Like most careers, it’s so beneficial to have a process in place for your work to help make you more productive. I’ve seen many designers approach this subject, but not bloggers.
My method may not suit everyone out there, and that’s completely fine. Instead, I hope it inspires and encourages you to think about your own creative process.
Having a creative process is a way of being able to craft the best content possible. It contains various steps that you have to take to get to a finished product. (Want to know why it’s so important to have a creative process? Check out the first post of this series!)
As a blogger, I know you have a lot of fears. One of the biggest of these fears is the feeling that you’re writing to no one. The feeling that you’re not giving your audience something; whether that be entertainment, motivation or teaching them something new.
Coming up with a solution to a reader’s problem that really speaks to them is the biggest struggle when it comes to communicating an idea. That’s why this part of my process is one of the most important - and also the most difficult.
Writing the actual content is the part of my creative process that makes me the most nervous. And, no surprises here, it’s the most time-consuming step too. The way the blog post is going to look and how my readers react to the content, all hinges on each individual word that I write.
It’s been eye-opening for me as I’ve written this creative process so far. It’s made me realise why I spend so much time in steps one and two - coming up with the idea and doing the research. It’s purely for the writing.
You might not think writing a blog post is that difficult or time-consuming. You might be able to smash one out in half an hour. So why does it take me so long? How do I go about putting the ideas and research into words? How do I get to the finished blog post? Here’s a look into what step three of my creative process looks like for me.
Schedule blocks of time to write
In the 7+ years that I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve learnt that I can’t write a piece of content in little chunks. I’ve also learnt that I don’t work productively when I multi-task and work on writing the same blog post for a few days in a row.
What works well for me (and what I recommend you try), is blocking off certain times to write and that’s it. I talked about this more in a post from a couple of weeks ago.
Let’s say one evening you’ve got 45 minutes to work on your blog. You know that’s not going to be enough time to get a blog post done. So you concentrate on completing another task instead.
Then the next evening, you see you’ve got an hour and a half blocked off in your schedule for blog work. You know this is plenty of time to write a post, so you set this time aside purely for that.
For me, I need at least a one hour window of time to dig in and get lost in my writing. So when I’m scheduling my week, I make sure I put my writing tasks in spaces when I know I’ve got enough time to complete them.
Make sure I have everything I need
Can anyone else relate to being in the right mood to write a blog post?
I know writing is a definite skill of mine - but I also know that it doesn’t always come naturally to me. There’ll be some days when I really struggle with this step, usually due to lack of motivation or inspiration.
Usually, I work best at my desk in my bedroom (which will change when I get my own place). For this, I usually need Spotify, a cup of tea and a candle burning to make sure my environment is as peaceful and positive as possible.
But I’ve recently found that I actually love working from my local Starbucks. The first time I tried this out, I accomplished more work than I had in ages! You might think it’d be a distraction. For me, I love the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop environment. It really helps with my productivity and inspires my creativity.
I’ll also put a little note here about taking regular breaks. If I know I’m going to be working for most of the night when I get home from work, I’ll step away from my workspace every 45 minutes. Taking a break is SO important for your health and productivity.
Refresh myself with the first and second step
This is why having a creative process is so important. When you don’t know what to write next, or you feel like you’re losing your flow, you’ve got steps one and two to help you.
There’s a reason behind each point and each section in every single blog post I create. Every word has to relate to the overall message or purpose of the post, which is sometimes why I find this step so difficult.
I keep my idea outline and my research notes to hand as I’m writing, so I can refer back to them. It makes this whole step run so much smoother for me. I know what I’m writing where, I know how things are going to look and most importantly - I know the main thing I’m trying to do for my audience.
I’m very careful not to go off topic or mention anything that’s going to confuse people, even slightly. Every word I write and every point I make has got to be within the main outlook of the piece of content.
Remove all distractions
Now, I love a good scroll through Twitter and Instagram just as much as you. But I also know how much it can affect my productivity in a negative way. It’s so easy to just open a new tab or check my phone and tell myself I’m just having a quick check.
That quick check can easily turn into fifteen minutes of pointless scrolling.
So I don’t allow myself to do it. When I block time off to write, I write and that’s it. Social media can be checked later. You can do this too if you have the right mindset.
take a step away
I don’t include editing in this step of my creative process. It’s so important that ideally it needs a section on its own (so tune in tomorrow for that! 😉)
My favourite thing to do is come back to the post the next day. Looking at it with fresh eyes is really useful for making sure it flows well and also helps me spot any mistakes.
How can you make this step work for you?
As bloggers and content writers, this obviously one of the most important steps for us in our creative process. That’s why it’s so useful to look at how this third step could work for you. Could your writing process be made more effective? Are you working as productively as you can?
Now it’s your turn - what does the writing step in your creative process look like for you? What’s your perfect set-up for writing blog posts?