Thursday, February 15, 2018

How to Write A Blog Post When You Have Zero Time or Ideas (A Guide by A Busy, Exhausted Blogger)

Despite what you see on Instagram, the blogger's life is far from glamorous. It's not #fab. Nor is it #flawless or #BloggersofInstagram. It's messy desks, an even messier whiteboard, dirty mugs, half-eaten chocolate bars, and blog post ideas scribbled on random pieces of paper sticking out from underneath the bed, protruding from desk drawers, and smushed between books and dust bunnies.

At least that's what my blogging life looks like. Yes, it is entirely possible that I'm the one blogger who just can't get her act together. This occurs to me as I sit on my bed and ponder my current situation:

It's Thursday and I know I have a blog due to publish tomorrow. I also know that I have to leave for work (#AdultingProbs) and school (#CollegeStudentLife) in about an hour and won't be back until 6:15 PM, at which point I will be too tired and annoyed to write anything (#SoDone). By glancing at my whiteboard, I realize that I have used up all my blog post ideas, so I can't just pull one from there and get to work. This means that I have to formulate a blog post idea and execute it in less than an hour.

Can I do it?

Yes. Absolutely.

How do I know this? Because I've been in this situation about a million times (#NeverLearn).

If you're reading this post, it probably means that you have, too. OR it means that you're here looking to be entertained by my psychotic blogging methods. Either way, you're in for a treat:

Let's talk about how to write a blog post when you have no ideas or time:
How to Write A Blog Post When You Have Zero Time or Ideas (A Guide by A Busy, Exhausted Blogger)
Step 1: Don't panic. Seriously. Your computer can smell fear. Do not give it the upper hand. Approach your computer slowly and calmly. Look it directly in the webcam and let it know who's boss: You. That mess, rumpled, behind-on-everything, blogger.

Step 2: Check your list of ideas. What list? Well, ideally you have a list on your whiteboard or computer (or both) that you add to anytime you get a blog post idea. Though, if you're like me, you've probably forgotten to update it...or nothing on the list is suitable for your current situation, which is: Don't-think-just-write-full-speed-ahead-oh-gosh-I'm-going-to-be-late-to-work-help. If this is the case, then:

Step 3: Think about the quickest, simplest topic possible. The one you know inside and out. It could be a list of comic books and manga you enjoy or twists writers should put on the chosen one trope. It could be a rant on romance in YA novels or maybe you can catch up on one of those blog tag challenges. Something. Anything. If you're still stuck, send out an SOS on twitter like this one:

Step 4: Don't worry about whether people will think it's a cop-out post. This is your blog. If they don't like it, you can show them the door (#IfYouDon'tHaveSomethingNiceToSay). Besides, nobody is reading your blog consistently to try and catch you doing something wrong. Either they read your blog each week because they like your writing or they just pick and choose which posts of yours appeal to them. Either of these reader types will be fine with what you decide to post because one type will love it unconditionally and the other type won't be interested this week, but will try again next week.

Step 5: Write the thing. Now. Right now. Fast and furious. Play some Twenty One Pilots or EDM and get to it. Don't pause. Don't edit. Right down the words as they come to you. If they don't come to you, then chase them down by gulping some tea or scrolling through your Pinterest nerd-references board really quickly (set a timer for 2-minutes). Does what you just wrote suck? Yeah, probably. But keep going anyway (#GoBigOrGoHome).

Step 6: Edit the thing. No macro edits. Don't change entire paragraphs or anything like that. Ain't nobody got time for that. Just edit for typos and sentences that make zero sense (Hint: there will be a lot of them).

Step 7: Throw in some gifs. Because people are visual and it may distract them from all of your typos. And also make your post seem not so incredibly long. Maybe. Probably not. But whatever.

Step 8: Do all those annoying blogger things you have to do. Like creating a cover image, adding labels to your post, customizing the permalink, embedding social media sharing buttons, and making sure that all links open into a new window. Pause and try to recall the other annoying details you always forget.
Oh. Right. Type up an alt text to your cover image so that it looks nice on Pinterest (though they'll probably change the algorithm again, so who knows if this is even worth it?). Add the "related articles" section that you're pretty sure nobody ever pays attention to. Next, add the "subscribe" text at the bottom of the post that you're absolutely sure nobody ever pays attention to. And don't forget your Amazon affiliate disclaimer. You're not sure what exactly the point of it is, but you read somewhere that you could get sued if you didn't, so in it goes. Just in case.

Step 9: Realize that your post will have mistakes. A lot. The number of typos may be unparalleled....In fact, you probably broke some kind of Guinness World Record. But you don't have time to edit it again, sooo....¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Step 10: Freak out because your post will have mistakes. Just a little bit. Though, if you're feeling super tired or super proud of yourself for having pounded out an entire post in 45-minutes flat, you can feel free to skip this step.

Step 11: Congratulate yourself. Who just averted the catastrophe of breaking your "A New Post Every Friday" streak? You. Be proud.

Step 11: Be worried that people will realize that you are a fraud. Panic because what if they find out that you're blogging methods are so erratic? What if they can tell that you just wrote the thing in 45-minutes? What if they put you in Blogger Jail (#Fail)?

Step 13: Shrug it off. Who are they to judge, anyway? Nobody. Can they write a post in 45-minutes? No? Well then. Any criticism isn't really relevent, then, is it?

Step 14: Publish the thing. Slam the "publish" button. Do it. Do it now.

Step 15: Repeat again in a few weeks. Because #LivingOnTheEdge and #Procrastinator and #IDoWhatIWant.

Aaand there you have it. That's how you write a blog post when you have no ideas and zero time. You're welcome.

What does your panicked, procrastinating blogging method look like? Let me know if the comment section below!

Also, I'm curious: Now that I have revealed my writing secrets: How many of you were actually aware of the fact that about 70% of my blog posts are written by the seat of my pants? And that 99% of them are written the day before I publish them? Let's have a show of hands! I must know.

Related articles:
7 Tips for Balancing Your Writing with the Rest of Life
Why You Need to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Writers (And How to Do It)
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20 comments:

  1. This was perfect in every way possible!

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  2. This speaks to me on a deep and personal level, and I haven't even started my blog yet.
    I have this ominous feeling that I am going to be referring back to this post. A lot. So you may have just saved my life.

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    1. Lol! I'm happy to be of service. =) Let me know when you start up that blog! We last-minute-blog-post-writers need to stick together.

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  3. The more I'm panicking about getting the post done, the more GIFS I use. I guess it's a kind of distraction method (Don't look at my bad writing! Look at the GIFS!).
    This post will be extremely helpful, which tells you something about my blogging habits...

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    1. Hahaha! YES. Gifs are an excellent distraction. =D Thanks for the comment!

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  4. I am a major planner (I wrote a couple of next month's posts last month), but at the same time, half my posts still end up being spontaneous, like my monthly poems and my book reviews. I don't know what it is with me and poetry, but I can't force the words, or they sound terrible. Thanks for the tips, Hannah. I'll be sure to keep your encouragement in mind! =)

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    1. That's so interesting! I don't write poetry, but I can see how they would be hard to force out.

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  5. Pretty sure we follow the same blogging school of thought here. I laughed so hard because I just did this same thing.. and I don't give a rat's patootie if I have mistakes-#liesItellmyself in my blog post. I will go back an fix them #finallythetruth later when I reread the post once it publishes. Thanks for the giggle #lovehonesty I do have a focus planner and that helps #notalie

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    1. Lol! Glad to meet a fellow last-minute blogger #HighFive Thanks for the fun comment!

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  6. This is a good post here. I am more of a pantster when it comes to blog posts; mainly cause I'm not in the right place to plan and I have a busy life.
    But thankfully I somehow, most of the time, get ideas down to work with and send out when I think it's a good time. #easyblogging. :)

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    1. I really like this chill approach to blogging! Go you!

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  7. "99% are written the day before" shhhh, don't give all our bloggy secrets away! 😂

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  8. LOL, I love that you address the whole "I'm a fraud" mentality in here. It's so true... and so wrong. This is supposed to be what we do for fun, right?

    As a pantser, I don't see any advantages to having a post sit around for a week before publishing. It's not like the writing gets any better if it sits in the queue. Maybe once I put myself on a blogging schedule I'll change my mind, though. ��

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  9. I write 90% of my blog posts the day they are supposed to be done. Including today's post..
    Will keep these tips in mind! Especially about keeping a list if blog post ideas, don't know why I never thought of that. Normally I come up with a bunch of cool post ideas in class when I'm bored and then forget to type them up.

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  10. Great tips, Hannah! I love #4 and #8.

    I like to batch-write my posts during the times when I have a lot of ideas/inspiration, and then post them when I'm not feeling so inspired. But gosh, I really do worry about those typos and broken links - even when I'm sure I've planned everything down to the millimeter.

    xx
    k.

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  11. I have blog posts scheduled out until April, at least, at he moment, but I've rearranged them probably half a dozen times because I wasn't feeling capable/ready to write a scheduled blog post that week and went to hunt down an easier topic, lol. I try to write all of my blog posts for a given week on the prior Saturday, which tends to work pretty well so that I'm not scrambling for posts usually, but there have been weeks that I've had to come up with something totally new, and before my schedule? Pshhhhhhhhhhhh. Yeah, that didn't go very well. XD
    Even despite my schedule I will likely have to refer back to this post *at least* once. XD
    Your posts are always wonderful, even if they are written only shortly before they need to go up. :)

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  12. I read this as I procrastinate writing a blog post . . .

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