This is a guest contribution from Lorraine Reguly.
“Damn. It’s not perfect, but it’ll have to do.”
“Shit. I wanted it to be better than that.”
Have you ever felt that way before hitting the “schedule” or “publish” button?
I bet you have, during at least one point in your blogging career.
Writing is difficult for many people, and bloggers are no exception. Creating a stellar blog post is the goal, but drafting a blog post often takes a lot of time and frustration. Many bloggers know what they want to say, but just can’t seem to follow an outline or compose a post in a logical order on their first try.
Perfectionists, especially, suffer from this. I know this to be a fact, because I am the mother of all perfectionists! Not only am I a blogger, but I’m a writer AND an editor, too.
As such, I have pretty high standards, and I tend to edit as I write. Most of the time, it drives me crazy. I can’t stand making mistakes, and I hate typos with a passion. When I’m writing with a pen, the paper ends up looking like something a six-year-old might write, full of scribbles. When I’m writing on my laptop, the “backspace” key gets hit more than any other!
To tame my perfectionistic ways and combat overuse of that key, I’ve learned to approach writing by creating drafts first, using two incredibly innovative methods.
The first method is by using stream-of-consciousness writing. The second is by blindfolding myself.
Sometimes I even use the two together!
Innovative Method #1: Stream-of-Consciousness Writing
By definition, stream-of-consciousness writing involves writing down whatever comes to mind, ignoring typos, omitting periods, and basically separating the writing from the editing process. Stream-of-consciousness writing does not have to be logical or follow an order. Instead, rules can be broken and complete freedom from writing conventions should be had.
Psst. Let me tell you a secret. I don’t usually swear online. It’s a bit unprofessional, and the vulgarity of cursing often turns people off.
But guess what?
Swearing can attract people, too. Many people curse, and if they see you doing it, they’ll know you’re a real person, too.
Are you the same person online as off?
Do you “pretend” to be a little bit better, a little bit nicer, and end up being – or feeling – just a little bit phony instead?
With stream-of-consciousness writing, the best thing you can do is to be yourself, your TRUE self. Swear as often as you want. You can delete the curse words later. After all, that is what the editing process is for!
When writing this post, I thought of a few different opening lines.
Here’s an example of how I originally wanted to begin this article:
“Here we go again. More f@!*in’ advice from a damn guest poster.”
“Shee-iiit. She’d better deliver the goods.”
That is SO NOT ME!
But you have to admit, it IS kind of interesting. It also probably would have caused you to continue reading, right?
Either that, or it would have caused you to immediately move on to another post.
As you can see, I wasn’t willing to take that risk. Alternatively, for demonstration purposes, I included it in the body of the post. I wanted to show you that you can move things around when you are finished writing. Again, that’s what the editing process is for, and why posts such as how to edit your own blog posts have been written already!
Benefits of Stream-of-Consciousness Writing
1. You will not be burdened by the constricts of grammar and punctuation.
2. You will feel freer once you get into it.
3. You will appreciate and understand the difference between the writing process, the editing and the formatting process.
4. You can drop the F-bomb… as often as you like!
5. You won’t be judged on what you initially write.
6. You will get addicted to the freedom stream-of-consciousness writing affords you, and you will become more productive as a result.
7. The quality of your blog posts will improve! (Well, hopefully, they will!)
Innovative Method #2: Writing While Blindfolded
This is a great option for you if you tend to write and edit simultaneously – like I do!
To write while blindfolded, you would obviously have to be working at a computer in order to create a draft this way. I don’t know anyone who can write with a pen on paper while blindfolded!
To achieve the blindfolded state, there are many things you could do. You could simply take a scarf or a mask of some sort and cover your eyes, or create one using this template.
Closing your eyes isn’t enough; the temptation to peek is too great! By physically covering your eyes, you will be more conscious of the fact that you have to keep them covered in order to achieve your writing goal.
There are many other ways for you to “blindfold” yourself. You could take an old pair of sunglasses and paint them with nail polish so that you cannot see through them. You could tape paper over them. You could use a cut-up tea towel or pillowcase or some other soft material. If you have access to a dental or surgeon’s mask, you could cover your eyes instead of your mouth and nose with that. Get innovative. Make this exercise fun! Blindfolds come in many shapes and sizes!
4 Benefits of Writing While Blindfolded
1. You might feel a bit ridiculous wearing a blindfold, but the benefits that you will reap will be worth it.
2. You will have a better focus on your content, and won’t be distracted by any typos you see.
3. You’ll train yourself to write faster. Of course, you can improve your writing skills by learning how to type faster, too. 😉
4. You’ll have a greater appreciation for the various stages of editing and formatting a blog post.
Relevant links and images can be added when the bulk of your post has been written.
You can re-order the points of your post, fix the typos, and correct your grammar and punctuation then, too. For the third time, that’s what the editing process is for!
(If you need assistance editing your blog posts, you could always ask me for help. I’ve received recognition for my editing services from BookVetter, from a few authors, and from bloggers, and am rapidly building a plethora of testimonials from others for the quality of my services.)
Innovation Is Key
Innovation when writing can help you create better blog posts.
What other things have you discovered that have helped you write better?
Lorraine Reguly is an English teacher-turned-blogger who offers both writing and editing services to anyone in need. She has been a guest blogger on various websites, is an author, and is currently giving away a free blogging ebook. She can also help you turn your ebook into a print book! Visit Wording Well for more details.
Opening image of typing hands courtesy of Naypong and FreeDigitalPhotos.net, although altered with text by guest post author.