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Blog Limbo

On certain days when we start to write, we have an idea in our head and the words just flow,…

On certain days when we start to write, we have an idea in our head and the words just flow, until, that is, they don’t. Perhaps your post isn’t turning out the way you’d like; the topic is controversial and negative reactions are piling up in your head before you even finish. Or maybe the post is about a personal topic, and you’re finding that you’re not ready to publish it. Yet. So your post sits in your Drafts folders, waiting.

With posts like these, it is a useful exercise to work through the issues. Pick one of your draft posts and identify the pain points. Ask yourself what it is that kept you from publishing this point and confront those concerns. If you’re worried about the reaction you’ll receive for a personal, or controversial, post, acknowledge that not everyone will agree with or understand you, but that’s okay. If you simply didn’t have enough time, set a timer and consider the post finished when the timer goes off.

If you’re stumped about which post to work on, get creative. This blogger asked his readers to vote for his draft posts. On your blog, you can set up a PollDaddy poll via your Dashboard > Polls page to create a quick survey for your readers.

When it comes time to start working again on your draft post, take some time to re-read what you’ve already written. This helps to get you back into the blogging state of mind and to help find your rhythm once more. Then, just write. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense at first. You can edit it all later, the important part is getting your ideas down into words. After you’ve gotten all of your thoughts out, go back and edit to reorganize your thoughts and remove any repetitive language. No matter what, today is the day to press the publish button.

Posts that stay stuck in the Drafts folder are our half-finished ideas. As we learn to identify what prevents us from seeing these ideas to fruition, we’ll be better able to take ordinary ideas and turn them into more in-depth or improved blog posts. While all of our posts start with a hunch, it’s by spending time with these ideas that we can really learn to work through any challenges or hesitations and stick with our blogging.

Do you keep many draft posts? If so, what keeps you from publishing them?

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  1. I only have 1 at the moment. I started writing 2 posts at the same time, so 1 ended up in the draft folder. However the other post has led to a couple of other follow up posts. The moment I have milked the first topic dry, I promised to myself to deal with the one caught in limbo. Cheers!

  2. I guess I use drafts for a couple of reasons. One reason is an idea that seems great at the time but somehow just seems to lose its spark after a bit and I decide that if it is worth saving I’ll try to come back to it later.

    The other reason I use drafts is to create post templates so that I can have some sort of order to the chaos. Great post!

  3. I usually keep 3-4 posts in the drafts folder. I place any random thought there to keep it as a place holder and then when I have time I go back and flush them out. Some become posts and others get tossed.

  4. Geez, you pegged me! I have three drafts that are epic but I won’t likely post. They are those posts that are full of the things people think and want to say but no one really wants to hear. The things that make you squirm regarding parenting, optimism and happiness. They were a good personal purge but I don’t know if they’ll ever be ready for prime time.

    1. Lisa, I’m new to blogging, so I still have a LOT to learn, but I would like to encourage you to have the courage to say the things that “no one really wants to hear.” Those are the things that usually need to be said, and I think more and more we all are getting fed up with people saying what they think is “politically correct” and will get others approval. We are also seeing that being real is what we really want. Go for it! Speak from your heart, and have a great day!

    2. I agree with Anne. And if the post is too full, divide it into a series. I have found a series usually pleasing to my readers, if each installment makes a complete point.

  5. I use drafts because my ideas come at different moments. It allows me to get started while I continue to brainstorm during the week. Contoversial topics make some of the best posts and I think bloggers should state how they feel no matter the reactions from their followers. Who knows maybe there will be more followers who agree than they think. Love this post! I have never thought about using polls in my blog but I think I will when I have more followers and views. Thanks!!

  6. Great article! I couldn’t agree with your point more.
    I’m new to blogging, but I have always been told that I should write, and I LOVE to share my thoughts in writing – share being the operative word here. The BUT comes when I do what you have said, put off putting my ideas down and then saving them to drafts. I have a lot to say, and a lot of what I have to say is not mainstream, but I am learning to say it, and would love to have interaction with others, which will come over time. Thanks for your encouragement!

  7. The posts waiting in my drafts folder are there because I got frustrated adding the photos. I find that the words I have written sometimes disappear when I hit save. only the photos remain. I keep trying adding the words only to lose them again.
    I will admit that I have a couple that I left and should either update or delete.

  8. I had loads of drafts and accidentally deleted them!

    I haven’t bothered to start any long form posts lately (or if I do, I write them in markdown text files in my dropbox) and am just enjoying the post formats now I have a theme suited to them. Sometimes I will sketch out what I am hoping to do in an aside post – I can always delete it later if I was being too ambitious!

    (@Shane Markdown is a great way to create templates for posts)

    Meanwhile, running polls sounds like a nice idea – hopefully Poll Daddy polls can be added to the JetPack plugin soon for those of us who self-host.

  9. Each day I post a Daily Devotional, “My Daily Walk,” which makes it a little easier for me. The Daily Devotional Devotional appears on my Blog, hnikoley.com. I am always looking for new ideas of interest to our readers. Thank you for this post, it has been very helpful.

  10. I have a draft sitting in my folder every week, for most of the week. I post my blog on Monday, and will usually start writing it on Wed. or Thurs. I write until I’m finished, pick my categories and tags, then save it. I’ll work on it daily, editing and refining, so that by Monday it is complete and ready to go.

  11. I don’t have anything in draft usually; only those that have just a headline and some points of ideas that I had when the inspiration struck.

  12. I have way too many drafts. I write fiction, and sometimes I run out of steam before the story is finished. In fact I have more than a couple of incomplete stories that are actually posted. One of these days I’ll finish them. Maybe today…?

  13. A few of my earlier posts have been in my drafts folder for months together. Time (lack of it) used to be the major pain.

    Now I’m between jobs, and I’ve quite a lot of free time.

    The situation has turned around so much that I have 7 drafts now. I don’t want to publish all of them on the same day, so I made a schedule on my sidebar – “Upcoming Posts” xD

    If all goes well, I’ll have posted, for the first time ever, 10 posts in 10 days! :)

  14. I also have a few draft posts which I have written when something just comes up into my mind but I think is too random for me to post just yet. This post encouraged me to work on it :)

  15. Most of my posts end up in my diary, I either don’t get time to type it out, or they seem too small, or stupid when i digitize them anyway!

  16. I’ve always collected ideas. Currently, I have over 100 drafts in my WordPress account. I also have about 100 writing ideas in paper form (single pages, scraps of paper & journals).

    I like knowing that I won’t run out of topics. Right now, I’m posting once a week so I have enough ideas for, at least, the next three years.

    Yes, some of the ideas are too hard to write about right now but also I process topics very slowly – I’m writing now about things that happened over thirty years ago.

    I love being able to save ideas, expanding them as things come.
    :-) gigi

  17. Great advice! Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to put into a post, but keeping something in a draft folder and revisiting later is good idea.

  18. Thanks so much for this. I’ve been struggling with a piece I’ve been trying to write for a couple of weeks now. I’d write, write, write then come back the next day and decide that wasn’t what I wanted to say at all and delete everything. Reading your post I suddenly realized that what is really going on is that I have too much to say about this subject to say it all in one post. It’s going to need at least two posts and probably a series of them. I don’t have writer’s block at all. LOL!

    B

    1. I can so relate to that, Barbara. I managed to turn one post into five, lol. Good luck!

  19. My drafts have added up and now they are probably about 10 in number. Today I am setting a publish time on my draft… so it will post to my blog this evening in whatever state it may be. I’m a little excited to see how it turns out! I picked a topic that is a little “touchy” to me so I can push past the fear of letting myself speak my mind to the masses.

    Thank you for this inspiration!

      1. I have form lots of feedback on it mostly on my facebook page…i loved this challenge and am interested in draft templates…what sport of things would go into the template? A series is a god idea too! I like being able to set a publish time and think it would be easy to do with this feature.

      2. Well, Lara, the draft template is a feature for WordPress users, on the page where we form our drafts. Basically, if I want to make several posts with the same tags, categories, and title, I can select this feature and save myself lots of redo-ing. This works especially well for a series, where the title may be only a word or two off, but I want to be sure everything is punctuated and capitalized the same way. I can write something too long for one post and split it up and use this feature to take care of a whole week in one sitting. Sure does save me some time!

  20. Hey Erica,

    Thanks for your suggestions, everything you said is very informative. I’ll make sure to put it all in mind fo my next blog. If it’s possible, can you read one of my blogs and give me you feed back.

    Look forward to reading your comments.

    Warmly,

    Killcancersavebirthdays

  21. There are some great ideas I have that I’m not able to turn into an *entertaining* post.
    I can write about them, sure, but it has to be in a way that offers something to my readers. Whether it be a laugh, some information, or whatever, I’m picky with what I post. And that’s what gets me.

  22. Reblogged this on Colby is Mega and commented:
    That sound a lot like my blog right now. I got about five posts in m draft box waiting to be finished and published!

  23. Got more than 10 in the drafts folder right now. Will try this exercise to see if it helps me get the drafts published.

  24. i don’t draft at all.. usually just finish in one sitting.. maybe that means I don’t put enough effort into my posts.. I like to write about what i feel and usually it just flows :) I like your idea of speaking about blogging issues.. nice post!

  25. I usually keep a few going. If I have an idea, I start a draft and do a bit of pre-writing. Then I go back and work on it until I feel it’s done. Occasionally one will sit there a while, but they usually get posted pretty quickly. I like having them there for when I don’t have ideas or have to be away from my computer for a while. :) Angie

  26. What keeps me from posting them is the fact that this is all new to me….I am clueless…and I don’t think anyone will read it or comment on it…simply put. I’ll gladly accept any criticism, suggestions, or feedback. Thank you!

  27. I use my draft folder as a way to save posts so that I can publish them during the week: I write over the weekend as I know I will run out of time during the week. If I have a spill over I use these drafts to help me when I am searching for ideas to write about. My draft folder then becomes my notebook :)

  28. All the same, I think its better to have drafts than nothing at all, at least it’s a place to start.

  29. I use draft posts to schedule stuff waaaaay into the future so that I don’t forget when the time comes.

    I also use them if I feel that the post could be more substantial, knowing that I could and will edit it later. I’d rather have something on draft to ponder over later than post it and later think “damn, I could have discussed X, Y and Z”

  30. I started a blog because they made me do it. I mean, if you do not have a web site or blog or Twitter or Facebook or Circles or God only knows what is next, you are either old or a Luddite.

    I write because I must write. Clients demand it. No write, no rent no food no gas and the dogs starve.

    I am sure my blog will suck. At least I can say I have a blog. Perhaps that is a step in the right direction.

  31. Reblogged this on Life is an Exquisite Journey and commented:
    This was very helpful as I establish my creative flow. I have all of these thoughts for conversations, but I never thought to begin the thoughts and then save them as drafts. Thanks for the great tip!