My Blog Writing Process
Since the dawn age of Dial-up Internet and the days of my sister, brother and I fighting over whose turn it was to use the family PC, I've always had some sort of online presence to connect with people and express myself through the written word. Though I've never been big on journaling (unless we're talking about LiveJournal), as a quiet and introverted person (two personality traits which seem to be quite common amongst my fellow Internet dwellers), the Internet has been a space for me to process my thoughts more coherently when at times, I'm not so good at doing so verbally. Don't get me wrong, there are friends and social situations that can bring out the chatterbox in me, but when I feel as if verbal communication can be draining or I forget all that I want to say, writing is a reenergising form of expression and a means of speaking more freely for me. A few months back, I shared My Blog Photography Process with you all, so today, I thought I'd take you through the other, but equally as important, component to putting together a blog post - my writing process.
Before I can begin writing or even photographing, it all has to start with an idea and when it comes to writing about beauty, I try to do so in a way that's creative, honest and personal. I like to tell a story, share an anecdote and draw in on my personal experiences when I write because I know when I read blogs, I enjoy getting to know the person behind the blog. I try to steer clear of posts like 'monthly favourites' or 'five to try' because they're just a bit uninspired to me. The same goes for lifestyle content too; I like my lifestyle posts to be about something specific to me or my personal experiences because really, how many more '10 Ways to Unwind' or 'How to Be a Successful Blogger' posts do you need on your Bloglovin' feed? When is this privileged, preachy and self-righteous BS going to stop?
I only write about what I enjoy reading on other blogs and coming up with my blog post ideas usually happens randomly and spontaneously; mostly when I'm out and about or just before I fall asleep. If I've accumulated a few new products, it's pretty easy to come up with blog post ideas that way too. When a new idea springs into mind, I usually jot it down first in the Notes app on my phone so I don't forget and then when I'm at my desk, I'll transfer my list of ideas into my blogging Moleskine. I still really enjoy putting pen to paper when I can. For my beauty posts, I'll make a bullet point list of the products I want to photograph and reference back to this when I begin my photography process because there is nothing worse than taking a photo you're really proud of only to forget something in it! Once the blog post has been published, I'll tick it off in my Moleskine. Not every idea will make it on my blog; sometimes I change my mind on whether I think it's a good idea or other times, it just doesn't excite me enough to want to write about it. Love for what you do can speak volumes in your writing.
Writing isn’t something that comes as easily to me as photography and if I’m writing a whole blog post in one sitting, it can take hours. I always know what I want to say, it’s just a matter of being able to word my sentences well and structure them in a way that flows naturally. I also try to be mindful of the language I use because although I love a well-written blog post, I don't want to come across as too magazine-like. For example, the word "edit" really irks me in blog post titles. I mean, what is this? Vogue?
More often than not, I'll have my blog photos taken and uploaded beforehand because once I have photos I’m really happy with, the words usually come a lot easier to me. Being more of a visual person, having the photos done first helps with the writing process because I feel as if it somehow gets the words flowing more freely and helps inspire my writing.
I'm a very meticulous person and as you've probably noticed, I enjoy being descriptive and thorough in my writing. Aesthetics are something I really value in a blog, but to me, the words are just as important and I love getting lost in my thoughts and typing away endlessly. I'm not the most concise writer, but I love sharing all those little details. I used to worry about people not reading my blog posts because they were too long, but I've learnt to accept my voice for what it is and to just keep writing the way I love to write. Everyone has their own unique voice with different stories to tell and I honestly don't care who does or doesn't read my blog. The first person I write this blog for is me - having you guys around is just a really awesome bonus!
If I'm suffering from writer's block, I'll take breaks here and there, so I can come back to it with a clearer mind. Other times, it helps to just get words onto the page and I'll go back and fine tune it later. I seem to always struggle with the introduction paragraph of my posts, so when that happens, sometimes I'll go onto the body section and revisit it later. However, most of the time, I try to get my introduction done before I move onto the body because I'm weird and prefer working in order. At times, I'll find myself staring at the computer for ages because the words just can't come to me, so it's when that happens that I'll usually retire for the day and come back to it the next. Funnily enough, the next day, I'll end up typing away endlessly and I'm on a roll! Whether it's my writing or photography process, switching off can really do wonders. I never try to force it because I'm never proud of my work when I do and that's also when it stops being fun.
Occasionally, I'll use sub-headings to make my lengthy posts easier to read, but it also depends on how I want the paragraphs to flow. Otherwise, I'll use photos to break up the text a little. Sometimes I'll also end my blog post with a conclusion, it just depends on whether I think my post needs it or not, I more so do this with my lifestyle posts than my beauty ones. With my beauty blog posts, I'll just end them with a question to encourage engagement and to get to know you guys a little better.
As I'm typing up my blog post, I'll sometimes need to open up a new tab on Google Chrome to do some research, particularly when I'm writing about beauty. This may include, but isn't limited to shade descriptions, skincare ingredients, what the product claims to do and the notes in fragrances. I wouldn't say I'm super knowledgeable in beauty - I just try to be informative through honesty - and even though I guess I would know more than the average person, it's still important to me to provide you with my personal experience, as well as actual information. I know I always appreciate thoroughness and attention to detail in blog posts. When it comes to beauty, especially in skincare, so many people are just like, "This is so hydrating and feels amazing!" without saying why or how and it seems so pointless to talk about skincare if you're not going to address these things. Blogging isn't just about pretty pictures to me and to be honest, I'm so bored of bloggers who are scared to criticise brands and not offer anything constructive or informative!
I proofread my writing an obsessive amount. As I finish each paragraph I type, I'll stop to proofread and make tweaks where needed, whether it be to my spelling, grammar, punctuation or syntax. I'm usually pretty good at this stuff, though I enjoy proofreading heaps just to make sure everything flows, makes sense and feels natural to read. Sometimes I'll have tabs of the dictionary and thesaurus open to ensure what I'm saying is correct (I used to use to the words "infamous" and "alas" wrong!) or to use different words so I don't sound too repetitive. Even after hitting publish, I may still miss a mistake or two and I'll need to go back and edit them. I think that's only natural and bound to happen when you've been staring at your own work for so long.
Out of every step in the entire blogging process, collecting links is by far my most dreaded task of all! It's incredibly boring and tedious stuff. I don't use affiliate links as I don't think it's really worth it for a small hobby blog like mine and I also cater my links to my Australian readers just because there aren't as many of us and it's important to me to represent this small community in some way. I'm really not trying to sell anything to anyone, anyway. I'm just here to talk about what I love and the links are mostly there to provide further information.
Scheduling and promoting
Once I've finished writing up my blog post to my satisfaction and I've got all my links in, I'll go ahead and schedule it. I don't have a content calendar because I don't have my shit together enough for that, but I try to have at least one lifestyle post go up each month, not including my Life Lately post. This doesn't always happen whether it be time constraints or my photos not coming along as planned, but when I feel like I've done too many beauty posts in a row, I'll make sure to get a lifestyle post in.
I don't schedule my posts heaps in advance; I usually set it to be published for the day after I've finished typing the post and always at 4pm AEST. I like 4pm because it's just before most people would knock off work and I notice that's when all the UK bloggers' posts go live (I think that's 7am GMT), so I like to join in with them! This will probably change now that Daylight Savings is here though.
Sometimes I forget to promote my posts, but I'm trying to make it more of a habit. I have no idea if it brings in more page views, I just enjoy using my super cool customised likeneon.love Bit.ly link! You can learn how to make your own here. Using Buffer, I schedule in my Twitter promo for the day after my post goes live and at 8am AEST to give people something to read when they start their day. I only promote my posts once because Bloglovin' already pushes my post to Twitter as soon as it goes live and too many Twitter promos can get annoying, I think. Sometimes during my photography process, I'll take a photo on my phone to promote posts on Instagram, though I don't like my blog and Instagram to have too many of the same photos, so I only do this occasionally.
Photography will always be my favourite aspect of blogging, I think that's only natural being a more visual person, but nevertheless, I really do enjoy writing and it's such a satisfying feeling seeing your thoughts essentially come to life. While some people can write a week's worth of blog posts in a day, it takes me almost all day just to write one! Like my photography process, however, I try not to force my writing, so if I need to mull over a post for a few days, I will. I may not be the most regular blogger, but just know every bit of my heart and soul goes into each post I write and that I just want to do the best I can. I think I'm always going the kind of blogger whose posts are tl;dr, but as I mentioned, I've learnt to accept my voice for what it is and I'm so grateful to have this platform to express myself creatively and share what I love with like-minded people.
What does your blog writing process look like?