A couple of days ago, a friend asked me advice on writing. She wanted to know how I write, what steps I take to write a blog post. This post serves as an answer to her and to anyone in the future, who’ll ask me the same question. I enjoy the meta awesomeness of writing a blog post to explain how I write a blog post.
My process is divided into five steps: pick, outline, fill, edit, share. The three middle ones are about writing itself. The periphery ones cover activities related to blogging .
The first step is to pick what to write about. In this case, it was easy - I wrote a blog post about what my friend is interested in.
Usually, whenever I come up with something I want to write about, I put it on a list on my to-do app. That list has 32 items now. Most of the items are ideas + related story from my own life. For example, there’s an item on the list called “Introvert Hangover”. It contains a short description of a moment when I suffered a hard case of this type of hangover.
I don’t limit myself and don’t try to come up with things that people would want to read. While I share what I write, writing is something I do for myself.
When I find time to write, I pick from the list of topics and try to write a short outline. No more than 50 words. I want to lay out the story. I want to understand - do I have anything interesting to say? And - what’s going to be the structure of this blog post? If I don’t like the outline, I drop the blog post altogether.
I write in Vim, my editor of choice. I’ve been using it for a decade and I’m quite used to all the power it provides. I don’t use any specific writing-related plugins, but for those interested, there’s a bunch of them.
For this blog post, the outline contained the five steps (pick, outline, fill, edit, share) and significant points I wanted to mention under each bullet point.
I proceed to fill in the outline with the actual content. I write top-down. I don’t spend too much time polishing the text up, that’s for the next step.
I try to keep moving. I want to get into the flow and stay there. If I’m unsure, I don’t stop to think about it. I write down a TODO and go to the next paragraph. I go back to the TODO at the end of this step.
I spend most of my time editing the text. It’s the most important and the most time-consuming part of my writing process. I became a much better editor after I’ve read The Elements of Style, I recommend it to any aspiring writer. It’s a short book offering practical advice on improving writing skills.
I reread the text. I fill in logical holes. I move sentences around to make the writing stronger. I delete and prune the fluff. I copy the text into Grammarly to fix mistakes. I then copy the text into Hemingway to make it bold and clear.
I go to Unsplash and find a beautiful header image for my blog post.
I share the blog post with my significant other to get feedback. I reread the blog post myself after stepping away from it for a couple of hours.
If there are no significant changes I want to make, I share the blog post with the world on various social networks. And I mean “significant” because I’m never 100% happy with the text.
I appreciate all types of feedback. I learn and improve. And then I go back to step one and a write a new post.