3 TIPS FOR WRITING BETTER BLOG POSTS: A GUIDE FOR YOGA TEACHERS
By Lori Snyder
Dear wonderful yoga teacher with something amazing to offer:
Chances are, you became a yoga teacher because you fell in love with the practice and wanted to share it with others.
It’s fairly likely that you didn’t become a yoga teacher because you love to write.
And yet, writing is one of the most amazing ways for us as yoga teachers to connect with, find, and inspire our people—let alone grow our businesses.
Most articles about how to start a blog will tell you that the most important part is creating excellent content. But how do you actually do that?
Never fear—you don’t have to be a writer to write amazing blog posts. Here are three tips that will make all the difference.
1. Write about things your students care about.
You want people to read what you write—which only happens if people actually care about the topic! Here’s my favorite way to figure out what to write about: ask your regulars what they like best about your classes. Whatever they answer is a possible blog post.
Ask as many people as you can. Write down what they tell you. Then, take fifteen minutes to riff on these ideas, brainstorming as many post topics or titles as you can from the things your regulars like best about your classes.
For example, if someone says, “I really like that you adjust me in poses,” that can become a post on correct alignment in a certain pose (and ta-da, now you have a whole series of possible posts), an article on how to replicate adjustments in a home practice, or another series on adjustments for specific issues, such as low back pain.
Or, if someone says, “I really love the stories you tell about your life,” list as many inspirational stories as you can and write a blog post about each one.
If their comment is, “I love your playlists!” consider writing about new music you love or how to make a playlist for a home practice.
There isn’t any one right topic. It’s all about what you and your readers find engaging.
2. Don’t try to write the way you think you should write. Write the way it comes out of you.
This is something that everyone who writes grapples with at some point, even people who write for a living. We tend to think we have to speak or write a certain way to be taken seriously. You know: “Yoga teachers sound like this. A truly spiritual person writes like this. An experienced practitioner wouldn’t say that.”
We are, almost all of us, so sure someone will uncover who we really are and will yell, “Wait! You’re a fraud! You aren’t actually a real [yoga teacher/ parent/ businessperson/ whatever]. How dare you?!?”
And because that voice scares us, many of us try to write like someone else.
So, first? You are not a fraud. You are a gifted, beautiful, unique teacher
with something to share.
Don’t squelch that.
The way you speak or write naturally is what makes people love you.
When I first started my editing business, I was really surprised to find that what most yoga teachers needed from me—even the rock stars who were renowned for their personalities—was help getting their own voice into their writing. Somehow, people start to write and think they have to remove all traces of personality.
Reverse that. Throw your personality liberally into every sentence.
There are countless ways to do this, but here’s one of my favorites: write your first draft of your blog post as though it’s your journal and not for public consumption. All the things that you’re worried aren’t “right” or “spiritual” or “correct English,” write them! Let this be free and fun.
Then, wait a day.
After a day, go back and tighten up what you’ve written. Polish it just a little. Then send it to your best friend and ask them if it sounds like you. If they say yes, proofread and publish. If they say no, ask them why not and take whatever they say to heart.
Finding your distinct voice can take some time, but when you settle into it, you’ll know. It feels like coming home.
3. Don’t try to write and edit at the same time.
Your writing brain is not the same as your editing brain. One is creative, free, playful. The other is careful, detail-oriented, and exacting.
Don’t try to be them both at the same time.
Set aside time when you are just writing your post. Write your first draft with abandon. Don’t edit or censor yourself. Throw it all onto the page. Let it be meandering or terrible or too short or too long, and do your best not to worry about that.
When the first draft is completely and totally finished, then and only then go back to edit. If you can have some time in between writing and editing, from an hour to a couple of days, even better. Time gives your editing brain a chance to come at the words fresh and see them anew.
Most posts will need one, two, or three revisions. But there’s only one first draft, so let that one be wild and free. Then come back to tighten and hone.
These three steps alone will go a long way toward making your blog something that is alive and gorgeous and draws the right people to you. Most of all, write what you love. Your readers will love it, too.
Lori Snyder is a yoga teacher, writer, editor, and owner of Yoga:Edit, which helps yoga teachers write their books, blogs, and teacher training manuals. There is nothing she loves more than helping good people get their words onto the page. You can find her at www.yogaedit.com.