What follows is a guest post by Randy Murray. I enjoy having his blog in my RSS feed every since our mutual Twitter friend Debbie Kipp introduced us.
Publishing a blog is in interesting venture. It is, for most intents and purposes, a virtually free press. It’s a remarkable opportunity for anyone who has something to say.
Just about a year ago I started a fresh blog after having sporadically published another for several years. The new one, First Today, Then Tomorrow was my attempt at working through my professional and life transition from being employee and corporate citizen to becoming independent and free. I set off with the promise of publishing every weekday, five days a week. I had no idea what that really meant in terms of the work of writing and publishing when I started.
In addition to my blog, my business is writing. I write for clients and spend a good chunk of every day working with words. In the first few weeks of my new blogging venture I’d sit down each morning, test the wind, and write what popped into my head. It was fun and carefree. But as time went on it became clear that I couldn’t keep up the pace of publishing every weekday in that fashion. On top of that, I am fortunate to have good friend and talented editor who stepped up to partner with me and review and edit everything before I published it. I noticed an immediate jump in the quality of my work, not just from simple corrections, but thorough the knowledge that I had a keenly intelligent reader who would test my ideas.
I really enjoy the work, the collaboration. But Penny, my friend and editor, quickly raised a white flag. Writing, editing, and publishing all on the same day is tough stuff, the work of daily newspapers. So I made a commitment to work in advance. And that commitment went from working a few days in advance to trying to work a full week ahead. I’ve found that there are many benefits to this approach.
Here’s what blogging in advance does for me:
- Blogging in advance lets me free up my schedule for work and other uses of my time. I can write several pieces at a time, or just a single post, when I have time available. That gives me time and energy to work for clients or on other projects. That might be difficult if I had to kick out a new post every day and ask Penny to stop what she was doing for an immediate edit.
- I can develop themes. My first step isn’t just to write what I want to say in one post, but what I’ll be saying for an entire week. I don’t have to connect every post, but I do find at times that I can give an idea the space and attention it deserves and work it through over a series of days. Doing that in advance lets me smoothly and naturally develop the entire series.
- I can use the momentum and creative blasts to churn our several posts at a time. I often find that I can sit down and write several posts at once. It’s thrilling and a very productive way for me to work.
And most importantly for me:
- I have time to reconsider, reread, and revise. Everything I write gets three different readers (two of whom are me). You’d be surprised how many times I reject my own work and start over again after a second or third reading. Here’s my process:
- I write the first draft and let it sit, typically for one day.
- I read the draft with a fresh eye. A day later, I’m a different person from the one who wrote it and I can more coolly consider the work.
- I pass the revised draft to Penny. She’s a tough and highly qualified editor. And as I said, she’s doing more than just checking spelling and grammar – she’s testing my ideas and the quality of my writing.
- The draft comes back with her recommended revisions and I read it and revise as necessary.
This might seem like a lot of work, but I find that it’s a rewarding process. I’m proud of what I produce and I can confidently stand behind my work. And the payoffs have been huge. Over this past year I’ve seen readership of my blog grow significantly, sometimes with surprisingly high spikes. And my work on the blog has resulted in business and opportunities.
I can’t claim that the same thing will happen for you if you follow my handy four-step process, but I do believe that if you work in this fashion, you’ll produce better quality work. At the very least, pause before you publish, breath a little. Read what you’ve written. And if you can, find someone you trust to read and comment on your work before you release it to the world.
Yes, anyone can blog. But very few can write. If you take the writing seriously, you’ll find that you can express yourself in a more effective fashion. And that’s why you’re blogging, isn’t it?
Time to let Randy know how much you enjoyed his post by leaving comments here and heading over to his blog to check out more of his great work. Also, If you are interested in guest posting, please let me know.
Randy Murray is a writer and marketing consultant who specializes in white papers, web content, and ghost blogging. You can read his thoughts on technology, writing, and productivity, among other topics, five days a week at First Today, Then Tomorrow