Some of us have imagination of such fertility, that we spend our time holding back a torrent of ideas and battling to prevent unwanted blog posts spilling uncontrollably on to the page.
But most of us don’t.
We’re bereft of ideas, light on sparkling wit and, let’s be honest, dull. When faced with a blank sheet of Microsoft Word just getting started is hard.
We need help.
We need a method to help us arrange some words in an appropriate order. Ideally they will make the reader laugh, or at least trick them into reading further.
Let’s be honest, we need something to copy.
Find some words written by someone you enjoy reading. I find columnists like Caitlin Moran or Charlie Brooker work well.
Next, read through these words, and the moment you hit on a sentence that makes you snort, laugh, or pull a muscle in delight, copy and paste it.
Then, change the key words in the sentence to make it relevant to yourself, mentally commit to the opinion, and voila!
You have your opening lines.
For example, Caitlin Moran wrote:
“I genuinely miss writing now on the rare days I don’t write; my mouth waters when I think about writing, and I have an extreme physical reaction to the idea of doing it.”
So I could write:
“I genuinely miss eating cheese now on the rare days I don’t. My mouth waters when I think about a nice creamy slab of Lancashire, and I have an extreme physical reaction to the idea of eating under-ripe Brie straight from the fridge.”
See what I did?
The start is everything.
I can barely hold myself back now from completing this 600 word piece about my love for cheese. It practically exists already. I just need to pluck it from the air. If I wander away from my screen for twenty minutes, on my return it will have written itself.
The cheese piece is now inevitable.
And the best thing is, I’m almost certain this isn’t plagiarism.
If I’m wrong, and it is, then I’m joking. Don’t use this method. Or get a good lawyer. Or change more of the words.
So, assuming you now have your first lines in place the rest should flow nicely. Simply relax, adopt the tone and content of your highly original opening line, and write. Just let it happen. Commit to the mindset of the professional writer, assume every word you type is gold, and get as much down on that page as you can.
Ramble, insult, tease, comment, and occasionally adopt the concern of a nervous parent watching their offspring interact with a stranger. This will add emotional depth.
You’ve almost written the middle bit.
You should now have a page featuring a killer and highly original opening salvo, followed by 800 words of utter garbage. Hidden in there will be around 250 words that maybe, given the right conditions, somebody might consider reading.
Find them. Be ruthless. Delete the rest.
Which brings you to the final paragraphs, and there’s a simple formula here.
Chuck in a few extra jokes (clever and witty ones, if possible), be self-deprecating about what a moron you are in some way, and then deliver the knockout blow.
This is crucial. Unless you nail this bit, the previous 500 words are worthless.
Refer back to something earlier in your blog post, ideally in a funny way. For example, right here, a joke about pulling a muscle would work well. If I could think of one. Something about ‘deep heat’, probably.
Then mention Donald Trump, for the search engines, and sum up with a wry and razor sharp aphorism, ideally in the style of Oscar Wilde.
Failing that, the ‘style’ of Jeremy Clarkson will do.
At a push.
I mean, how hard can it be?
(Image: via pixabay.com)