Note: this is directed towards people who write articles or journal about the Bible, but it is applicable to any field.
Writing articles everyday has been such a blessing to me. It serves as a daily devotional and it requires constant reading and studying on my part. It is a wonderful way to either start or end the day, and I would like to share with you some tips that I’ve picked up over the past 71 days of writing. I encourage you to read the Bible, read some out of a spiritual or theological book, and at least journal if not write a short article everyday. This helps you formulate your own opinions and understandings of Scripture. It also keeps you reading and engaged with the text in more ways than simply checking off a box that you read that day. So, here are are some guidelines to get started in no particular order:
- Don’t worry about length. If you write 100 words or 1,000 words it doesn’t matter. Write until you’re done. Some articles or journal entries are shorter, and that’s okay! Shorter is actually better for daily articles. I average about 500 words an article which translates to a 2-3 minute read or so.
- Take pictures of interesting things you see. Write articles about the things you encounter daily. I’ve got tons of pictures saved in my phone that I know have an article, sermon, or podcast in them, but they haven’t shown me what they are yet. Some, I have already written on or given a sermon about.
- Use the reminders app on your phone to record short ideas. I like the reminders app on iOS because it is a checklist, and it archives old reminders. You can also use a notebook, the notes app on your phone, or write on your hand! It doesn’t matter as long as it works for you. I keep two different lists: a book wish list and ideas.
- Expand more complete ideas in your notes app. If you take a few moments throughout the day when you are waiting on your food at a restaurant, sitting through commercials on television, or standing in line at the grocery store, you can get a lot of writing done by just expounding upon ideas in the notes app. Then, when it comes time to work on that article, just copy and paste and you have a good start! This article came from an answer I gave to a friend about how I write daily. I just copied and pasted what I sent him into my WordPress app then hopped on my computer to provide commentary.
- Read everyday and copy and paste (or write down) interesting quotes that you can build an article on. It can be a passage, a cool quote in a book, or something you disagree with. Write it down! You may not use it now, but who knows when you may need it. I use the clipping function in Logos Bible software to keep track of interesting quotes. Their reading plans function has also been helpful for me to get through books without being overwhelmed by how much is left.
- Listen to podcasts, sermons, or audio books when you can’t read. Take quotes down like you do when you read. Keep a folder in your computer, phone, or filing cabinet with the quotes you found interesting. Also, keep a record of where you heard it so you can go back later and get the context. I listen to audiobooks when I walk, when I drive, and even when I take a shower.
- Always give credit to your sources. Not only is it moral, but it lets your readers read or listen to what you have read or heard if they find it compelling. If you are just writing in a journal, keeping a record will help you track it down later. Trust me, if you don’t write down where you got it, you will forget the moment you wish to recall it!
- Set a time for every article to go out. I chose 9AM. That way, I have time to finish it in the mornings if I get too busy, but I also don’t put it off until 11:59PM. I have my articles synced to post to Linked-In, Twitter, and Facebook so that I can just schedule and forget. The only extra step I have to take is sharing it on my personal page.
- Spend time creating good graphics for Facebook and Twitter. You can have one graphic for your site in general, and you can have post specific graphics too if you feel like it is needed. 1200x630px is the optimal size for Facebook and Twitter posts. Good graphics, especially with a quote, can make your article shareable based upon that alone. I use pexels for free stock photos. I also use the WordPress plugin Open Graph and Twitter Card Tags to manage what picture is shown when my article is shared. You may even pay a technologically savvy person to make the graphic for you.
- Set a goal for daily streaks. I use WordPress, and it keeps up with how often I write. You may also use a calendar or some other app that keeps up with streaks to keep track of your goal. Having a definite goal in mind is helpful to a lot of people. I personally didn’t set a goal until recently, but I’d like to hit 100 posts in a row. Then, I will reevaluate and set a new goal!
- Don’t become obsessed with views. Write first and foremost for yourself. If you get something out of your writing, then you are successful. Other people benefiting from your posts is just a cherry on top. Obviously every writer would like to be read by a large audience, but learn how to appreciate your writings for yourself and you will be content with any following, small or large.
- Find someone who will read every post. I have a friend who reads every single one of my posts. He gives me great feedback, and, because of him, I am able to grow as a writer every day. Thanks, Dallas.
- Consider writing thematically. This does not work for me, but it can for some depending on your personality type. I don’t like preaching sermon series, and I don’t like making myself write about one subject. I prefer to write about whatever is on my mind. Sometimes I do a series because I feel like I’m on a roll, but having a weekly theme doesn’t work for me personally. But it could work for you! You may even prefer writing one lengthy essay throughout the week and posting a portion of it a day the following week! Find what works for you! I like to mix it up depending on my mood.
- Someone has already written about what you want to say, but you haven’t. Nobody can say it exactly like you can. You can say the same things, make the same points, but you make it unique. You are a lot more interesting than what you give yourself credit for. Even if you have written on it before, the today-you hasn’t. You’ve grown since then, so write what you want. Remember that you are the primary audience.
- Don’t be afraid of personal stories or posts. Personal stories, pictures, and tales from your life make your website more personal and reveals the person behind the curtain. If people are following your blog, it is most likely because they like you!
- Categorize your posts. You can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like, but come up with some sort of category scheme. Because of my very specific audience, I have three main categories right now: blog (just updates on me or the site), eschatology (my main audience is here because of my work in prophecy), and Christian living (general articles about anything related to the Bible that isn’t prophecy). This works for me, but you may need something more than this. In fact, I will probably add categories in the future as they are needed, but I feel good about where I am at right now!
- You don’t have to write at your computer. Sometimes I use my phone, record voice memos to transcribe later, or even call Laura and have her write something down for me while I’m driving! You can use a notebook, coloring book, or whatever! Get creative.
Alright! There you go! 17 tips on writing daily. I hope this encourages you to use writing as a devotional even if you don’t publish what you write. Have any more tips? Drop them in the comments below to help out your fellow readers. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the blog!
Bonus thought on proofreading: read the article out loud to yourself, a friend, or your cat. That’s the best way I’ve found to check flow and to find errors. But, you will never catch everything. I inevitably find something within minutes of the article posting, so just hit send and get it over with! 😂