How Spectacular Blog Posts are Born

Blog Life

© 2009 Genie Alisa via Flickr

The birth of any great blog post is a messy business.

For professional bloggers, writing is a labor of love. For business owners, however, it can be a painful, intimidating process that’s just not worth the effort.

The conception of great ideas to share with your blog audience is usually pretty easy and fun. The delivery of clear, concise writing, though, that’s a different story.

Organizing ideas into useful posts creates anxiety for non-writers and writers alike. Pro writers, however, know a little secret about developing exceptional posts: Your first draft is going to suck. And those writers expect and accept a certain level of sucky-ness from the start.

Sounds illogical, right? To end up with a great post, you’d think your first draft should be decent.

More important than getting the words right the first time, though, is getting the words on the page.

More important than putting every comma in its place is putting every idea on paper.

More important than correcting every typo is typing out every revelation you want to share with your readers.

More important that writing well (at first) is simply writing at all.

Wisdom in its Infancy

You might think that I’m advocating for bad writing. I’m not. What I want you to do is write fast, which produces unpolished writing. Which, published as-is, would be bad.

Rough, raw writing is what you want at first. You get that by writing fast. Misspellings, run-ons and fragments – no problem. After all, it’s a draft.

The point is to write every idea, every analogy, every metaphor, every anecdote. Good, bad and ugly, just keep writing. Write fast, and the ideas pour out of your reservoir of knowledge onto the page.

When you backspace to fix a typo, you disrupt the flow. You break your train of thought. Don’t derail the train for a typo. Don’t even stop to weed out the bad ideas from the good. You can edit later and root out all the garbage.

So you wrote a bad draft. What now?

Good for you! If you wrote fast, you have every single idea written on the page. Even if it’s a disjointed mess, it’s all there.

See, sitting down with a blank page can intimidate even the most established writers. But instead of a blank page, you have a page filled with words.

Now you have something to work with. So clean it up.

Determine which editing process works best for you. If typos make you crazy, go through and correct them. If you prefer to organize your thoughts first, go ahead. Fix the most distracting things first.

Then dig deeper into your draft. Read it slowly, sentence by sentence. Organize paragraphs, finish incomplete thoughts and add transitions between sections.

This step toward creating a great blog post requires time and effort that you didn’t spend on the first draft. That was fast. This is slow. Prepare to restructure your thoughts, shift paragraphs, and – sorry to tell you – delete sections that seemed so eloquent at first.

Don’t be skittish about editing. Don’t be afraid to slash and burn. This step will make your crummy first draft worthwhile, and your readers will thank you.

Congratulations, you have a healthy post!

As you develop your writing skills, your first drafts will become less sucky. This goes for any type of writing: web pages, brochures, articles, blogs, anything. The more you write, the better writer you will become. But you have to start writing before you’ll get better.

So go ahead. Write ungrammatical sentences. Write incomplete thoughts. Write unintelligible explanations. For goodness sake, just write.

Allow your draft to be naked and messy when it’s born. You can dress it up before you reveal it to the world.

How do you conceive and then deliver an awesome blog post?

4 Comments

  • Cathy Miller on August 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm says...

    corner

    Love this line, Ashley ~ Don’t derail the train for a typo. Excellent advice! 🙂

  • Anne Wayman on August 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm says...

    corner

    Hey, that’s why they call them ‘rough drafts.’ If I’m not willing to do a sucky piece of writing to start with I usually done ever start. A semi-famous friend of mine calls them “sh**y rough drafts, but she spells it out.

  • Lori on August 26, 2014 at 7:45 am says...

    corner

    I like to give it my “what the hell” moment — say it, then just write. 🙂

  • Ashley on August 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm says...

    corner

    Cathy — so true, isn’t it? I’m guilty sometimes too, I admit!

    Anne — Exactly, you gotta start somewhere. Perfection out of the gate isn’t possible. The sooner we realize and accept it, the better.

    Lori — Yes!

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *