The process of writing a blog post is more involved than just coming up with an idea and typing it out. Writing has its own set of interesting experiences which were holding me back from my writing creativity until I started to identify them.
What I've itemized below are 12 things that I discovered about the writing process and how to deal with them. Your own writing experiences might differ, but you won't know until you start blogging on your own.
Here are the best tips on my writing process:
- Come up with a blogging topic idea first. Write the blog second. Then write your blog title last. These three steps help prevent writer's block.
- You have to enjoy what you are writing about. Your personal dissatisfaction will always spoil your creativity and your reader won't find your blog worth reading. That's certainly not good for longterm results of your blog.
- If you find yourself at a loss for words while writing, get up and walk around. I'm not talking about writers block, just a loss of how to articulate. You'll find that the words flow when you are not forcing them. Once the words do come, don't rush back to your desk to write; just give yourself a minute to think before running back to the computer.
- When you think ideas are flowing quickly, I find it's also good to get up and walk around. Sometimes words flow too fast and you fumble them; walking around helps to slow your thinking to a pace that is manageable for your typing speed. Grab your voice recorder and start taking notes if you fear you will lose your thoughts.
- When you get up to walk around, people in your office or in your house might think that something is wrong, or that you are in a bad mood. Apparently my "deep in thought" look translates into my "I'm mad so get out of my way" look.
- You may need to rearrange sentences, and even paragraphs of your blog after you finish writing the first draft. I remember struggling with my thought organization in the beginning because it was as erratic as a cat chasing a laser pointer. I always had to reorganize what I wrote into something that flowed from beginning to end. I still reorganize sometimes, but it wasn't until about my 500th blog that I learned how to control my writing process; see 3 and 4 above.
- I used to worry about writing at least one page in Microsoft Word, and I would struggle doing that. jWAG was originally a paid subscription service, but once it turned into a philanthropic endeavor, the process became much easier. The pressure of writing because you must is completely different than doing it because you want to. Now I have trouble keeping each Nugget to under 1 written page in Microsoft Word, and I don't bother even counting words until I'm done writing.
- Your blog posts will always be shorter when you have other, more pressing responsibilities at home or work, and longer when you have less to do. The important point here is to commit to the blogging schedule you've outlined and find ways to make it work into your busy schedule.
- Don't write your blog in the 3rd person point of view. Be yourself, write as yourself. I wrote the first few hundred Nuggets from the "company's" point of view, but that was very constricting, and I struggled to connect with my readers. It's easier for you as a person to achieve greatness than to build a recognizable brand identity for your business.
- I'm better at writing first thing in the morning, or after a nap. Sometimes I wake up with my thoughts on overdrive and a full blog post is formed before I even turn my computer on. See point 3 above.
- Sometimes an unavoidable deadline of 30 minutes from now is a great way to focus your thinking and writing. Throw your dinner in a skillet on the stove with a low flame and race to see which is finished first. Just don't get so engrossed in writing that you forget to stir the food while it cooks, and eventually let it burn. Incidentally, this is EXACTLY how I discovered points 3 and 4 above.
- In school, you probably learned that 4 sentences make a paragraph, and that all paragraphs should contain complete thoughts. This is not true online. Paragraphs of 4 or more sentences online scream "SKIM ME." Limiting to 2 or 3 sentences will increase the memory retention of your readers.
This post is part of a series of what I've learned from writing 1000 blog posts. Maybe one of these other topics will interest you too:
* Content Tips
* Managing Your Blogging Ideas
* Writing Tips (this one)
* Attracting an Audience
* Organization Strategy
* Search Engine Optimization