It may seem that in order to get better at the kind of writing you want to do, whether it is for blogs, newsletters or websites, that the best thing to do is to concentrate on doing that sort of writing and to do a lot of it. This is true. However, there is something to be learned from the sports world. Good athletes cross train. Runners sometimes lift weights. Football players take up ballet. (Okay, not too many do that, but they should â€˜cause thatâ€™s a funny image.)
In writing, this means trying to all sorts of different styles and types. Try writing a Haiku or a Limerick, for instance. This pushes you to think more about words and how they sound together and how they can be used in different ways. It gives you a chance to relax and play with images and concepts. Although it ay seem totally unrelated to your mainstream writing, you will find over time that you have better control over your words, and you will have more ideas about how to explain your thoughts.
This concept was reinforced for me during a recent online Silly Drawing class I took with Carla Sonheim. (Thatâ€™s actually the the name, not just a description). One assignment was to write Haiku. I resisted having long considered myself poetically challenged. But then I thought it couldnâ€™t hurt to at least try, and so what if itâ€™s awful, Iâ€™m not getting a grade after all. It turns out that itâ€™s not as hard as I thought to at least come up with something, and itâ€™s kind of fun to play with the words. Itâ€™s sort of like sprinting for a long-distance runner.
A Limerick is a five line poem written with one in which the first, second and fifth lines rhyme and the second and third lines rhyme. There is a certain rhythm too. They are generally meant to be funny.
There once was a writer named Jen
Who thought she was good with a pen
She tried to write a limerick
It sounded like a gimmick
Now sheâ€™s stuck trying again and again
Haiku is a short form of Japanese poetry with three phrases of five, seven and five syllables. (Although Wikipedia says they are â€œonâ€ which is not the same thing as syllables). Also according to Wikipedia, there are some other restrictions about the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a cutting word between them and including a seasonal word. I confess that my attempts at this do not follow this strict definition, yet.
Blank page beckons pen
Words flow easily with grace
Wind shifts mind goes blank