The other day, my friend commented on how quickly I could spit words out on a page and what a good writer I was. I laughed and shared a secret with her. Anyone can do what I’m doing. You don’t need an English degree to learn it either.
Of course, she scoffed and said she could never do it. What my friend doesn’t realize is that I was born with the desire to write (or it developed early on from my love of stories), but I wasn’t born with the skills. For years, I have struggled to learn the skills to write. And even after publishing a short story and earning a degree in English, I still struggle to write.
The key isn’t that it’s easy. The key is that I work at it. A lot.
This is good news for everyone who wants to write but doesn’t feel they are good enough. The truth is that writing is a skill that can be learned. Writing a blog post doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. The critical element is to ensure that you have a focused post. Think of it as a thesis statement for your blog post.
A Thesis Will Focus Your Post
If you read my post here, then you know that coming up with a list of questions to answer for your audience is how you get writing prompts. The next step in writing a focused blog post is to use the answer to the question as your focus for the post.
That’s where a thesis statement comes in.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how an academic term is going to help you write a better post. But stick with me, okay?
For those who don’t know, a thesis statement is usually one sentence at the end of the introductory paragraph that sums up the main point of a research paper, essay, etc.
A thesis statement can be just as useful in writing blog posts as it is for writing academic papers. Although I don’t stick to the sentence at the end of the introductory paragraph necessarily, I think it’s important to put the sentence that sums up your main blog post point near the end of your introductory information. Much like in an academic paper, the reader then knows the point your post intends to make.
Guide Yourself and Your Readers
If you’re like me, you tend to ramble and find yourself wandering off topic. In the editing process, it’s a lot easier to keep the post concise and on topic if you have a focus. If you create a sentence designed to sum up the point you intend to make, then you can easily refer back to that sentence when editing (or even when writing) to ensure what you’ve written hasn’t wandered off the road.
A thesis statement for your post doesn’t just guide you; it also guides your readers. It tells your readers precisely what information they will get by reading through your post. If that isn’t information they need, then they can move along without wasting their time. It’s much better for your reader to know up front that this is a blog post they don’t want to read rather than for them to get halfway through or to the end and realize your post was all over the place. As a reader, I hate when that happens, and I’m much less likely to read anything further on that blog.
On the other hand, if your reader knows right away this isn’t the post for them, then they can just move on without feeling like they’ve wasted their time. You’re much more likely to end up with a reader who is still interested in checking out your posts if they know you’re not wasting their time.
One final advantage to having a thesis statement for each post is that it will make it easier to organize. I hate organizing, and I’m always looking for ways to make it easier and to make things more efficient. By utilizing a thesis statement for each post, I can write that sentence down in my content calendar, which allows me to quickly see which topics I have covered so I’m not writing posts on the same ideas. Having the topics in sentence form also shows me where there are gaps in information I’ve written about, which can help me in brainstorming ideas for future posts.