If your blog could talk, it would scream at you: “Gimme your attention, Mom!”
You’re working for yourself and you may or may not have another job on the side. By the time the busy day is done, you have little to no time or energy left to type up a blog—let alone that ebook that you should have published by now! In fact, you rarely take the time to publish any articles at all.
However, like a child yearning attention from his or her exhausted working mother, your blog deserves your tender loving care. A healthy blog nurtured to maturity will bring in eager followers, potential sales leads, and—hopefully—income.
So how do you keep going? I’ve written a few articles to help writers get past the usual writing barriers and find blog inspiration, but sometimes you need MORE than that. Sometimes your brain is so dead that you need every single step of the writing process dumbed down to the lowest possible level.
How to write in your spare time
You have five minutes to spare, because that’s all the time left you have with energy to write your blog or ebook? No problem.
This fool-proof writing process saves me at least 1-2 hours of writing time each week. I brainstorm and take notes around the clock; I work on the run, a little bit each day. This method allows me to take advantage of the moments when my brain is least stressed or most active. Creativity is thereby enhanced.
Free writing tools you will need
OneNote—A Microsoft app that allows you to take notes anywhere, anytime. Organize everything in notebooks, folders, and lists when you’re on the go. Sync to all your devices via the cloud.
DragonDictation—This dictation app is available for both IOS and Android. As a transcription tool, I find that DragonDictation is more accurate than the transcription capability built in to the iPhone.
Grammarly—This extension will catch your mistakes even when you’re finalizing your blog article in the Internet browser.
Step-by-step: How to start writing
1) Create a thought chain. Start by jotting down your main topic and niche. From there, write down the first related word, phrase, or subject that you think of in connection with what you have previously writt—and keep going. If it helps, try to mold these snippets of thought into “How to” questions, other blog title formats, or chapter name phrases.
2) Once your thought chain is outstretched before you, pick out the topics that you haven’t written about yet. This is where you need to get strict with yourself. The story behind the story that you didn’t want to publish might be the very story you SHOULD publish. Readers benefit from advice stemming from blatant honesty. Take a look at my article focusing on anxiety, which earned me a referral link within only about a month of publishing. It wasn’t easy to admit my weaknesses in public, but I’m glad I did.
3) But which topic should you focus on NOW? For creativity’s sake, select the topic that recently has been weighing on your mind the most. The most annoying one, the most depressing one, or the one that most inspires you (if you’re having a good day).
4) Compose the worst outline ever. Break down at least 3-5 bullets for the selected topic, and type up a few related thoughts under each bullet point.
5) Briefly meditate on the tone you want to set for this article. Or else the tone you are trying to maintain develop for your ebook or blog as a whole. Sarcastic? Informative? Professional? Inspiring? A mix of these as mentioned? Light? Serious? Funny? Dramatic? Matter-of-fact? Logical? Anecdotal? If possible, it’s best to think of a real-life anecdote that you want to share. A personal experience will help drive the main point home and adds a little humor to lighten the tone—if that fits your personality and audience.
6) Open up DragonDictation on another device (if you typed up your notes) and keep your outline in front of you. Keep your tone in mind. Now. Start talking and let the app transcribe your words, using your notes as a guide to hit all the main points. Be sure to expound on each point. You can talk about whatever random stuff you wish; go wherever your line of thought takes you. The moment you’re reminded of a story, joke, or something that happened to you—even something you heard about—go into it. Try to relate why you were reminded of it when thinking about the topic.
7) Skim the resulting transcription for dictated typos. Be sure to do this upon completion, before you forget what you were talking about.
8) Paste your dictated notes into your favorite cloud note editor. I prefer OneNote myself because it syncs between all devices, even from my IOS tablet to my Windows computer. Even when I’m not online, I am free to add notes to the device nearest at hand. If you prefer, you could use Google Docs or upload Word documents to Dropbox.
9) Try to tackle your rough draft later. Wait for the day you feel motivated enough (perhaps by a deadline) to work on your ebook or article. Even if you’re on the run like the city bus. Simply edit your draft in the cloud during your spare time. Reorganize your dictated thoughts as best you can. Fit them under each bullet point in a logical order. And, as all bloggers know, it’s best to turn bullets into headers or into a bulleted list in the article on their own—reflecting your blog’s personality, niche, and logic. And keep keywords in those headers and lists for SEO!
10) Edit within a reliable document editor as much as possible, to prevent losing your work. Read aloud to find typos and to reword things clearer. Once you are nearly done editing, paste your draft into your CMS editor. If using the Grammarly browser extension, you can easily view any remaining spelling or grammar errors. (Before you begin formatting, you may try out the HemingwayApp to smooth out your writing.) Arrange your article with bulleted or numbered lists, different levels of headers, etc. When you’re done, hit the publish button. The end.
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