My previous post has given me food for thought… Lately I’ve taken to writing down my blog posts in less time than before. This has some advantages like not being able to overdo the editing part. One drawback is that it doesn’t leave much time to do any editing at all.
In this post I’ll share my recent experiences with you and hand out some tips based on them.
I hope you’ll find my tips useful – feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments!
Tip #1: Try to write your post in one session
My previous post was written on one day, but in several sessions. Family life and working hours take up time that I can’t spend on blogging.
I’ve noticed that whenever I pick up where I left off, my perspective has changed slightly. Even though I interrupt my writing process, I can’t just shut down my thoughts to wait until I have time to write on. This is a major issue if you want to write coherent posts!
Distractions are BAD news
Anyway, what with working from home, tending to a sick child, cooking dinner and so on, I was editing until well past 10 PM… after a broken night with our kid crying in bed several times. If you have kids and a blog, it’s bound to happen to you at some point.
In my case the result was: a post that might have been better, with a title that I wasn’t happy about but every time I changed it seemed worse than before. In the end I just hit ‘publish’ because I had planned to publish and after I did I could stop.
I came back to change the title the next morning after thinking of several alternatives after around 4.30 AM. Yes, that was our son crying again – you guessed it 😉
My conclusion is that quiet sessions to get your thoughts written down are essential.
Tip #2: Take time for reflection (if that’s your style anyway)
Depending on whether you’re writing a personal blog or more businessy stuff in the latter case you may need an editing session as well…
Mind you, not being able to put off editing, or deciding you don’t need a separate editing session means you do it while you write. Telling yourself you’ll reread and edit after you get your post written down should help you get things done before you start criticizing your work.
My inner editor seems to have returned – or maybe I’m just more aware now that I try to write my posts in less time from draft to publish. Or being tired means the inner editor becomes more of a nuisance than usual – what do you think?
Your inner editor messes with your writing process!
Worse than the editor telling me I’ve done something wrong is the inner quickly-excited person (also my inner editor?) who keeps telling me “hmm, this is interesting too… can you put it in?” or “hey, I’ve a great idea for an image to go with this post, how about checking for suitable pictures on OCAL (the Open Clip Art Library) now?”
Seriously, it’s like having a kid standing at your table trying to give you ‘food’ or wanting to sit on your lap and then asking “What’s happening now” every 30 seconds while watching Bob the Builder. Which is happening today because I’ve decided to sit down for once and write this thought down before it flies off.
Tip #3: Watch your inner editor or it will make you rewrite everything
You reread your post, and upon reflection, think of something you want in there… and this, and that… STOP! This is the same thing that happens to me if I interrupt my writing. You’re really writing your next post into the one you already had!
If this has ever happened to you – and it’s more likely to happen if you don’t blog (almost) daily – you’re blogging a lot more than you think. Except all your thinking and writing energy goes into far fewer published posts!
All in all I guess the bottom line is:
- More editing means less publishing.
- More publishing also means less (time for) editing.
- You get a lot of published posts, or a few heavily-edited posts, but rarely both.
There’s probably a precious balance hiding somewhere out there for every one of us. Have you found your ideal mix yet?
Please add your thoughts in a comment – I promise to reply to anything that’s not spam 😉 How do you make blogging, editing and reflection work for you?
I can’t just shut down my thoughts to wait until I have time to write on. This is a major issue if you want to write coherent posts!
There are times when I write it flows like a river. My thoughts can’t stop and writing was a piece of cake. But there are times too that when I’m not in front of my computer my thought won’t shut up and the moment I sat down in front of the computer…the thoughts I had then, the ones I thought I was gonna write doesn’t come out the same. Why is that?
Ah, inspiration 🙂 Getting ideas even at 3 AM happened to me a lot when I had to write my thesis. I’m glad I didn’t have a job back then…
There’s a (36-minute) video of John Cleese about humor/creativity where he mentions ‘open’ and ‘closed’ states of mind. He’s got a point I think.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!