This article was inspired by Timo Kiander’s approach to Blogging Workflows. I felt from his writing that his blogging efforts wore him down on ocassions, as they did to me. There are countless times when I felt like I didn’t want to write. The whole process of publishing the article was just too much for me to go trough sometimes. Timo described his new workflow in 10 steps, working on all the things that are really important, if you want to view your blog as your profession. (That’s how it looks in my opinion)
My blog is my passion, and if I don’t feel passionate enough about doing something on it, I tend to skip it. So Timo, I want to thank you one more time for reminding me of the importance of joy of blogging. That joy is something enough that will make me a happy blogger in the long run!
Now in order to make your blogging fruitful you really need to keep it simple. The whole process should be watered down to that level, that you can even do it from your iPhone. And more often lately, I tend to do it from there. So the biggest piece of advice would be, I will repeat myself here: Keep It Simple.
Blogging isn’t blogging if you aren’t enjoying while doing it. I know that there are thousands upon thousands of people who will try to make money out of blogging. To all of you, I have a simple tip: You are better of finding a job. There are no internet riches for those who aren’t the crazy ones.
In order for your blog to thrive you have to make it sustainable. Sustainability is way easier if you are having fun while doing it. Something that is compelling you to come back to it, is most certainly something that you will be able to do in the years to come. Your blogging can rise above the hobby level, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring as a day job. We’re doing it for ourselves and our readers. Sharing our amazing unique experience and a point of view.
If you are forcing yourself to write a blog post, you are doing it wrong. I made writing excersise as a part of my daily routine, without the pressure to produce. Every day, when I wake up, a part of my morning routine is to write 1000 words. I want to be a writer, and it clearly shows in my writing. But I don’t have the urgent need to push out mediocre contnet. I would rather not publish, than dilute my value.
I did dilute it countless times in the past, because of it. I am telling you, if you force yourself to write, your audience will notice it. They won’t be able to connect with your voice, and they won’t be compelled to come back to your blog. Emotions will show up in your words!
Now since this article is actually a response to a blogging workflow, I want to write how my blogging workflow looks like. While I was listneing to the crew at Mac Power Users (Thank you Katie, thank you David!) I saw how they were doing it.
David is one of the rare cool lawyers (apart from Daniel Gold), who retained his coolness factor, because he’s such a geek! And I love him for it.
Now, he’s using all sorts of tools to “cook ideas”. And I loved the concept. The way this article came to life, came a lot through his point of view of cooking ideas. For that matter he is using quite the number of tools, and I’ve acquired them all.
First of all, being the big fan of Evernote that I am, if I come to an idea, I capture it in Evernote. I make a snippet of it, and just save it to my inbox. I process my inbox daily, and it contains tons of my thoughts.
If I feel connected to an idea, when I review it again, I usually put it somewhere in my MindMaps, or simply createa a new mind map and throw out a couple of concpets that I want to follow. Unlike David, I am using iThoughts on my iPhone primarily. He uses his iPad instead, which is also great for this!
It syncs via Dropbox with my iPad, where I come to later on to nurture and grow more ideas. I go through a lot of mindmaps. I revisit mindmaps that are created specifically for my ebook. So if it feels fun, I revisit the file and play with it some more. That is the cooking process.
Now Dropbox is critical here for people who love linear thinking. iThoughts is great piece of software, simply because it supports OPML. This format works for your mindmap, as well as for your Outliner. Now if you are mindmapping on your Mac, iThoughts will read most of the mind mapping formats. That’s what makes it so amazing and worth buying on iPhone and iPad (17$ investment).
It plays well with MindNode. All you have to do is export file in the different format, than Mind Node Propriatery format. All of the hassle simply because iThoughts HD is by far superior mind mapping software to any competiton, at least in my case.
Even when I am in front of the computer, I still use iThoughts (or simply look at the finished MindMap on it, while I am writing.) Now for the Outliners, David is avid user of OmniOutliner. I love OmniGroup products equally, if not more than he does, so it’s given I have a copy of it on my own computer, even though I don’t know exaclty how to use it. If you remember OmniFocus, than you know what I am talking about.
Since I figured out that I can export my mind maps as OPML files, and later on read them in OmniOutliner, the whole deal became way more simple. This is really important for those folks that really love Outliners. I am just starting to get a drift of them.
Now the new addition to my writing arsenal is ByWord. It’s really important that I can write literally everywhere! ByWord has iCloud sync with iOS and Mac, so all the articles that I start on my iPhone and iPad, I can finish on the computer.
ByWord is my write everywhere kinda thing. Before I publish the article, I safely store it in Scrievener, another app that I’ve seen countless happy Mac users thrive with. If you are a writer of any kind, investment of 45$ into Scrievener is simply a must. I even bought an additional ebook on explaining how to use it. These two combined are a life saver. There are also free screen casts that will help you pull the most out of it.
When I am done in ByWord, than and only than I move to WordPress. I know that a lot of people prefer to use local machine bloggign tools for publishing articles, but I love to play around with formatting, and every time I used something external I got strange things happening in HTML. So I still have that awkward fear of something messing up my article.
At that point I go through my own version of proof reading, if I feel that there is the need for it. Than I hit publish as soon as possible. I don’t want to think to much, I want the readers to review the quality of the work.
Maybe, you’ve noticed recently, but I am not putting pictures as much as I’ve used to. The deal is that I find the work with pictures combersome. I have to go through Copyright licences and all other sorts of legal issues. So if I don’t have a picture of my own required for the article, I just publish it without the photo.
That way I avoided one tedious and boring task, and we want to keep things fun while blogging, don’t we? Another tedious task that I’ve dreaded so much was on-page SEO. This part delayed so many of my blog posts that it’s ridicioulous! So I’ve decided to quit it alltogether.
I will leave On Page SEO for later. If article proves to be interesting to my readership enough that they will engage with it and enjoy it. If they didn’t like it, I won’t invest too much time in it. Plus, I like to batch it at the end of the month, if I feel the need for optimization. The urge to connect with my loyal readership is way more important than stressing about how much visits Google is going to send me. Those extra visits aren’t worth it, if my current audience didn’t confirm that it’s epic content that resonates well with them.
This way I kept my blogging fun. I know I am not giving my maximum, but this is a blog. And not a company that I am running. My positive energy is supposed to shine through and not be interfered with tedious tasks that I would rather outsource than invest my precious creative time in it.
How does your blogging workflow look like? What tools and gadgets do you use to help you construct your blog posts? Have you been using some of the tools that I’ve mentioned in this article previously? If so, which one are those?