From Inspiration to Pressing Publish
Share your writing process. How long does it take an idea in your head to get published on your blog?
I would love to say that my writing process follows a regular pattern of brainstorm, pre-write, edit, revise, edit again and publish. That would be awesome! That would be great, especially because that was how I learned to write, that is how I teach others to write and that is how I urge my own children to write.
Sadly, I don’t follow my advice. (Who does?)
I also recommend for blogging newbies to brainstorm a huge list of possible blog posts and keep a running list ins a notebook. I tell newbies to wait to share your blog until there are about ten posts. I tell people to keep a writing schedule and an editorial calendar.
I follow some of that advice. I do keep an editorial calendar over at NaturallyBorn, and on a really good week, I stick to it. It helps that I am collaborating with other writers, so they depend on me to keep a string of assignments flowing and that I edit and publish their work on time. However, here, it is just me. Sure, I have deadlines on some projects, and those keep me honest, but most of the time I sit down to blog and stare at a blank screen.
The blank screen is terrifying. What if I can’t think of anything to write? What if I can think of something to write, but it does not flow? What if I decide one day to walk away from this? What if I lose all of my blogging mojo?
Thankfully, if I hit a wall, I know where to turn. Often a visit to my Facebook inbox will lead me to a suggestion from the dashing Dakotapastor. He sends me a lot of suggestions. I don’t write about all of them, but every once in a while he gives me a great idea, like this post on why you need to think twice before naming your baby. Or, sometimes I’ll be on the phone with Essie, and I’m reminded that I have quirky food rules. Or, I remember to pull out Mama Kat’s weekly writing prompts! If all else fails, I check in my spam folder and share some gems from my commenters.
Once I have inspiration, I just start typing. I’m a shameful typist. Like, super bad. I can type quickly enough if I need to take a test to get a job, but when it comes to my day-to-day typing, my grandma would be embarrassed. She tried to teach me to type, back in the days of typewriters, about fifty and a half times. So, the actual writing part is slow. Much of the time, my posts are interrupted by cries from the twins, having to give up the computer for math homework, that silly dinner that everyone expects me to cook every night, or switching laundry. I never, ever, get uninterrupted writing time.
So, I’ve brainstormed, and then I’ve hunted and pecked. My next step is trying to find an image to match what I wrote, and remembering to attach it, coming up with some catchy tags, and blindly hitting publish.
Oh no! I forgot to edit, didn’t I? (I’m sure you could tell that I am an editorial loser!) I have no problem editing the work of others. I am quite adept and even made a brisk side income of editing in college. However, I am blind to my (many) errors. I do have an editorial plug-in that flags my errors for me, and on a good day, I actually pay attention to it. But, sadly, I usually hit “publish” and fix things on my posts for months on end.
Sure, it is not an ideal process. My writing process is never one that I would recommend, or teach, but, oddly enough, it works for me.
Chime in! What things do you preach but don’t necessarily practice?