Blogging Habits (1)

This short post was inspired by Vedrana Vojkovich — in her post called ‘Expectations Satisfied?’ she reflects on her first blogging year, and writes the following:

‘I take quite a long time to get started, and then even longer to finish a post off. No hitting publish for me unless I’ve quadruple-checked everything, slept on it, quadruple-checked again…Yes, I realize that’s sort of not the point of a blog, but there _is_ an upside: generally, I can go back and reread my posts without too much cringing. At least that’s what I tell myself. I should probably emphasize that I cringe at the smallest details. In my writing, I hasten to add, not other people’s. I do admire people who can dash off a post, hit publish, sit back and relax. How do you do it? Any practical suggestions?’

The questions she asked at the end of the paragraph above made me think about my own writing, and then I decided to write this post with questions.

Some of my posts do take a lot of time to be ‘born’: I am thinking about the title, the sections, the images, links, etc. Some are more spontaneous, impatient, as if my main goal is to share and/or get feedback for my ideas. The fun part is that the readers (You!) seem to sense those moments and reply with comments.

Overall, my blogging habits are still shaping. I am making notes at the moment when ideas for possible posts ‘catch’ me — so the notes are everywhere (my computer, my planner, pieces of paper, on my phone, in the drafts in my e-mail box, etc.) I sometimes lose them, and then (happily!) find them — very much later sometimes. Also, I could come across the title I wanted to write about but… can’t remember what the content was supposed to be.

My questions to you about blogging, or writing in general, [habits, routines, tips] are:

  • What are your 2-3 favorite writing habits/rituals you find helpful?

  • What are 1-2 writing habits you find less helpful, (and would like to get rid of in the new year?)

  • What is one new idea (tip, habit) would you like to start in 2015, and why?

 

My own answers are coming soon – in Blogging Habits (2). Thank you for reading!

 

Oh, just before you leave, please be sure to do the following:

1) click on the Comments section below – there are so many fantastic ideas there from the readers

2) check Ljiljana Havran’s post where she shares some practical tips and reflections on her blogging style, Sirja’s post about the author’s blogging rituals in the past, and creative ideas to try in the future, and Hana Ticha’s post with ideas about what blogging means for her, and how this understanding reflects her writing. 

3) continue reading about Blogging Habits in my next post (and see more links to the other blog authors who joined this sharing party!)

🙂

About Zhenya

teacher educator, evidence-based instruction trainer, PD Coach https://wednesdayseminars.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Learning Thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Blogging Habits (1)

  1. Hana Tichá says:

    Hi Zhenya,

    This is a great idea you’ve come up with. I’d really love to hear about other people’s blogging rituals and habits. I wonder how easy/difficult it is for them to blog. Do they dash off their posts? Do they struggle to find the right words?

    I’d describe my style as pretty spontaneous but that doesn’t mean I don’t edit and polish what I’ve written. As a non-native speaker of English, I usually struggle to find the right words to match my ideas, and I’m never fully satisfied with what I’ve produced.

    Most of my inspiration comes from other bloggers, some of it comes from my everyday teaching experience, but sometimes I feel like writing without even knowing what to write about. There’s some kind of tension that asks to be relieved.

    I have no special rituals to share but I do have some bad habits I’d like to get rid of. I can spend hours writing a post and sometimes I can’t stop until I finish it off. I think it’d be better to write in stages – every day just a part, for example. But my passion is stronger than me.

    I definitely have one idea for 2015. I’d like learn to postpone publishing a post once it’s already been completed. I believe this would help me to improve my writing and get rid of my typos (or those errors left unnoticed by my spell-checker). The trouble is that when I read the ready-to-publish draft the next day, I don’t like it as much as I did when it was fresh. I keep editing and the result can turn into something totally different. I guess I’ll have to find a compromise.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to read about your blogging habits. 🙂

    Hana

    Like

    • Zhenya says:

      Hi Hana
      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts: what you wrote looks like a wonderful blog post on its own, and these are several points I am thinking about:

      spontaneous writing style and the question of editing of proofreading: I like how you point out that being spontaneous does not mean being careless, or not checking/re-reading what you wrote. I think this is more about the way you write, about choosing topics, about responding to others?

      ‘sometimes I feel like writing without even knowing what to write about’ — this is something I like about your blog, and as a reader, I like ‘thinking together’ and going through the process of clarifying or reflecting on something (an event, a question from your student, a training session you attend, etc.) To me, this is another example of spontaneous writing (in the meaning of not knowing what exactly will come out) and also this is something I think the ‘real’ blogging is about, i.e. opening up what you actually think, feel, etc. Now that I am writing these words I see what my action point might be for the coming year…

      You said that you would like to ‘learn to postpone publishing a post once it’s already been completed’ I think this is another point I will be working on in 2015. The question I have (to myself, but I see that you are also thinking about it) is to what extent is this going to improve the writing style, or ‘voice’ of the author. And out of curiosity: do you re-read your posts after publishing? I do it sometimes, and I noticed that it is a very different feeling from reading a draft ready to go.

      Finally, the questions you added are great to explore the blogging styles further. Would like to borrow them and see what others have to say!

      Thank you very very much for finding the time to read and respond. I am a grateful learner of yours!

      Like

  2. ven_vve says:

    Hi Zhenya,

    I agree with Hana; I love this idea! Here are my answers:

    1. Favorite/helpful blogging habits – I always write my first draft in a Word document. Only when I know where it’s going and am pretty sure I’m not going to be making any significant changes do I save it online as a draft. I also brainstorm titles. I open a blank document and just write possible titles for a couple of minutes. A lot of these turn out to be total crap, but it’s generally a helpful activity.

    2. Less helpful habits/those I’d like to get rid of – I always check what I’ve written for typos (to the extent that one is able to do with one’s own writing, of course) and edit/rephrase bits. What I would like to do is be a little less obsessive about it. In practical terms this would mean writing a post up, say in the afternoon/evening, having a quick look the next morning, making changes in no more than 15 minutes and publishing it. I guess that’s also an answer to the third question. Another thing I’d like to try is what you seem to do – make a note of ideas that sound appealing and write about them when I’m ready. I haven’t been doing this, which has probably added to the feeling of missing out on all these great topics. I would also like to comment on/engage with other people’s posts more. The thing with commenting is that before I say something I want to be sure I’ve fully understood what the author wanted to say (so I don’t want to have read the post superficially), and I want my comment to reflect that. It’s the kind of comment I like to receive. This sometimes seems like it’ll take more than 5 minutes, which I may not have at that moment, and then I decide not to comment after all. And that’s a pity because engaging with other people’s posts leads to a much better understanding of the issue being discussed, I feel.

    I’m curious to see what your answers will be!

    Like

    • Zhenya says:

      Hi Vedrana

      Thank you for the inspiration to write, and for the comment! One thing I am definitely going to try is brainstorming a title for 2 minutes (might even use a timer for that): I like that you let your ideas come out freely and that there are several options to choose from as a result. Have you ever tried this technique with other aspects (for example, planning paragraphs, or part of the post, brainstorming what the subheading might be, etc.)? I am getting curious how this would work for me, as you see! 🙂

      I really like how you describe a possible practical way to limit (save?) the time for editing. I personally find it useful if I let my post ‘sleep’ for one night. Unfortunately, there is no ‘system’ or habit I formed yet.

      What you said about writing comments is powerful: ‘before I say something I want to be sure I’ve fully understood what the author wanted to say, and I want my comment to reflect that’. I think this approach shows your respect and attention to the authors, and I agree — it also takes me more than 5 minutes to leave a reply. Sometimes it takes days (of thinking and choosing words). Sometimes I end up not leaving a comment because what I was going to say feels irrelevant by the time I am ready to comment. Or maybe those are excuses I am brainstorming now? In any case, this is a topic I would like to explore more in this blogging year.

      Thank you for supporting the idea to share our blogging habits! Now it is time to start putting my own answers together (from theory to practice!) 🙂

      Like

      • ven_vve says:

        Glad you like the brainstorming idea. No, I haven’t tried it with anything apart from the titles. I find coming up with titles a bit of a nightmare, actually. I don’t like overly long titles – the shorter the better – and ideally I’d like them to be at least a little open to interpretation (of individual readers), not like an abstract for a journal article.
        I don’t mind it if subheadings are like that, though, so maybe this is why I haven’t tried brainstorming them yet – I think my subheadings, when I use them, say more or less exactly what the subsequent paragraphs expand on.
        Totally agree with your point about sometimes deciding not to comment because it feels irrelevant by the time I get my act together. On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t be irrelevant to the blogger whose post I’m commenting on, so, yeah, that could just be an excuse. 🙂
        Thanks for getting this discussion going. I loved reading other people’s responses!

        Like

        • Zhenya says:

          Yes, the shorter titles are easier to tweet or share, and a reader can remember them better. Or… is this just a stereotype we have? (I am trying to find an example of a blog post title that I read and which made me to want to read the whole thing; what comes to mind is that is usually a topic of interest, or the first paragraph as a ‘pre-view’ that catches my eye) Hm, need to think about the titles and their importance more.

          I really like your point about deciding to comment or not and thinking about the author who is probably waiting for some response or feedback. Yes — may be easier not to do that (time being a good excuse, of course!), but after I read that sentence I think I will (most likely) choose to write in response, rather than not.

          Thank You for being active in this discussion — enjoying and learning at the same time!

          Like

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  4. mikecorea says:

    Cool post! I am already looking forward to the next one. I’d also like to express how happy I am that you are blogging. It is great to see your ideas and questions here. It has also been interesting to see how your concept (and purpose) of the blog seems to have changed from your original ones.

    I liked your questions but thought I didn’t have much to share but here I am doing so anyway. 😉
    What are your 2-3 favorite writing habits/rituals you find helpful?

    One thing I do, which I find (mostly!) helpful is to hit publish before I am 100% done editing. This sort of forces me to edit immediately and end the procrastination process. It also means that the first readers are treated to even more typos and mistakes than usual. I am mostly fine with this.

    [As a sidebar note, I am sure that I have more typos and English mistakes than you or the other people that have commented or blogged about this. I think this is a less frequently considered aspect of something like “Native Speaker Privilege.” My thought is that im pretty free and easy to dismiss something as as a simple typo or slip but for l2 users of English it might not be so easy to do. ]

    Back to habits…I think one thing I do that works for me is to play around with phrases and structures and (most importantly) ideas when I am not writing. For example when I’m on the subway I sometimes think of blog posts and what I might have to say about certain things.

    Probably my favorite habit is to remember that “good enough is good enough” and “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” This allows me to write a bit more even if it is not exactly the best I think I am capable of.

    What else? I remember talking about a post with a friend once I was saying something like “It’s so hard to get all my ideas on this out there” and she wondered if maybe I could make a few posts out of it. That was good advice.

    What are 1-2 writing habits you find less helpful, (and would like to get rid of in the new year?)

    This is easy! Doing 17 things at once and tweeting while writing and not focusing on writing. 🙂

    Sometimes I worry too much about finding pictures and things like this and I am ready to let this worry go. I don’t always enjoy thinking in terms of design and such so I will try not to worry too much about these things.

    What is one new idea (tip, habit) would you like to start in 2015, and why?
    I will share two!

    I will share at least one post with lots of audio in it.

    I will also have a post (at least one) translated into Korean. It sort of hit me a few times when I wrote about things related to the Korea that writing exclusively in English means only a segment of Koreans can fully understand what the heck I am on about. I have a written a few posts that I’d love to see get a bit wider audience with Korean readers (especially parents.) The first post to be translated is actually not about race and native speaker stuff but that is the post that got me thinking about speaking to non-educators. It will be interesting to see how this experiment plays out.

    Thanks again for the post and the chance to think about these things and share them. Thanks also for accepting these overly long comments!

    Like

    • Zhenya says:

      Wow Mike — thank you for the wonderfully informative and generous comment! Also, welcome to my blog (if I am not mistaken, this is the first time you are writing to me here, although you did SO MUCH helping me to get started (and keep going!) More about it another time.

      Yes, you are right that this space is changing: maybe change is something I value, and I am glad that it is happening this way. Again, I am honored and happy that my readers, including you, are staying with me and helping me learn.

      Thank you for supporting this discussion and sharing your tips and ‘tricks’ of blogging. My secret plan was to ask for your input directly, so I was really really happy that you came to visit and share. These are some of my thoughts in reply:

      What you wrote about “Native Speaker Privilege” to dismiss something as as a simple typo or slip seems to be something that resonates with us non-native speaking writers (you can see it in comments, and in the comments to the other blogs who are taking the challenge and share) I smiled when I read that line because I realized that for me a slip or mistake in grammar, or a wrong word might feel as if it was ‘something I don’t know but have to know because I am a teacher of English’ or something like that. It is kind of cool to remind myself that ‘good enough’ is fine.
      Re hitting the ‘publish’ button: I really want to try the same thing from time to time (posting 90% edited text and then fixing it ‘live’) I agree that editing too much might ‘kill’ the text’s flavor, or something like this… This one is a ‘candidate’ to my action point, I think. For now 🙂
      I like how you wrote about finding/choosing images to your posts, and that it is more a ‘design’ part than blogging itself. I think I learned this through my writing experience (something obvious for others, but I realized that I don’t need to have an image for everything I post) 🙂
      writing a post (or translating it) into another language sounds like a wonderful idea, for many reasons: reach and ‘hear’ more people, have new blogging/writing experience, or process, leave the comfort zone and then come back with a new point of view… It occurred to me just now that I have never written a blog post in my L1/L2 (which are both close languages, but still) Interesting — I don’t have any ‘ready-made’ explanations or reflections about it! Good luck with the experiment — hope to read about it on your blog!

      Thanks for the super-useful comment, and for letting me (and others) into the virtual space where your blog posts are born!

      Like

  5. careymicaela says:

    What a great blog post to start off the new year! 🙂

    And it’s generated a lot of really thoughtful comments as well.

    I’m not sure I have anything really useful to share here but I’ll give it a go.

    1. My writing process is similar to yours in that it involves pieces of paper with ideas and titles scribbled on them. I’ve noticed that most of my ideas for topics come to me when I’m really busy with classes. I think it’s because my brain is really focused and that little bit of stress helps get the creative juices flowing. I usually end up writing down lots of notes and then going back to write the post(s) when I have more time. It’s sort of frustrating having to wait until another day to write but it does help me reflect more on what I want to include and how I want to organize the post. Writing has always been challenging for me, which is a big part of the reason that I started blogging. Slowly but surely I’m starting to find my own voice as well as the confidence to keep going.

    2 and 3. Jotting down notes and reflecting on them until I’m ready to post is a habit I find useful but it’s also one that prevents me from being more prolific and more spontaneous. This ties into my lack of confidence as a writer as well. In the new year I’d like to find a balance in terms of the types of posts I put out there. Some of them I will continue to make drafts for and think about meticulously before publishing but I’d also like to try an approach that’s less planned and possibly more natural.

    Thanks for giving me food for thought. I’m looking forward to your next post.

    Like

    • Zhenya says:

      Hi Micaela,

      Thank you for visiting and reading both the post and the comments, and for joining the discussion. I thoroughly enjoy reading what everyone is sharing: so much learning and motivation to keep experimenting!

      A couple of ideas from your comment that made me think and reflect:

      1) Collecting ideas what to write about versus limiting myself to what the actual notes are saying. Hm, I realized I have been doing that sometimes too, and that it is not super helpful at times. In my case, this ‘block’ sometimes happens when I start a Word document and leave it, then come back and don’t like what is written but feel that I need to include it (for what reason?) I even have a reminder on my desk saying ‘It is a draft’ — just for not being blocked and keep going.

      2) Confidence in my own writing in combination with the formats I choose: after reading what you said about questions 2 and 3 I see that I sometimes (too often?) choose a familiar organization or genre in order to write ‘well’ instead of experimenting and trying something new. I think this is something to experiment with in the coming year!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts — and looking forward to your posts about teaching, and everything!

      Liked by 1 person

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