First, three months into my solo-blogging venture, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I approach the process in the ‘right’ way.
Second, in a recent LSG webinar there was a lively discussion in the chat pane about whether or not a blog constitutes ‘creative writing’.
And third, I stumbled across this post from Pushing Social about what ‘quality content’ is.
When Good To Great was just a gleam in my eye, I brainstormed potential blog post ideas to make sure that I had enough to say and that my blog wouldn’t simply dry up after a couple of weeks. I’m not really too worried about what Stanford calls ‘the thought leader myth’ or ‘the genius writer illusion’ – I follow blogs not because I expect revolutionary thinking every day, but because I enjoy finding ideas, questions or comments that get me thinking or looking at something in a new way. So that’s the goal I set myself; if I can provoke a little discussion or give someone a useful idea, I’m happy.
But I also assumed that by brainstorming my ideas I was creating a list of topics to write on. I saw myself turning to it each week when blogging-day came around, selecting the next topic and churning out my post. I was, probably unsurprisingly, a little misguided in that assumption. My mindmap is still tucked in the back of my notebook but more often than not my posts are (like this one) prompted by previous posts, reader comments, or articles and events that have got me thinking.
And rather than quickly ‘churning out’ posts, I’ve fallen into a pattern of drafting redrafting a post over the course of a week or so. Whenever inspiration strikes, I create a new document and note down whatever’s in my head. When I next have a spare fifteen minutes or so at lunchtime or in the evening, I open up one of my drafts and spend a little more time crafting the full post. Usually I won’t publish it right away, because I’ll probably have another couple of drafts previously polished up and ready to go. When I’m ready to post, I’ll cast my eye over it one last time, make any final edits, and publish it online.
Maybe as time goes on I’ll spend less time on each post. And I suppose one downside is the lack of immediacy: if I want to pick up on something I’ve read, the sheer speed with which things spread online means that unless I get round to it quickly my response could become a little outdated.
But for now I’m enjoying taking this approach. I’ve always loved writing – be it for professional, academic or personal purposes – and I enjoy going back and reviewing something I’ve previously written, tweaking it here and there until I’m happy. I know I won’t always have this luxury, and indeed I often don’t when I’m writing at work, which is another reason why I enjoy being able to do it for my blog. Yes, it’s related to what I do professionally, but for me Good To Great is a slightly indulgent creative outlet.
So, fellow bloggers, what do you do? Do you type your posts directly into WordPress or Blogger and then hit ‘publish’ right away? Or do you draft, redraft and polish your post a couple of times before putting it online? I’d love to know – is there a ‘right’ way to blog?