29 March 2011

15 minutes to write a good blog post

One of the wonderful things about modern communication tools is that you can find a wonderful link early on an otherwise dreary Monday morning.

That’s what happened yesterday.

How to write a blog post in 5 steps and 15 minutes” is a handy guide to doing exactly as the title states.  If you do not write blog posts, this guide still has useful information.  It is well worth the few minutes it will take you to read the post from start to finish.

Be warned:  this is a guide to writing the post.

Research is the bit that takes longer and it is research and preparation that will set your post apart from the millions of others people might read on any particular day..  The tweet that carried the link to this post said that you can write in 15 minutes if you know what you are talking about.

That’s the key point.

You have to know the subject before you start writing. 

All too often writers sit down and bang away at the keyboard or – as the old folks recall – stare at the blank sheet of paper.  Worse for the reader, they start clacking away like someone possessed.  The result can be something that is the mental equivalent of the world’s supply of yarn piled up randomly in a single spot:  it does come to an end but only after going around and over and back again.

If you take the time to organize your thoughts and gather some facts or other information to support your argument, the actual writing can be pretty short.

One link inside the “15 minutes” post you should follow is this one to a list of the 18 types of posts that get the most reader attention.  Both the writing post and the list post are an example of one or more of the types.  See if you can figure out which ones they are.

Here’s an extra tip:  carry a notebook. Almost 18 months ago, your humble e-scribbler stopped collecting notes on scraps of paper and started writing things down in a notebook. 

penbookinkIt’s a Piccadilly, very similar to the Moleskine but far less expensive.  The cover on the spine is cracked and the whole thing is now lashed together with some stylish shiny black duct tape.  That just adds to its character.

For writing, there’s a Parker IM fountain pen:  inexpensive at about $30 and hardy enough to take being dropped or stuffed into a briefcase or rucksack.  With a bottle of ink, you are always ready no matter where you are and no matter what you are doing when an idea strikes.  Pencils, ballpoints or rollerball pens would do just as nicely.

What you write with and where you write isn’t as important as the fact you take notes, jot down ideas, and do whatever it will take to go back to the notebook later and craft a post based on your jottings.

Now if only writing a tweet quickly so that it didn’t get misunderstood was half as easy…

- srbp -