When I began blogging, I often struggled with what to write. I still do sometimes. I remind myself that one of the reasons that I am blogging is to learn how to write. Yep, I write to write.
Some people who I read seem to have a natural ability. Stories fall out of them like water from a fountain. Not me. Maybe occasionally but not often.
I need a process to help me along the way. Here is what I do now:
Deciding what categories to write about helps. I am sure that I will add some over time and remove others. This is what the “experts” call your voice. It is what you are passionate about. It can be your about your work, family, hobbies, convictions…you name it.
Here are my current main categories to help you understand what I mean:
- Missional Living
- Adoption/Foster Care
- International Missions
I don’t remember who I got this idea from, but it really helps me. I now blog twice a week—Tuesday and Friday. At the beginning of each month I write in a category on each Tuesday and Friday.
My goal is to assure variety and consistency. For example I am blogging about “writing” today because that was what was on my editorial calendar for today.
Michael Hyatt gave this valuable advice. Here is a good video by Michael that shows how he uses a template. If you watch that video or you read my blogs a lot, you might notice a pattern. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel each time.
Now on all three of these—Categories, Calendar, and Template—I freely adapt and tweak. I don’t enslave myself to the process. I occasionally write on a random topic. switch days on which I write a certain story, and I allow myself freedom to vary from the blog template.
I use the Evernote app on my iPhone to jot down ideas for blogs. The ideas come from everywhere—conversations, radio, TV, sermons, music, family, in the middle of the night.
I have several ideas written that I may never blog about. But, if I am not sure what to write, I spend a few minutes reading through my notes. It sometimes like finding lost treasure.
Think about the topic a day or two before
This is where the editorial calendar comes in handy. I glance at the calendar a few days before my next blog is scheduled. My subconscious works on it, even when I am sleeping. Sometimes I outline the idea a couple of days beforehand.
I read once that uber-blogger Seth Godin said that when he dies no one will know for over a year because he has at least that many blogs written and scheduled.
I am not sure I will ever get to that point, but I do aspire to have at least a month’s worth of blog articles written and ready to go.
A heads up about a blog tour that I am a part of for the month of November. November is National Adoption month. The tour consists of bloggers that regularly blog about foster care and adoption for the purpose of increasing awareness for the need for orphan care.
Question – If you blog, what are some ways you decide what to write about?