Blogging and Writing

A Blog Post Journey from Start to Finish

blogging word cloud

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.

Writing

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

Reviewing/editing

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.

Scheduling/publishing

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.

Follow-up

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.

Repeat cycle

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…

Blogging Toolbox

The Blogging Toolbox has tips and tools that are relevant and useful for the average blogger.

49 thoughts on “A Blog Post Journey from Start to Finish”

  1. 🙂 When one has been blogging for quite a long time, they manage to get their quota of blogging done.

    First, I create an outline in my mind or an outline on paper (The subheadings let me know which subsection is based on what).

    The next step is to turn on some music that I like and put my headphones on.

    Then I write without stopping.

    When my blog post has been completed, I take a short break.

    Moments after, I do the strict proofreading process.

    When I am pleased with the final outcome of the blog post, I publish it.

  2. I realized today that I have 40 posts in draft status. Can’t tell if that is good or bad.

    Some of these I almost definitely won’t publish, but can’t bring myself to delete, some are unfinished, some are finished posts within a series, but not all of the series is finished so I’m hesitant to publish until I know where the series is going, some a long brain dump to be split into a series, etc.

    Due to laziness and desire to hide my geographic location as much as possible, my time zone in WordPress does not reflect my actual time zone. The result is that I don’t really get how to properly schedule posts because the time zones are so off. I don’t care enough to fix is or bother with scheduling.

      1. It is a little silly, to be honest. Most people probably aren’t thinking about this. Also, I sound very American in my writing voice and nothing is truly anonymous on the internet anyway. But it makes me feel better to keep the time zones wrong.

    1. I actually don’t think it’s silly. If I wanted to start over completely, I’d be anonymous so I could mention more family and relationship situations instead of walking on eggshells…

  3. It’s interesting to see your process, Ashley. I currently have 103 drafts in my drafts folder. Most of these have merely one line in them, others I’ve got half drafted in work documents on my laptop, and I just never seem to get around do writing or finishing the posts.

    I also find I need to jot down ideas when I get them. I just can’t write, think, focus or do much of anything cerebrally these days like I used to, so any single post can take a very, very long time. I tend to do small chunks at a time, which is frustrating when you just want to get the whole thing done. I’ve found review posts a little easier in this respect because they’re easier to do in chunks and individual sections, but I’ve not had the chance to really do much in the way of thought-provoking posts that I now find harder to put together. I do like the idea of pressing pause on other things so I can jot down new ideas, work through some old drafts and get lots of content queued up that just need SEO and images done for them. xx

    1. I always find it easier to do posts that can easily be broken into chunks.

      I have some drafts with a title and one or two lines that have sat around for months without anything further being done to them. I should probably delete some of those, but then I think oh, maybe I’ll get around to doing something with it eventually…

  4. I don’t write informative posts, so I have no need for research and outlines. My posts are mainly responses to prompts, and I either get inspired on the spot when reading them for the day, or I don’t. I also occasionally rant about something, same deal. When inspired, I finish a post in one go, though I may schedule it for later if I’ve just posted something else. I don’t like my posts bunched up in the newsfeed. Posts that take longer are my quickie reviews ~ I’ll wait until I have 3-5 and then publish…

  5. I tend to have a few drafts on the go. One a permanent draft that I use to copy and paste my copyright at the end of any post I write.
    My drafts aren’t as many as they used to be a few yeaes ago. But enough should my writing not be fluid, then something there to finish and publish.

    I also still have to use pen and paper for drafting a post, before typing up.

    My posts that I feel are ready, get scheduled in advance.

    I have August covered now. So anything else I write will be from September and onwards.

      1. Yes. I use it for most, but not all posts. Or for writing notes. I have a folder for my blog, with my writing paper inside, should I feel the need to use it. I have my planner on there too, where I write my scheduled posts, so I can see when I am publishing my posts when not on my blogging platform itself.

      1. My WordPress blog is still up, but I have long since gone and blog with a new blog there. I will never be back on WordPress to blog, but I come back to comment on blogs that I still follow.
        My story continues, but at my new blog. Similar style as my WordPress blog.

  6. Interesting. I sit down, put together something and push ‘publish’. The ones I put aside ‘for later” because I either don’t like what I wrote or because I’m not sure I want to share as much as is shared in the thing, usually end up in File 13. I have one draft currently and one that’s been hanging around a while seeing if a spark comes back so I can finish it.

    Most of my stuff is, like Paula, response posts or responses to prompts and challenges I participate in. Combined with hosting one prompt myself and writing stories or poems, participating in A-Z Blogging once a year and stuff like that, there is really no time for over-thinking what I’m writing (not that I think anyone who researches and carefully plans their posts are overthinking things of course).

  7. I admire how you manage to post daily despite all the hurdles. As for my strategy, I pretty much just post when a topic inspires me. Especially since my podcast consumes a lot of my creativity these days

      1. The one from yesterday was a mental draft for about 5months. I wish I had the juice to have 50 drafts going haha. You’re an inspiration

  8. “For some people, a blog post journey is as quick and simple as site down, write, hit publish.” 🙋‍♂️

    I could gain a lot by following your process more but I feel like I know myself enough to know trying would be a waste of time because I wouldn’t keep up on it. 😂

    I start a lot of drafts like you do but I never go back to finish them and eventually delete them all. My interest is fickle and if I don’t get the post done in one sitting I usually lose interest.

  9. I just wanted to tell you, I am teaching Mental Health Technician and your medications book made it much simple to explain psychiatric drugs. I Have incorporated in my classes also for allied healthcare courses especially psychiatry modules.
    Thank you again
    Mary Ellen Powell, CPI, AHI

  10. I’m pretty similar to you in that I’ll open a draft and put in a title and some notes when something pops into my head or gives me that lightbulb moment. I also have quite a few drafts on the go, and sometimes the mood takes me and I can write three or four posts in a row, and other times my mental health puts my barriers up and there’s nothing I can do. I am seeing the benefits of scheduling posts so that’s my new goal at the moment.

  11. I’m terrible at blogging. I sometimes go a year between posts 😬
    But then I don’t have many followers (possibly the two are connected) and I don’t think anyone cares what I write, anyway. Although I’m slowly learning that that’s mostly self-perception. My own depression still makes it difficult.
    You’re a lot more focused and disciplined than I am!

    You’re correct in saying that there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do stuff, though – as in all aspects of life, everyone is unique, and does what they can, however they can do it.

    The two main differences between you and I, though, are:
    1- you do this for a living, and
    2- you have a worthwhile purpose, and you know what you’re talking about 😊

    Your work is insightful and a pleasure to read – the odd grammatical anomaly slips through, but doesn’t detract from your work or interfere with its message 👍

  12. It would drive me insane having that many unfinished documents in my drafts folder – kudos to you for being able to allow them there 🙂

    I tend to have ‘series’ of one sort or another or categories and l decide on the day what l am going to do. When l ran the morning greetings post series, that was the only one l ever had on post date publishing.

    Whilst l don’t use the drafts folder, l tend to keep my ideas in a notebook and usually it is one line, and l guess l have perhaps a few hundred one liner ideas.

    The post journey is walk in the morning, decide on the post for the day, create in block editor and thensave to drafts once done. Leave editor but read post in ‘preview’ as well as copy and paste into word document and then check for errs and typos and then correct in editor, read through once/twice more in preview then hit publish.

    Despite proof reading and err checking, l still manage to find errs and might spend ten minutes after posting correcting.

  13. Interesting to know the way you prepare your articles before publishing.

    Since I take part in some of the photographic challenges, most of the time my preparation won’t take much time.

    Only requirement is I must be having a suitable photo.

    Most of the times I try to check the grammar before publishing.

    Thank you for giving us your tips

  14. It’s really interesting to hear about other people’s writing process. It’s true that we all have a ‘system’, even if it’s having no system. I see how smart it is to have posts prepared…we never know when our brain is going to say nope!

Leave a Reply