Writing Blogs

If you’ve never written a blog before, you might wonder how the process works. It’s a bit different depending on the length.

Blogs less than 400 words (about four or five paragraphs) are essentially thought missiles launched from a keyboard into cyberspace. They usually convey a single idea or experience from the blogger’s consciousness rather than any research. These blogs are usually written fairly quickly, even in one sitting. Some bloggers consider the length to be optimal for readability while others think they’re just long tweets. You may not gain any insight from reading them but at least you don’t waste much time.

Then there are blogs between 400 and 1,000 or so words. These are mixed bags – maybe a simple idea embellished with unedited wordiness or a more sophisticated idea dropped and left for someone else to salvage. There are probably millions of blog entries in this category. If you’ve got the time, they’re there for the reading.

Once you get past 1,000 words, though, you have to put more thought, more research, and more wordsmithing into it. Unless you’re that person who talked nonstop the 45 minutes from Glenside to Jefferson Station, you won’t be able to do this in one sitting.

The blogs I write average about 1,500 words, although a few are shorter than 400 words. Here’s what writing a 1,000+ word blog is like for me.

  • Day 1: Have an idea. These usually come when showering or waking up.
  • Day 9: Have the same idea again. This time you write it down on a piece of scrap paper before leaving for your day job.
  • Day 31: Find scrap paper with idea while cleaning off desk. Create a Word file with the idea.
  • Day 63: Find file while looking for a copy of your resume. Think about it for a while and create a quick outline with the ideas you wanted to write about.
  • Day 172 through 734: Reopen file periodically just as it’s about scroll off your recent file list. Google things to support your thoughts and add that information to the blog. Repeat until your original idea is thoroughly described and the blog is well over 1,000 words.
  • Day 1,090: Resolve to finish the blog before you start another. Think of three new ideas and write them down. You don’t consider them started until you put them in Word files.
  • Day 1,105: Finish rewriting the blog text and search for some pictures to jazz it up.
  • Day 1,106: Step away from the blog for as long as you can, edit the text one last time, and publish it.

This is a long time to write a blog, but keep in mind that I have dozens of them somewhere in the process all the time. But, it explains why my blogging schedule is so erratic. Not a good thing. Every year, I resolve to finish some of the blogs I’ve started, at least the ones that are over a year old. I started this blog in 2015.

If you want to be a blogger, you have to ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to communicate? Do you plan to write about your life, your hobbies, your career, or something else?
  • Who is your audience? Will you be writing for family and friends, co-workers, Facebook “friends,” or a greater population of people you don’t necessarily know?
  • How much effort do you plan to put into it? Will it be like a part-time job or just a few hours a month? Will it be an ongoing endeavor or something you do sporadically?
  • What is your motivation? Money (good luck with that), fame (you might do better writing an article for trade publication or a letter to the editor), followers (it takes a long time to build up a following), or just to unleash some of your thoughts that won’t fit in a tweet or a Facebook status?

Whatever your motivation is, the hardest part of blogging is perseverance. Coming up with ideas usually isn’t a problem. Regular posting is ideal but not as important as perseverance. If you don’t post, you can’t be heard.



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