Last time we talked about how to find things to blog about.
Shortly after I started getting a few questions mostly asking for methodology advice on how to keep track of ideas, what software I use, etc. So today I will share my methodology for writing blog posts.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to blog. You have find what’s right for you, and that will be different from person to person.
Here’s my way (quick disclaimer: this post is not sponsored).
Keeping track of my ideas
I usually prefer paper for most things but I had to face the fact that too many of my ideas were getting lost or forgotten because they were jotted down in various notebooks or on loose sheets of paper.
So for keeping track of blog post ideas I switched to digital: I use Google doc to write down every single blog post idea I have. Yes, you read correctly: every single one of them even the bad ones (because you never know where they might lead you).
I also like to keep my lists very clean so the advantage of an electronic document is that I can easily delete old or ticked items and keep only the ideas that I haven’t used yet.
How I organise my Google doc for blog posts
My Google doc is divided into three sections:
At the top: the rough ideas. It’s usually some sort of title or one line summarising the idea. I recently started adding dates next to the ideas because I like to see when I was interested in what topics.
In the middle: blog posts in progress. I sometimes have a few different posts in progress simultaneously. If I don’t have time to complete a post in one go this enables me to pick a topic to write about depending on the mood I’m in.
At the end: completed posts. I have to admit that this section is a bit overkill but for some reason sometimes I like to keep a copy of my blog posts. When I do, I just pop them in the ‘Published Posts’ section at the end of the document.
Another way to ‘write’ blog posts: dictating
I heard that some people use their phone to dictate their posts in Notes or in an email and then use AirDrop or email themselves for further editing.
I liked that idea because talking is so much easier that trying to craft the perfect written sentence!
So I tried it and… it sort of works, sort of doesn’t. (At least for me.)
First, I’m French and sometimes my phone seems to struggle to get my accent, which results in it turning quite a few of the words that I say into something else, which in turn can make the editing phase more difficult than if I’d just typed in my thoughts in the first place.
Second, dictating is kind of an odd experience in itself: you have to remember to dictate the punctuation and where to start a new paragraph, which I find tends to get in the way of my train of thought if I didn’t prepare any notes prior to dictating.
That’s me though and I would suggest that you give it a try to see if it’s for you or not.
About writing more efficiently
Overcoming the language barrier
Those of you whose first language is not English might be able to relate to this one (if you’re a native English-speaker you can move on to the next section, or keep reading, it’s up to you).
I used to have a big complex because I am not a native English-speaker and I know that I’m prone to making mistakes and to phrasing things in a way that is not always natural in English. It took me a while (and quite a bit of reading) to finally accept that this is who I am and that spending countless hours trying to write the perfect sentence is not really a good use of my time.
After selecting the topic that I want to blog about I start by writing everything I can think of about the topic without worrying about how well it is phrased.
When that’s done I focus on the form: I edit my sentences and organise my paragraphs (by that point I don’t have to worry about the content anymore because it’s already all there).
And finally, I stop editing when I consider that the post is good enough - here note: not perfect. But good enough so that it communicates what I want to say.
Working in this way saves me a great deal of time!
Something that I started implementing more and more in my work (and not just for writing blog posts) are slots of time where I am deeply focused: this means no checking emails, no social media, no phone, no distractions while working on a specific task.
This new habit of limiting interruptions has made a huge difference in my writing, and I feel that I can get more done more quickly.
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As I said at the beginning, this is how I write my blog posts at this moment in time and you will have to find what works for you. Hopefully you found this post useful and maybe even found some inspiration.
If you have any good tips and techniques for writing blog posts that you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Until next time!