Every day, someone new joins Bleacher Report. They start to develop their writing skills here and one day moves on to bigger and better things. Here, they start to write and develop that skill by interacting with others on here and reading other articles.
But, one can only develop if one improves.
But you see, that's the problem. I have noticed that many people on here don't write too well. Of course we have a plethora of talented writers.
But the ones who write articles that aren't good at all, they are not improving. They need help. They need to listen. And if writing is indeed their hidden skill, they will improve and one day be huge.
That is the main intention of this article; to help those guys by giving tips on how to write better. Yes, I know, we have a lot of tips on this site itself in the FAQs or elsewhere.
But people don't read them. Even if they do, it doesn't seem like it because they're still not improving.
Here I will talk about being a good writer. The things to keep in mind when writing. So let's start.
Quality over Quantity
This is the biggest misconception the young writers here have.
According to them, the more you write, the better you are. The irony here is, the people who say this, or follow this rule, don't write the best articles. In fact, most of their articles just...suck, for lack of a better term.
We can't completely blame them of course, since the more they write, the higher they go in the rankings system.
But the truth is, they try to find something to write about, and don't give in their best effort to it. They write it for the sake of having more articles.
They write it for the sake of writing. Some people write because it's fun to type on the keyboard pretty fast. But that's not when you write.
You write when inspiration hits you right in the face.
I am being a hypocrite for saying this as I have not followed this rule myself. But this is one of the things I have learned during my time here.
True, you get some sort of satisfaction when you have more articles in your archives to brag about. You get some satisfaction when you go higher in the rankings. However, you need to be patient.
You don't write when you want to increase the number of articles you have. You don't write when you just feel like writing but don't really have anything to write about.
You write when you feel like you have a message to share with others. You write when you want to make a point about something. You write when you feel the passion to write about whatever it is that you are writing about.
That's when you improve. That's when you write better. The people who follow this rule has a real future in writing.
Errors while writing
The good thing about typing on a computer? You don't have to worry about bad handwriting.
But the bad spelling more than makes up for it. Every time someone types real fast, they're bound to skip a few letters, thereby making mistakes.
You need to check the last sentence/paragraph you wrote, making sure you made no mistakes.
Then go on to writing the next sentence/paragraph.
This is a whole lot better than checking the whole thing at the end when you're done writing, as it gets boring to read the whole thing.
Then there's the punctuation. There's more than just commas. Use them all when necessary. People also forget to put a space after they put a comma.
The biggest problem that I have seen though, is not capitalizing. When do you use capitalization?
When you start a new sentence, when you name a place, show, event or person.
It's so annoying when people never capitalize. That's alright if you're texting or Instant Messaging. I do it then too. However, when writing an article, it's completely different there.
A good writer is also a good reader
Another problem I see sometimes with bad writers is that they never really read an article completely. They skim over them.
Reading helps you to understand how other people write. You gain some new vocabulary and can observe their writing methods to perfect your own. It helps very much. Good writers usually are the ones who read a lot. Of course, be sure not to read the bad articles.
A major problem with some writers is that they can't handle constructive criticism. What you guys don't realize is that it's there to help you grow, not to attack or offend you.
Some people might be too harsh, some not so much. But you should listen to what they're trying to say rather than ignoring them or to trying to attack them back with words.
Certain people will use words that can be offending, but what you should focus on is the main point of his/her message, not those words.
Different types of articles
There are a few different types of articles you can write here on B/R, pertaining to a specific sport. These include opinion, humor, fantasy, rankings, rumor, news, stats, and history articles.
History is basically recalling something that happened in the past about an event or a person. That's easy to do as long as you know all the details. Don't just copy it off of Wikipedia or somewhere else.
Fantasy is just what you want to see happen. People don't read much fantasy, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give your all when you write it.
When writing news, rumors, or ranking articles, make sure you give reason or analysis. That is very important. When you rank a person in a list, give reason. When you give news or rumor, give analysis. It's the same as when you argue with someone about something. Give reason.
Humor is one of the hardest to write. Some people are amused easily. Others are real hard to make laugh. For what it's worth, for some people, the more they worried about their humor articles and whether they would be funny or not, the more funnier it's been. It's happened to me too.
What you find funny doesn't necessarily make others laugh. I don't know what else to say here. The best tip I can give you here is that most humor articles have an element of truth in them.
Opinion articles are the easiest to write, and the one that is found the most. Why? Because that's the whole idea of writing articles. You share your thoughts, your ideas. Just write what you feel and not what others feel. But like before, use logic and reasoning. Don't be unreasonable. Look also from the other point of view!
I don't know if it only works for some people, or if it works for all people, but for me, I don't like to pre-plan.
Sure, if I have an idea for an article in my head for a few days, I'd have some ideas for stuff to include in it. But if I spontaneously get an idea for an article, and if I start write away, I don't know what to include. I just start and the rest just comes out automatically.
Often times when I'm bored, I feel like taking a pen and paper to write a rough draft of an article I want to write. But when I take them out, I don't feel like writing.
One, because it's displeasing to my hand. Two, I prefer just to write what comes out at the moment I type it. I hate to draft articles on paper.
But that's just me. I'm not sure if it works for everyone. Either way, give your best effort.
This is what you write about. Write whatever you want to share with others. It isn't about if you can get the most reads with it. Writing is expressing your feelings in a way.
Don't write if you just want to try to get an Article of the Day, or to see if you can get the most reads. Write because you want to see if other people agree/disagree, praise or criticize, laugh or cry, at your piece.
A good writer is not who writes just for the sake of writing, but one who has something to say or share.
A good writer doesn't necessarily have to use vocabulary or fancy words. They just have to make sense with what they're saying and make the readers keep reading.
A good writer reads others' articles and helps others improve to help themselves improve. It's okay to write bad articles, AS LONG AS THEY IMPROVE OVER TIME.
Bleacher Report might reward the ones who get the most reads or comments. But we know better.