Blogging and Writing

What’s Your Writing Process?

What's your writing process? - graphic of paper, quill, and ink

Bloggers write — that’s what we do. But I’m guessing there are a great many differences in the way we write, regardless of what we write about. Here’s a look at my writing process, and I’m curious to know about yours.

Where do you write?

In term of physical location, I write in my bedroom, because I like to be near the guinea pigs. I always write on my laptop, because I find it far easier and faster than trying to type on my phone.

I write directly in the WP editor. I know there are advantages to writing in a word processor, a big one being that Grammarly works better that way. But I have a tendency to compartmentalize, and I like to keep my WordPress in WordPress.

How often do you write?

The should police say writers are supposed to write every day. I think that sounds rather ridiculous. If it works best for you to write every day, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t.

My writing is sporadic, and a lot depends on how active my brain is happens to be. Sometimes I might write three posts a day, and other times I’ll barely write at all for a week. I don’t set any targets with my writing, time-wise or word-wise, because my brain doesn’t step up to the plate with the same capacity each day. Instead, I just work with whatever I’ve got, whenever I happen to get it.

Do you have drafts on the go?

At the moment, I have 13 drafts on the go. When I get an idea and I want to write about it soon, I start a draft for it; if I want to write about it later, it goes in my blogging spreadsheet.

I don’t typically start a post, write it all in one go, and then schedule it to publish. Sometimes I’ll start the draft when I get an idea, and then come back later and write the post all in one shot. More often, though, the writing is done in more than one sitting.

When do you publish?

I very rarely finish a post and hit publish. Instead, I schedule. Consistency makes my life easier, and publishing once a day is manageable and sustainable for me. My writing is inconsistent, but scheduling keeps the whole system humming along.

I try to always have 2-3 weeks of posts pre-scheduled at any given point in time. Once a post is written and scheduled, I don’t usually look at it again, other than trying to remember to do a quick proofread the day before it’s published.

Because I’ve got such a big schedule post buffer zone, which I’ve maintained since very early on in my blogging life, you as readers don’t end up seeing the fluctuations in my writing output.

What about other writing?

My other writing project is the book I’m currently working on, A Brief History of Stigma. As with my previous books, I create a chapter and subheadings structure and then start filling things in. The structure then evolves as needed.

Since I’m doing a lot of research for this book, I’ve got one document that I used for taking notes and quotes from reference sources, then I tidy up the rough notes and copy and paste it into the chapter/heading structure of what will become the book. Grad school gave me lots of practice with that kind of thing, and my brain has an easier time with well-practiced processes.

Over to you

So that’s me. What are some of the characteristics of your writing process?

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99 thoughts on “What’s Your Writing Process?”

  1. I do write in Word, I have one big document with ideas, notes and fully written posts. When I reach about 20 pages, I cut and paste the unfinished writings in a new document.

    I write when I feel like it, when I have some inspiration. I don’t see myself as a writer so no ‘shoulds’ for me 🙂

    I notice that writing gets slower when the ‘head capacity’ is diminished. Sometimes it all just flows, there is no rhyme or reason to it.

    I’m interested in the comments here, maybe I can pick up a tip or two. Interesting subject!

  2. Interesting! I’m sporadic except for my scheduled prompts. I may do one post a day… or three. It depends on my mood and other things going on. Sometimes I just don’t find the prompts inspiring and have nothing I feel like saying otherwise…

  3. Occasionally I write a post in draft on paper. But mostly it is on the editor, to save to come back to later, ir schedule to air then and then, or later.

    Mostly I have posts scheduled in advance, but there was a point as you may remember I was getting low and with how I was, I didn’t know if I wouldn’t be posting for a bit. But that didn’t work out bad as I thought.

    I have posts scheduled to September 1st currently, as well as posts in December.

    I am though going to be having a couple of blogging breaks with no scheduled posts planned.
    A short one coming soon and another, I will be having a complete month away.

    I blog mostly from my phone, as this is where my internet is.

      1. Yes, as announced, which I have kept as a sticky post, I will continue for remainder of this year. But I will be gone by the end of the year and start fully in New Year with my Blogger one.
        My Blogger one is already aired. I have shared the link in my announced post and I will post at least one post a month there, while still here. Then I will post more often as I do here.
        My Blogger one, I will write the same way as I do currently; scheduling in advance, having drafts to go back to, or on paper.

          1. Currently, I am still on old editor and I have plenty of scheduled posts. But if there is a quiet point on my blog with exception of breaks, then it’s because I have been shoved on the new editor, where I will find it dam slow and uninspired to post. Or not be able to post at all.

  4. Since March of 2020 I have been taking chapters of my unpublished book and posting them weekly. Sometimes this is 2 times a week or sometimes not at all. In between chapters that I have already writing, I intersperse topics that come to mind at the time. I am having a bit of anxiety about getting to the end of my book chapters. Will I have enough to write about then? Will people read me more or less once I have finished the book chapters? I always write at my laptop which is in an office area in my room. I view, like and comment from here too. I will admit that since I started blogging in March, I have not gotten any visuals together or upgraded my presentation. I don’t seem to know how to go about this.

  5. Since March 2020 I have gained 132 followers. I don’t tie into social media at all. I am not comfortable with everything being about happiness and flowers on most social media platforms.
    I prefer to keep a low profile and not categorically present the rosy side of life always to viewers. Don’t know if this 132 followers is “good” or not. I see you have 6,946 – I cannot even imagine getting that far along!

    1. I’m not a fan of that all-positive-all-the-time thing on social media. Reality isn’t rosy.

      I’d say that’s a very good follower count for the amount of time you’ve been blogging. I think the bigger a blog gets, the easier it is for other people to stumble across it. For me, it was at 500 followers that a lot more people started coming across my blog.

  6. Thanks for sharing that information. It has been a quandary for me to think about getting multiple hundreds or further yet thousands of followers at my blog. I try not to “worry” about it and just focus on the writing.

  7. I keep titles/blog ideas on my phone, screenshots of nominations on my phone (although I miss a bunch) and WP draft folder but they are all blank. Then I’ll pick one when I feel the need to write. Sometimes, the posts are sporadic too which I don’t have drafts for. I pre-schedule blog posts to publish the following day so that I can sleep on it and make any necessary changes.

    I try not to write for the sake of writing because I want it to be from the heart. I don’t have a schedule for writing blog posts but try to aim for one blog post per week. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. My editing process is extensive and typically takes me 6 hours to complete one blog post from start to finish.

  8. I think you’re onto brilliance there to maximize the times when your writing is flowing forth from you! I’m like that with a lot of things–I’ll try to be productive when I have energy, because when I don’t. it’s not going to happen.

    I write spontaneously, and after I hit publish, I’ll check it out and edit out any typos that I catch right away. And/or I use the preview button to give it a look.

    Yeah, I’m not sure why there are “should” police. Whatever works, right? I like how you schedule as a way to add structure to your blogging, since that’s helpful to you!! It’s helpful to me, too, ’cause I can start my day with your blog, regular like clockwork!! (Wow! There’s an antiquated, Anne of Green Gables expression!)

  9. When I’m at home all day (as I have been for most of the last couple of years, with unemployment and lockdown), I leave a browser window open to WP all the day and jot thoughts down as they happen or occur to me. Otherwise I focus too much on remembering the thoughts and not on what I’m trying to do. Then, at the end of the day, I read over what I’ve drafted, edit, tag it and post it. It’s not a great system, but I feel stuck for alternatives. Trying to leave everything until the end of the day just produces a load of anxious and agitated worries about forgetting things.

    If I’m out at work, I jot short reminders on my phone, then write as soon as I get home, to offload my thoughts.

      1. It works, but I’m not sure it’s healthy to be analysing myself and my feelings all day. Then again, if I wasn’t blogging, I would probably still be self-analysing, only without an outlet to get rid of my thoughts, which could be worse. I wish I didn’t live so much in my own head, though.

    1. What a coincidence! We started watching Anne with an E – a takeoff on the story of Anne of Green Gables. What a nice change of scene from the dystopia future series we have been watching as a family lately. Nice to go back in time and pace to the late 1800’s. Takes you further away from Covid-19 than all that dystopia stuff.

  10. I write according to my brain, similarly like you. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes I write in my bedroom on a computer, some drafts are made on the go on my cell phone.
    I’ve tried to stick to your publishing system, but I’m still far from being consistent. This is what I really like about you and your blog. Consistency.
    Beside blog, I’m currently taking some creative writing lessons, because I always loved writing, but never got consistent with it.
    Thanks for sharing your writing background.

  11. Ashley I use some of your methods. I write when I have something to share. I write about myself, very, very seldom will give advice for it can be dangerous.
    First I have a thought. Next I look for an image, then a quote.
    Then I start writing using the WordPress editor, the new one I have been using in my other blog. I write while my thoughts are fresh. Sometimes it turns out differently then the mental picture I had before I started.
    When I have not much to write about I will go looking for a topic, usually I like to find bloggers who may have few follows. It is there content that I am looking at. If I think they have something that I can reblog I go ahead and reblog it.
    Sometimes though I just take a day away from WordPress.

  12. I write all my drafts in Word and then copy paste. Formatting in Word Press gives me fits when it comes to making fonts bold or italicize.

    I write every day, even if it is 15 minutes rather than trying to block our large chunks of time for writing. It makes me feel like I am making progress towards finishing a post.

    I am working on some articles for a professional magazine and a book proposal.

    I like the idea of scheduling posts. I may try that. It seems that would be helpful to stay on writing deadlines as well.

    Thanks for sharing how you write!

  13. Since there is no rhyme or reason to what I write about keeping notes or scheduling is a non-starter. I write whenever I have something I want to rant about LOL I think folks with “themed” blogs tend to be more scheduled and disciplined. I can’t imagine writing more than a grocery list on my phone – I’ve got problems typing on a large keyboard! I have notebooks on my desk for jotting down words of wisdom that fleeting cross my mind. And that’s where they usually stay – in the notebook.

    1. There’s certainly something to be said for spontaneity. I don’t know how people manage to blog on their phones; I might last a couple of weeks and then I’d have to pack it in.

  14. Great post! I write all over the place, on the WP direct editor (had to uninstall app as blocked people weren’t blocked, only on site), on notepad app, on Google dox, on any notepad lying about and strangely, whilst sat on the bus listening to music I tend to feel freedom and flow. And, lol, late at night once my meds are in action! It’s interesting how, where and when and which subjects are produced. Sharon x

  15. I’m a phone typer because my only laptop is my work one and, like you, I need to compartmentalise home stuff away from work stuff. Once I have an idea I have to get it out. I would love to be disciplined enough to write and then schedule.

  16. I’ve always been self conscious about my writing. It was never my favourite thing to do. But, I found writing helped me with my mental health. I use Google Docs. Sometimes, I have three or four drafts and sometimes I write a post a day or two before I publish.

    I originally planned to publish one post a week, on Monday. But, in sticking to that my blog started to feel like chore and I want it to be something I enjoy. So, I’ve decided to just write when inspiration strikes and publish as often as I feel like.

  17. I myself write every day, because if I don’t, then my manuscripts will never be finished. There’s no way I’ll be able to knock out 80,000 words if I do it once a week. I enjoy reading about other writers’ creative processes, and this was no exception. Thanks for sharing!

  18. I appreciate your sharing your process. I think I’m
    still finding mine. I’ve been writing more over the last several months with better intention toward my WP blog. I like to write on Saturday or Sunday mornings, and do this in my office ( generally with my dog – Charlie- lying quietly behind my chair). It’s a quiet and peaceful process. I do write directly on WP and had initially thought I would publish one article a month, but am rethinking this.

    I do keep a running log of ideas, thoughts, and/ or quotes in notes on my phone.

  19. I appreciate learning about your process as well as those mentioned in all of these comments. Great tips. As a relatively new blogger I have not settled into a specific routine. I suppose right now I thrive on the spontaneity of my writing. Writing, for me, tends to begin in the notes section of my phone. That’s where I do the messy work with snapshots of ideas and thoughts that come to me at random times. After I’ve taken some time to sit with what I am trying to express, I then open up WordPress and attempt to piece it all together. Sometimes it all comes out in a matter of hours and sometimes it takes days.
    I appreciate all of these tips and will keep them in mind as I continue to develop my own process.

    1. It’s a cool process figuring out what works for you. One of the things I like about blogging is there’s always room to grow in your writing and how you run your blog.

  20. Sounds as if you are very devoted to writing this blog, and I agree that though writing daily may work for some people, it doesn’t work for others. As it is good to have that time to recharge and to re motivate.

  21. Hi Ashleyleia thanks sharing the details about your writing.

    For me, when it comes to blogging…
    I only blog once or twice every month.
    In my early years of blogging, I always needed to scratch my head for writing ideas.
    So those years have trained myself to be sensitive and observant towards my life experiences like something I read, hear, see, feel, etc. All these stimulants give me ideas for my next blog post. This becomes my way of writing and seeing the world, living my life…

    When a special idea comes, I sometimes jot it down in keywords but this is not for every blog post.
    Most of the time, I have come to a point when I feel tired of living then I turn to my writing to escape. After writing, I feel that my life perspective is clearer and everything is more meaningful. I enjoy the little social contact I have from WordPress (I am not very active in WordPress in terms of interacting). I always write my post in one sitting. I always stay up late at night to finish the post. I am too obsessive to finish my writing fast. Once it has been published, I spend the day and the next to proofread so my writing fluctuates sometimes. Haha…

    For PhD, I read all I need to read by highlighting offline or online. Draw e-mind maps at the first few phases of writing. Do annotated bibliographies.
    Then… sometimes, I do add subheadings first, just like you.
    Then I copy some of the highlighted sentences from my reading material to Word Document or print screen then crop it to make it smaller and easy to read. Paraphrase.
    Do the same for the next reading material.
    Update citations with EndNote. Rearrange all the paraphrased sentences. Go through everything to make it flow smoothly or concise while adding my voices.

    Proofread a few times then email to my supervisor.

    Write my supervisor’s comments on a paper then revise as necessary.

    That’s my sharing. Thanks <3 <3 <3

      1. Sometimes, things do not work out well and I end up feeling frustrated and impatient. Then I need to look for online forums/websites to get a solution.

  22. Like many others here, the best thing for me to do is schedule posts in advance. Life gets crazy and inspiration fades so it’s just easier that way. Most of my posts are on WordPress editor because I have alot of other bloggers on my site. It’s great having everything in one spot. My favorite wordpress feature is being able to put posts in a “pending” status for editing.

  23. Very Interesting topic and you put the thoughts in perfect order.

    Interesting to know the varied responses,the natural process of weird,strange.funny and interesting aspect of humans way of responding differently for the same question which again depends on the circumstances,moods, opportunities,determination….what not!

    Thank you for this amazing piece.

    #1.Where do you write?
    Being a busy professional,the only time I love to write is when time is available,since there is no other alternative.I use word processor.

    #2.How often do you write?
    I write every day because thoughts happen too often and make it a point to note down and eloborate as and when time permits.

    #3.Do you have drafts on the go?
    Yes.I prepare the topics and try to start writing.Inly fine tuning required before publishing.
    Being a photo enthusiast opportunities are plenty and fortunately or unfortunately Corona making me post frequently.

    #4.When do you Publish?
    This is an interesting question,because of the time zone factor.Since I am from India Posting at 3 or 4 pm local time suits since both hemisheres of the world are taken care.

    I usually keep schedules one week in advance.
    These days because of some free time due to Covid I am able to post daily.

    #5.what about other writings?
    Nothing at present.WP keeps me reasonably busy in these days of free time,a luxury because of Covid restrictions.

    Interesting to know from your post,the way you schedule your posts.

    Thank you Ashleyleia

  24. My writing style is scribble ideas down into a notebook, then forget to ever type them up or get caught up in other writing projects. It’s not so much a process, rather a confused screaming into the void

  25. I seem to write better in the mornings, once my eldest is at Nursery and youngest is napping. Unfortunately recently I have had various appointments in the mornings and when I try to blog after the kids have gone to sleep, I just can’t get into it. Also, our youngest’s morning naps are becoming only 20 minutes rather than the hour I had before.

    When I do get a chance to sit down in the mornings, then I will try to write a couple, and if I know I’m not going to get a chance to write anything the next day, I will schedule one of the posts for the following day.

  26. I think that people sometimes forgot how hard it is to actually sit down and write. It’s hard for the best of us to sit down and just work. I think some of these tips such as finding a spot to write and sticking with it helps that problem.

  27. Hi Ashley, thanks for this post, I plan all my posts down to the title, basic outline, keywords and publish date. This makes it easy to prep my thoughts and write them down ready for publishing. I must confess, however, that it takes longer to edit than it does to write.

    For those in Jay Jay’s position, I can relate and suggest planning ahead of time to lessen the pressure.

  28. I sit for one hour daily during that I record my ideas and draft posts.

    I usually write during late afternoons and in my room or in my balcony during early mornings.

  29. Great post!, I personally write on iA Writer because it connects on my iCloud. I’ve just started blogging, but I’ve been writing fiction as a hobby for a while. before hopping into the iCloud ecosystem, I used to write on EverNote. The reason for that is because I frequently switch between my laptop and my tablet.

  30. I just usually write in word. But sometimes I actually pull out a pen and paper and write cursive. I find the results are different.

  31. I write by hand. Usually while smoking a pipe with a fine aromatic tobacco like Buttered Rum or Black Cherry. I sit in a broken recliner up against the wall in my garage with a 4-ft plastic table from Walmart pulled up to my chest so I can lean back with my journal and fountain pen.

  32. Thanks for sharing! I tend to stick everything in Scrivener first, I’ve got different files for blogs, short stories and books. Impressed you have 13 drafts, can’t say I can keep focused on that many at one time!

  33. We definitely have things in common. Daily writing worked for me before but not anymore. Laptop’s also my preferred writing tool though I have 2 other apps in use as back up just in case I don’t have my laptop handy. You might want to check Pure Writer app. Minimalist and efficient especially if you have categories.

  34. Thanks for sharing . . . since I also do a lot of speaking, I organize many of my thoughts as if I were in conversation. This could mean leaving a subject for days at a time while chewing on it relentlessly in my brain. When people ask “Have you been writing?”, I’ll respond with “No, I’ve been thinking”. Those who know me best will understand.

  35. Great topic! I can relate to what many others have already said.

    I don’t plan to write everyday, but I will sit at the computer, I’ll let some ideas flow out. For my casual writing (blog, newsletter), sometimes I can bang out something in one shot >1/2 hour-It’s fun and exciting when that happens!

    I jot down ideas in a notebook. They can be a title, a catchy line, or an interesting concept that later becomes a poem, lyric, or a story.

    I’ll quote myself here:

    “I do my best writing when I am running or hurting. Often, that is the same time…”

    Writing was therapeutic when I started out writing poems and songs as a way to make sense of a difficult situation and has bloomed into a way to entertain and connect with readers. I now have two books and another on the way, which I never could imagined.


  36. I mostly write in the WordPress editor, but keep an open Word document for extra idea I come up with while writing or final spell checks on my posts. Thanks for starting a conversation on this, it’s been super helpful reading other writers routines as I am still trying to find my own!

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