My Blogging Process

We hear a lot about the writing process, how it’s different for everybody and how it is a process, rather than a magical one-off or a product.  I teach a lot of this in my English 1010 courses, and I’ve also enjoyed reading about it in essays for that course and in literature.  One of my favorite writing process descriptions from literature is in The Woman in White (1859), which itself is a compilation of different narratives and forms of writing that result in a complete story.  One main character, Count Fosco, writes his own confession in a torrent, throwing paper about with noisy delight.  He says, “Habits of literary composition are perfectly familiar to me.  One of the rarest of all the intellectual accomplishments that a man can possess is the grand faculty of arranging his ideas.  Immense privilege!  I possess it.  Do you?” (583).  Fosco recognizes the importance of writing and uses it as a way of competing intellectually.  Collins goes on to describe Fosco’s writing process in great detail.

Writing_Process_Flow_Chart

Blogging is writing, and I’ve noticed that I have developed a process for doing so over the last few years.  My blogging process has developed into a particular pattern.  I read.  When I finish reading, if I have something to say about the book, I pull out my Ipad, wherever I might be, and type up those initial thoughts in an email to myself.  This can be frustrating, as I use the virtual keyboard on the Ipad screen, but it helps me get my thoughts down and in a safe place.  I’ve typed up my reviews while sitting on my couch, while cooking dinner, in my university’s library, on my bed, at my campus desk, and in class (no, not really!).

After I email it to myself, I just leave it there for a while, in my inbox.  When I’m at my desktop computer in my office at home and I have extra time, I then pull up that email and paste it into a Word document.  Sometimes I work on it, fixing spelling and typing errors and adding more detail.  Other times, I just leave it messy, save it, and walk away.  Then, when I’m ready to post it, I’ll polish it up.

I also take my pictures that way.  I know: my photos aren’t anything to brag about.  I’m not a photographer.  But I photograph the book covers next to my sliding glass back door on a piece of an IKEA bookshelf that we left out (purposefully) when putting together some shelves.  The northern light from that window in midday and afternoon is nice.  I take the photo with my Ipad, email it to myself, and again save it to my desktop when I’m there and have time to go through my emails.

I used to then post in the mornings, after I would wake up, shower, and feed the kids.  Lately, I’ve spent some time in the evenings polishing the posts and scheduling them in WordPress.  It is nice to schedule them to appear the next morning, and then I don’t have to worry about rushing through posting so I can attend to our morning routine or so I can blow dry my hair before it dries all the way and goes completely flat.  Now, I schedule the posts and they appear before I’m even out of bed.

But this has proved to be a problem, a strange one at that.  I started scheduling them to go live at 6 a.m., and that first morning, guess who woke up at 6 a.m. on the dot with a start?  Yes, me!  I’m psychically connected to my blog posts!  Ha ha.  And although I’m being silly when I say that, I’ve seriously woken up many times because of this.  I’m definitely high-strung and have anxiety.  So I changed the posts to go live around 6:30 or maybe even 7 a.m.  I do like to rise early, but not that early!

However, now I’m used to it and I don’t wake up anymore.  Maybe that’s because I’ve started blogging less since this semester has been so hard.  Now I can set it to go live at 5 a.m. and I don’t even stir.

What is your blogging process?  Do you have a routine?

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87 thoughts on “My Blogging Process

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  1. My routine is whenever I can sit down and do it. I don’t really write on my blog, except for the book reviews and I’ve slowed down on those because I’m having some problems with my eyes. (Not a good thing for a reader!!) But I love to have complete silence when I am working on the blog, getting posts ready for our author interviews and getting the Friday devotional post from Carmen posted and getting a picture or something to go with it. Even posting my free and discounted e-books…I don’t like interruptions. My mind isn’t like it used to be!
    Debbie

    1. I’m sorry about your eyes. That would make it harder. And I agree that silence is good. I don’t always have that luxury with my kids running around, and I’ve lost a few thoughts because of noise and distraction!

  2. I’m going to have to learn how to schedule my posts! I had no idea that you could so that.
    I don’t really have a routine though, I keep trying and then for various reasons taking extended breaks. It’s something I’m still playing with and hearing how other people work (or just reading blogs like yours which have good content) really helps.
    Thansk for sharing this.

  3. I loved this post. It points out that what we write is our baby. I have always been found with a notebook and in in hand. I used to just put my idea down and keep going with no thought or direction. Now it takes me forever to get anything written. I write the rough draft on paper, scribble out bad ideas and rewrite in the tiny leftover space. Then I type it, struggling to read what I wrote in the tiny spaces around the scribbles. Then I sit and read it and reread it andreread it again making sure that I got my point across and that there is nothing else I need to add. Finally I can share it. Later I go back and read it again and always think of something else I should have put in it.

    1. Thanks for sharing your process! Yes, these posts tend to be our babies. I think that’s why when I get negative responses or criticism I get a little defensive or upset. It is hard to please everybody and it is hard and brave to put your thoughts and experiences out there.

  4. Well, I also schedule mu posts on the days I teach. My problem is that after I come home, and look at the post, no matter what I have done or written… there is still something I missed, and some light revising has to take place. Good post. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’ve found the only time I can actually write is in the morning, before work. So I wake up at 5am, get ready for the day, and write as much as possible for an hour or two before I leave. I love the quiet and uninterrupted time. And because it’s a limited amount of time, I don’t get distracted as easily.
    Thanks for the post! I love thinking about routines and learning what works for myself and others.

    1. I admire you for getting up so early to write. With the end of daylight savings, I’ve been trying to wake up at 5:30 and do some research, but this morning I woke up at 4:30, saw that it was too early, and went right back to bed and didn’t wake up when I wanted to. I guess I should set an alarm! 🙂

  6. I tend to be a more sporadic writer, so scheduling is something that I am working towards. keeping track of my ideas has helped me a lot. However, I am more of a notebook and biro kind of a girl.I doodle, draw mind maps just to see to where my imagination will lead me!

  7. It’s so helpful to read how/when others blog. I am a high school English teacher and writer. I’ve just finished a historical fiction m/s and have read a lot about creating a platform. I’ve always wanted to start a blog about literature – primarily but not limited to reviews of historical fiction – but am at the very beginning of this process. WordPress looks like a good place to start, and I am open to any tips. My writing process is really haphazard: I have two kids who still are fairly young, so time in the afternoon and evenings is usually devoted to them and to being a wife to my supportive husband who is super supportive about other things, but just doesn’t “get” why I’d want to put myself through all the work of writing when I take it as seriously as a job and yet don’t get paid (yet) to do it, especially when I have a day job and a “second shift”. So mornings, when everyone else is asleep, seem to be the most productive for me. I’ve still not worked out the kinks enough to say that I write daily or even weekly. But when I do write, I try to map out my story line, save inspiration (often through email like you, Emilly), and later, get it down in a word file. Blogging would put me more on a schedule, and I am ready to make writing part of my routine at this point in my life. I’m looking forward to reading how others do it – technically and with respect to their daily schedules. Thanks for getting the conversation started!

    1. This is turning out to be a great conversation, and I’m glad you joined it. I have two little kids as well and my time isn’t always my own. I think that’s what I love about emailing myself because I can do it anytime, within reason. I love the mobility of the iPad and when the kids are in the bathtub or running around outside, I can still be present but working on something. I admire you for writing a novel. It is a labor of love to be sure.

  8. I enjoyed your post! Funny, the thought crossed my mind about scheduling when I saw your post in my reader this morning. I scheduled mine for 6 a.m. today and I also wondered if you had scheduled yours. I think it’s hilarious that you used to wake up with your blog posts!

    I don’t really have a process. It’s probably not the best way to go about it, but I have to wait for a certain something, and I either feel it or I don’t. When it does come then I just write, even if I am supposed to be doing work! I’ll do everything, including revising, in one sitting. Book posts are a little easier for me in that I can be more objective so I can write those in any mood. While reading I’ll take notes of lines that I like or want to pay attention to in my notebook and I’ll refer to those. I like that you mention where you take your photos because I’ve wondered about that too – I actually like your book photos! They always come out well lit (not too dark, not too bright). I’ve been experimenting and trying to find the best place.

    Speaking of the writing process, have you read or seen this book, about the letters that went back and forth between John Steinbeck and his editor when he was writing East of Eden? I haven’t read it but am interested:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28910.Journal_of_a_Novel?from_search=true

    I’d like to read The Woman in White. I feel that I may have bought a copy recently…I can’t remember!

    1. Oh, I should add that I am always blogging in my head – in the shower, while in bed – before actually getting my words down so maybe that is my process.

    2. Me too! Always in my head. Then when I get a chance I type it up. I think for me the breaks between writing, proofreading, and posting are part of me wanting to have a lot of posts built up for the future. I have about ten or so just waiting to be posted. This helps me to keep blogging when I’m busy with school or when I am lacking inspiration. I can’t wait to read the Steinbeck link. Thanks for sharing! I’m almost done with East of Eden. I think I might make it a regular reread. It is its own little “bible” in some ways.

      1. That is smart to keep a queue of posts. I need to do that too! I agree with you about East of Eden. I already feel like I should go back to re-read it. There is so much in there and I know I didn’t grasp everything on my first go. Can’t wait to read your review!

  9. I do not prewrite, but free write (sorta like a brain dump or brain storming write). I spend time researching, revising and editing. I love the writing process and get to have fun with it (not like in college times):) Happy Tuesday!

  10. Emily, I like this. Thanks for sharing your process. I carry notes around with me in my pockets from ideas that hit me and have a pad in a drawer near my favorite news watching seat for any inspiration. Usually by the time I sit to write, I have an outline in my head or have done some research on lyrics, surveys, etc. Take care and keep the posts coming. BTG

    1. Thank you for sharing this! I love what you wrote about inspiration and writing for validation and to share. Nicely done. You describe the emotional side of it very well.

  11. I am new to blogging and still figuring it out as I go, but I love what you shared about the character Count Fosco, “throwing paper about with noisy delight.” As a writer, I seem to be surrounded by bits and scraps and pages of paper, and I see I should focus on the noisy delight of arranging ideas rather than viewing the process as a scramble, making work of gathering, organizing, and capturing what I wish to say. Wonderful, thank you for sharing this.

  12. Thanks very much for this piece — very helpful. I’m new at blogging, and it is centered around my vocation as a traditional printer and bookbinder, which has a rather niche audience. One aspect to my learning curve is figuring out how to make the book arts themes that are dear to me relevant and interesting to others.

      1. Thanks much, Emily. I am enjoying this vocation very much. The beauty of language becomes manifest in the physical sculpture of the letters themselves, as poetry and prose is hand-set with metal and wood type in the centuries-old manner and printed with hand-powered presses. And hand-sewing books, like sewing quilts, stitches us to people and ideas and art through the ages. I am grateful to be a part of all of this.

        If you’re interested, I have numerous pictures and post about traditional printing and binding on my site.

        Again, I appreciate your thoughts and the conversation that has ensued.

        All best,
        Emily Hancock
        St Brigid Press
        Afton, Virginia

    1. I think your vocation is really interesting…have you read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks? It centers around a book, its special, missing bindings and the history of the people who created, read or touched it. If you’ve seen The Red Violin, it’s kind of like that.

      1. Hi Lizzie, and thanks for your note. I have not read “People of the Book” yet, though it is on my list — and I may bump it up a few spaces now! I have seen the Red Violin, and enjoyed it very much (also as a former cellist and current Appalachian fiddle-player).
        Nice to meet another bibliophile 😉
        All the best,
        Emily
        St Brigid Press

  13. I try to have a blog post up at least once a week, and am always looking for topics. I have about a dozen posts under ‘draft’ on WordPress. When I have an idea, I make a draft for it with a title. I’ll work on one thing until its not working, and then work on another. When I’m stumped for a post, I’ll go back to the drafts and pick one that pulls my imagination. Other times, there are topics that just flow and are ready in a short amount of time.

    There’s not a lot of organization, and I would like to get ahead a bit, but it is also nice to be flexible. I like having more freedom on my blog while I focus my organization efforts on my current work in progress.

      1. I use multiple computers, so it allows me to pull them up anywhere. It works well, except for when I accidentally hit ‘update’ or ‘save draft’ on an older version I left open in another browser window. So far, that has only happened once.

  14. My process starts before I even scrbble my thoughts down on paper. I start by being observant of the world around me, just to get somet ideas. If my state of mind does not allow me to be open to experiences, I will never be able to write with inspiration and honesty. Next, I write down my thoughts using words, symbols, and lists into my Blog notebook. I get the feel of how I want to open the post. After having these things settled, I begin writing freely, not censoring myself at all. After my freewrite, I have a series of”read-through” sessions, one on grammer/punctuation, other on content (editing), and others on readability. Sometimes when I read what I have written, I hate it! But I know, practice makes perfect, so I keep working on the craft and learning all I can from other blogs and other writers in general.

    1. You are right about practice, and I love what y say about the process starting before you even put pen to paper. We should always be observing and thinking and have those “ah ha” moments.

  15. An idea will pester me, I walk about ruminating on it, discuss it with hubs, and then sit down a week later and let it spill out. By the time I start writing the structure has been coming together in my head over the previous week. Then I force hubs to read it. Not terribly systematic.

    Excellent post. I love reading about how others approach writing.

  16. I only blog once a week (Fridays) for now, since I don’t have any other time to do it. So on Friday mornings, I usually write my posts as I drink some tea 🙂

    1. I have been feeling that way with some books of late. It has been weeks and I still haven’t written anything on one book because I’m not sure quite how to approach it!

    1. No. I just like to have it out in the morning so I can keep up with comments throughout the day. But I know what you’re talking about. I used to worry about that and now I think posting consistently (like a couple times a week) is the best way to build up a readership.

  17. Your post helped me to see my problem: I don’t really have a process in place. I have four blogs, and I use a different process for each one. Sometimes the blogs overlap, and that drives me crazy. Today I posted something about being more organized and purposeful, and I hope that helps me to improve the process.

    Your post also reminded me of why I blog in the first place. It’s because I have to! It’s a way of improving my writing. Whether anyone reads or responds to what I’ve written, I still gain from the process and think of it as practice.

    1. It sounds like this was helpful and that makes me happy. I do think a process or a routine is essential to keeping up with it and making sure that you are focusing on what is important to you. I see similar value in my blogging in improving writing and practicing. Hang in there!

  18. Previously I’d be frantically writing on the day to get a post out. But now, I’m taking my time a bit more and posting once a week about a book I’ve read. So I get to spend a bit more time thinking about what to write, and not stressing about trying to get the post out there.

    And yes, scheduling is amazing!

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