Be a More Efficient Blogger: Quit Falling in Love with Your Writing

"do not fall in love" sticker on door
image courtesy of David Boyle

I care a whole lot about the posts here on Alternative Badassery, my third blog.

That’s not to say I didn’t care about the posts on my other two blogs–I spent a ton of time writing those–I just didn’t have a clear vision for my site and blogging efforts. I kind of just set up shop on a free WordPress-hosted space, jumped in, and started writing. But with AB (let’s call it that, yeah?), I logged many, many hours of planning and prep work for this sucker before ever attempting to write the first post. After three years of half-ass blogging, I’m finally taking it seriously. And I have big plans for this place.

Now, considering I’ve been blogging on and off for such a long time (in blog years), one would think I’d be hammering out posts right and left at this point. I have all the groundwork laid; I just have to start producing content. Seems like this should be a piece of fuggin cake given I have a list of post ideas sitting at over 40 topics right now.

But I’m struggling my face off to write. It’s taking me way too long to crank out a post.

This is for several reasons (perfectionism, editing while writing, finding tangents in my posts, redoing my outline, not using an outline, I could go on), but there’s one particular hang up I’ve realized is really slowing me down: I’m falling in love with my writing.

Creativity is Awesome, But Random Creativity is…Random

What I mean is that I’m crafting these fucking brilliant headlines, and writing these amazing subheaders, and hitting you with a one-two punch of mind-blowing topics and inspired language. And I’m just looking at my mini masterpieces and just admiring the shit out of them…and being unwilling to change any of it.

That’s why I’m getting stuck, and why my posts aren’t coming to fruition: I’ll write all around these precious elements, trying to find a way to make them work, but I just spin my wheels.

To be a good blogger is to realize you’re going to have to throw some of your most creative work right out the window.

Bloggers aim to be effective communicators. Fancy-but-irrelevant writing does not further this goal.

Expect to Change Every Single Word

I suggest going into your post expecting every bit of it to change. Don’t get attached to a single thing you write. Pound out your first draft and pour out everything that’s in your head, then prepare to delete liberally.

As you edit, consider the cause of any rewriting. If you realize you’re just trying to save something beautiful, stop rewording and just get rid of that beauty. Don’t try to salvage those sentences that make you feel like a great writer but are causing you to change the stuff around them to make them fit. If you allow them to stay in your post, you’ll never stop revising and never hit the publish button. (Or worse, you’ll publish something disjointed just to keep the parts you adore. My other two blogs feature a ton of this, which is why I haven’t linked. Don’t you go searching…)

If you accept from the get-go that you may have to get rid of writing you fuggin LOVE, it will be easier to kill your darlings, and you’ll get posts out the door faster.

***

Discuss

Bloggers: Do you find yourself rewriting for the wrong reasons? What keeps you from finishing posts quickly?

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Your thoughts?
  1. Mike says:

    This is so true. I used to agonize over posts for sometimes weeks at a time. I came up with some really great work, but it was exhausting, and clearly not sustainable.

    The thing I try to keep in mind is that blogging is different from other creative writing projects. It has an immediacy and a continuity to it. Posts are a news item in a larger news story. No one remembers any specific item, but they do remember the story.

    Also, I set myself a goal of two posts per week, no exceptions. There is now officially no time for perfectionism!

    • Cassie says:

      I’m with you, Mike. I aim for two published posts a week, too, and it definitely forces you to find an end to the editing process.

      I like your suggestion to think of posts as news items. I use a related tactic: I try to tell myself it’s my job to simply get the idea (of the post) out there. It’s nice if I can do it in a well-written way, but my ultimate goal is to get this idea out into the world. When I think of it this way, I stop searching for the perfect verb or whatever and just focus on communicating clearly. (Pretty sure Steven King or Steven Pressfield or someone who knows about writing said something about thinking of writing as your work instead art, which is basically what I’m meaning here.)

      Here’s to cranking out faster posts!

  2. Mel says:

    I find myself smiling as I read this – I so relate! Just the other day I hit publish on a post because I couldn’t bear to send some well-crafted (in my opinion) lines to the trash.

    I slept so badly that nigh. It didn’t work as a post and I knew it. Eventually when I forced myself to delete that post, I felt like I was doing a minor bloggy amputation… but now I am so glad I did!

    Thanks for reminding me to bin some brilliance sometimes 😉 – I have lots to learn still in terms of staying focused, and this reminder is great for me!

    From a fellow INFJ 🙂

    • Cassie says:

      LOL I can totally relate to what you went through with your post — except I experienced it with two entire blogs! The two blogs I wrote on before this were full of that kind of stuff, and I eventually abandoned them, which was really hard to do. I had actually planned on trying to rework some content from one of them for Alternative Badassery, but ended up deciding to just scrap it all…and I’m so glad I did, too.

  3. Corey says:

    First, my brand new favorite word of all time is FUGGIN. At least the way it’s written. Saying it out loud sounds too much like the OG. No, not Original Grammar. Original Gangsta’. Actually, I’m too fuggin busy commenting on how awesome of a word fuggin is to go finish my blog post regarding who bitch too much about their kid taking technology to school. I should go work on that to help the ladies out of that 1950’s mentality. Change is inevitable, so with these tips, I’ll change some of how I’m writing. Just too caught up as if I’m still writing for sports on television. It’s still a “conversation”, I just gotta know the facts to back my fuggin stuff up! Thanks, Cassie!

    • Cassie says:

      I fuggin love “fuggin” too. Maybe because I am, in fact, a little OG. For real–ask anyone who’s seen me after a few vodka drinks.

      Bingo on “conversation.” Now get to fuggin writing! 🙂

  4. Corey says:

    Damn. Grammatical error. I meant to include “mommies” who were bitchin’…oh well, perfection still eludes me!

  5. Goood article. I amm dealing with many of these
    issues as well..

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