It’s really easy to fall into the trap of immediacy with blogging. You type, you click, you publish.
But wait! Do you have to publish it RIGHT NOW? I’m guessing not. Not unless it’s past your bedtime and you still haven’t published your daily post. And even then, I’m sure it can wait.
You see, in the blogging rush to hit the “publish” button, it’s easy to forget how anything you write can benefit from chillin’ like a villain for a bit. You can noticeably improve your blog posts and your blogging style if you can train yourself to write your posts in advance. Now, I’m not saying you need to write posts weeks and weeks ahead of time. Like Rachel has noted, sometimes it’s enough to write a few posts ahead of time so you can park in your “drafts” and save for a rainy (or uninspired) day.
But here are five more reasons for not hitting publish right away:
- Content. Is the post really about something you care about? A post you’re proud of? If it’s not, give it the benefit of a re-write or re-edit. You may find that there’s something else you’d rather blog about, or you may need to consider whether you want to blog it at all. If you’re feeling a touch uninspired, check out Heather‘s advice on handling blogger’s block.
- Typos. What if today is the day that the boss of your dream job surfs blogs for their next protege? You don’t want to be a casualty of their/they’re/there, taht, or missing capital letters. Your blog — and your readers — deserve better than that.
- Style. Of course you can post that you ate a mozzarella, grilled vegetable, and pesto sandwich. You could also post that you ate a French bread bomb of chargrilled, melty-cheesed deliciousness so awesome you didn’t mind when it ALMOST dripped down your shirt. I know which sandwich I’d rather eat–and which blogger will keep me coming back for more (sandwiches and good bloggery, that is).
- Story. You know how fashion magazines can make an entire story out of, say, satin? They get a truckload of satin dresses and need to come up with a narrative, stat. You can do that with your own writing. You can say you went to the gym and had a blah run on the treadmill. You could also say that you braved traffic, beat the Juicy-sweatsuit-wearing creepellas to a treadmill, listened to a man break up with his wife over the phone in the weight area, and had to smell the sweat of every human being within a mile of you, making for the crappiest run ever, for which you rewarded yourself with (insert tasty fresh dinner here). Bam! You have a narrative — and a fun, interesting post to which others can relate.
- Pictures. If you post a lot of food photos, it’s easy to fall into a photography rut. You take the shot you know and trust, you upload, you click, you post. But if you let the post sit, you can preview how it will look once it’s published. If it’s not Vogue-worthy, you have time to follow Leah’s advice for better pictures: you can Picasa it to perfection, take another picture, or decide whether you really, truly need a kinda blah picture to make the post. Maybe you do — or maybe you can make do with some bought, borrowed, or stolen graphics.
All this is good in theory, but I promise — you CAN make it work for you! Set aside a time when you feel you can be productive each week, grab a cup of something good and put on some tunes, and make like a professional writer (hold a pen and twirl it if you must — for effect and all). Sketch out a few ideas for the week, work a few into full posts, and then save them in your drafts. You will feel virtuous, self-accomplished, and entitled to big-up your blog to anyone and everyone because you’ll know that you do, in fact, give each post the lovin’ it deserves before you hit publish and send it out into the big wide blogosphere.
[Editor’s note: This post was written more than a week before it was published. We practice what we preach!]