Writing a blog? Don’t forget the lighter fluid and matches


Most attorney’s blogs are dull. They are a lifeless recitation of facts that few want to read. So says Kevin O’Keefe, CEO of LexBlog, and I agree.

He suggests adding stories, showing your personality, engaging readers and other bloggers (by citing them), and otherwise putting emotion into your writing.

Also agreed. You need to connect with people and stir things up.

A blog isn’t a law journal, it’s a letter to a friend, made public. It’s your knowledge and experience and personal style brought to life and shared with others in a way that helps them get to know, like, and trust you. It’s a first step towards building relationships with people who can hire you or send you business, and it cannot be done from an ivory tower.

O’Keefe says lawyers are afraid to come out from the shadows because their firm or ethical propriety doesn’t allow it. Or, they are afraid that if they are too transparent, it might be used against them. So they play it safe.

Yes they do.

But it doesn’t have to be that way and O’Keefe cites some examples of lawyers who have put life into their blogs.

But how? How do you surmount your natural tendency to hold back? How do you breathe life into your writing?

You do it in stages.

You write a first draft for your eyes only. You allow yourself to write freely, or badly, and you just let it rip. You write quickly and unabashedly, cursing, ranting, sharing your opinion, and saying whatever comes into your mind. You tell secrets and reveal embarrassing moments. You don’t hold back, you don’t edit, you don’t ponder, you just throw-up on the page.

You write the first draft for you. Anything goes because you are the only one who will ever see what you write.

When you are done, put aside your first draft for a day or three. Get some distance from it. Then, come back and write the second draft.

The second draft is for your reader.

In the second draft, you can put safeties back in place. As you edit, you remove or tone down or add balance to your most incendiary rhetoric. In the first draft, you put in the hot stuff. Now, you take some of it out.

You may find that much of what you wrote can stay, at least in some form. You may discover that what you thought would get you fired or pilloried is actually okay. It was far more dangerous in your imagination. Now, you can see that while it may raise a few eyebrows, nobody is getting hurt.

I can almost promise you that you will see this as some of your best writing, and so will your readers. By opening up this way, you do more than deliver information, you make it come alive. You touch people emotionally, draw them to you, and make them want to hear more.

For your third draft, ask someone to read it and offer feedback. Have them tell you if you went too far or you didn’t go far enough.

To put life in your writing, build a big fire. If you don’t want anyone to see it, let it die down, or go out. You can always start another.

Want more ideas for writing a blog? Get this.

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