*This is a guest post from Steve Mellor, a writer who shares his insights into an effective process for bloggers*
If you’ve been following Lucy’s advice, you should already have your blog online. I’m sure it was as much of an achievement for you as my first site was for me. Now you are tasked with the job of filling it each day. Lets face it, we all have too much to do already. How do you fill your blog?
Before You Begin
There are a few things that you should know before you start blogging. It’s the basic stuff I tell business people who want a website.
- You have 8 seconds to grab your reader or they will leave your site.
- People don’t care about your company, they just want to solve their problem.
The interesting thing about these two sentences is that acting on the second will negate the first. If you create a blog post that is not focused on your company, but rather what your company can do for your customer, then your readers attention will automatically be grabbed.
With that in mind, lets get to…
Writing it Down
Writing is actually three activities:
It is a common mistake to try and do all three of these activities at once. The human brain likes time to process information so the best thing you can do is split the activities over three days.
This is where you research our article and, for ten minutes only, search google for articles related to your topic. You want to look for the ‘How To’ guides and ‘3 Steps to’, that sort of thing, because those will directly address the problems your customers are facing. Pick one as a topic and make notes about each of the articles. Give it a quick read through when you’re done and then put it away.
Today you will be writing. Don’t look at the notes from day one because your brain has already precessed your research and it can now recall the important bits of information from yesterday.
Take a stop watch, sit at your computer and write, solidly, for 10 minutes. Then stop.
This is a process known as Freewriting and it is tremendously powerful. It doesn’t matter what you write or how bad it is, give yourself permission to write badly. If you can’t think of something to write, write gibberish instead. What are doing is slowly training your brain for the process of writing and, eventually, the words will just flow. Even at the start of this process, you’ll be amazed at how much you can write down in ten minutes and at how good it is.
It sometimes helps to clear your mind before a freewriting session but don’t be tempted to look at your notes. Your brain already knows the relevant information. From a neurological point of view, you are allowing the creative side of your brain free reign to talk about the topic, whilst tuning out the editing part of your brain that would usually stop you from writing.
So effective is this process that even someone who is not a natural writer (I don’t believe in natural writers but that’s a different topic) can do it with ease. We are, after all, social animals and ones that communicate naturally from an early age. That’s what we’re tapping in to here.
This is the editing phase. Take what you wrote yesterday and correct the problems. Check spelling and grammar, go back over the notes you took and make sure you’ve left noting out. Remember, your blog need only be a few hundred words each day but you will end up writing much more with the freewriting system. Your article is finished when the errors are corrected.
Putting it all together
Finally, run these processes together. Each article takes three days to write but there is nothing wrong with writing three articles at once. Start off by writing, move on to editing. You’re not editing the work you’ve just written but rather the work you did the previous day. It is important to give your brain a day between each step. Then, do ten minutes research for the following day’s article and you’re done.
Thanks for reading ;-)
About the Author
Steve started writing in his early teens, at first tackling music and soon moving on to comedy, which he also performed. It wasn’t long until he started writing for other people and soon became a contributor to several shows on radio as well as a published writer. During this time, he completed a degree in Multimedia and started working as a professional web designer, balancing his professional life between writing and web design.
He now works full time in web design as well as running a podcast for aspiring writers at http://writersroom.podbean.com.
*header image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/klytemestra/101561441/