How I Blog: My Creative Process

This is not an advice post.

I’ve been thinking about my creative process since a fallout with a writing partner in 2016.

I come to most writing advice with the question, “Is this something that works for me?”

Though my process for fiction is a bit different, this post covers how I write most of the time, specifically for this blog.

This is how I operate.

 

Philosophy

My blog differs from a “traditional” book blog.

I’m just now getting into book tags, which have been a thing for years, and I’ve gotten away from book reviews.

I appreciate those who review books, but I don’t enjoy writing reviews.

I’m no good at objectivity.

Plus, book and film reviews were recommended to me by people who wanted to “legitimize” my writing.

I’m sick of letting others determine which of my work counts as “real” writing.

I let myself write whatever I want without sticking to a theme.

I try to authentically capture experiences from my own life.

I end up writing about books a lot, but I don’t like to limit myself.

Posting Schedule

I’ve tried sticking to a posting schedule at different times in my life.

I hate it.

Normally, I work well with deadlines.

For writing, I hate to feel rushed.

Because of this, even though I write almost every day, I publish whenever I want.

I also really hate setting goals. Hard-and-fast book goals or TBR lists don’t motivate me. I’d rather write when the muses move me.

The rest of this post covers my step-by-step process for creating a blog post, starting with the idea phase.

Theorizing

  1. Come up with a weird idea
  2. Think about idea constantly
  3. Jot down orphaned phrases on a sticky note at work
  4. Hope my coworkers don’t read my sticky note
  5. Chuckle while picturing a top-notch sight gag or passage in all caps
  6. Tell myself, “This post is going to be SO funny.”
  7. Imagine the post going viral
  8. Tell myself, “It probably won’t.”
  9. Tell myself, “But it could.”
  10. Tell myself, “But it won’t.”
  11. Spend 30 minutes imagining being interviewed on Jimmy Fallon
  12. Bat original idea around until I have a title and a focus

Writing

  1. Sit down at laptop before work (and sometimes after)
  2. Drink a giant mug of coffee or tea
  3. Admire mug for 3 minutes
  4. Imagine next mug purchase: where, when, what kind, what size
  5. Remember plan to buy mugs for relatives this year
  6. Run through entire Christmas list
  7. Budget
  8. Look at clock and get back to writing
  9. Vomit the half-formed ideas in my head into one post
  10. Try to connect ideas in order with a theme that makes sense
  11. Cry because the post lacks a point
  12. Avoid post for months
  13. Come back to post later to reread it
  14. Think of a line that ties everything together
  15. Write some zingers
  16. Leave post 90% finished and think, “Eh, good enough.”

Editing

  1. Take out all the passive language
  2. Take out all the apologies and equivocation
  3. Take out all the swearing
  4. Put some of the swearing back in
  5. Reframe ideas in fewer words
  6. Delete entire paragraphs
  7. Combine previously disconnected sentences
  8. Reduce word count by 40%
  9. Increase word count by 50% to clarify some points
  10. Reduce word count another 30%
  11. Think of great quotes that would support my idea
  12. Debate whether I want to look up the quotes and cite them properly
  13. Remember a quote from my favorite book
  14. Look at the bookshelf not four inches away and decide it’s too much work to look it up
  15. Ponder whether I remember anything about MLA format
  16. Realize I’ve forgotten everything about APA and will never publish research papers
  17. Cry
  18. Reread post a second time
  19. Then a third
  20. Sometimes a fourth, fixing the grammar as I go
  21. Still miss one or two grammar mistakes in spite of everything I’ve done

Formatting

  1. Categorize post under a heading
  2. Brainstorm appropriate buzzwords
  3. Choose a decent featured image from free image library
  4. Hate how blurry it is
  5. Use Google Safesearch to find images labeled for reuse
  6. Comment on all the images that pop up that have nothing to do with my search terms: “That’s Jennifer Lawrence. That’s a trawler. That’s cheesecake. That’s the military. That’s a logo. That’s a sports team. That’s Kevin Costner. That’s clipart.”
  7. Find nothing
  8. Tweak search terms
  9. Yell at Pixabay for not allowing hotlinking
  10. Reconsider free image library
  11. Find a gigantic, yet hilarious, relevant image
  12. Change image search size to “icon”
  13. Find nothing
  14. Upgrade to “medium”
  15. Find the same giant images that gave me trouble before
  16. Pick one and hope for the best
  17. Forget to change customized message for Twitter
  18. Panic
  19. Type out something hacky that makes me cringe
  20. Refuse to edit and hope for the best
  21. Hit publish
  22. Remember post needs a “Read More” tag
  23. Edit post
  24. Determine where to make readers click “Read More”
  25. Wonder if they want to
  26. Update post
  27. Read post on site
  28. See grammatical errors I missed
  29. Tell myself I’ll fix them later

Feedback

  1. Obsessively check stats at work
  2. Tell myself, “It’s fine, it doesn’t matter.”
  3. Keep checking
  4. Gasp in pleasant surprise at any likes
  5. Check out followers’ blogs
  6. Wonder why some followers chose to follow my blog
  7. Respond to comments (rare)
  8. On days with fewer views, tell myself it’s not about numbers
  9. On days with lots of views, anxiously hope for more
  10. Revisit Jimmy Fallon fantasy
  11. Tell myself to calm down
  12. Don’t
  13. See a post I like on the WordPress reader
  14. Feel the niggling of a new idea in my brain
  15. Start back at Theorizing, Step 1
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