Adventures in Blogging
For me, blogging is a lot like going to the dentist — important and very necessary, but not exactly a lot of fun. But, I’ve been consistently doing it anyway for a number of years now.
Here’s a sneak peek of what that process looks like from behind the scenes…
I’ve finally clarified an idea for a blog post! It’s an idea I’ve never seen covered before, on which I have a new perspective, (I tend to believe that you can’t be a thought leader if you just rehash someone else’s thoughts all the time.)
I dash to my laptop and start typing.
The words flow out of me, and I think, “Oh yeah…this is good. This makes sense,” and then later, “This is a solid perspective/analysis/education you are giving people here, Jen.” (Yes, strangely, I am now talking to myself in the third person.)
I finish the post with a flourish and think, “Why don’t I blog every day?”
I re-read what I have written and immediately think, “What. The. Hell? This makes no damn sense, whatsoever.”
The idea is buried in there, but under a load of tangents, (Or, there is no clear idea in there at all.) The conclusion is weak. There is, invariably, no title.
I pour myself a cup of tea and settle in for another writing/editing session.
Now the real work begins.*
I deconstruct the argument, and put it back together again, properly. I support generalizations. I explain references. I title the damn thing.
The post is now fit for human consumption.
I re-visit the post, and now find it obscenely long.
This isn’t a blog post. This is the outline for an e-book.
I pour some more tea and start chopping, as well as hyperlinking and tagging. (Often, at this point, I’ll consider abandoning the whole post because it seems to be mocking me with its inherent suckiness.)
Then, I search for an image to go with the post, (Usually on istockphoto – cause it’s just easier sometimes to buy one.) Sometimes, I’ll re-write the title, if the image I find offers a clever metaphor, (I do love me a good metaphor.)
I proof the post, reading it slowly out loud, or from the bottom to the top. I curse my poor typing skills and inability to spell.
Then I record my video blog companion.
The goal is for each video to be under two minutes and filmed in one continuous take.
Many, many takes are recorded.** Many, many swear words are uttered.
Occasionally, it becomes apparent at this point that I can’t succinctly describe this post in under two minutes, because the idea behind it is still too convoluted (In which case, I go back and re-write again.)
I make the blog post live and upload the video blog to YouTube.
I tweet the post to my network.
Maybe two people retweet it, in response.
I’m so happy that it’s done, that the “meh” reception doesn’t bother me.
I promote the post through my personal and company social accounts.
A handful of people comment on the post and share it.
Now it starts to bother me.
Day seven-Day 307
Search engines index the post. Post views accumulate. Video views accumulate. Clients and people I meet refer to past posts. Social proof exists.
I also get to say cool things like, “Oh, I once wrote a post about that two years ago” and share the link.
Blogging slowly works its magic.
I brew another cup of tea.
*Now, of course, it’s my choice to do a lot of these extra steps. Blogging is hard for me, because I don’t follow a lot of the rules (e.g. no editorial calendar, longer posts, etc.) I’d counsel a client of mine to take an easier path. For instance, I should have titled this post, “Ten Writing Tips from Blogging Superstars,” and then asked ten top bloggers to each submit a one-paragraph tip, (effectively writing my post for me) written a zippy little intro and outro, and then posted that sucker. That’s a smarter move. Unoriginal…but smarter.
**Stay tuned. Next week I’m posting the video blog BLOOPER REEL!
I can relate. I’m a blogger who enjoys blogging, but I’m not particularly fond of writing. I’d rather work in mediums where I communicate better and more concisely, namely my podcast and the occasional YouTube video.
I often write with a flourish too and think after completing draft 1 (of hopefully 2 or less), “Hey, this is pretty good!” Then when I edit it fresh on another day I think, “Ummmm…So why would this be useful to someone?”
Yet the benefits always seem to outweigh the pains that come along with blogging. I haven’t been doing this long enough to tell people I wrote a post about “that thing” a couple of years ago, but I’m looking forward to the day I can.
P.S. Typing slow and adding relevant hyperlinks isn’t fun. I know of what you speak.
Glad to hear that others can relate. I too feel a little more comfortable just talking than writing (though, I must admit that the ability in print to edit is one I’m often in need of.) I love your “blogger who enjoys blogging, but am not particularly fond of writing.” — well put.
Thanks for reading the post and stopping by to comment. Love it if you could share the link to your blog so I can visit yours too.
Well hello again. You can check out my website at http://valueofsimple.com/start-here.
Will do! Thanks.
Blogging is pretty much the equivalent to the “The Agony and The Expectations.” You know you gotta do it to show you know your stuff. You know you gotta do it to be a viable voice online. Frankly, I’d opt for having a root canal at this point.
Your post about the blogging process gives me hope. I just crafted a post today that seriously, took the amount of time where I could have written and published a book, already. And seriously, a post no one will read. Everything to do with branding and design has been written about and regurgitated to death. Some days, I feel like a vulture picking at bones.
Still, you give me hope. We are all human behind the posts.
I think “the Agony and the Expectations” sums it up perfectly! Glad to hear that others are in the same boat. Blogging can be a long, lonely road.
I’ll be sure to check out your post. We lone bloggers on the prairie gotta stick together. 🙂
I’m waiting for the blopper reel 😉
It’s live. Enjoy 🙂