I’m always intrigued when I hear how other bloggers do things. A glimpse behind the scenes. So I thought I’d share with you
a long-winded discourse of my own blogging process. And another day, I’ll tell you about the flip side of this experience for me, reading other people’s blogs.
Revealing all: First, let me share a few of my, ahem, personality quirks. Because I think they factor into my blogging process. But, you can be the judge of that yourself:) I am a bit of an over-planner and over-thinker. I’m not very good with spontaneity, although I try. And I am a wee bit of a perfectionist. But I’m reforming in that area of my life, much as I am reforming with the yo-yo dieting. Blogging has required me to “let go.” If every post had to be perfect before I published, you’d never read anything on here!
Ideas – the good, the bad, and the unpublished: I have a long, long list of blog ideas. Really long. Like “several pages of a word document” long. These are ideas that have come to me over time, some recently, but some as far back as my first months blogging. But I rarely refer to that particular list, because I also have a much shorter one of ideas that are more front and center in my thoughts, to work on “soon.” Often an idea comes from a post title that popped into my head. But other times I can’t for the life of me think of a creative title to match a particular post. Yes, there’s that little perfectionist coming out, obsessing over something as silly as a post title.
The write stuff: Sometimes I just feel like writing. But most of the time, I tell myself I need to start working on a post and then I look at my lists for inspiration. I love when something happens or a light bulb goes off that sparks an immediate burst of creativity and desire to write it out. Those usually end up being my favorite posts:) They tend to flow fastest and easiest from my mind to my fingertips. I “feel” them… the words and the ideas… and the whole process just flows.
Thinking about writing: For some reason my best blog ideas seem to come when I’m nowhere near my computer. I’ve written some amazing posts in my head during long bike rides, only to be disappointed when I got home and couldn’t remember what I wanted to say. I have a notepad in my car and have often tried to scrawl thoughts while driving or at a stoplight. And I have notepads in my bathroom and by my bed too. Sometimes the little notes make it into a whole post; sometimes they just get added to my “ideas” list; sometimes they make no sense later and get scrapped. Sometimes I can’t decipher what I wrote!
And NOT writing: If I sit down at the keyboard to draft a post and get stuck, I’ve learned to walk away. Often I’m just not inspired to write or can’t concentrate. Sometimes I have what I think is a great topic idea but it just won’t gel in a creative way in my mind. For me, it is not just that I have something to say, but also how I say it. I think my writing is often different from that of other “healthy living” or diet bloggers: I write less about what happens in a day in my life or advice, and more about… well… I’m not sure exactly how I’d describe it. Maybe more of an essay and less of a diary? You tell me.
And REwriting: Regardless of the topic, I like to draft and redraft and edit and edit again. I rarely write a post and publish it soon after. I have always been this way with my writing, everything from my annual holiday letter to the yearbook tributes for my sons. Sometimes I make major changes over time to a draft; sometimes the first pass only gets minor tweaks. It never ceases to amaze me that I can reread a post five or 10 times and only then find a typo or clear grammatical error. And yes, my inner perfectionist does try to get the grammar correct most of the time. Although I’m a big fan of literary license:) And hyphens and ellipses. Love those.
The vault: I like to have several draft posts written at all times. I never know when I’ll have “blogger’s block” so it helps to have something to fall back on. Some of my posts get written and not published for weeks or months. One even took a year to see the light of day. Often enough time has passed that I have to make changes to the post because something in my life has changed. Or it would no longer make sense. Some have become obsolete and no longer hold true or describe what’s going on in my life. So they either sit in my drafts folder indefinitely or get moved to the trash.
Scheduling – aka “planning trumps spontaneity:” As you probably know, I blog on a schedule. Right now that’s Mondays and Thursdays. When I started, I posted daily, then gradually cut back over time. I’m not a very “go with the flow” person: “
over planning” is my middle name. So I guess it helps me to know the set days of the week when I intend to put something out here. I also figured out that it works best to schedule publishing my posts a day in advance, setting them up to publish early in the morning. This way, the readers in earlier time zones or who like to read first thing, can find the post waiting for them:) And I no longer wake up thinking, “I need to get that post published,” and jump out of bed. Yes, I used to do that.
Comments – manna for bloggers: Another change I’ve made over time is how I respond to comments. I have found that it’s much more efficient for me to read comments in batches. So, for most posts, I don’t read them as they come in, but wait until the next morning when I sit down and respond to the bulk of them at one time. After that first day, they tend to trickle in slowly. Despite no longer having my responses automatically emailed to you, I do still reply on the blog itself to probably 95% of all comments. Love the sense of having a conversation:)
Rule breaking: Over my almost-two-years of blogging, I’ve learned a lot about how I’m “supposed” to do things. I know my posts are often (okay, almost always and today is a case in point) too long. Believe me – I really do try not to ramble and often cut out bits and pieces during my many edits. I know I should include more pictures. I’m working on this but it’s all too easy for me to waste time surfing online for just the right picture. And often I can’t find one I like. And then there are the ones I’ve tried to take myself or had my husband photograph. Also, I don’t pay any attention to things like keywords and SEO. And only rarely look at my stats or analytics. Bounce rate? Monetizing? I’ve got other things on my mind. Like conquering the technology that continues to confound and frustrate me but comes with blogging as a necessary evil. And while I do try to maintain a presence with social media, I have to admit that I usually forget all about my Twitter and Facebook pages.
Summing it all up: I blog because I enjoy it. (Most of the time.) I blog first for myself but always have my readers in mind when I’m writing. I try to balance saying too much or too little or being repetitive, with being my authentic self. And I appreciate each and every one of you more than words can say. Which is making quite a statement considering how very loquacious I am:)
Your turn: So… anything else you’d like to know? Or care to share something about your own approach to blogging?