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Let Your Blog Posts Marinate (4 Steps to Forming Great Ideas)

Man, I can’t tell you how valuable this blogging tip is.

Here’s what my typical blog posting process used to look like. I’d go hit up my RSS feeds at Rojo, flag the feeds I wanted to write about and crank out whatever I was thinking of at the time, all in one session. Occassionally I’d get some winners out of that process, but mostly my writing just sucked. My biggest problem: I didn’t think through the structure of the blog post. I’ve always had what I would call “writers ADD”. I would write about whatever thought came into my mind at the time of reading the articles, knee-jerk style.

Now, before I go any further with this, I want to give the little disclaimer that some people pull this off and do a wonderful job at it. Why? Because they’re much better writers than me. I have to let my mind process what I’m going to say before I write about it, otherwise it’s really really hard to follow. In order to improve my writing, I’ve had to develop an intricate 4-part posting process, but it’s managed to work for me. Hopefully this will help some of you that struggle with developing your blog posts.

1. Jot It

If you’ve got a post idea, jot down the title and maybe some key thoughts about the idea. For me it’s whatever I can think of in about 20 seconds. After that, I just let it be. You may not even look or think about the idea the rest of the day. Just collecting it is what’s important.

2. Review it

Every day I’ll pull up my list of post ideas that I haven’t written about. I’ll glance through the titles and bullet points, and see if anything triggers a thought. If it does, I’ll write down another bullet point or idea. If not, I let it be. Usually more ideas for the posts come up when I’m doing something else.

3. Let It Develop

It’s hard to say how long this step lasts. Sometimes it’s all over in 15-20 minutes. Sometimes it takes weeks. The important thing is not to rush the process.

4. Post

Once you feel like your post is fully developed, start writing. Many times, I’ll start writing and realize that I don’t like the way the post is turning out. When this happens I just save the post as a draft, and let it marinate even longer by repeating steps 2 and 3. I always try to read through the finished post at least a couple of times to catch my bad spelling and grammatical woes. Sometimes the structure isn’t quite right, and I’ll tweak that too.

By always having a queue of collected ideas, you’ll never run out of material to post. And if, God forbid, you actually run out of content for a day (gasp!), don’t force the issue. Just let it go and skip posting that day. If you force something, odds are it won’t be that good anyway. And nothing ruins a blog like crappy articles. Take my word for it.

By letting the blog post develop naturally, your writing will become easier. Why? Because you’ve already been typing away about it in the back of your brain for a while. You’ll almost have the key points memorized without checking your notes.

Successful blogs are a thing of love, and readers can spot an un-loved blog a mile away. Ask yourself this: Would you read a blog that looked like the writer himself didn’t care about it? I know I wouldn’t.