How I Blog

Since I’m about a month into my year long blogging challenge, I thought it would be fun to write about how I actually blog.  Let’s start with the technology I use and then move on to my actual process.

Computer: MacBook Air (13 inch, 2014 edition).  While I do have a desktop, the MacBook has been an absolute revelation.  It’s super light, fast, and has an amazing keyboard that just feels great to type on.  I have this thing on me at all times, and I’ve found that I write a lot more in those little down times we all have.  Like when I’m on the train.  Also, my God does this thing have great battery life.  It never wants to die.

Blogging Platform:  I’ve been a WordPress user for about eight years now.  It’s sort of become blogging in my mind.  I’ve been thinking about moving the blog to a self-hosted version of WordPress, but I haven’t really wanted to put up with all of the handholding a self-host requires.  Right now, it’s just better to let the nice folks at WordPress handle everything for me.

Writing App: Desk. I had a little trouble getting this to work with my blogging platform, but once I did, it was a dream.  It has a really slick interface that gets out of your way when when you’re writing and then it’s there the second you need to do any kind of formatting.  This is exactly what I like out of a writing environment: just a box to write in.  It’s not that the writing environment with WordPress is bad, it just lives in my web browser – the distraction machine.  Desk keeps me from flicking to another tab in search of who wrote the original Shadow stories or something like that.  In fact, when I’m actually writing I create a second desktop on my Mac just for my writing program so I don’t have any distractions.

Note Taking and Planing App:  Evernote.  I have a notebook just for my blog with a master list of blog ideas.  That’s the main thing I use the app for right now.  I do something pre-write directly into it if I have a particularly complex post that I’m working on.  I probably should find ways to use this app more to organize my writing.  That’s probably something to work on in the coming months.

Image Searching: Creative Commons Search.  I’m trying a lot harder to use photos in my posts.   The problem is that I suck as a photographer and it’s hard enough just to find time to write let alone take a few photos.  Generally, I jump onto Creative Commons Search and find a few pics that go with the theme of my post.  It’s been working pretty well for me so far, so I haven’t had to go onto any of the pay sites to find images.

My Process: While I do have a nice desk, my preferred method of blogging is to either be on the couch or on the train.  I like being in a slightly unorthodox position when I blog.  It lends something to the immediacy of it.  

I also try to do all of my first draft in one sitting as fast as I can.  The most surprising thing about blogging for me is how quickly I can do it.  I’ve regularly banged out over 1000 words in under 40 minutes.  When I’m writing fiction, it can take me almost an hour just to do 500 words.  I’d love to be able to tell you why this is, but it’s absolutely beyond me.  

After the first draft is done, I do a reread and polish.  Then it’s posted right away.  I really should let them set longer, but I’m usually looking down the barrel of a deadline and just want to get it out there.  The resting period is something I really need to play with more. 

And that’s how I currently blog.  This will likely change as the months go on so I’ll do another post like this once the changes are significant enough to justify it.  

Blog Year January Update

January is over and I thought I’d check in to see how the challenge has been treating me so far.  I have to say, I completely underestimated how difficult this was going to be for me. It wasn’t coming up with content that was the issue, it was time management.  I thought this would going to be a lot easier than when the I did the month long blogging challenge a while back because I only have to come up with one post a week not one every single day.

This is actually kind of an issue because it isn’t forcing me to write every day so Thursdays have been sneaking up on me and I almost missed it the other week when I just got back from vacation.

But I’m very proud to say that I haven’t missed a week yet, and I’ve even had a few posts in between Thursdays.  I think what I need to do in February is build more a writing “grove.” Maybe do some more prewriting on posts during the week and keep checking WordPress daily. I’ve be working with the Reader function to force me to check it every day to read content.

I have to say that I like this challenge much more than I did the month long one because it feel like it’s a more regular part of my life instead of this wild thing I’m doing for a month.  I just feel like a blogger and I haven’t really felt like one before even though I’ve been running blogs off and on for over ten years now.

I Got a big boy URL

So last night I was researching things for my blog and decided to put money where my mouth was and actually by my domain name for this site.  It’s something that I had been wanting to do for years but I never felt justified because I didn’t post on here much.

But that’s the rub.  I wasn’t blogging because I didn’t have the site I wanted and I wasn’t getting the things to make this the site that I wanted because I wasn’t blogging.  The setting the blog year challenge was a great thing for me to do but I think I need to put effort into developing the site itself as well as actually posting on here.

Part of what I like about blogging is the content management / web development part of the equation.  I like building websites.  It’s something I’ve been doing pretty much since high school, so I think if I was going to stop, I probably would have done so by now.

That’s why I’ve finally have gotten around to getting an actual domain name for the blog.  I have more plans for stuff that I can do on here.  I probably will move this site over to my own installation of WordPress, but not right now.  I’d like to build up a few more posts first and use working with the technology as a reward for how much content I’m posting.

Image via Flickr