Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Blog Article Methodology Inception2finish

My article is intended for beginning bloggers, would-be bloggers, and sporadic bloggers. I have been blogging since September 2009, inspired by TheWriteJob clublet to explore my inner creative writing. After awhile, I noticed a pattern emerging on how I generate a blog article. Recently, I made a presentation to the clublet regarding my process as follows:

principles I advocate regarding blogging, how I choose my topic, my output scheduling, supporting info (or not), stream of consciousness, content organization, editing methodology, publishing, and publicizing

I have heard bloggers present the first two principles as bases for writing; I subscribe to them as well. I present the third principle as a nudge.

  • Write about something you know about.
  • Write about something you're passionate about.
  • Think of writing as pumping iron to achieve or improve written output. It's analogous to an exercise program—you don't attain the conditioning by just watching an exercise video.

Stages (and Publicizing):
For me, there are three stage locations for inception to publishing. Other bloggers might use only two or even just one:

Stage 1: Initial drafts
I start with a working space in my emailer application. I always have it open, and I can save the drafts instantly without needing to commit to a filename or directory structure.

Stage 2: HTML file
I copy my emailer content over to my HTML editor, code the draft, review for mechanical edits, and tweak as necessary to prepare the article for the blog site.

Stage 3: Blogsite post(s)
I copy the final draft onto the blog site and preview it. If I tweak it, I tweak the HTML file also. As part of the third stage, after I publish to the blog, I create a truncated version in TheWriteJob community blog.

Post-article publicizing
I announce the new article.

How I Choose My Topic
Influences are timeliness, inspiration, something in my accordion file folder, or a combination. Inspirations have included a song, a holiday, a recipe, an event, a crossword puzzle, a conversation, … Related: If I think of something, I scribble it, then file it into the folder, for which I have taped a scribbled index inside the flap.

My Output Scheduling
I make it a point to post three times a month. (One month I put up four posts.) Three posts divide pretty neatly into monthly divisions of first 10 days, second 10 days, and whatever is left of the month. For me, self-scheduling is a good motivator.

Supporting Info (Or Not)
A good amount of my assertions and information comes from Google search results. If I have a series of results for an article, I tend to mention main sites. A benefit to citing URLs is ease of finding similar sources for future articles.

Stage 1: Initial Drafts
I create a workspace in my emailer program.

Stream of Consciousness
I key in topic content in a stream of consciousness using my emailer program. I have it open more than any other application, and can save drafts without commitment to filenames. When keying in stream of consciousness, if poking around URLs, I log them near their related content in case I list them in the actual article.

Content Organization
The stream of consciousness can overlap with content organization.

  1. During organization, I generate an opening paragraph or story lead-in. Example thoughts include the following: How the topic come about, a conversation, a song, a news article, something I witnessed, something I've been thinking about for awhile, etc.
  2. I organize the content for flow. I arrange, rearrange, reword, rework, move snippets to the bottom in case I use them or decide to discard them.
  3. I create a closing paragraph, which can come near the end of the organization process. (My shortest closing paragraph had only one word, which is in my article about the Spinach-Cheese Taco.)
  4. I create a label list to insert into the blog label field.

Stage 2: HTML file
I create a webpage for the blog article in an HTML editor. I serialize it, along with its folder. (I create a folder that starts with the number of the article I'm getting ready to post, which is where I house the html page.)

Editing Methodology (Mostly Technical)
Content organization can overlap with editing methodology.

  1. After I copy the contents over to my HTML editor, I fine-tune the article. (I have never been able to totally just copy over without tweaking later.)
  2. I tag the content (paragraphs, lists, …), tweak the URLs as applicable. I occasionally view the article using the design view or browser view for formatting, punctuation, looks, and correct site destinations.
  3. I review for passive vs. active voice. (Active is more engaging.)
  4. I check for subject/verb agreement for number (singular vs. plural) and tense.
  5. Especially for lists, I check for parallel structure—noun, verb, phrase, etc.
  6. I check punctuation.
  7. I spell check.

In this article's case with numerous subtopic titles, I also checked and revised for title-case capitalizations.

Stage 3: Blogsite Post(s)
I publish to my blog site, then publish a truncated version to the community blog site.

  1. I log in to my blog site.
  2. I select for new post, then I copy the formatted article to the wysiwyg view. (I also fill in a new-title field, which becomes the article title and gets associated with the post's URL.)
  3. I paste labels to the blog label field.
  4. I preview, then publish when the article looks right.
  5. I put a truncated article in the community blog as well as my own blog. (This is an anomaly that applies only to me; however, adopt if feasible.)
    1. After I have published my full article to my blog, I note the URL. In my html editor, I then save my full article as [samearticlename]-truncated.
    2. I find a strategic place in a paragraph to select and truncate.
    3. I open a previous-article truncated file and copy boilerplate reference info onto my new truncated article.
    4. I replace the old URL with the new article's URL and save it.
    5. After I navigate to and select the option to post a new article, I paste the truncated article and labels, then publish it.

Post-article Publicizing
I announce the new article in various social media and email lists.

**Topic Ideas**
The following section lists potential topics for blog articles.

  • Suggestions for inspiration topics:
    • What was the best thing that has happened to you this week?
    • What thoughts occurred to you Thursday 2/18 about the plane crash?
    • What was something memorable for you in January?
    • What was at least one Olympic event or news that captured your TV time?
    • What was something new you did or learned in 2009?
    • For bloggers, when did you publish your most recent article? (This is not really a topic, just a nudge.)
  • Suggestions for passion topics:
    • food—cooking, eating, eating out
    • family—immediate, extended, relationships
    • recreation—sports, shopping
    • other topics


Rachel said...

Hey Wanda,

I enjoyed the article. Only thing is, for me, I'd put principle #3 as principle #1 above -- I blog to keep me writing! :-)

come visit me (and leave *your* .02):


whilldtkwriter said...

Thanks for commenting, Rachel! You've got lots of articles for such a short time. Loved your Snow White story from the apple vendor POV at BTW, I have three recipe articles myself (so far)--my "convenient" series. :-)

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