Blog before you blog. To be fair what I really mean is, “journal before you write,” though that headline is not nearly as catchy. When marketing yourself online as a coach or teacher or maker you are constantly under pressure to create content, a lot of time through writing. Although the idea of writing may come fairly natural to you as a creative person, my guess is that it is still quite challenging. (read more.)
Although your content may be on point it may sometimes feel like pulling your own teeth just to get a few sentences out. Am I right? Does the overused but oh-so-true phrase, “the struggle is real,” come to mind? That’s because, (cue the obvious eye roll) although so many of us do it, writing is freaking hard. Take a moment and let that sink in. You are not crazy, writing is freaking hard, even for professional writers.
One simple tool I have found that has made a huge difference in my productivity and outcome quality is to take the pressure off and slow way down. Again, fairly obvious, but do you ever really do it?
I used to feel so much pressure to create content that the second I get a new idea I’d give it a place on my posting schedule and begin to finalize it in a word document. Let’s be clear, nothing would even be written yet but still I would finalize its’ launch plans. Once it came time to actually putting the thought to words I’d maybe write a few good sentences before I’d find myself scrolling the internet with a nearly blank page behind me. Almost every time I did this, I’d get stuck. Stuck because the idea that I thought was brilliant and needed to be written right away was really just in it’s first few moments of birth, it still needed some love and attention before I forced it out into the world, or at least onto my blog. I hadn’t given myself enough time to explore the thought, to see all sides of it.
Now when I have a new blog idea, instead of immediately trying to turn it into content, I write it for myself first. Not for anyone else, not for my blog, but for me. I go straight to my journal and riff. I don’t correct the spelling errors or sensor my sentences. I write freely on the idea nonstop for at least 15 minutes. Sometimes I end up writing sentences that I use in the final piece but more often than not the idea turns into something else entirely. Something more realized. Once I have had it out with my thoughts in my journal it is so much easier to write it out for others.
I am not saying that this is the only key to good writing but I do think, as you are in the midst of marketing yourself, coming up with content and actually doing your job, you need this “you time” with your thoughts. It’s important to remember to stop the content train from immediately boarding and scan the passengers first. You may realize that you have 10 trains that need their own routes instead of one train route on route that is jam packed and totally chaotic.