Friday, July 4, 2014

Behind the Scenes: On Writing Blog Posts


This July, I'm kicking off a brand new Friday mini-series called Behind the Scenes. I've only been blogging for 3 (!!!) years, but I figured it might be fun to share a little bit with readers how I do things around here. This is, of course, in no way meant to be a post telling you the right or wrong way to do stuff! It's simply an attempt to share the blogging process that works best for me. 

Today, we'll be taking a look at how I write my blog posts!

There are a few different types of posts that appear on Alexa Loves Books regularly, including:
  • The Monday Mix - It's a link list post where I gather interesting stuff from all over the web.
  • Stacking the Shelves - These are the book hauls I share every two weeks or so.
  • Monthly Retrospectives - It's a vlog/blog combo, where I highlight my top 5 reads, my TBR next month and share links to former posts.
  • Friends with ARCs - It's a regular collaboration with Rachel where we answer a question related to an ARC we've read together to include in our reviews.
  • personal posts - When I can, I post about my adventures in life, or even just reflections on it.
  • reviews - No need for an explanation, really.
I also do these types of posts sometimes:
  • An Author a (Mon)day - This is my author interview series, currently on hiatus!
  • Top Ten Tuesday - Lists of ten books that follow a different topic week to week
  • discussion posts - When it strikes my fancy, I write bookish thoughts for discussion.
  • blog tour posts - Usually, it's review + giveaway, or review + interview + giveaway, excerpt + giveaway, etc.
  • blog event posts - Depending on what event I decide to host, I make posts for it.

Whew! I just realized how fun the variety of posts I do get to do on the blog is pretty darn awesome. I will not be talking about the posts where I include vlogs (that's for next week!), but just the stuff I write out for them.

Okay, to break it down for you, here's the general pattern I follow when writing posts:

(1) Cue the mood music.


More often than not, I've got to have a soundtrack before I can start writing a post. I usually play whatever my current musical obsession is on my iPod (It's a combination of One Republic, Lucy Hale & Ed Sheeran at the moment!) or put on playlists from Spotify (I just discovered Your Favorite Coffeehouse, and I'm obsessed with it.) It helps with my focus, and setting the mood for me to want to be blogging.

(2) Bring up the blank page & type.


I don't type my posts directly into Blogger, unless I'm really pressed for time. Instead, I pull up a blank Word document on whatever computer I'm on (work or my own laptop). Generally, I make a list of temporary post titles for the ones that need to be written first. 


(Sidebar: I pull the titles of the reviews I must write by going into Goodreads and checking my "write a review" shelf.)


After I get an idea of what I need to do, I just pick one and start typing. When it comes to these features below, I usually just create one draft, which I then proofread for errors:
  • In the case of features like The Monday Mix, Stacking the Shelves, Monthly Retrospectives, I usually just work on a short 2-3 paragraphs with personal updates. Then, I work on gathering the necessary links for my lists.
  • In the case of posts like Top Ten Tuesday, I work on making my list + a short explanation for each item when it's necessary.
  • In the case of my personal posts or discussion posts, I usually make a bullet point list of what to include. It often winds up becoming quite rambly when I elaborate on those points! (I also gather photos for the personal posts.)
  • In the case of blog tour posts, blog even posts, An Author a (Mon)day, I usually have to go into my email and pull out the necessary info (which includes interview answers, excerpts, giveaway codes). I then put it into the document.

(3) Revise.

Majority of my posts are reviews, so they happen to be the posts I work on most regularly. I generally just wind up picking a title to write about. I just type immediately whatever comes to mind, letting my thoughts weave every which way. The list of things I usually mention includes:

  • my feelings
  • story
  • characters
  • writing
  • world-building & setting
  • similar books (sometimes)
  • previous books (especially if it's a series)
  • an introduction + conclusion paragraph, each with a general opinion on the book
It doesn't always come out very organized, if I'm being honest. I tend to go all over the place, writing whatever impressions the book (or its elements) left on me. This is why step 3 is necessary for my reviews. I go back, reread, reorder & revise until I'm finally satisfied with what I've got!


(4) Email.


I try to make sure to have an extra copy of my posts somewhere, so I usually email it to myself after. Not only is this a safety measure for me in case something happens, but it also allows me to work on posts both at home and at the office! (Or even on my phone sometimes.)


(5) Add to Blogger + schedule.


The last step is usually just to transfer whatever was in the Word document onto Blogger. It usually involves properly formatting the post for Blogger, uploading the photos I've gathered, linking where necessary and scheduling the post to publish on the right time & date. Fairly quick to do once you've written the bulk of the post in a draft!

And this, my friends, is how I write blog posts. I used to do it a lot of different ways before, but this is the routine I've settled in and that works best for me. What about you? What's YOUR process like when you write blog posts? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek "behind the scenes"! 
Come back next week to see how I film vlogs!

8 comments:

  1. I also write my reviews/posts somewhere else. I use Windows live writer (LOVE this free program) and sometimes I save my drafts first, so I can revise them later. I also have lists of things I need to remember, like ideas for discussions or possible new features.

    Music is important for me as well. I can't do anything without some music on the background!

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  2. Whew! What a variety and process! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Gosh, you have quite the system for writing posts! I love that you write them in Word first. I wish I had started doing that in the beginning -- I think there were a few posts I lost due to Wordpress being a butt. And yay for music in the background! I wonder if we get Spotify in Canada? I love new ways to find new tunes. :)

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  4. I like to have music while I'm writing as well! Which is weird, because I'm not a huge music fan and I can't have music playing when I read, but I love to listen to either albums or scores while I'm writing blog posts. I'm checking out Your Favorite Coffeehouse right now. I'm sure it'll come in handy!

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  5. I've typically written my posts directly into blogger, sometimes on a separate document, especially just for making lists of things, like potential top ten tuesday choices or book hauls. I think I might try writing in Word more. I definitely have Spotify up as well, listening to random tunes, so thank you for the suggestions! I love listening to my favorite album from The Hush Sound, or a few other bands. Normally I just sit down and marathon write, and then schedule those for the month, but if I'm suddenly struck with inspiration for a discussion post I'll get that down too and I love working in some additional posts. My posting schedule and routine has varied month-to-month lately, but I'd like to get it back to this sort of system. In the end, it's just growing as a blogger and learning what works best for me. I love this series idea, can't wait to see more posts!

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  6. I vary the way I write my posts a lot. I nearly always write them in Blogger though. Recently, I've been marathon writing posts, but I usually just write one and then that's it. I'm trying to get ahead for the end of the month when I'll be out of town so that I'm not too overwhelmed. I love this series idea and cannot wait to see more!

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  7. I'm such a slacker. I used to sort of revise my reviews, but then I got lazy and decided that I didn't care if they were perfect. They are completely random, sometimes in different formats, but I find that if I try structuring myself too much, I then get writer's block. I respect your process though! Loved the screenshots!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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