I’m back from New Orleans and I promise to write a re-cap post once I have a couple more photos to include.
For now, however, let’s re-visit our earlier conversation about the blogging process. Like any kind of writing, the process of blogging can be broken down into four steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Choosing topics falls into the pre-writing category, so let’s look at the other steps.
Drafting: According to this incredibly helpful article from MIT, the drafting process is supposed to be writer-centered. Get your ideas out, they tell us, and worry about going back and revising later. To a certain extent, this is exactly how I compose my blogs– I write out everything I want to say in one fell swoop and then I go back and revise.
But I also revise as I go along. Sometimes I’ll have a good idea in my head before I start, and sometimes it comes later. At other times, I get deep into my “drafting” zone and whatever brilliant nugget I thought of earlier never finds a “place” in the natural flow of things.
Sometimes I don’t even make full sentences or paragraphs. I’ll simply type out the “nuggets” and build paragraphs around them. The transitions will come later, I tell myself. Sometimes they don’t.
For the most part, the process I use for writing blog posts isn’t that much different from the other types of writing I do. I try to think a little more about what the audience might want to read, but that’s about it. I try to keep my tone more conversational than I might in work-related copy and I try harder to keep my posts more on-topic than in personal emails, but the process itself is pretty much the same.
As I’m drafting, I don’t worry much about structure, unless I have a clear-cut idea of what I’m going to say. If it’s a top 10 list of my favorite books, for example, the structure/organization will be pretty easy. If it’s just a rambling post about my latest idiotic adventure, I might go on and on and on for ages before I figure out where the “good parts” are.
Zach Morris Moment: If you can’t tell by now, I’m intentionally writing this post as an example of a “draft.” The more I write the more I realize I’m rambling and I need to revise. For illustrative purposes, I’m fighting the urge to cut, move, and refine the text above.
Sometimes I have an outline. Either in my head, on the screen or occasionally, on paper. Sometimes I have almost all of the post written before I even open up my laptop. It just depends on the type of post and the complexity of the subject.
There is no outline for this post, for example, because even though I knew I wanted to write about the blogging/composing process, I’m not sure what I want to say about it. In fact, I was originally going to write just one post about how I blog, but the first post was so long I decided to break it up. Had there been a pre-determined outline for the first post, the subject of actually writing the blogs night have just been a sentence or two.
Zach Morris Moment: At this point in the “normal” writing process I would realize that this post has become too long and rambling and is not yet ready for publication. I would also realize that it’s 11:15 p.m. and Mad Men comes on in 15 minutes. I would normally hit “save” and re-visit this post at a later date. Instead, I’m going to hit “publish” (without even spell-checking) and hope that my explanation that this is just a draft is enough to keep the hecklers at bay.
(Seriously, people… I know this isn’t a well-composed piece of work. Go easy on me)