7 Things Authors Can Teach Bloggers


Just because some authors wrote on one of these instead of a computer doesn’t mean that their advice isn’t useful for modern writers.
Photo by alexkerhead (Flickr)

In the past 20 or so years, blogging has separated itself out as an art form. Uniquely separate from the newspaper articles that they once imitated, blog posts continue to evolve as sites become more interactive and mobile. Attention-grabbing headings, rhetoric, data, social sharing, and media are all essential parts of any popular blog. However, as freelance writers, we should not leave thousands of years of written tradition in the dust. To understand the present, we must understand the past, which is why any writer should study what literature has to offer.

The art of blogging prevents us from using flowery language. Web-based writers will want to avoid excessive adjectives and adverbs, elaborate metaphors, the passive voice, and long, Victorian-style sentences. Blogging is about instant gratification, to some extent. But literature still can offer some guidance on how to tell a good story, which is, deep down, what blogging is still about.


If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter, it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”
— Anton Chekhov

Literary techniques are not limited to novels and TV shows. Bloggers can — and should — hint at the contents of their article with mysterious headlines or early hints. Foreshadowing is just an older form of the “curiosity gap.”

Conflict and Plot

After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
— Philip Pullman

Just because you’re writing a blog post doesn’t mean that you can’t tell a story, one with an introduction, conflict, and resolution. Blogs should inherently tell a story, perhaps not through a character, but indirectly. Stories are the lifeblood of blogs, so they should have a similar, but shorter, structure to that of a short story.


All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

This technique is essential for multi-post stories, but even in one post, you can leave your readers hanging. Always be conscious of what your readers want, and then you can manipulate that for your own nefarious purposes!

Sensory Detail

Poetry creates the myth, the prose writer draws its portrait.”
— Jean-Paul Sartre

Be anecdotal and detailed in your posts, and be sure to include the senses. A food blog post that describes the sensuous flavors of a meal will often be more popular than one that doesn’t, for example. Utilize every sense, not just sight.

Photo by Daniel Novta (Flickr)

Photo by Daniel Novta (Flickr)


“Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Set the stage for your readers. Allow them to use their imaginations by creating scenarios. Enable them to see places or situations in their minds.

Avoiding Clichés

It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then, like most clichés, that cliché is untrue.”
— Stephen Fry

Novelists more frequently need to develop their own similes and metaphors. More commonly, bloggers rely on clichés. Don’t! Come up with your own clever witticisms, or, at the very least, leave out common and unnecessary phrases. They don’t add as much to your content as you think.

Being Brave

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
— William Faulkner

It’s OK to get a bit of blood on the page. Authors throughout history had to suffer for their art. They were often looked down upon, unappreciated, and unpaid. They had to be brave and dedicated over the span of years to produce their work. As a blogger, it’s important to take risks and have the freedom to express new thoughts and ideas. It’s important to be a brand, but it’s also important to occasionally branch out.

For a little added inspiration, here’s Neil Gaiman’s advice on how to be a writer.

Stephanie Nolan, an editor for Online Writing Jobs, is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Since college, she's both edited and written film scripts, press releases, fictional stories, and articles. After gaining professional experience with Public Relations, Human Resources, and Recruitment, she discovered OWJ. With her strong marketing background and love of the written word, she now found a great balance while working with online content.

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Posted in Blogging, Writing Tips
4 comments on “7 Things Authors Can Teach Bloggers
  1. Kimberly says:

    I absolutely agree with the author. I started blogging 2 months ago, and now my stories have changed. I try including the senses in my essays. And I understood that my readers do not like conflicts. A lot of powerful advices I found also on http://www.smartcustomwriting.org/ . But, actually, I like another citation of Anton Chekhov: “The concision is a sister of talent”.

  2. Admin says:

    Thanks, Kimberly! That’s another great quote for bloggers to keep in mind. It reminds me of a similar quote from good old Shakespeare: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

  3. Olena Taran says:

    All the pieces of advice listed above are very acute and to the point! I like you advice about Avoiding Clichés the most. I think it is the biggest problem not only in blog writing but in writing in general (essays, school and college projects). In order to develop imagination and your personal unique style of writing you must avoid what was invented before you. In post-modernistic culture public wants to read something completely new. Unique style of writing and independence of thought and words is the key to the Blogging , which easy to remember

  4. Admin says:

    It’s true. People today particularly love originality and creativity, which are highly prized resources. Of course, sometimes it’s fine to use cliches in certain contexts, like if you’re doing it on purpose to be playful. We think you should avoid cliches like the plague!