How This Blog Works

At the risk of spoiling the magic, I thought some of you might benefit from knowing how I do things around here. Here goes.

A long time ago, I wrote posts whenever I thought of them, trying for a vague "once or twice a week." Now I post every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I don't know if you guys care (because of Google Reader, and living 11-15 hours ahead of the US, I never know when people post), but it makes it easier for me to plan and to know I'm being consistent.

There is no way I could come up with a blog post idea on the spot three days a week. Shortly after I began a schedule, I started a list of blog post ideas. This takes off tons of pressure, and also allows me to cherry-pick the best ideas. They come in waves: one week I'll have a dozen ideas, the next couple of weeks I'll have none.

I've taken to writing my posts a week ahead of time (right now, it's May 23rd). I usually have all three posts written by Wednesday or Thursday the week before, scheduled to go up between 7-8 PM, my time, on their respective days. Occasionally real world news will inspire a real time post, but not as often as you'd think. As with the idea list, this takes a lot of pressure off me.

When I choose a post topic, my general rule (that I made up just for this post) is each post must attempt to be one or more of the following: helpful, funny, interesting (in that order of preference). I try to avoid "housekeeping" posts, which is why you usually don't see blog awards and why I've never mentioned the change in my background picture (um, until now). I also try to avoid rants, albeit with limited success.

Every post is unique to its own topic, but there are a few things that seem to occur often:
  1. I make lists and/or embolden key sentences. That's cuz I know how lazy a reader I am, and I figure other people are the same. It's also because I like lists.
  2. I link to myself a lot. I link to other places too, but basically I'm self-centered. Partially because I hate to think those posts are forgotten. Partially because linking to an old post feels better than repeating myself. I know you can't follow all of them, but I hope you click on one every once in a while.
  3. I add images. I used to do it only where I needed one, but a lot of feed aggregators (like Blogger's blogroll widget, or the blog apps on Facebook) grab a thumbnail from the post. So lately, if I can think of/find a good image, I'll throw it in to help the post stand out.
  4. I try to ask you guys a question at the end. Because unpublished-author blogging is more about getting to know people than anything else. And because when you comment, it makes me all happy inside.
Though I read them all, I'm a little sporadic with replying to comments. It depends how many comments I have to respond to and how late the girls are to school and how many boys hit how many other boys that morning. Besides, I'm pretty sure my lame replies aren't why you come here. I've been experimenting with replying to comments via e-mail (for those of you who allow that in your Blogger profile), and I have to admit, it's a lot easier and feels more personal. If I learn anything else useful, I'll let you know.
I try to save funny pictures, question/answer times, and short posts for those weeks I need something quick, or when I just want a bit of a break. Once or twice a month I'll remix a post for my sanity (I like "remix" better than "repost," especially since I usually update them before reposting), but never one younger than a couple of years. If I need a longer vacation, I'll go with guest posts or in extreme cases, a 1-2 week hiatus.

There. Now you know what goes on behind the bamboo curtain. Hopefully you can forget you know all that now, so you can still pretend I'm cool.

How do you blog?


Matthew MacNish said...

I'm pretty spontaneous with my blog, I only plan ahead the important posts.

I definitely think you should reply to comments via email. Much better.

Dave said...

Nooo, the magic's gone ;)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I don't have to pretend to know you're cool. :)

And I'm in a quandry about comments - I like responding by email (and I really like it when bloggers respond to ME by email), but then I know I can't respond to everyone that way, and then if I respond to the non-emails only on the blog, it looks like I'm picking and choosing and then I melt into a puddle of ooze and give up.


BTW, I didn't think about images carrying through - that's cool.

linda said...

Thanks for sharing your blogging process! I think I've kind of regressed as a blogger... when I first started my personal blog, I wrote my posts in advance and posted every weekday. Recently, though, I've barely been posting anything. I think I'll make use of this upcoming long weekend to catch up. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Joey Malone said...

I'm pretty much at the stage where you began. I have had a blog for a while but haven't made much use of it. I have many ideas for blogging but for some reason I just do not make the time.

My biggest problem is I love reading posts more than I love writing them. I have to learn to write first then read. I will try the writing in advance thing, and start a regular posting schedule.

Thanks for this post! It really got me thinking!

fairyhedgehog said...

I'm a bit less organised but I have lots of draft posts that are just ideas for when I need them.

And when I'm on a roll, I schedule my posts for the next day at around 7am.

I like to keep it fairly current though because the comments on my blog are often the best bit. I have some amazing commenters!

Adam Heine said...

@linda: I think the most important thing (which I'm kicking myself for not putting in the post) is to do it the way you want to. This is just the way I do it. Take what you like, and leave the rest :-)

@fairy: I admit, it's a bit weird sometimes to get comments on something I wrote a week ago. But a quick read of whatever just went live on the blog is usually enough to job my memory and make it feel "current" again :-)

And you do have some amazing commenters. You've fostered a great community there.

Nancy Thompson said...

I try to post once a week and manage to be pretty consistent. I only write about writing, publishing and querying though I throw a lot about myself in each post. I can't say I particularly like blogging. The pressure of coming up with my own spin on topics wears on me, but I always manage to get it done.

I love reading blogs by writers & agents though few manage to keep my interest. Yours is one of only seven I read religiously every time you do post. For the most part, I find your posts informative & ultimately quite timely. I will say, however, since I'm a writer of thrillers, that I don't get all that sci fi, D&D, ninja stuff you write about. But that's okay, everything else makes sense & I always appreciate your insight.

Deniz Bevan said...

Hmm, my habits seem to be quite similar to yours - the only difference is that I can't seem to get organized enough to post a week in advance; I've never done more than two in advance at a time.

L. T. Host said...

I think the part that I love the most about this post is how it both explains and includes everything you do. Awesome.

As for how I blog, I blog like I write-- by the seat of my pants. Which is why I am not a very good blogger.

Crap. That probably makes me not a very good writer, either.

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, Adam! I've made such good friends through blogging.