The blog writing process is different for everyone, you have to find what works best to get your creative juices flowing. But in my time writing, I’ve also picked up a few tools and processes that can work well for any writers.
Here is my step-by-step blog writing process, and why I chose to incorporate these steps into my writing.
Step 1 Wake up, do yoga & meditate.
Meditation and yoga have both been found to help us improve certain skills that are critical for creativity. Skills like focus, patience, and clarity are all necessary for meditation, yoga, and writing. Plus, taking 30 minutes to shake out my body and my brain first thing in the morning always seems to be a positive way to start the day.
Step 2 Walk the dog while listening to podcasts.
One of the best parts of working from home is being able to take breaks to walk the dog. Exercise has been found to improve both divergent and convergent thinking, both of which help us problem solve creatively. A recent study from Leiden University in the Netherlands found that “Exercising on a regular basis may thus act as a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in inexpensive and healthy ways.”
While I’m exercising (and taking care of a daily chore) by walking the dog, I also listen to podcasts that inspire my creativity. Some favorites include the design podcast 99% Invisible and Unstuckable. Hearing other creative professionals talk about their projects and how they stay passionate about their work, always inspires my creativity. I often find myself taking notes during the walk about a topic or idea inspired by the podcast.
Step 3 Eat breakfast and drink coffee.
I really love breakfast and a mug of Intelligentsia coffee in the morning. I even find myself looking forward to it before going to bed. But aside from the enjoyment aspect, eating a good breakfast and putting some caffeine in your system can make you more productive.
Step 4 Sit down at computer and start Antisocial.
Having a dedicated workspace is the first step to being focused and ready to write. The second, is prying my eyes away from social networks and other online time-sucking sites. Antisocial (and its sibling app, Freedom) is a very simple but very important app for my writing process.
You open the app, tell it how long you want to be “anti-social” and it will block your computer’s access to all social sites during that time frame. It can also block any other sites you list (so long, Buzzfeed) and even email. Freedom does the same, but blocks the entire internet.
Step 5 Consult notes filled with titles and topic inspiration.
Remember those notes on ideas and topics that I took during my walk earlier? This is when I use them. I sit down and refer to my editorial calendar to find what the this week’s pieces will be about, then I turn to my notes to slip back into the mindset that inspired the idea initially.
P.S. A tip for any iPhone users: try using Siri, IFTTT, & Evernote for taking notes while on the go. First, set up a label in your Reminders App tagged “Evernote” then tell IFTTT to take any note labelled “Evernote” in Reminders and send them to the Evernote app, you can now take notes on the go with Siri. Simply say “Siri create a note labeled Evernote that says ‘blah blah blah'”. It will now show up directly in Evernote.
Step 6 Write down all thoughts related to subject.
Starting with brain dump is a good first step to actually writing a post. Get out all of the ideas you have on the topic and write them all down.
Step 7 Arrange ideas into a clear structure – beginning, middle, end.
Now that we’ve got a bunch of ideas on the topic, we have to arrange them into a clear post. What do we want the audience to get from this post? What is our main statement? Start there.
Step 8 Fill in any gaps.
For me, these “gaps” often end up being transitions between thoughts, or finding specific research sources. Back up your statistics and facts with links to the original source.
Step 9 Build/find images
I have a few tools that I love for finding/creating images, but more often than not I find myself turning to Canva these days. They have some beautiful templates that make it even easier to create a blog image that fits the message of your post.
Remember, these images are important not only for those reading your post, but for those deciding whether to ever click on your link. Use these rules of thumb to find the right image for your content.
Step 10 Complete metadata & any additional pieces.
Don’t forget to complete your metadata, create a social snippet and any other SEO-friendly tasks before hitting “publish”. Oh, and re-read for typos.
You may notice that the process is front-loaded with activities that inspire creativity. That’s because once I get in the mindset, writing comes much easier for me. That doesn’t mean that the same holds true for you. So writers, let’s hear it – what important steps are always included in your writing process? Tell us in the comments below.