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How I write a blog post
Writing generates ideas
As a child, I was a poor reader. Any homework that involved more than a few words of writing became a massive challenge. Entire weekends were consumed in anguished toil. Roll the clock forward 50 years and I still spend my weekends writing. However, the big difference now is that I write by choice and it’s a pleasure.
As explored in Blog Well. Think well., my blog helps me learn, capture my thoughts and share them with other people. After 100 weekly blog posts, I have developed the writing approach outlined below.
Blog post writing process
1. Find a topic
Everything begins with an idea. - Earl Nightingale
I find topics to write about that are aligned with the purpose of the A Bit Gamey blog. I demystify the app development process by sharing my personal journey in trying to develop fun and useful apps. I write about things that I would be keen reading myself, e.g. choosing and trademarking an app name. Many ideas come from startup founders, authors and other creators.
2. Draft a title
I draft a working title which often gets refined later. The 3 Questions Great Headlines Address provides a guide for me. The questions are: 1. What is the topic or subject matter? 2. What promise am I making? Which need or want will be addressed by the insight gained? 3. Who is the target audience?
3. Use Bard for a first draft
I often use Google’s AI engine Bard (bard.google.com) to generate a first draft of my blog post. I find that the more specific the Bard request, the better the result. Write a 2000 word essay on topic X including points A and B often works well.
4. Personalise and add character
Once I have a first draft, I edit in my own voice, include stories, some humour and relevant examples. I illustrate points via my own experience or the accounts of others. I try to show, not tell.
5. Add quotes and an image
If you cannot write well, you cannot think well; if you cannot think well, others will do your thinking for you. - Oscar Wilde
I add relevant quotes to enhance key points; often from well known characters with gravitas.
I choose a single image which encapsulates the topic and excludes words. It must work well in landscape mode.
6. Edit, proofread and voice over
I didn't have time to write you a short letter so I wrote you a long one instead. - Mark Twain
I use Google Translate to read my post back to me which often highlights grammatical and spelling errors. Next, my long suffering wife, Marcia, reads it through to check it says something interesting and flows. Once the text has been finalised, I record a voice over, on my phone, and upload to Substack.
I use Substack which is free, intuitive and has many useful features. Writers can draft and publish posts, configure the look and feel of their blogs, plus manage email distribution lists and view engagement metrics. I schedule the post to come out Sunday morning at 9am. Of my 600 Substack subscribers, 40% open my post. I also post my blog on: Reddit (2000 weekly reads), LinkedIn (800 subscribers), Medium, HackerNews, IndieHackers and Twitter.
Write Simply essay by Paul Graham
How to Self Publish a Book post by Phil Martin
Show Me Your Bad Ideas post by Phil Martin
One day, I hope to write something worth plagiarising. Until then, I’ll keep practicing.