! i hope it help me and my content and have a good impact on my visitors.!!!

  27. kunal khosla says:

    I am often to blogging and i really admire your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information. :)

  28. suryabhan says:

    hey

    very well written i like all the tips and i m really gonna use your tips for in my further article so thanks for such post

  29. Monu Alagh says:

    nice tips sure follow for became a good writer on my blog.. thanks for share…

  30. Cyndi Curtis says:

    I agree with the short sentences, I find I have a tendency to lean on ranting when I write excitedly. Short sentences should be my mantra for my blogs and some other works. Thanks!

  31. Good tips, but too common. They’ve been reflected many times in this blog. Maybe we need more new, creative ideas.

  32. This is a really good article! It is informative and interesting. I came across this write-up from twitter.
    Thanks,
    Rodrick

  33. John Smith says:

    Innovative and informative post for a beginner writer. I completely agree with you that economical and meaningful writing is key to become a successful and interesting writer especially in blog writing and content writing as there is a lots of stuff available on internet that a reader never consider so much over a lengthy writing.
    Thanks for sharing.

  34. Sahil Tagra says:

    Thankew for sharing informative things to improve the blog……this effective post helps me to improve my blow…thankew