A long time ago, I said that I’d write a post about, well, how I write posts. (It kind of makes my blog feel self-aware and now I’m creeped out). Finally, I present you with this mismatched pile of ideas so that you can get a look into how I write and what I do to get the best blog post possible that I’m satisfied with. That’s why I say “form” because there’s a lot more work than just writing the words. Usually.
Usually, inspiration comes to me from a random thought I have in the middle of the day. Whether it’s to do with my personal life, the people around me or something poetic I’ve heard or thought of, it makes my brain spin in a whirl of ideas. If I know I’ll forget it, I write it down on my computer (I wish I could write in a blogging notebook, honestly). However, I’ll usually be thinking about it all day, formulating little ideas from that first snippet of inspiration. It’s a literal mind map.
For very long posts or posts that I find especially difficult to write, I do a lot of planning. The posts like that are ones about events I’ve been to, very emotional posts or posts where I give advice to you because I’m LITERALLY AWFUL. I write down initial ideas, often phrases or words that I really want to include. After that, I organise it into vague paragraphs (because I’m a disorganised child and never stick to it). When I’m done with initial ideas, I check through it and add anything else. (God I wish I had a notebook because I can’t use one)
Actually Writing the Thing
After I plan it, I spend about 5 minutes thinking about how I want to write it. It’s to organise my thoughts mostly but also to not stress myself out. I write below my plan – hardly ever in the WordPress editor itself unless I’m feeling rebellious and just want to write. When I write, I usually write constantly until it’s done; if I get distracted I’ll stop writing. When that happens, I come back to it later in the day when I’m in the mood to write. An important thing is to never force your words out: make sure you’re enjoying the writing or if not enjoying then you’re enthusiastic about it. If blogging turns into a chore, you may end up feeling unhappy with your finished post because it’s not what you wanted to write. (I wrote write too many times and now it doesn’t feel like a word)
Proofreading because My Grammar is Terrible
I never used to proofread but ever since I realised that I loved writing more than I loved most things, it’s become an important step in the way I write. Embarrassingly, I’ve made some painful spelling mistakes in my old posts that I didn’t even notice so now, I use spell-checker to catch the big mistakes. Then, I proofread once in depth and then once to check that it flows nicely and actually sounds intelligible. The worst thing is publishing and realising that you’ve written a run-on sentence that sounds horrendous when you read it back to yourself. Whilst I’m at it, I add any formatting like headings and italics in the editor because although I can’t see it, you guys can and I want to emphasise some words or make things organised. If you don’t proofread then don’t worry; it’s not an essential part of blogging but if it makes you feel better then do it! I think blogging should be doing what you want rather than following too much advice that you don’t actually think will help.
Tags and Categories and All That Jazz
I think this is one of the most important steps for me personally because it means more people interact with your work. After I’ve put my post in the editor and formatted it, I get into the tagging part. Call me shallow but getting comments really makes me happy and tags means that more people are likely to enjoy your writing. I usually do a lot of tags (but no more than 12 or so because it doesn’t appear on the tags themselves if you do more than 15 plus categories). I also categorise my posts so that they’re more organised and if readers look at my blog itself, they can actually find things without trawling through pages of blog posts. I’d get bored, too. Also, because I’m paranoid, I check the spelling of tags twice just in case I overlooked it the first time.
Sharing is Caring Right??
I publicise my blog to Twitter so that it posts automatically: I usually add a message to the tweet that’s either supposed to be funny (it never ends up being) or it explains a tiny bit of what the post is about. As well as that, I write excerpts if the beginning of the post doesn’t summarise the post itself. I only started really using excerpts recently so I’m still figuring out how they work. Someone help me???
Is it just me that gets mildly terrified when I publish a post that’s particularly personal? I also get a bit worried if I’ve worked hard on it and it turns out to be crap. However, if I have worked on the post for ages, I know I’ve put my all into it and there’s nothing more I can do. Well I mean, I could write for a billion hours but there’s that little thing called life…
Although I say I have a long process, I don’t always stick to it. It no longer stresses me out when I don’t; I’ve learnt that flexibility is really important and that if I change my routine a bit or leave one small step out, it doesn’t make me a bad blogger.
If you write posts in a different way, I’d love to know about it! Everyone writes differently so it’ll be really interesting to see how you do it – or if you don’t have a system.
From Elm 🙂