Work Ahead – Planned, Considered Blogging

by Randy Murray on April 27, 2010

Writing is hard work – don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. And for those of us who publish blogs regularly, it can be difficult to produce fresh, thoughtful material on a regular schedule. I publish five days a week without exception. And it is work. It’s enjoyable, but it’s work.

And it can be wearing, especially if you’re doing it on the fly. I know many bloggers who scramble to produce fresh content, kicking it out at the last minute.  To produce high quality writing you must allow time to review and rewrite. While many bloggers fall on the wrong side of the “authenticity vs. quality” debate, I find that to produce content that works, one must allow time to think, not just fire and forget. If you want your words to have impact you need to produce clear, error-free copy. I often fall short of that goal, but having the goal is what drives me to do better work.

I’ve found that the best solution is to work ahead, to write my posts and let them sit for at least a day. And I have the added benefit of having a top-notch editor, Penny, who reviews and comments on my work before I publish.

Here’s how I work.

First, I plan my posts for the entire week. Since I’m working a week ahead, I also review the calendar to see if I’m covering any particularly interesting dates or holidays. . Sometimes I have a theme (like the Week of Why, and other times I return to common topics, like my Friday “Writing Assignments”. But the key is this: I plan and look ahead. I also have a list of topics I’ve considered for future posts that I can draw from.

Here’s the topic list for the current week:

  1. Simple Productivity Task of The Day: The Shape Of The Day
  2. Work Ahead – Planned, Considered Blogging
  3. 50
  4. Secrets From The Other Side of 50
  5. Writing Assignment

Next, I begin the first drafts. I typically draft one or two posts at a time. I work in a word processor, offline.

And here’s the most important step: then I save the document and wait a day. The waiting is critical. It removes you from the heat and excitement of the first draft and lets you read your work with fresh eyes and a cool, critical mind. I find that the changes and corrections I make at this stage significantly improve my work.

At this point I transfer my work to my Wordpress site, add links, images, and any layout that’s required. When I’m finished, I notify Penny, my editor. Penny reviews and makes any minor grammatical and punctuation changes necessary. If there are bigger issues, she’ll notify me and I’ll rework the copy. Sometimes we even schedule videoconferences to have an editorial meeting – these can be very useful when I need to understand what I’m missing. After Penny and I are in agreement, I schedule the post for release.

On a good week, I’m done by Thursday or early Friday. And I always have the freedom to delay the publication of a completed piece if I need to respond to a current event – but that’s pretty rare.

You may not need such a structured approach, but I’m betting your quality would improve if you did use one.

How do you work? I welcome your comments.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gigi April 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I blog once a week; every Sunday. I keep numerous ideas and drafts in Wordpress but only write my first draft a day or two ahead. Then I let it sit if I have time.

I also create a yearly blog plan, when can and does change as my interests and topics change. I’m enjoying blogging and write much better when I plan.

Don’t have an editor, though, not sure I want one.

Looking forward to more comments as I’m curious as to how many bloggers write using a plan.


2 Randy Murray April 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for sharing.

I will put in another good word for using an editor or a trusted reviewer. Having Penny to read, review, and comment on my work keeps me focused on quality. I know that I can’t just toss something out there. I’m a confident and experience writer, but working with an editor as a partner makes me better.




3 Hal Brown April 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Right now I’m a month ahead. But this is an extraordinary time, with other commitments. Usually I’m about a week ahead. There have been times when I get something out at the last minute.
So, it depends on circumstance. Or rather planned consternation. :)


4 Randy Murray May 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Wow - a full month! Good for you!

I forgot to ask: how often do you publish? I schedule 5/week.



5 Hal Brown May 2, 2010 at 4:47 am

I publish once a week.


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