I am often asked how I manage to write my blog posts. To answer simply, and in as few words as possible,
w i t h
g r e a t d e t e r m i n a t i o n
a n d
m u c h d i f f i c u l t y
but I do have a plan too
a ‘kind of’ plan …
I have a plan. Well, To be more precise, I have a very loose plan that I kind of follow. It’s more like a procedure that I follow loosely that also keeps me on track.
Below I will document the step(s) I use in this plan.
step one : the idea …
Firstly, an idea comes into my head, or dawns on me, something I think I might want, or like, to write about. It might be something that is or has been bothering me, or something I feel should be addressed. But always, I only ever write about things that I feel are important to me and have affected me.
So, if you see it here, on fragmented.ME blog, then please know that it is important to me and it has affected me in one way or another in order to spur me on to write about it.
And also know this too, not a single page on this blog has come without a health cost. Yes, it is cathartic and therefore like therapy, but still it takes or uses energy that I really might not always have.
my plugin toolkit …
I don’t think I could run my blog website without using additional plugins to help me stay on top of my blog posts and planned posting timescales.
I have a particular plugin on my wordpress admin where I can instantly add a post idea. The plugin makes this list available for me to add to, and amend, and also check off as complete, from any page that I am on in the admin area. Some of the specifics that I can add are, a suggested title, a proposed or useful url, post tags, and notes and I can also determine its importance as well as assign it to a specific person; useful if there are more than just yourself running the blog.
plugin #1: posts to-do list
Share post ideas with writers, suggest them writing topics and keep track of the posts ideas with a to do list.
I also see this list, to the right side of any page I am working on, and I can update it and add notes, and add extra info, to the idea as they pop into my head without leaving the blog post I may be working on at the time.
Once I am sure that I will write about the subject I move to step two.
step two : the decision …
Once I am sure I will write about any subject that I previously suggested on my list, I will then make a draft post with a title that I usually always stick with. I can do this by simply clicking a link in the ‘posts to-do list’ at the side of any post page, which then loads up a blank post. This is so useful.
Regarding my titles being rather definitive from the start, I think this is because while writing other bits for ‘on the go’ blogs or when I’m just lay here doing what seems like not much. I am in fact mulling over the ideas I’ve previously suggested to myself that I might like to write about. So by the time I come to decided if I will write the idea, or delete it, I have also usually got the right title for it too.
my plugin toolkit …
I have another plugin where I keep html snippets and as I set up the draft blog post I insert my template html into the blog post using this plugin. I assign the blog post to a main category and any relevant subcategories and I also add the category image and add a few tags, and then save it as a draft post.
plugin #2: post snippets
Create a library of reusable content and insert it into your posts and pages. Navigate to “Settings > Post Snippets” to get started.
I have another plugin that I mark the blog post as ‘blog (new idea)’, this assigns it as ‘blog (new idea)’ title and colour that I see in my WordPress dashboard, and post area too. I will then save it as a draft and leave it again until the idea moves on in my head.
plugin #3: mark posts
Mark and highlight posts, pages and posts of custom post types within the posts overview.
This bit, moving from idea to deciding if I will write about it can sometimes take up to a month or even longer. I also can have many blogs on the go, at any one time, plus loads of ideas, and several new ideas / in process / started / 1/4 done, 1/2 done, 3/4 done, and waiting for review.
To give you an idea, right now as I work on this post, I have:
- post to-do list ideas : 8 – these are ideas that have popped in my mind and may or may not become blog posts
- blog (new idea) : 1 – these are ideas I have accepted, which were previously on the above list, but I haven’t yet made a start on
- blog (in process) : 1 – ideas that I have loosely started as blog posts but need research and development
- blog (started) : 3 – ideas I have made a good start on and are definitely going to become blog posts
- 1/4 done : 3 – ideas I have really got a good idea of where I am going with and have gotten approximately 1/4 done
- 1/2 done : 1 – ideas I am well on the way with and have gotten approximately 1/2 done
- 3/4 done : 0 – ideas that are really flowing and only need the conclusion, links, images, and references adding
- review : 2 – blog posts that are complete and are being reviewed and tweaked
- scheduled : 5 – blog posts that are complete and I am relatively satisfied with, if that’s ever possible with me; they have been scheduled to be posted to the website on a specific date
Once the idea has moved on in my head I move to step three.
step three : the blog post (research & writing) …
Once the idea has moved on in my head and I loosely know what I might want to discuss in the blog post I will now move on to this next step and make a start on the post content.
It is also at this stage I mostly try to determine the scheduled post date. However, if the post feels like it might need lots of research or extra work, the date is very loose at this stage and might sometimes get pushed back if I get stuck.
As the blog post takes shape and at the end of, and even during, each writing session, as I ‘save’ I will also mark it according to its stage in writing (see above list for the title of the stages I use to help me keep track of where each blog post is up to).
A blog post will often start off as ‘blog (in draft)’, or ‘blog (in process)’ or even ‘blog (started)’, depending which is the most appropriate stage I get to with my first session of writing.
Sometimes, when I first start a blog post, all I do is add the heading / subheading ideas, and nothing more, in which case it will be classed as ‘blog (in draft)’. However, if I have maybe got a firmer idea, and so written more, it will be classed as ‘blog (in process)’, and if I have made a really good start I will class it as ‘blog (started)’ or even ‘1/4 done’, or ‘1/2 done’, and very rarely ‘3/4 done’. I rarely get further than ‘blog (started)’ on my first writing session of any blog post, even those that flow and I know where I am going with.
However, to give you an idea about how I organise things, this blog post, as it is right now, which is everything above this sentence plus a few titles and subheadings, I have classed this as ‘blog (started)’. I haven’t had to do any research for this blog post as it’s all in my head, it’s what I do, not what anyone else does, so research is not needed. But at some point in any other blog post I might need to do further research and it’s at that stage when I might class the blog post as ‘blog (in process)’, meaning I made a start but it’s not a good start it’s just a loose idea sort of start.
Once, I start this step of detail writing, layout and research, and depending how much I write in any given session though, the blog will be classed as ‘1/4 done’ or ‘1/2 done’ or even ‘3/4 done’. This part of the process can take weeks, even months.
From all this work, and the many writing sessions, I will finally get to a point where I feel it is ‘3/4 done’ and it will then go to the next step, which is classed as my ‘review’ step, where I do a mini review before writing the conclusions & summary.
A review, be it mini prior to conclusion, or review & tweak, or even the final review, will involve several proof reads and rereads and plenty of tweaks too, and then after letting it rest for some time I will proof read again, and often again, until I feel I can’t improve it any more. I’m a bit of a perfectionist like that.
Maybe, I should have an ‘almost complete’ category but I do tend to often go from ‘3/4 done’ to being ready for full ‘review’.
All of this said, there are exceptions to these steps and this includes most of my ‘journal … blog posts’, especially my ‘fortnightly catch up …’ and my ‘reflections & ramblings …’, which are mainly written complete in one session. They are given a very quick proof read and posted the same day they’re written or very soon after.
* blog update (added 18.02.2022)
Since starting my blog and writing over 150 blogs posts I have realised the need for at least some of my posts to be a bit more professional and to use a proper referencing method in the blog. I therefore found ‘footers’, which is an excellent plugin for the job.…
my plugin toolkit …
I now have another invaluable plugin that I use to ensure I properly reference my sources. It doesn’t MAKE the reference for you, you need to know the formula for the referencing style you wish to use. But, it does make the referencing links to a very neat reference list, which you can insert anywhere in the post you wish.
plugin #4: footnotes
Footnotes lets you easily add highly-customisable footnotes on your WordPress Pages and Posts. Navigate to “Settings > Footnoes” to get started.
step four : review & tweak …
It can take many sessions of writing to get to my first ‘review’ stage. But once I’m at review stage I begin to relax about the blog post. I also leave a good gap of time between finishing and first review. So, when I do my first review read it feels new and I hopefully find any silly typos.
Next I address bits that don’t flow, or that don’t make sense, or are even in the wrong order.
In total, I may do several reviews before I leave it for another while before then going on to my final review.
step five : final review & schedule …
At this stage I generally only make one final review read, ensure my SEO is good enough, and then I change the status to scheduled.
If I have time prior to the blog post posting I sometimes give it another quick review read a couple of days before it is due for posting.
how I write my blog posts
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in summary & in conclusion …
I use this process, my friends, for all of my blog posts. Some are quick and others take much longer and stay in ‘research & writing’ or ‘review’ stages for a long time.
an important & personal concluding note …
There’s a few important bits I’ve missed out. I haven’t yet explained to you that in the process of writing these blog posts I don’t do much typing and never any real physical writing or physical reading. It would simply be way too much for my poorly state and exhaust me even further.
What I actually do is speak all my thoughts into my iPad mini, sometimes my phone, (both used because of weight and being able to lay down whilst doing it), and the accessibility options I have on turn my speech into words. This can prove to be rather funny at times, when it doesn’t understand me and makes stuff up. Also, when I forget to proof read after each little bit and it gets it wrong, I too can forget what I’ve been saying and I end up having to let the idea go and simply think to myself, damn that was a good thought and idea but I’ve gone and lost it now. For proof reading I get the internal accessibility reading option on my iPad to read out what I’ve written (spoken) paragraph by paragraph.
It’s actually quite amazing how much technology can help when you are this poorly.
That’s just a couple of the issues and limitation of writing a blog while having ME and I just have to accept it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and if you are a blogger yourself I hope it has helped you in some way.
Please feel free to contact me to share your outcomes or with any questions you may have.