Thursday, July 29, 2010

ON BLOGGING ~ My Blogging Bible...

When you stop by here during the week and don't see a new post up that day, it is for one of three reasons:

1. The rest of my life got in the way and I just didn't have time
2. The previous post is something I feel deserves an extra day of attention
3. I couldn't come up with anything to write about

I always applaud people who put their priorities on the real world over the blogosphere so #1 is A-OK. I also believe in the power of promotion - giving your words an extra opportunity to be seen is A-OK too. But having a blank slate when it is time to post? That is just plain annoying. And it sucks the joy of blogging right out of me.

I've posted before about a brainstorming technique I use every now and then to kick writer's block. But today I want to address the benefits of a blog journal. I have limited time for blogging - just like you. So I don't like to waste that time sitting around wondering what I could write about. Wouldn't it be nice to have a book filled with post ideas to refer to in times of blankness? Well, I have one. My little spiral notebook with different colored sections is my blog bible.

In my journal I write down all of my ideas - good or bad - that pop into my head at all hours of the day or night. Sometimes it is just a snippet of a phrase that might make a good post title. Other times it is a broad idea for a big series. I write down sites that I think might be helpful or useful someday. I take notes in there from online conferences I attend or tips I read on other blogs. It is a catchall for any and every thought that might make a great post or teach me how to blog more easily.

This collection of ideas makes it easier for me to get out of a lazy moment or writing slump. I take things a little further and plot out posts for the upcoming month. I enjoy flipping through my blog bible and reviewing these random thoughts of mine and slotting them into a day where they might actually have a chance to be born for the blogosphere to discover. It also saves me time each night when I get home. I don't have to come up with an idea. And I don't have to go pick one out. I just look at what I suggested for myself for that day - and I write it.

I rarely follow a month's plot fully. I am forever switching posts around because I'm not really into writing that one - but the one for next week fits my mood just right. Or I don't have the accompanying photos taken for a planned idea so I put it off until I do and write something else from the list. My monthly post plots are a guide, and a safety net each night. But to some of you, that much planning might feel constricting or unnecessary because you like spur of the moment or don't keep to a regular writing schedule.

The most important tip I'm trying to convey here is that capturing your random thoughts and ideas can be a big help in saving time or to get you through a rough patch of writer's block. How you collect them is up to you. Find a method that works for you and put it to the test.


cardiogirl said...

Wonderful idea! I just recently had an awesome idea for a post and then filed in the very back drawer of my brain.

And it's gone now. If I had at least written it down on a scrap of paper I'd have some clue, but I just knew I wouldn't forget it.

BZZZZ. Wrong answer Cardiogirl; the correct answer was: Write it in a blogging journal.

Excellent tip!

Mike said...

I never really have a drought on ideas of things to write about, but I do feel guilty when I cannot find the time to read other peoples blogs. Sometimes I slow down for that reaon.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm chuckling because while I don't have very many big ideas for my blog (I keep the posts pretty full on just book reviews and let it rip on Sundays), I do OFTEN have random ideas for MOnday Movie Meme pop into my head. But do I write them down? NO! I need to start doing that, so I can get first dibs on the best movies!

Margot said...

I actually have a system similar to yours. I don't use a notebook although sometimes lots of little pieces of paper. I have a different pages in my laptop for the different topics I write about - book reviews, movies, food, travel, short stories. If I get an idea away from my laptop I write it on whatever is handy (I keep paper everywhere). Then I corral everything together on the appropriate page.

Each page has a note section for possible good ideas. On each page I also have a list of past posts so I keep the variety going. For instance, on my travel section I list past Favorite Places so I'm not doing all the posts on Alaska or another place I've already told about.

I also keep a section on each page for writing future posts. I may have an idea about a food article with a few sentences or paragraphs. The post is at least started and, when I get back to it, it's easier to keep on writing. When I done writing the post I transfer it to my blog. This system also helps me keep a few posts ahead for when I travel or decide to take time off from the blog for other things.

In conjunction with the pages on my laptop I also have one of those blank calendars from Office Depot. Here is where I plot out my posts. Somethings are the same on certain days every week but the rest of the days I can play around and switch things up from time to time.

Being organized helps keep life flowing on an even keel. Plus, organizing things is a lot of fun. At least this is what works for me.

BookChook said...

Somehow (masochism?) I began a schedule of posting every week day. What works for me is something similar to your bible, only digital. I have a dump doc where I put snippets of anything - ideas, fragments, links - an in progress doc where I am drafting articles for the blog, and an entries doc for each month where I paste the finished article and its scheduled/posted date. I do some research and writing every day, but really work hard on weekends to get drafts developed. When i stick, I move on to another one.

Kathleen said...

I just recently started a blogging notebook and have actually written down some post ideas. Of course now I have to actually sit down and write something as a result!

Patty Reiser said...

I have been keeping an "idea Notebook" since the middle of last year. Whenever I get post ideas I write them down and save them for later. Or if I am really inspired they will be turned into an actual post immediately. said...

I use a notebook and my little notes app on my iPod for those times that I am not at home. I hate having a 'brilliant' idea only to forget about it by the time I think to write it down!

Pinkim said...

I just recently became a blogger and this is an excellent idea...actually someone else has suggested it to me also...I am of an age where i don't always remember it all anyway so...this is the perfect idea! Thanks

Forgetfulone said...

What a great idea!

stacybuckeye said...

At the beginning of the year I started a planner for the blog which I felt very helpful. It lasted 4 months. I know I need to get back on track because in a few months I will need some quiz ideas in reserve. There has been more than one Monday at midnight that had me staring at a blank screen with no quiz ideas! Maybe I could borrow your blog bible for a week ;)

soleil said...

I have a mini journal that I write ideas in. Sometimes I will plot out ideas for a week in my drafts. Sometimes I stick with it, sometimes I don't.
Although that little book of ideas doesn't always help me out when I am in a bit of slump. That's when the blog gets a little quiet.