Don’t write a blog post… that’s too hard

Like so many business owners out there, I’m trying my hand at content marketing. But writing blog posts (for me) is hard. When I first started writing blog posts, I would spend 2–3 hours on each post. That just wasn’t sustainable.

Although I wanted to give up, I knew I couldn’t do that. After all, marketing is the new selling! So over time, I developed a process that worked for me. Here it is:

writeeverywhereDon’t write a blog post… just write.

I used to spend 2 to 3 hours working on a blog post. But my problem was that I wanted the whole blog post to show up on the page at once. I wanted a catchy intro, meaty middle and compelling call-to-action to just flow out of my fingers all at once. Realistically, that never happens (for me at least).

I once had a Geometry teacher who used to say, “If you can’t solve the problem you’ve been given, solve an easier problem.” This turned out to be wise advice. He was teaching us to take big problems and break them into little problems — that’s what works for me and writing.

Truthfully, writing isn’t  that hard — what’s hard is writing something good! So I’ve discovered it’s better to just write and write and write, and THEN try to shape all those words into something useful. If I can get myself to just write, I can sometimes find a pretty good blog post somewhere amid what I just wrote.

Don’t sit down to write a blog post… write everywhere.

For me, the trick is to write in a non-writing environment. This keeps my brain from trying to perfect things and makes it possible for me to just get a lot of words on the page. I accomplish this by mostly not writing at my desk and not writing in a word processor. Instead I mostly write on my phone (yes, I write on my iPhone) in a plain text editor, and I write crap.

I really owe this insight to Yuvi Zalkow whose I’m a failed writer video series and particularly his video on How to write a novel when you are too busy gave me the courage to try writing everywhere. You see, Yuvi wrote bits of his first novel on his iPhone while hiding in the bathroom stall at his day job. Luckily, I don’t have to hide in the bathroom to write; instead, I write while waiting for meetings, riding on El trains and during other odd stretches of time throughout the day. I write in little bits — on my phone, iPad or whatever I have with me — here and there. I later combine everything together to create some kind of crappy blog post.

Don’t craft the perfect blog post… write crap.

So you see, when I’m writing little bits and pieces of ideas on a small 4” display with a keyboard the size of a matchbook, I can hardly worry about quality — and that’s a good thing. When I’m not worried about quality, I get important thoughts out of my head and into a form that I can manipulate later. I capture ideas as soon as they come up and then worry about turning those thoughts into something on Friday, which is my scheduled writing day.

I string my thoughts together to make a blog post … as close as I can come to making a blog post, that is.

Hire a professional to finish it.

Now this is when the magic happens. You see, writing really is hard! It’s not something most of us are trained to do. I think I wrote five papers in college! I need way more practice before I’m even halfway decent at writing. If I want to have good content, I need the help of a professional. So I package up my crappy blog post and send it off to a real, professionally trained Brand Journalist to finish it. She chips away at it and sends me back the professional prose that you are reading now.

So that’s how I write a blog post … or don’t write a blog post.

How do you keep your writing moving? What process works for you? 

Comments

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