How To Write A Blog – Five Lessons From Screenwriting

I’m a professional blogger, and also a screenwriter.  My experiences in the intensely competitive film industry have taught me a few things.  Here are five lessons from screenwriting that apply equally well to blogs:

1.   Suspense is your friend.

When writing a screenplay – or a blog – you need to give your readers multiple reasons to keep reading.  One way to do this is to hold back information.  People are naturally curious.  If you have a secret, they’ll want to know it.  To that end, later on in this post I’ll reveal a seriously embarrassing personal detail.

2.  Brevity reigns.

You can’t waste time.  In screenplays.  Or in blogs.

3.  It’s pointless if nobody reads your stuff.

In screenwriting, if you can’t get read, you can’t get work.   An unread  blog is just as futile.  One great way to gain exposure for your blog is to use titles people are likely to search for.  The title of this blog includes the phrase How To Write A Blog.   That phrase is searched for on Google an average of 4400 times a month in the United States alone.  Are you thinking this way when choosing titles?  If not, your blog may be lonely.

4.  You need a solid framework.

Good movies have a careful design.  They have three acts.  They have a plan for how things will proceed.   In the same way, blogs need a coherent framework.  Hence the frequent use of a numbered list.

5.  Always be clear.

When writing a screenplay, you can’t afford to be vague.  You’ve got to make sure your readers can digest your scripts quickly and easily, or you’ll lose them.  The same is true for blogs.  It’s best to avoid difficult or obscure language that most won’t understand. 

For example, if I tell you, “my woozler is unusually rendoculated,” you probably have no idea what I just said.  Which is too bad because, as promised, I just shared with you my mortifying personal detail, and by choosing obscure words I lost a chance to give my blog some serious shock value.  In this case, fine by me.