Mitch Joel recently threw down the the gauntlet and challenged a number of bloggers to blog about how they blog (does that make sense?) I highly recommend you read his original article called “Watching me Blog.”  I only caution you about trying to match Mitch’s pace. There is Mitch, and then there is the rest of us!

Here is an insight into my typical blogging process:

THE BIRTH OF A BLOG POST

I am constantly bombarded with ideas so collecting inspiration for topics is a continuous process.  I may have an idea from something I see on TV, something I read, or a question from a student in class.  The trick is to have the discipline to capture these ideas when they occur. As soon as I can, I record these topics as a headline in WordPress, nothing more. That way, when it is time to blog, I have a wide selection of potential topics.

I currently have about 70 ideas in the hopper. Some of them will never see the light of day. Maybe some of them will be combined or trashed. Some of them you will see this week!

TIME TO WRITE

I usually do all of my blogging for the week in about a 3-4 hour period on a weekend morning. It has to be quiet with no distractions.  In this period my goal is to write at least two blog posts for the upcoming week. Usually I can write though an idea quickly but sometimes it takes adding and massaging over a couple of weeks to flesh out a big new idea.

During this quiet time I JUST WRITE.  I don’t necessarily spend a lot of time trying to be perfect right off the bat. Editing and refining can come later.

I also try to write ahead if I can so I have a few completed posts in case something happens and I can’t blog for some personal reason. I have about 10 posts in reserve. I rarely write during the week unless there is a short-term topical opportunity.

FINAL FLOURISHES

On Sunday night I’ll figure out what posts I’m going to publish for the week. I’ll take a last look at these pieces, do a final edit, and then “decorate” them with illustrations or graphics as needed.  I don’t often get feedback on the funny illustrations I come up with, but in my mind this is one of the fun reasons to come to the {grow} blog and it is a creative challenge for me to come up with something that will make you snicker.  My rule is that if I can’t execute an illustration idea in 10 minutes, I move on to something else. I have to be very disciplined about the time I spend on blogging.

At this point I’ll also spend some more time on the headline. Headlines are so important — more important than the actual blog copy because if you don’t grab your reader’s attention, they’ll never even get to the copy.  I find headlines very difficult to write. They must be accurate, descriptive, interesting and most of all, “tweetable!”  You have to make your posts easy to share!

PUBLISH

I have never posted an article that I have been completely happy with, and many times I’m a little nervous about what the reaction might be. Ultimately it takes courage to be an effective blogger, to put yourself out there, to be confident enough to be imperfect, and to take your licks.

My decision on what to publish is often determined by my work schedule. If I think a post will generate a lot of comments, I won’t publish that on a day that I can’t pay attention to the comment section. I post from one of the amazing {grow} contributing columnists on Wednesdays and a cartoon on Friday so I know I will have at least those days completely free to do client work.

COMMENTS

The best part of the blog is the community commentary. Here is my philosophy on comments:

  • Comments are an opportunity to celebrate the people in your community.
  • When people offer you a gift of their precious time to provide a comment, it only makes sense to give them a gift back and at least say “thank you.”  I try to acknowledge most comments.
  • Comments build community.  This is where you create meaningful connections. I have written a lot about power and influence on the social web. In my estimation, the blog comment section is where the action is (and ironically it is not considered in a Klout score!).
  • If you put yourself out there, you’re not going to connect with every person, every time, even in a community of well-intentioned professionals.  Don’t be thrown off-center by criticism. It’s a sign that you took risks. Take the high rode, stay positive.
Well, there you have it.  As I wrote this, I was struck by how radically different my process is from Mitch’s.  What about you? What is the most important part of your process?  How does your process differ from mine?
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