For some people, a blog post journey is as quick and simple as site down, write, hit publish. For others (like me), it takes much longer from start to finish. So let’s chat about it!
The start of an idea
For diary-style bloggers, this step may not happen. For others, though, how do you come up with ideas? My depression brain doesn’t cough up ideas on demand, so I have to make sure I capture any as soon as they pop up. This happens by either starting a draft post, including a preliminary title and a couple of notes, or making note of the idea in my blogging spreadsheet if it’s something that I’m not planning on writing about in the near future.
I usually have between 20 and 30 drafts on the go. Recently, I’ve had gotten ideas than I’ve had a drive to write, so I’ve got almost 50, although a number of those are template posts for series that I just copy each time I’m writing a new post in the series. Having those templates makes life easier, and easier is good.
Sometimes, drafts will sit around for a couple of months before I get around to working on them. Some posts are written all in one go, but often it takes a couple of sittings to get through a post, depending on how mashed potato-y my brain is. I’m currently working on a series of posts that will probably take a couple more months to get the whole series ready to go. I created the framework with headings, and now I’m gradually filling in the gaps.
Writer’s block is a common issue. I occasionally get writer’s block in the sense that I just don’t feel like working on any of my 30 drafts, but more often, the depression-related slowness in my brain is the main limiting factor. If I were to try to come up with an idea and sit down and write a post every day, there’s no way I could maintain it
I’m lousy at self-proofreading. It’s annoying that Grammarly and the block editor don’t get along. I could write posts elsewhere and then paste into the WP editor, but compartmentalizing makes it easier for me to keep track of things, so I prefer to do my WordPress in WordPress. I do a read-through the day before a post is set to publish, but I regularly miss things. At the same time, I just don’t care enough to put in the extra effort to be more careful about checking my posts, and I’m okay with that.
It’s very rare for me to hit publish once I’ve finished writing and reviewing a post. I schedule, and I always have 2-3 weeks worth of posts scheduled and ready to go. It’s an unusual strategy, but it works for me. It’s a way to stay consistent with publishing even though my writing isn’t consistent. For anyone who feels a bit hesitant pressing the publish button, give scheduling a try. The odd time I do hit publish, I always wonder if there’s something I’ve forgotten to do, but I don’t do that with scheduling.
I’m pretty rigidly organized around when I publish and what gets published on what day, but that’s all for my benefit, not yours. I suspect that, for the most part, people notice things about our blogs and patterns far less than we think they do.
One aspect of follow-up is responding to comments, which I generally think is the funnest part of the whole endeavour. I know some bloggers close comments a couple of weeks after a post has been published in order to reduce spam, but I like getting comments on older posts.
For people trying to get their blog out there in the broader world, there may be some promotional follow-up steps. Pinterest is the only social platform that I regularly post on. I stopped using Twitter a while back, and as part of that, I stopped auto-sharing my posts.
Link-building is ongoing follow-up that, for me, never really stops. I want my site to be well-connected by a happy little dream-catcher web of links, so I’m always building internal links back and forth between newer and older content.
From post start to finish, I would guess that the average post of mine incubates for about 6 weeks. I wouldn’t say that my system is a particularly good one in general, but it works for me and makes my life easier, and that’s what matters. There’s certainly no one right way to run a blog.
What does your blog post journey look like?
On an unrelated note, one of my recent attempts to fuss around with my blog was trying out a comment lazy loading plugin. It took away the ability for people to like comments on my site itself (not in the Reader), which didn’t make that much difference to me, but it also messed up the nesting of comments that weren’t left in the Reader. So, experiment failed, and goodbye plugin. The nice thing about plugins is that you can give them the boot, unlike when WordPress itself makes a mess of things…