With all of the benefits a writing exercise like @LetsBlogOff provides, they can quickly be forgotten when we stress over it too much. The nature of the challenge is to help you become more comfortable with the creative process. There’s no right or wrong answer here. The challenge is having the confidence to push publish and get your thoughts out there.
So, here’s what I do when I prepare a LetsBlogOff post… (and any other post for that matter)
- I know that I’ll write a LetsBlogOff post every other Tuesday, so I schedule it in my routine. The topic is usually posted the Friday before (the intention is to keep it a bit spontaneous, not giving you too much time to stress over what to write). On that Friday, I go to the site, check the topic and let it marinate over the weekend. Sometimes clarity comes right away, other times I’m not sure what direction to take.
- Regardless, I go to my other favorite writing resource: 750words.com, an online journal where you can log in and ramble, unedited, punctuated and spelled however you please. It’s password protected so you don’t have to be afraid of anyone reading your mish-mash mess. The premise is from a writing exercise from The Artist’s Way, which suggests that it takes 750 words (or 3 pages) before you get to the heart of what you’re trying to say. Buster Benson took this concept and put it in online for those of us who are more comfortable with a keyboard than cursive (and want a more private forum for releasing thoughts than a bedside journal, open to anyone who finds it.) He also created cool ways to track your writing & thought process, like these charts:
- 750 words may sound like a lot, but it only takes about 20-30 minutes. You’d be surprised how much you can go on and on. I guess the speed depends on how fast you can type. Just remember, you’re not doing this with perfection in mind, you’re simply aiming to get the thoughts out of your mind and on the screen. For LetsBlogOff topics, I start writing the name of the topic over and over, until I go off on a tangent or an idea. By the time I get to 750 words, I’ve usually gotten to the gist of what I want to say in the post.
- Then, I’ll paste that into Word and maybe edit a bit, or go on for another 20-30 minutes or so and leave it for a few hours or a day.
- When I come back to it, I read it and start editing. I’ll put the finishing touches on, like format and finding photos, which can sometimes take longer than the writing itself. I enjoy that part, so I do it anyway.
- The entire process takes me about 4 hours. Sometimes I spread it out over a few days, other times I do it all at once. It depends on my schedule. The most important part is to plan for it…. and allow yourself some time for ideas to marinate.
This process helps me with blog posts or brainstorming new projects. What process works for you?
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