Why I Wing It When Writing My Blog Posts

by Randy Murray on July 13, 2010

I’m happy to feature a guest post from Jim Raffel today. Jim is an enthusiastic blogger and tweeter – a business leader who really understands what social media and great writing can do for one’s business.

Recently Randy was gracious enough to provide a guest post for my blog, JimRaffel.Com. In that post he talked about how he writes his posts one week ahead. I, on the other hand, write most of my posts spur of the moment in thirty minutes or less and then publish the post with a minimum of editing.

My main reason for my winging it is that in five years of writing for my blog I have found that the posts my readers like best are the raw and unplanned ones – the traffic logs clearly show it. I’m sure my best writing still resides in the posts I spend a week or more researching and editing but they don’t alway resonate as well with my daily readers. These posts often do much better with Google over the long haul, bringing additional traffic to the site. That’s probably because editing cleans up a post and focuses the topic, which means my keyword usage turns out better.

Here’s how the winging-it process goes:

  • I’m an idea-spotter. I always keep my eyes open for ideas to improve my own business or personal life. I probably spot about a dozen ideas a day that make me stop and think. Of those, one to three will be transfered to a black Moleskine notebook I try to keep with me at all times. Many days no ideas end up in the book; they just don’t make my mental cut.
  • Time to pick a topic: The ideas that make it to the notebook are often related to the work I am doing at the time. When it’s time to write, I grab the notebook and look for an idea more than 24 hours old. I want something my subconscious has had time to process and chew on. Almost always one of the ideas jumps off the page and I have a topic.
  • The writing process: I start with a title (which often changes before publication), and three to four main points. Sometimes I start with my lead in paragraph. The first two sentences (which I present in italics on my blog) are the chance I have to hook you into reading the rest of the post. The salesman in me knows I get only one first impression.
  • Editing: I edit as I write. For example, two full paragraphs have already been deleted and rewritten in this post. When I feel the piece is done I read the paragraphs in reverse order; I have found this forces me to read for grammar and wording, as best I can. Then, I read it one more time forwards, and hit publish. At a later time, my wife, who edits the blog for me, will circle back and clean up my grammar and punctuation errors.

The end result is that I blog about something fresh and current that is going on in my professional or personal life at the moment. As a result, the passion I have for the topic shows through. You want to read about a topic I care about, right?

Jim Raffel is a small business owner who blogs about business and personal success. His blog JimRaffel.Com focuses on the skills and technology necessary to make a small business successful.

How do you blog? Do you work in advance like me or more spontaneously like Jim? Please join in on the conversation both here and on Jim’s site!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Raymond (@Spiffster) July 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Great Post.
I got myself a notebook for ideas as well, although it is not a moleskin and sometimes forget a pencil/pen. All because of when Jim Raffel of JimRaffel.com blogged about it and it is a great and helpful with ideas. When I get around to blogging I do it because I have nothing else to do and have topics or an outline already done and just type the rest as I go. So I guess I am a hybrid of the two styles but more on the spontaneous side.

Ray

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2 Jim Raffel July 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Ray, Thanks for following me over here for the guest post. I had no idea I had inspired you to get a notebook, that’s awesome. Never throw them away.

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3 Jonathan Elliot July 16, 2010 at 7:18 am

Jim (and Randy) thanks for this. I think if nothing else it illustrates that the creative process is varied and in the end you have to find what works for you.

In my own blog, I’m probably using a mixture of both your approaches: The spur-of-the-moment passion verses the passionate-but-planned. Possibly what works comes down to personality type.

What I do find interesting is that both of you use an editor outside yourself. Where do I find a wife who’ll edit me unpaid? ;)

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4 Jim Raffel July 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Jonathan,
Yes, and I have been modifying my publishing style to get a a week or so ahead on posts so my editor can edit in her time not mine. I still write the same way, just have more harmony at home when I’m not “screaming” for her to edit my post 20 seconds after I finish it. :) The things we learn as we grow older.

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