The hardest part of writing is often just getting started. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is “BICHOK” – butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Often the magic happens when we show up.
My writing process rarely varies.
I always start with a blank Google Document.
I title the document and change the font to Headline 1 size. I may end up tweaking the title after I finish the post, but most of the time I know what I want to write about and my title explains it fairly well on the first try.
Next, I write a bullet point outline about what I’m going to discuss in the blog post.
- First point
- Second point
- Third point
- 1-2 sentence conclusion
As we all learned in school, essays should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Blog posts are similar, but they are open to your personal style choices. Some people’s posts are a stream of consciousness while others are more like newspaper articles. It’s up to you to choose your style of writing.
After I have the bullet point list, I may skip around in the document and write sections that are coming easily first.
I also like to include 1-2 links to other blog entries and websites. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s my rule of thumb. When I think of something that I want to cite I write (LINK) next to the text to remind myself to go through and find the links during the editing process.
I work on a blog post when during my 30 minutes of concentrated writing time each morning. If I don’t have anything to add in one post, I’ll move on to another. I have between 20-30 drafts going at all times so there’s always something to do.
I complete some posts in 10 minutes and others take hours. It depends on my familiarity with the topic and how easily writing is coming to me that day. Sometimes I’m pulling the words out of myself and other times they are flowing freely.
I write with Brain.fm playing in the background. I truly believe that it helps focus my brain. I also use YouTube to find classical music. Here’s a nice 3 hour compilation of classical music.
Proofreading and editing
After the first draft is complete, I read through the post out loud to look for any errors or sentences that should be reworked. Often, reading out loud helps to find awkward phrasing or incorrect grammar. I run a free spelling and grammar checker called Grammarly on my posts to catch anything I’ve missed.
I typically spend another 20-30 minutes proofreading and editing the post to get to draft two. Once the second draft is complete, I leave the document alone for a few days.
Final read through
I do a final read through a few days after editing draft 2. After I read through, I go through my after blog writing process.
After I finish a blog post and after all of my 30 minute writing sessions, I have a small celebration.
As an adult, even while working in an office, you don’t get praise very often. My husband is very supportive and always tells me he’s proud of me. When I’m alone in my kitchen and just finished some writing, it helps to get up and say “Go Erin!” or some other exclamation out loud. Having a toddler is a benefit because she’s always ready for an impromptu dance party. If I’ve had a particularly difficult writing session, I turn on one of my favorite songs and rock out for a few minutes.