I thought it might be useful to offer a sneaky-peak into my processes for writing this blog. After all, given that I am trying to encourage others to do the same, it’s probably only fair that I let people know how I do it.
Obviously, it’s worth pointing out here that this works for me, and it might not for you. Also, there are probably better ways of going about it. But since I started blogging back in 2004, I’ve got into the habit of working this way, and it seems to produce a fairly steady flow of content for me.
Standing on the shoulders…
For inspiration, I spend a bit of time in Google Reader, checking out what other people are saying, Likewise with Twitter, and Delicious. I’m not necessarily hunting for things to write about, but generally imbibing information and ideas and squaring them with whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Be catholic with your reading habits – don’t just limit yourself to reading blogs in and around your own sector, but find out what people are saying elsewhere. Consider how what they write about can be applied to your interests.
Type first, think later
I spend quite a bit of time writing posts that will never see the light of day. There’s no editing at the ideas stage. Sometimes I only have a sentence, or a whiff of a concept for a post, but I make sure it’s recorded somewhere. My preference is for these to be draft posts within WordPress, but sometimes that isn’t possible, so I’ll use another tool like Evernote, or even just a text editor. I’ll usually aim to get those posts into WordPress ASAP though.
The point is that I very, very rarely sit down and write a post from beginning to end, without having a good think about it first.
So, I usually have up to ten draft posts in WordPress at any one time. I spend quite a bit of time just staring at them, then I read other things, see related content online and how I can work that into the post. Sometimes this changes what the post is about, and the original theme is lost entirely, or reduced to a footnote. What often happens is that I’ll combine two or three of the posts I have in draft to try and produce something a bit more meaty.
Go ugly early
I’ll often hit publish on posts when I’m not entirely happy with them, when the thinking is half-baked or I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve got something totally wrong. I usually get corrected in the comments, or people add stuff to help me make what I’m saying make sense. I must admit, though, that it takes a bit more nerve that usual to do this as it risks exposing me as the fraud I really am.
So that’s a quick run through of my writing process. What tips do you have for any budding bloggers?