Friday, February 26, 2016

RE: How I Write a Post

Before I get to the regular post, I want to remind everyone that there's a few more days to enter in my 5 year anniversary giveaway. Read about it here!


This semester I'm taking a class that focuses on the creative process that different authors have and how it effects the final piece of writing. It's very interesting and making me think about drafting and brainstorming more than I ever have before. As readers, we tend to focus on the finished product (i.e. the book), because that's all that we really see, but there's so much more going on behind the scenes that can give major insight into the writer and by extension, the writer's work.

I had all those thoughts about the behind-the-scenes work that happens rolling around in my head when I saw a post that Katie Grace did on her blog A Writer's Faith. The post outlines how she writes her blog posts, which is essentially her creative process. At the end of her post, she said that she was curious to see how other people write their posts, and since I found her post fascinating, I'm going to discuss my own blog posting process.


The Brainstorming Phase:
There's a few different ways that ideas are born. Sometimes ideas just come to me. Usually those spontaneous ideas are born when I want to respond/expand upon something I've heard in class, daily conversation or an experience that I had. These tend to be some of my more personal, opinion based posts.

Sometimes ideas are pulled from my "idea file". I have a little receipt folder that I shove notes in that I scrawl down on scraps of paper. I try to be diligent and keep track of all those little thoughts that pop into my brain, so I can use them when the ideas are running dry.

Sometimes ideas are stolen inspired by other bloggers that I follow (like this one). I really do not like direct copying (who does?), but I often spend time reading my feed to see how other bloggers are approaching their posts. Usually this helps me think outside of my box.

And if absolutely NOTHING is coming to mind, I resurrect an old blogging series that I started and never did regularly, but still want to pursue (*cough* Sunny's Guide to Using Your Camera *cough*).

The Checking Phase:
This might sound ridiculous, but it's saved me. Before I start working on a post, especially if it's an opinion post that address some book issue, I do a search on my blog to make sure that I haven't already written about it. I've been blogging for five years, so sometimes I forget what I've written about. The funny part is that usually the repeat post is only a few months old, haha. If the post is older (a year or more) then I'll sometimes write the new post anyways, especially if my thoughts are different/have some new insight. The beauty of writing a blog over the formative years of my life is that my opinions are often changing.

The Writing Phase:
I tend to just sit down and write my post right in the Blogger drafting tool. Some people prefer to write them in Word docs, but that's not for me. Occasionally, I'll jot down a few notes about what I want to talk about in my catch-all notebook, but I tend to just wing it. That's one of the things that I love about blogging. I'm able to write and express myself without having to do the type of prep work that I do so often for my school papers.

There's been a few instances where a post was written in two sittings, especially if it requires a lot of work with graphics or if I'm not 100% sure of how to express myself, and I care a lot about the topic. But generally, I put some music on and sit down for about an hour and write the post out.

The Designing Phase:
Generally this phase happens after the post is written, but if the post is written around photos then I do right after the Brainstorming phase. For example, book hauls and camera how-to posts I usually shoot the photos first.

For the average post that just requires a header image, I design a graphic in Photoshop Elements. I've built up a few stock pieces that makes it easy for me to throw a graphic together. I have my watercolour background file, my favourite fonts (right now Bebas Neue and Sannie) and my pre-sized PSD document. By this point in the process, it's usually well after midnight and I just want to get the post posted.

However, sometimes I like to make my headers look a bit more spiffy. So sometimes I use my own photography as a background. I only ever use my own photos on my blog for copyright reasons, so I try to always take a few good "background shots" whenever I'm out taking photos.

Annnnd if it's really late and I feel that my post is good enough to stand on its own, I just use GIFs.

The Publishing Phase:
90% of the time I write the post, add keyword labels and publish it right away. I'm envious of those people who schedule posts weeks in advance, but I can never get it together enough to do that. But that's okay, it's not part of my process. If I have some time off, I might schedule a post, but usually I don't.

The Proofreading Phase:
This is another one of those silly points. I always publish my post and then do a proof read right after it's published. Most times I find an error, so I quickly go back into the post and fix it. I don't know why I do this, but there's something about seeing it all said and done that helps me find errors (and yes I'm aware that there's a preview function for that purpose). If you're ever extremely earlier to one of my posts you might find some problems, tehe.

The Promoting Phase:
This doesn't even really warrant a category, but it's a part of the process! I usually only tweet about my post, but I always try to wait a day or two, so that the post gets double exposure. First in your blogging feeds, then if you pass over it there, in your Twitter feed. Does this make sense? I don't know, but it's my strategy. Have I ever lured you into a post that you passed up initially in your feed?

Of course this is a streamlined version, because my real process has copious amounts of other internet browsing mixed in between these steps. Overall, it usually takes me between an hour and two hours to write a blog post. I hope that you found this post remotely interesting. I definetly want to hear what your process is like in the comments or in a blog post. Let me know what you think of my process and if you do anything the same as (or drastically different then) me in the comments!

And of course, don't forget to check out the giveaway that is going on right now! Check it out here!

Reading: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's my first time reading LOTR and I'm listening to the audio book and enjoying it a lot. Might post about it when I get the trilogy done!
Listening: The Black Keys
Watching: The Good Wife

12 comments:

  1. This is so cool. o.o Thank you for "stealing" my idea and linking back to my post. ;)

    One of the things I LOVE about your blog is the design. Especially the pictures for each post. I love how they all match but they're yet all different. You have so much talent for that and I'm always in awe of the prettiness of your posts.

    It made me laugh that you look through your blog to see if you've done a similar post. xD

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    1. Your welcome! It was such a great idea.

      Awww, thanks! I'm glad that you like the images, because I sometimes wonder if it looks lazy when I reuse the same background.

      Thanks for such a lovely comment! It makes my day:)

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  2. Hmm... I like that you wait to promote your post until a few days after its publication. That's something I might want to consider on my blog, just because I think it might be a better way for me to get in the habit... I shall see!

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    1. I think it's really logical to promote a few days later, but my problem is that sometimes I forget completely to post. But it might work out really well if you set a reminder somewhere for yourself...

      Hope it works out for you!

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  3. Ah, so interesting! And how funny (and kind of awesome) that you have to check your own blog to make sure you're not recycling topics. ;)

    For me, the writing stage for most of my posts is usually broken up over a few days--I'll often draft most of it in an hour or two, then tweak it and add photos another day. Sometimes it's split over several days, because I haven't got time or I'm feeling lazy. But like you, I rarely if ever schedule posts, and I also totally do that immediate proofread thing! Even though I often proofread with the preview feature, I think having it up and officially published for the world to see means you pay much closer attention that last time around, and I nearly always find SOMETHING to correct.

    Also, that's an interesting approach to the promoting thing--I'm no marketing expert, but I think even just the fun of being able to see a second jump in views would make the delayed promotion worth it.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Sunny!

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    1. I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who does the after-published proofread, haha. It's interesting that you break up your posts over a few days; adding the pictures the next day is great idea.

      I'm definetly not a marketing expert either, but it's a little habit of mine:)

      Thanks for commenting and being interested in my process!

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  4. It was so interesting to read your practice for writing! The checking phase is also important, because it allows you to find older articles that you can also link in your more recent posts. I tend to schedule all of my posts, so I preview it and read through for an edit, and then sometimes re-read once it goes live and make small changes here and there that I may have missed :) The last step of promoting is also quite important these days.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

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    1. Great point! I should definitely do more linking back.

      Thanks for visiting SOI!

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  5. I love your process for writing blog posts. It's so orderly. Also, so glad to see I'm not the only person who finds it difficult to schedule weeks in advance. I used to be able to do it, but not any more for some reason. And they do say that you spot errors better after you press publish. You've just built that into your process!

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    1. Thanks! I've never been able to schedule weeks in advance, but the more I think about it, the more I'm okay with that. There's something nice about seeing my work go public right away.

      I'm glad to see I'm not alone! Thanks for commenting:)

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  6. I loved reading this! My process is pretty similar to yours. The Brainstorming Phase comes first -- I normally have at least one review/discussion idea bouncing around, plus I think about my Starting Sparks story throughout the month (before frantically drafting it on, like, the 29th-- what, who said that?), and there'll normally be a book haul or something that I'm thinking "I should really do the photography for that!" (That's me at the moment.) Not to mention that I have a never-ending draft post called "awards and shizz" in which I've got a massive list of my award/tag backlog XD (Included in there is the Children's Book Tag that you started! Which I am totally going to do!)

    Then I tend to write the post in a oner (though not always), and then I use the Preview button (it's there for a reason!) I always find typos, and I normally faff around for a while with bolding, font size and text/picture alignment. That part can be frustrating but it's definitely worth it.

    In theory, I also make a little update graphic to go at the bottom (like your Reading/Listening/Watching), but I am not very good at always doing that ... !

    My process has definitely evolved over time and (I think!) my post quality is a lot better these days than when I started out. I loved what you said about blogging over your formative years. I started when I was 13 and I'm now 17. A blog is an amazing document of growth.

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    1. Thanks for such a long comment! I am totally doing things last minute, so I get you. I should keep a running document of awards people give me, because I always forget. I'm looking forward to seeing your edition of my tag!

      Also, I'm glad that you mentioned that you blogged over your teen years too! It's neat to see that I'm not the only one:)

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