Don’t let time or self-editors derail your blog posts

In my last post I explained how time-shifting is not only allowed by WordPress, but fully supported. It seems like such a trifle, but unless you’re a prolific writer it’s a tool you’ll want to use for your blog posts.

Case in point: It’s been nearly a month since my last blog post. That’s way too long, and I’m embarrassed because my goal was/is to post at least weekly. But you didn’t know that as a reader (not until now, anyway), so my sense of utter failure is not only misplaced, it’s counterproductive. People read your blog posts in their time, not yours, so post when you can and see where it takes you. Today, some print-fueled writing tips that may help you approach your blog with anticipation instead of dread.

Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times.

It’s hard to find the inspiration to write an informative and interesting blog post, and it gets harder when you’re staring down the barrel of a blank “new post” screen in WordPress. If only there were a way to organize your jumbled ideas before starting to write.

There is, and it’s called a notebook. Not an iPad or a Samsung, though they have their place. I’m talking about using a pen and paper, most often in the form of a journal, legal pad or miles of sticky notes creeping across your workspace. There is something about the physical act of writing that gives your subject added importance in your brain. And as happens with brains, that rough idea starts generating other ideas, which then get their own sticky note or scribble.

Start shuffling those ideas around, and soon enough you’ll be able to bring order to what was chaos before. Train your brain to include links and pictures in its note-taking, and you’ll have plenty of ideas about how to dress up your words with embedded media when it’s time for your next blog post.

Good writing doesn’t require a notebook or journal.

I lied just a little bit in that last section. For many people, a notebook or writing outline is an absolute necessity, even if they don’t know it. That seemingly simple tool is a make-or-break proposition, the difference between good writing and not-so-good writing. If there is any one tip I’d offer to new writers, doing some pre-writing with a notebook or journal is it.

For others, however, writing comes much more naturally and spontaneously, which is not to say the writing that results is any better than methodical, note-driven writing. That value judgment has no place here. Different people write quite differently, and there is no “right” or “wrong” that can be assigned to such endeavors. The quality of the writing is all that matters when the work itself is done, and your readers will have no idea (hopefully) of whether you started with a 10-point outline or just a blank screen. If you find you write your best blog posts wearing bunny slippers and silk kimonos, more power to you.

Give your internal self-editor the night off.

As a general rule, editors are jerks. I can say that because I used to be one, and I’ve also suffered under my fair share. This is not to say that editors aren’t funny, intelligent and charming, for many of them have such fine attributes and more. But these editors, these bastards, live for the moment where they can point out each and every flaw in your writing. Then they rent out a small timeshare in your brain, where they take turns hurling insults and deadlines at you whenever you sit down to write.

Suffice to say this is not productive or helpful. Editors have their place, and their contributions are not to be underestimated. Among other things, they can spot that incredibly embarrassing factual error that sailed right by your spelling and grammar checks. (You do use spell-checkers and grammar checkers, right?) Even if it’s a spouse or a friend, having an editor with a fresh set of eyes is better than nothing.

But everything has a time and a place, and editors shouldn’t be your constant companions, especially those self-important fools who set up camp in your cranium. WordPress has a wonderful “draft” feature that allows you to go with the flow when you’re writing, as well as the ability to compare past revisions. Styling, headlines, spell-checking, embedding videos and links; all of this can and should come later.

Yeah, it’s been way too long since you posted, and that crazy editor in your head is working overtime. None of your readers care about any of that stuff — and neither should you. First and foremost, you should write.

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