On Saturday, I went out for an early morning bike ride so I could get in the miles on the lakefront without fighting foot traffic later in the day.
At the turnaround spot, I decided to go away from my usual Pandora station and listen to a podcast. I turned on Jason Konopinski’s Riffing on Writing. His latest episode was with my friend and former advisor, Brad Farris.
First, to the two them: I CAN HEAR YOU!
Now on to everyone else.
Word vs. WordPress
As Jason is wont to do, he led Brad down a path about content creation. While Brad doesn’t write for a living, nor does he enjoy it all that much, he does create quite a bit of content for Enmast, a community for small business owners, its blog, and a newsletter.
During the conversation, they ridiculed me because I can open WordPress, type a blog post, and publish it…all within an hour (which is precisely what I’m doing right now).
It turns out, that’s not so common.
But the conversation went from there to tools they both use (you’ll have to listen to learn what they are) and how to get content created when it doesn’t come so naturally.
Brad said something really interesting about content creation in Word. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) he uses Word to create strategy documents for clients, which tend to be very left-brained and logical.
So when he opens Word, he has a hard time turning off that side of his brain to be creative and write something people will want to read if they’re not paying him to write it.
It made me wonder if that’s not the case for a lot of people.
I love writing in WordPress because I can add links, optimize, categorize, add images, and tag the post all at once. I’ve always looked at writing it somewhere else and moving it into WordPress as an extra step.
But what if you hate the interface (which Jason and Brad both said they did) for writing?
Tools for Writing Blog Posts
Following are several tools for writing blog posts.
- Scrivener. I love Scrivener. It’s how I’m writing Spin Sucks (the book) and how I’ll write any longer form content that is soon to come. I don’t know how it would work for shorter form content, but I say it’s worth a shot.
- Google Docs. I still haven’t caught the Google Docs fever, but I know lots of people prefer it. You can write directly in there, have an editor review it without sending attachments back and forth, and then finalize before transferring it.
- Movable Type. This one is particularly good if you have multiple authors. While it’s a little more advanced because you can actually build your website on it and then use the platform for publishing, it does give you the option to only write blog posts with it.
- Pen and paper. I know it sounds silly, but it works for many people. Brad said he uses an app on his phone to keep his blog post ideas. I actually keep mine in a hardbound journal with a bicycle on the front (seen above). I carry it with me everywhere I go because when I have an idea, I want to be sure I track it in the same spot as all the other ones.
- WriteApp. I like this one for those of you who get distracted easily. It will shut down all of your distractions and not let you back at them until the time you’ve predetermined is up.
- WordPress. We’ve covered this, so I won’t say anything more than it’s how I write my blog posts.
- MarsEdit. When Geoff Livingston and I were traveling nonstop together last year, I watched him create many a blog post in MarsEdit. I never really got the hang of using it (it felt easier to use WordPress), but he swears by it. You can publish to your blog directly from there so it’s not a two-step process like many of these others.
But the most important tool for writing blog posts? Write every day. Even if you don’t publish every day, you can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write every, single day.
It’s the only way to get better and it’s the only way to find your voice.
Because, as Brad said at the end of the podcast, “You can’t catch a fish if you don’t put the bug in the water.”