You think of an idea for a great blog post. What’s your first reaction? To start typing. That’s wrong. Here are five things to do first.
1) Leave Your Usual Setting
Whether it’s your office or home office, your desk is the place where you check email, have people visit, take phone calls, make phone calls and check Twitter. When sitting at your desk, your frame of mind is all about your day-to-day job. Disconnecting from that frame of mind frees your mind.
When I’m working from home, I’ll move to the kitchen table. Sometimes, I’ll get in the car and drive to the park, where I sit on a park bench. When I’m in the office, I’ll head to a table in our outdoor patio.
2) Completely Disconnect
Leave your computer or tablet at your desk. It’s hard to plan a great blog post when people are contacting you via email, Skype and Twitter. The computer is a temptation. Stay focused on planning your blog post. Emails can always wait.
3) Write an Outline with Pen and Paper
Ditch the computer and use pen and paper. Whether or not I’m writing a list-based post, I sketch out a list of the major points I’d like to make. I’ll then break up each point into “sub-points,” writing sentences or phrases to help me illustrate the main point.
4) Take Occasional Breaks
The one device I allow myself to bring is my phone. While I’m sketching out my outline, I find occasional breaks useful. I’ll open the phone and check Twitter. I try not to check email.
Sometimes, scanning the Twitter stream is simply a diversion. Other times, it triggers further ideas about the blog post. On a few occasions, I’ve engaged with users on Twitter (about the blog post I was writing) and included their thoughts into the post.
You can find the breaks that work best for you. Focus on keeping them short.
5) Write Your Blog Post in Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is what I use, but use your editor of choice. The main point is, don’t write your post within your blog publishing system. You’ll find less pressure and more focus when you write “offline.” When you’re done with the first draft, step away for a few hours (or, overnight), then return later to review and create a final draft.
When done with the final draft, transfer the post to your blog publishing system. Think of this like creating a painting. You get a practice canvas (using erasable paint) to create your masterpiece. When done, the work of art is transferred to the “real” canvas.
Try It, You’ll Like It
Try these few steps before you start writing your next blog post. You’ll like it. And more importantly, your readers will like it, too. Leave a comment below to let me know how it worked out.
Where to Find More of My Blog Posts
At DNN, I’m responsible for our corporate blog: I manage content sourcing, scheduling and editing and even write some posts myself.
Have a look at some of our recent posts and let me know what you think. Also, if you’re interested in contributing to our blog, feel free to reach out to me.
Note: I originally published this post to my LinkedIn profile.