“Do you adhere to a writing process or do you blog and publish as desired?”

by Jeff Hilimire on March 30, 2014

I was asked this question by a friend recently, “Do you adhere to a writing process or do you blog and publish as desired?” Great question.

~ Every morning, anywhere from 6:00am to 8:00am (it’s 7:40am while I write this), I sit down to write a blog post. It’s the opposite strategy that David has, as he writes every single night (and hasn’t missed in 1,700 tries). I miss a day probably once every ten days.

~ I usually have a half dozen post ideas that I’ve saved in WordPress (the blogging tool I use) as a draft. When I get an idea during the day for a blog post, I’ll email myself the idea to be entered into WordPress later (if I’m away from a computer) or I’ll simply enter the title of the post into WordPress and a few notes in the subject so I remember the idea.

~ Sometimes a photo will inspire me to write a post. Like the photo in this post on balance. I saw that photo and immediately thought about the balance that it takes to run a startup. I saved the photo in WordPress and about a week later I wrote the post.

~ At times when I want to explore an idea over time, I’ll start a series like, 5 Questions for a CEO, which I’m in the middle of now. This is almost like writing a mini-book as I have to commit to the subject for a period of time.

~ For me, a blog post can be on any topic that is worth exploring and interests me. Sometimes its a serious, in-depth post. Sometimes its a short, humorous post. I look at my blog as a representation of “me” at any given time in my life and I let the content flow accordingly. The only things I try to avoid writing about are religion and politics.

~ On average there are two – three days a week where I sit down in the morning to write a post and have no idea what I’m going to write about. I’ll look for inspiration in headlines on sites like HBR, Techcrunch, etc, and I’ll write a blindpost against the headline. Or I’ll think about what is going on at work and if there is any inspiration there. I’ll also scan through my Feedly roll and see if there are other bloggers that have written about a topic that I have thoughts on. But really, inspiration for a post can come from anywhere.

~ If there is a photo to include that makes sense, I always try to do that. There often isn’t, and I don’t want to go for cheesy photos, so I probably average a photo within a post one in every five. For instance, I could have included a photo of a big hand writing on a paper with a fancy pen with this post. But that’d be far too cheesy for me.

~ I submit my posts (make them live) when I’ve completed them – unless I write three or four at a time but that’s rare – but I don’t send out to my networks until 8:30am – 8:35am. I send most posts to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve debated not doing this, or only submitting to Twitter, but most of my readers are split between these three sources (minus of course people who subscribe or visit the site frequently on their own).

~ It usually takes me about 20 minutes to finish a post, including editing. I finished this one at 8:02am. It will be posted to my networks at 8:35am.

  • Kevin Smith

    When looking at your blog as a reflection of you, how do you determine how transparent or open to be? Have you ever written anything you later regretted posting? Just curious if it’s different now since you’re more established/in-control than someone still building their career (not that you’re not still “building”, but you know what I mean).

  • Jennifer Osbon

    I find it interesting that you overthink the cheese-factor of imagery. Most people include the picture in order to increase readership. Your approach to blogging is more of a “public diary” where you curate your own thoughts. There’s something very important in that idea. Your blog is for you to use as a barometer of growth or to document your journey. Writing for yourself, as opposed to blogging for shameless self-promotion, makes your posts more truthful, authentic and inspired. And those are the very traits that attract readership.

    It is freeing to re-think audience, objectives and success metrics in this framework. Audience: myself instead of a large crowd of marketing professionals
    Objectives: moving towards self-actualization instead of personal branding
    Success Metrics: the degree to which I was true to myself instead of pages viewed, likes, shares and comments

    Not gonna lie. I wouldn’t hate it if everyone approached blogging this way.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    I can’t say that I’ve regretted anything I’ve posted on the blog – yet – however I do look at things through a few lenses before hitting submit.

    I try not to talk about things that are personal to others that they’ve shared with me in confidence. I try not to post about things within my own company that are still being worked out. I definitely stay away from religion and politics.

    This blog has changed a lot more over time. I definitely share more intimate things than I would have when I started it years ago. I think part of that is confidence and part of it is the stage I’m at with my life.

    You thinking of making the plunge?!

  • Kevin Smith

    Oh, the plunge has been made – twice now, in fact. But I still struggle coming up with topics that are a mix of what I’m interested in writing about and feel are ‘safe’ to share. Thanks for answering my questions.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

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