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Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Five: Save a Few Drafts

Today’s assignment: look back over what you’ve published. What have you been most proud of? What are the common threads? Which are most popular? Create and save two draft posts with ideas that come from those.

You’ve published quiet a few posts already — congrats! Time to take stock of what you’ve published and set yourself up for more greatness over the next 30 days with drafts. Drafts remind you of things you want to deal with, and jump-start you when you’re creatively blocked.

Today’s assignment: look back over what you’ve published. What have you been most proud of? What are the common threads? Which have been most popular? Create and save at least two draft posts with ideas that come from those.

Why do this?

  • Because we often don’t know what we truly think about a subject until we’ve explored it creatively. When you re-read pieces you’ve published, you’ll find new ideas and angles.
  • Because having a few drafts waiting in the wings takes the publishing pressure off.
  • Because looking at what engages readers is the first step in creating more posts they’ll respond to.

Looking back at what you’ve already published has many benefits — you can see what you’d like to improve. You can start to understand what your readers are most interested in. You can identify posts that don’t really fit with your ultimate goals for the blog, as well as nascent ideas that could become central themes. Take a look at the comments, too — they’re content as well, and they highlight the things that most resonated.

Gather up all those bits, and start a few drafts with ideas you’d like to explore further. Don’t worry if they’re only half-baked, or even a quarter-baked. Blog posts are like tea; they need to steep. Take your ideas, park them in some drafts, and let them steep. When you hit a blogging slump, revisit the drafts you started today.

If you already have a few drafts gathering dust, these tips may help you breathe life back into them.

If you feel like publishing today, go ahead and take one of your new drafts to completion!

As always, there’s support and feedback to be had in The Commons.

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  1. I took a class through Skillshare prior to moving my blog over to WordPress from Blogger and one of the things they encouraged was planning out a 3 month editorial calendar. I’m curious if anyone does this. I could see how the draft assignments could dovetail nicely into trying to lay out an editorial calendar. Obviously the calendar is not a sealed in stone type thing, even magazines and online groups use an editorial calendar and adjust based on current events.

    1. I don’t, but I’ve thought about it. The trouble is I write what I feel like writing or what ideas are exciting me the most at the time. So chances are I’d never follow it. How about you?

      1. I don’t at least not at this point. The class talked about it, but I’ve never actually seen one or talked to someone who uses one which is why I thought I would ask in here. It makes sense to me (I’m a former project manager) but like you I also write and photograph based on things that are in the moment so I don’t want to be tied into a calendar.

    2. Who are these people who plan out their blogs three months in advance? I have a feeling they’re also the people who actually enter things into their cell phone calendar apps.

      1. Speaking of people who plan their blog: when I started posting I’d sometimes post 2-3 times a day and then nothing for a week. Because of this I thought I’d set a couple of series to anchor me and you know what, it works.

        I only have 2 fully running series now, but I have not missed a week since I started one of them. The other one is a twice a month kinda series, based on much longer posts, but since it’s only twice a month it’s more than doable also.

        Were you to go down this route, you need to find a topic which is flexible, not very complicated and interesting to you so that you will stick to it. On my twice a month series I have posts I will be working on whenever I have time and then they get scheduled as I see fit, as long as I get two out every month. The weekly one is more of an aside. Depending on my free time I can store 2-3 posts for future publishing or do one at the last minute.

        Also on occasion I will jot down an interesting idea that needs some pondering. You’ll be surprised how many drafts you get if you do this.

      2. I dont plan posts, Im lucky to know a day or two ahead what I might want to post. Doing blogging 101 has made me more methodical, but like you left to my own devices I post when I feel I have something to say. BUT I also put my appointments into my calendar app. Hmmm :) I dont think I would use the post calendar as I am not that organised in my head!

    3. That is an excellent idea–thank you:) I also, like to look at the comments that people write on other blogs and take notes–if someone is passionate enough to comment it is likely there is another post that can be gleaned from that conversation.

    4. I often plan ahead and schedule posts for about a month out. This allows me to write without pressure. One of the things I feel is most important about growing your blog is to be consistent. Currently, I try to post on Tuesdays and Fridays so my goal is two posts per week. I like to keep a list of topic ideas and work through them, scheduling them as I go. If I find there’s a post I’d like to move up I just change the posting date.

  2. Taking notes and drafting are exactly what I do! That helps a lot. When inspirations come, they just come. There’s absolutely no reason to waste any of my ideas. I can always refine them or even eliminate ideas that are not as good as I thought.

  3. Tea?! Yes of course, that’s what blog posts are! I can’t wait to invite a few friends over for a Spot of Rough Draft. And wait till the Boston Tea Party hears about this… Seriously, thanks for the reminder. I tend to think of drafts as trash but when I looked in there just now, I saw tons of potential. Now I’m asking myself, “Will that be one lump or two?” ;-)

    1. Your opening line about a spot of rough draft sent me to your blog. So much fun! Looking forward to reading more ^_^

    1. Me too. If I waited I might have better content but too eager to get it ouy. Mind you its mostly photography so not so much emphasis on wording, but might be worth waiting and putting more quality into the blog.

  4. This sounds like an excellent idea and quite helpful. My blog touches on quite a few different areas so it’ll be interesting to see what comes of this.

  5. That’s exactly how I am. If an idea spring boards into my mind but I haven’t quite got all the details worked out I simply title a draft, maybe add a line or two of intro so I don’t forget what it’s about, and save it. It keeps me from getting that bloggers block and it also saves my ideas in a place I know I’ll go back to and re-visit.

    1. oh and to add, sometimes I’ll come by a draft I made months ago and I’ll finally sit down and write it because the idea clicks in my mind like it didn’t before. So to other bloggers, don’t fret if you’ve made a draft and months later you still don’t know what to do with it, keep it! It will come to you.

  6. That is kind of what I do…I jot down some notes, some links, some paragraphs, and then I put them altogether over one or two posts…I try not to delete old notes/drafts, but I have to say I am guilty of doing that, as I like to keep nice and clean…great advice as usual thank you!

  7. Hi Folks!
    I tend to keep a couple drafts, they are born from an idea or spark of an idea that flashes through my mind so I will start on it, or outline it in some form. They are usually just the starter threads to something in my head that is forming but not yet ready to present itself! I am also a novice author (soon to be published formally with a few other stories that have made it to web publication in certain contests) and I have like a dozen short stories either outlined or halfway finished in my documents. this is a great idea however I don’t use my drafts to plan out my blogs future I am too spontaneous for that. :)

  8. I do have a few drafts that I need to get back to, and this was the perfect reminder. Great timing, I have been a little creatively blocked lately and this may just help me get back on track! If anyone wants to leave comments on what they like/want more of in my blog, please feel free to do so :) http://svdeaner.wordpress.com

  9. Coincidentally, I just published a new post that kind of stemmed from my previous post! But then I published this one, ’cause I didn’t know it would be the assignment for today! Hahaha. So will still have to check up on my other posts to see which I could draw inspiration from. Thank you for this! :).

  10. I already have a ton of drafts collecting dust. I have an idea for a post that is inspired from a staff meeting we had a few weeks ago, but haven’t had time to post it yet! BUSY time of year… another draft incoming. :(

    1. Just popped over to have a look. I would recommend placing what your blog is about up top so that it’s the first thing people see. Readers want to know what your blog is about and then any extra info about you is bonus. Good luck!

      1. You’ve really got me thinking now! I always thought it was better to introduce myself first as a pose to at the end. I will take this into consideration, thanks Adela :)

  11. I have been saving most of my work. I have writing my work first in Microsoft Word and then I transfer it to my blog. With Mother’s Day approaching, I was thinking about my mom and missing her. I posted a poem today in honor and memory of her. Here is my blog if you would like to see my post. By the way, I still need to work on yesterday’s challenge so I will do that next:

    http://beckygblog.wordpress.com/

    1. I try to remember to write my comments in Word and then paste them into the blog comment box. It saves the heartbreak of hitting the wrong set of key strokes and seeing one disappear 3/4 of the way through. It makes you want to reassign the enter key to to another function or make it a double punch key. You were meaning to hit the shift key and then BAM, it’s all gone. With FireFox I can go to history and often get lucky and click on that page and find the comment still up. Not so with IE, which is just another good reason not to use it.

  12. HI MY #blogging-101 friends,

    A bit late on responding recently to most of you and the assignment. Also been a bit lazy recently.

    For day 25 creating few drafts. – I have looked into my most popular posts and the ones people have shown interest and asked questions. Based on that and after going back to few of my earlier posts, I am inspired to write about – “When cholestrol is bad for you”.

    I was inspired to write about this in contrast to my post – ” What carbohydrates are you eating? – http://eatallfresh.me/2014/04/22/carbohydrates/ and “Are you eating enough fibre”. – http://eatallfresh.me/2014/04/25/fibre/ .

    Another post I want to start on is regarding “why add calcium do your diet”- This one is a work in progress though and may take a weeks time.

    Regards,

    EAT ALL FRESH – http://eatallfresh.me/

  13. I can be pretty verbose with my comments, as you will no doubt see before I finsh this one, HA. I often copy my comment to Word and begin the file name with BLOG and a describing file name. Yeah, I know. Why not make a folder named BLOG and just put them in and save a step. I just talked me into it, OKAY? Anyway, I then can paste those into separate drafts in WordPress and flesh them out at a latter date. I can pick one and build it into a post if I feel so inspired, or just hunt and peck through them and tweak individual ones a bit to build them toward a future post. I have days where I spend more time on making comments than writing posts so this is a very effective way to create posts and all that time commenting is then productive.

    It’s also good to build a library of images as you stumble across them when surfing or reading. You just have to be sure they are “reblog-able” so to speak. Make sure they aren’t proprietary to the place you found them and be sure to either show credit of provide a link to the source. If you get into a legal squabble you can at least show good intent on your part with no intent to violate copyright or take credit for the work of others. I can spend as much or more time acquiring and inserting images as I do on the text, but I like that magazine article look and to be able to add video to jazz up interest is a kick. I probably spent four hours on part six of a serial post doing just that. It was really a great looking post when done but had problems with the text jumping format. When you build in edit mode, it can all look good, then you hit preview and BAM, it all shifts on you. You end up going back and forth tweaking image placement and tweaking the text to get something like what you thought you had. It is well worth the effort though. I suspect there is a way around that issue and it is more operator error than just and annoying design flaw in the template. Time to stop. See what I mean about verbose?