Content 101: How to Start Writing

By: Eden Hensley; Top photo by Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

Hitting publish is one of the most vulnerable actions we can take. Whether we are publishing a post to an established blog or setting the tone for a brand new blog with the first post, the fears we face are similar. The way to conquer those fears is start writing and keep going.

Laurie Smithwick touched on roadblocks in her Alt for Everyone keynote last week: "Do not let roadblocks turn into critics. More often than not they are your self-esteem. Roadblocks can be barreled through. The key is to just get the work down, even if it is crappy. The point is getting it down."

Advice I have heard many bloggers as well as vloggers give to aspiring content creators is "Just start." It sounds cliche, and it is easier said than done. Think of a child learning to walk. The child has never picked up her foot, moved it forward, put it down, picked up her other foot, moved it forward, put it down, and then repeated the process. She sees others walking but has to internalize what they are doing and try for herself. It is the same with writing. And like childhood, our writing will go through the same phases: infancy and then that awkward gangly teenager phase until we find our stride.

During our development, it is important that we do not compare ourselves to where others are today. Depending on when we started following someone we may have missed their awkward phase. As they have learned what works for them, they may have gone back and revised old posts and updated photography. If you want a snapshot into their journey, visit the Internet Archive WayBack Machine. (When purchasing a domain, this is a good place to check to see whether or not your domain was used previously.) View how Decor8 has changed from 2008 until now. You can see how the layout, color scheme, and content columns morphed. 

Photo by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Tips for Sharing with Natural Writing Style

Good writing looks effortless to readers. Curious how you can achieve a conversational writing style that appears to just flow? Three writers share their secrets.

What posts did you have a hard time writing? How did you overcome your doubts and publish?