Blogging about blogging – how meta of me.
I’ve had people ask me in the past how I write blog posts: where do I get inspiration, how do I decide what to write about, how long does it take me, that kind of thing. So I’m writing this post to explain all of that.
I’ve also been feeling lately like blogging is making me a worse writer. So I want to remember how I did things pre-2016 before I knew what SEO and content marketing were.
It starts with an idea…
Where do I get ideas for posts? I usually come up with blog post ideas while I’m doing other things like taking a shower or exercising.
However, sometimes I know I’m going to write about the experience I’m having while I’m in it, and I start composing the post in my head in that moment. The Of Mountains and Jungles two-part post about Peru is an example of something I wrote in my head while in the moment.
Less often, I get ideas for new posts from stuff I’ve written in my journals.
I mostly journal about feelings and it’s not the type of content that would necessarily fit in this blog, but every so often I get great content that began in my journal. For example, the post, The Best Advice I’ve Been Given, in 11 Parts, was drafted in my journal first as was Our Failed Trip to India.
So once I have an idea, I’ll usually add the title and save it as a draft in my WordPress account for later. This strategy works out well because I have a backlog of ideas I can go back and expand upon when I have more time or am feeling like writing.
FYI I currently have 64 posts in my drafts folder (emoji of monkey covering mouth).
Then I write it out
Some people like to type things up in Word, but I usually go straight to the WordPress post editor to write the post. I draft it up. Then I use the preview button (to view it as it would look on the screen to readers) while I make edits.
There have been times when I’ve traveled without computer access though, so then I’ll handwrite it in my journal and type it up into WordPress on a shared or borrowed computer. This is a little different from posts that originate from my journaling because I actually have my blog in mind when I set pen to paper in this case.
For example, I wrote I F*cking Love Turkey in a journal and then typed it up on my roommates’ laptops in England, and Cambodia the Strange in a journal and then typed it up in an internet cafe in Cambodia.
It takes me anywhere from an hour if I’m really inspired by an idea I want to get out (for example On Why You Should Travel. Or Not.) to many hours over the course of a month or so (for example my Guide to Peru) depending on the post.
I add photos to my posts
I usually use my own photos I’ve taken with my snapshot camera for blog posts. I’m not positive but I believe I have the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H90.
It’s probably time to upgrade my camera. The one feature I’m dying to have is the ability to blur out the background. Taking camera recs if you have any!
Besides my own photos, I’ll also grab stock images every now and then, like in my So You Want to Travel Abroad Long-term post.
I then have to go through the whole ordeal of optimizing the images for web. I *HATE* this part. I don’t have the Adobe Creative Suite, so I use online image compressors.
It’s a lot of downloading (off Flickr or my external hard drive) then uploading (to the online compressor) then downloading again (to my Downloads folder) then uploading (to WordPress). Annoying.
(If anyone has a streamline process for compressing photos without Photoshop/Lightroom/whatever, please let me know.)
Overall, I’ve been cracking away at this whole blogging thing for over seven years now and there’s pretty much no going back.
P.S. If you’re looking to get started on your own blogging adventure, check out my post on how to start a blog.