August 18, 2015

Just "Post" It

“Post It”

Oh I found a comma out of place and there are only seven ways you’re supposed to use a comma, so I’ll take it out and print one more copy. If this sounds familiar to you, then you understand how writing has changed with the invention of social media and specifically blogging.

When I was a younger writer, several drafts of everything were required. I don’t know if this was something that was expected by the teacher or adviser or if it were something that I instilled in myself. I used to make so many drafts of everything -- I think I perfected the writing process.  

The writing process is different when you create a blog post. The process I use is that I get an idea and I put a topic or sentence in Evernote, often on my iPhone. Then I’ll look up topics and decide that, “Yeah, I feel like going down that road today.” Truthfully, I write about a quarter of what I should into Evernote because blog post ideas are almost everywhere. Ideas that I should have developed in the last few days are (1) the decline and fall of McDonald’s as a somewhat quality place, (2) Billy Joel and the idea of “just end it,” and (3) my coffee evolution. Many more ideas occur every day.

Once I start my post, I usually follow a formula that was created by Copyblogger called “11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs.” For several years I just freely wrote following an idea, but now I use the formula as a basis to make sure I include everything I need to in each post. I’ll read it over after writing it in Google Docs and make sure I like the content and its relatively error free. I’ve developed the idea that I’m sharing ideas on my blog not necessarily publishing error–free copy; furthermore, Seth Godin advises us to “ship it.” That’s what I try to do.

When I’m ready to hit “sent,” I put the content into Blogger and find a photo or two that supports the content. I place that photo within the blog post, look it over in blogger — often hitting preview a dozen times to be sure it looks really good, then I write a few labels that I find relevant; finally, after letting it settle for a few minutes, I hit publish. In a perfect world, I would find 20–30 minutes every single day to create content that might get read. I started out to write about baseball, education, and entertainment. Ten years later, I still write about all of that, but it’s more specifically about the Detroit Tigers and Detroit in general, leadership in education, and only sometimes entertainment. In fact, entertainment has been replaced by general living and the things we experience on a daily basis.

As an English teacher I focused on teaching the writing process and helping each student learn how to prepare by some early writing, creating a first draft, doing research, revising the first draft, working with classmates on revising, and finally editing those last few things that need editing. Of course there is a great difference between revising and editing — but I bet my former students don’t really remember that. I’m sure there is a generation of adults out there, though, that would never consider using “a lot,” the wrong “there,” or EVER writing “that” in  anyway!

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