Want to Be a Blog Writing Machine? (Give up on Perfection).

by Craig McBreen · 15 comments · Blogging, Content Marketing


writerHow do you write so damn much?

I recently interviewed Gini Dietrich and that was the very question I asked her.

I wanted to know how she’s become a writing machine, continually pumping out valuable, insightful, and actionable posts.

Her answer was basically that it’s something she can’t not do.

She’s been at this far longer than I have, penned several books and has been deep in the world of public relations for many years – a place where good writing is necessary for survival.

But here’s what I took away from the conversation, what I’m now practicing, and how I think you can be a more prolific blogger.

How I’ve Changed My Writing Habit:

Gini can crank out a blog-ready post in 45 minutes or less.

The old me would take 2-4 hours to write a post, then edit and drop it in WordPress, and edit and agonize some more.

I was usually focusing on details that didn’t matter.

This is okay if you’re creating a post filled with facts and based on deep research, but it’s not a good model for the average business blogger.

And I’m a business blogger, so, I’ve changed.

I simply gave up on perfection.

Now …

1. I first write a title and quick outline. (5-10 minutes).

2. I then go back and spew forth verbal vomit, but I time myself. (30 minutes max, kid.)

3. The last 30 minute chunk is me editing and re-writing.

4. I then pass on to my wife to tell me where all my glaring errors are, as I copy and paste into WordPress.

5. The final edit is in WordPress. I incorporate her edits, tidy it up, pop in a photo and schedule the bad boy.

That’s it. What used to take me 2-4 hours now takes a little over one hour, from start to finish.

I used to stress out over every little detail, but after my conversation with Gini it finally hit me … ’tis only a blog.

When blogging, you should provide useful information, but focusing on trivial details can eat precious hours and kill your day.

Save the fretting for the book you’ve been wanting to write, or that speech you must deliver.

I’ll still write posts that take longer to write of course, but those will be few and far between.

In fact I have and “idea stack” going … as I write the shorter posts I cut and paste deeper ideas into the stack for the longer, deeper posts.

The more one hour posts I write, the fatter my “idea stack” gets. All good in the grand scheme of things.

So today, give up on perfection, or as my buddy the JackB says … just write :)

Cheers.

 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack July 30, 2014 at 11:42 pm

That Jack guy just might be on to something. ;)
Jack recently posted..One Click Might Change Your LifeMy Profile

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Craig McBreen July 31, 2014 at 5:16 pm

That Jack is “in the know” ;)

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Gini Dietrich July 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm

The awesome thing about a blog is you can edit after you publish. I’ll bet I update my blog posts five or six times every day. I’m flattered you changed your writing strategy based on our conversation. Yay!
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Win a Mercedes on LinkedIn With One Catch—You Can’t Enter YourselfMy Profile

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Craig McBreen July 31, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Hey Gini,

Yes, I do that all the time, but not five or six times a day ;)

You did change my methodology, so cheers to you!

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Alana August 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm

You are right. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and every day since late March in 2014. There is no need to take 1-2 hours to write a post unless it requires extensive research. I am not always perfect, but people don’t care about perfection. They want to learn, they want to be inspired, they want to connect.
Alana recently posted..Sustainable Saturday – The CricketsMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Hi Alana,

You’ve had quite a long blogging journey then … one of the few with that kind of endurance :)
Nobody is perfect, but I was trying to be.

Thanks for stopping in.

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Jens-Petter Berget August 3, 2014 at 2:43 am

I’ve been listening to Jack for a long time, and I just keep writing. It works for me, even though I probably should spend more time editing and checking for spelling errors :)

I never edit after I publish. I don’t look at my posts after I’ve hit publish. I might edit if someone told me about some mistakes I’ve made, but that’s about it.

I’m still working on my blogging process, trying to figure out how often I should publish and how much time I should spend on writing etc.. it’s an ongoing process.
Jens-Petter Berget recently posted..4 methods I am using to get more traffic to my blogMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Hey Jens,

Great to see you, Sir. I say no matter what you plan or why you’re here, if your stuck, the best thing to do is … just write.

“I’m still working on my blogging process, trying to figure out how often I should publish and how much time I should spend on writing etc.. it’s an ongoing process.”
– If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying ;)

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Andrew Isidoro August 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

Nice stuff Craig. Its something I have thought about a lot and have written about it too: http://www.andrewisidoro.co.uk/blog/agile-publishing-iterative-blogging/

I think the thing that holds people back is the fear that a post “isn’t ready yet” but if you see it as a constantly evolving conversation you realise that no article is ever truly finished.
Andrew Isidoro recently posted..Is the Knowledge Graph Ethical?My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Hi Andrew,

Thank you, Sir. The “isn’t ready yet” feeling is hard to let go, but like any creative process you can always improve … if you’re not careful you can kill your day :)

Thanks for stopping in.

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Jeniece from Emphatic.co August 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

Great advice, Craig! What’s that quote — “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Well sometimes it’s just the enemy of DONE.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, covers this in his excellent book and says there are two types of people in the world — Simplifiers & Optimizers. Here’s a piece about that if anyone’s interested: http://boingboing.net/2013/12/02/simplifiers-and-optimizers-by.html

Onwards!

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Craig McBreen August 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Hi Jeniece,

Thank you! Perfect is indeed the enemy of DONE .

Thanks for the Scott Adams piece too. Will check it out :)
Craig McBreen recently posted..Want to Be a Blog Writing Machine? (Give up on Perfection).My Profile

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Lisa August 6, 2014 at 10:49 am

Great post Craig!
You raised some key points about writing blog posts, especially focusing on details that do not really matter.
I tend to write my blog posts in 30 to 40 minutes. I don’t edit after publishing – I just move on to the next thing (let it go).
I have a few blogging buddies that are in the 3 hour range and I have sent them your article! You gave some very helpful tips which I am sure they will appreciate.

Expect success!
Lisa
Lisa recently posted..Blog Content IdeasMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 6, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Hi Lisa,

Thank you!

It sounds like you have a perfect system :) I still do edit after publishing, but that is only once, after my “editor-in-chief” takes a look.

Cheers to success! Thanks for the visit too.

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