“Yeah, a tutorial about how to write a discussion post written by Mikaela!” said nobody.
(But I wrote it anyway.)
Some of you guys apparently think I have really good discussion posts, which is extremely flattering, so thank you; I try! And I know there are always people out there who WANT to write discussion posts, but don’t even know where to start. Hence why I’m here to give you a tutorial on how to write a discussion post for the Blogging Diaries!
Well, obviously, before you even start writing, you have to have an idea of what you’re going to write. I know there are some people who wonder where I even GET my ideas, and it’s usually one of three places:
1. Other Blogs. There will be times where I’ll stumble upon a really interesting discussion post or topic or even just a random post in general that can really get me inspired, especially looking through the comments of said post. Sometimes, a random comment left will spark an idea. Usually, when looking at a post, I get my ideas from thinking about what my take on the topic would be or wanting to explore an angle the blogger hasn’t. So, who knows: maybe going on that blog-hopping session you’ve been putting off will inspire you!
2. Books. You don’t even really have to be reading 20+ books a month to be inspired by one. My first ever discussion topic discussed the whole trend of authors adding on prequels, novellas, spin-offs, or any other additions to their original series and why bookworms were so tired of it. All of that came from the whole flurry around The Cursed Child. So, if you’re scrambling from ideas, grab the last ten books you’ve read and choose an element to expand on. For example, if I chose The Hate U Give, and talked about diversity in books. Or book hype. Or what makes a good main character. Or what makes a good contemporary novel. Or your opinion on books that take a political stance on something. Or your opinion on #ownvoices novels. There’s a lot of topics to choose from!
3. Shower Thoughts. You might be like, “What the heck are shower thoughts?” but I basically mean when you’re doing nothing, and an idea comes to you. They’re totally random. I know probably a large majority of my ideas come from this, which is probably why my response to people who ask me how I came up with this idea is, “I don’t know.” But, MAKE SURE TO WRITE IT DOWN. I know there are tons of random ideas I think I’m going to remember and then don’t, and I get annoyed because it was SUCH A GOOD IDEA. So, write it down.
Once you have an idea, you can make an outline (which I do) or you can just start writing and edit it once you finish! Usually, I start writing with the…
Basically, I consider it anything before the first arrow I insert in my blog post. Some people might not have such a weirdly strict formula, but I do, so we’re going with it. Usually I have my blog graphic, a witty opening line (or what I think is a witty opening line), and then I blab for a paragraph or two introducing the topic and going over what I’m about to cover.
So, for example, if you’re going to write about hyped books, you could start out by talking about how you were inspired to write the post. Or maybe you could talk about a hyped book that impressed or disappointed you. Or you could talk about how it’s a common problem for bookworms. Or you could define “book hype.” Basically, there’s loads of ways to introduce your discussion, and it doesn’t have to be overly long.
After that, we’re getting to the meat of the discussion, which is the…
Obviously, this is the most important part of the whole discussion post. This is where you pour all your thoughts and opinions out there. For me, I think there are five different types of ways to arrange your word vomit into a discussion post people will enjoy that I personally engage in:
1. Lists. Obviously, this type of discussion is in a list format. I usually use these types of discussions to list reasons – why you should or shouldn’t do something; why I do or don’t do something – or types of a certain topic you’re going to talk about. Going back to the book hype example, you could use a list to talk about why you don’t read hyped books. Or you could list why people should read hyped books. Or you could list types of book hype. Or books that were hyped, and which ones let you down and which ones exceeded your expectations.
2. Tips. Basically, if there’s a general blogging thing you want to talk about – for instance, social media or which blogging schedule is the best for you – or if you think you’re good at a specific blogging thing – like taking photos or web design – then you can make a discussion post that lists tips. It doesn’t HAVE to be a tutorial (I like to think of those as more step-by-step), you can just give tips that are specific to you that might help someone else. So, for book hype, you could give out tips about how to review hyped books or how to find the perfect hyped book for you.
3. Problem/Solution. This one’s pretty self-explanatory: present the problem to the reader, then give solution or advice of that problem. You can do this for just one topic within the discussion or through multiple topics within the discussion. For book hype, you could talk about the problem with book hype, and give some solutions to that. Or you could talk about the problem with people disregarding books just because of the hype, and some ways to prevent it from happening.
4. Pros and Cons. Basically, you present a question that has both positive and negative reasoning behind both sides, and then present the pros and cons for each answer fairly. I typically use these directly for questions I have, and these are best if you have a lot of reasoning behind both sides. Bringing back the book hype example, you could talk about the pros and cons of hyping up books before they’re released. Or you could discuss the pros and cons of reading hyped books.
5. Methods. These are some of my favorite to write! You take the topic you’re discussing, and talk about the way YOU handle or deal with it. This is best for those who don’t think they’re good enough at something to do tips or tutorials, but still want to share their experiences with something. For book hype, you could talk about how you go into a hyped book. Or how you review a hyped book. Or how you choose which hyped books you’ll read, and which ones you’ll ignore.
After you’re done writing the content of the post, you’re at the…
Much like doing a book report or any sort of report, for that matter, I usually summarize what I talked about in the intro. If you feel like you have anything else to add near the end of the post, feel free to add it! If not, you can just move on and include whatever you include near the end of the post. I know I usually have two sections – “Let’s Chat” (this is where I ask questions and invite conversations) and “Follow Me” (this is where I leave my social media links).
It’s also a really great idea to ask questions at the end of the post! You wrote a discussion post to get discussion (hopefully), so get what you worked hard for! I usually ask people’s opinions on the subjects or how they do things or what they would choose. It really all depends how you arranged your post. Usually, questions can get people who don’t know what to comment to comment because they have something to bounce off of.
After finishing with the conclusion, the writing process is complete once you’ve given the post a…
Personally, I feel like I obsess over titles WAY too much, but maybe that’s normal for everyone else (probably not). Usually, I ask a question in the title of the post because I feel like I’d be more inclined to click on a title that asks something rather than states, but it’s all up to you! You can be broad with the title – “Let’s Chat About Book Hype” – or you can be specific depending on what you chose – “The Pros and Cons of Book Hype”; “Why I Don’t Read Hyped Books”; “The Problem With Book Hype”; “How I Review Hyped Books”; “How To Find the Perfect Hyped Book For You.” I usually try to summarize the entire post in the title, but that proves to be difficult sometimes.
And that’s the formula to writing a good discussion post (or, at least, how I write my discussion posts).
Hopefully, you enjoyed this post and got something out of it! These tips can also help those who are just trying to formulate a blog post in general, so there’s something for everyone, I guess!
Also, another reminder that we are in Phase 2 of the Big Blogger, Little Blogger Project, and if you need a reminder on what that is, the link to the original post is here! Whenever you do it, please link back to one of my posts so I know you did it, and make sure it’s done at least sometime in July because that’s when I’m posting the masterpost!
How do you write your discussion posts? Was this helpful for you?