The purpose of this site has always been more about me learning how to write about technical topics in an engaging fashion. I don’t want to be a journalist or copy writer. However, I do like to be able to express technical things to non-technical people. I would like for everyone to understand their tools in way that is meaningful to them. When someone understands how their tools work, they are better able to use them. To me, there is a level of understanding between knowing how things work, and knowing how to make things.
Making a blogging site
My two main problems are:
- I am a slow writer, worrying about all the little things
- I love context, and I don’t know when to stop expanding into detail
To overcome these quirks, there are some pretty basic rules or techniques I can apply. These are probably terribly simplistic techniques, and any professional writer of any kind will chuckle at my amateur approach. However, failing is an option!
How to speed up my writing
I chose to try the following things:
- Jot every idea down, with links and warts in a draft post. Do a brain dump of it.
- Install a spell checker to stop me being distracted by spelling mistakes and grammar.
How to define my context
This will help stop be babbling, and let me post short snippets of information.
- Make it all about WordPress. Initially assume I am writing for people who have some prior knowledge about WordPress. Most likely theme development or tinkering.
- Keep to five categories, and decide what they are, before writing any posts.
Other blog writing techniques
- Schedule posts. Never post straight away. Initially I thought I would do one a week, but for now I have settled on every four days.
What are the benefits of all this?
Scheduling posts takes the pressure off. If I can log in and see that I have entries in for the next month, then I won’t feel bad about just browsing to see how many hits I’ve had. Dumping my ideas means I can be inspired many times in just a few minutes and get five post ideas note quickly. Once saved as a draft I can re-visit the post and either add detail, or maybe drop it as a bad one.
My five categories are: Rambling, jQuery, Linux, Nginx and WordPress. The last category might be better as PHP, as most of my WordPress work is PHP. However, I didn’t want to exclude HTML and CSS. Having just those categories has helped focus my ideas, and let me not worry about expanding the content to cover other areas. I think singularly that this has been the most useful preparation I made for the site.
I’ve installed jetpack and activated After the Deadline. I don’t actually use it that much, but it has allowed me write what I’m thinking without interrupting myself to fix some spelling. I tend to get fixated on one sentence, making sure it conveys exactly the right message in an unambiguous way that fits into the context of the paragraph and the post as a whole. I know a plugin won’t do that for me, but now I have enough confidence to let a crappy sentence slide until I’ve completed the post.
Additionally I gives me the opportunity to re visit my posts. A month can go by and I can read my post with a fresh pair of eyes.
Am I succeeding?
This is the most enjoyable writing experience I have had all my life. We all have a budding author inside us (apparently), and I seem to be finding mine. And I am learning more about WordPress.