How I Write My Blog Posts

I thought it would be interesting to write a blog post on how I go about writing a blog post. It’s so I can see how it changes over the years, which I know it has over the years.

Where Do I Save My Ideas

The first thing I do is come up with ideas for the blog posts and then write them down. I place them in SimpleNote.

What I Do with My Ideas

For the posts I deem worthy of writing, I then outline them some more in SimpleNote. Some of that is done during my lunchtime or after-work walks. I do some outlining then too. I like thinking through how I want to say something in the post and work through how best to phrase or order my thoughts?

Once that’s done, I tend to throw those parts into something SimpleNote too.

Next’s It’s on to WordPress

Next, I use WordPress to write the first draft of my post. During my writing process, I try not to edit as I go besides maybe fixing some spelling. I want to be able to get the idea out of my head.

Editing Drafts

Once I’m done with the first draft, I then open up the Hemingway application. Usually, I use it, more importantly, to break up my run-on sentences from the first draft. The Hemingway application is useful to me to tell me the following type of things.

  • How many complex and hard-to-read sentences there are.
  • The number of words, sentences, and paragraphs.
  • The reading grade level, etc.

Once I’m done with Hemingway, I paste the text into Grammarly, and then I do more editing. Grammarly does a better job of grammar checking. It even does a better job with spell-checking than the Hemingway application.

I repeat that process once or twice more between the two applications.

Once I feel like I’m done, I then paste my text back to WordPress to read through what I wrote as a whole. More to read through it to make sure it’s understandable and is logical.

When I’m happy with things, I then add categories or tag words in WordPress. Then I will add headings where it needs to be broken up the long sections of text.

Cooling Off Period and More Editing

I let the posts sit for a couple of hours or till the next day before reading it over again. I then reread it and do more editing if necessary.

If I end up changing things, I use both Hemingway and Grammarly to check the updated parts of the post. I tend to want to double-check things.

When the Post is Done

Once all that’s done, it’s time to create any links that need to be added. I don’t want to have to re-add them if I add them too early.

Then it’s time to publish my blog post.

Posting Everyday in January, 2021

In January 2021, I published a post every day. I found people tended to read my posts if I tweeted about them around noon or early afternoon on weekdays. On weekends it depended on what the post’s subject was if there were more readers, according to the Twitter statistics.

No Real Statistics and Future Posts

I don’t have any official numbers on how many people read my posts because I took Google analytics off my website and blog years ago. I did that, so Google wasn’t tracking everybody that would come to my website or blog posts.

Now I looked to post at least once a week and maybe two a week or a total of five or six posts a month.

More Blogging and Any Suggestions

So here’s hoping this was useful to all that red to get a better understanding of my process.

If you have any suggestions for other writing applications that might make writing blog posts easier. Please leave a comment.

Blogged Daily in January

In mid-December, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could write a blog post every day in January.

After looking at my blog, I noticed it had been almost two years since I last posted (late January 2019). Before that, I wrote one post in July 2018 and nothing in 2017.

Posting Daily

Posting every day allowed me to write a bunch at first about things from 2020 and the pandemic. Along with some things I wanted to say and others that came up.

Part of the issue was I tended to write longer posts with example code. Which needed to be coded semantically and accessibly, of course. So it took a long time to write them and then post them if I ever did. So I stopped for the most part.

Shorter Blog Posts

So I decided the posts would be short. In my mind, that meant 500 to 1,000 words. It seems most of the blog posts in January 2021 ended up being between 300 and 600 words on average.

The longest post was the first one on January 1st at 926 words. The shortest one was 197 words about a week ago.

What Were the Numbers

I went back and wrote down the number of words for each post in January. The total words I wrote were 14,789 for an average of 477 and some change per day.

NOTE – I only had to add all the words per day up three times to get totals to match twice.

It’s Tough Blogging Daily

After writing a post every day for a month now, I’m not sure how Austin Kleon and others find the time to post daily. Or have ideas most days. Occasion they skip a day or so. Either way, I have found it to be hard to do every day. It’s a lot of work to do it more than a few times a week.

Posting Weekly

After posting every day for a month, I found it took about an hour to two hours daily for each post. Some days three hours if I was working on more than one psst.

Meaning I would come up with an idea or two, outline them, maybe even write the first draft. Or the next day, finish the post and edit it. Then post it or if I was writing on the weekends or had the time started one for a few days in advance.

I think spending four or five hours a week writing a post or two would be good.

Doing so would give me eight or ten hours back. That I had been using to write, edit, and post for other things like time to read and learn to improve my skills. Say in JavaScript, CSS Grid, etc. Or maybe cooking, coding, relaxing, etc.

Or even spending time thinking about what I want to be when I group.

Extra Learning

With having or, more importantly, making time during the pandemic, I decided to use my time to take some classes and learn more. It helped getting rid of my cable TV in the fall of 2019.

Many Different Classes

I attended a few Creative Mornings Field Trips. They were about drawing and art, along with two different ones on making tortillas (corn and wheat). Another one had to do with creative writing.

Other classes were Marcy’s Sutton’s “Front-End Accessibility Masterclass.” It was a great class on how to make accessible HTML and CSS along with improving it with JavaScript when building websites and applications.

Food Related Classes and Books

Another event about the food I enjoyed in 2020 was the 2020 Fall Southern Foodways Symposium: Future of the South. That ran on Saturdays in October (3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th) from 9:00 SM to noon central.

I have been learning about growing my own food, small scale farming, etc. I even purchased a fermenting class from a YouTube homesteaders channel I watch. It was a great class, and I’m looking forward to making more of my own ferments. I did a few ferments before I took the classes, but they didn’t turn out as well as I expected.

I’m looking forward to all the fresh veggies from the farmer’s market in the spring and during the summer too.

I read two books on fermenting too.

  • The Fermented Man – A year on the Front Lines of a Food Revolution by Derek Dellinger
  • The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including Koji, Kombuchas, Shoyus, Misos, Vinegars, Garums, Lacto-ferments, and Black Fruits and Vegetables by Rene Redzepi and David Zilber
  • Do Preserve – Make Your own Jams, Chutneys, Pickles, and Cordials by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss, and Mimi Beaven

I even spent time learning about food, more specifically beans.

  • The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Guide by Steve Sando and Julia Newberry
  • Cool Beans – The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-based Protein with 125 Recipes by Joe Yonan

Reading Creative and Comic Related Books

I have been reading many creative books, with many of them being graphic novels on making comics. Here are a few of those books.

  • Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? – The Art f Making Zines and Mini-comics by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson
  • Elements of Fire – A Comic Anthology of Color! edited by Taneka Stotts
  • Cartooning – Philosophy, and Practice by Ivan Brunetti
  • Glenn Ganges in The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga
  • Drawing Book of Faces by Ed Emberley

One Odd Book

I even read a book on bee-keeping, which will help me when I get my own plot of land to grow food.

  • Do Bee-keeping – The Secret to Happy Honeybees by Orren Fox

Here’s to More Diverse Learning

So as you can see, since the beginning of 2020 and into 2021, I have been all over the place attempting to learn new things.

Enjoying the Extra Writing

Since I started blogging again this year, I have noticed I’m enjoying the writing part. Keeping a daily schedule has been good and bad.

My Process

I have spent time first coming up with blog post ideas and then outlining them. Once I have done an outline or two, I start putting in a bit of the content as the first draft. Then on my walk’s I tend to work through ideas and figure out what I want to say. It’s been helpful getting the thoughts down in my head before typing them in blog posts.

Keeping the posts between a couple of hundred words and maybe 500 or 600 words has been helpful. My old style was to write long posts of a thousand to fifteen hundred words with code examples, etc. Doing these took many hours, a few days, or even weeks.

I still need to finish a few of the longer blog posts I started a year or more ago and get them out at some point. But right now, I’m working on writing every day and putting something new out.

Posting Every Day so Far this Year

It’s been interesting attempting to make sure to post everyday. The issue is more what else do I have or need to say at a given time.

Posting every day so far in January, it’s been nice to talk about what was happening on a given day. Or to recap what happened on a given day. Like the weekend lazy Saturday post a while ago or on Thursdays about Wednesday’s Inauguration.

So here’s to seeing how long I can keep writing/posting every day.

Might Slow Up on Posts

I’m not sure if I want to keep it up because of the time it has been taking. I think I could use the time to learn more modern CSS and JavaScript to help look for a front-end coding job.

Between outlining posts, thinking what I want to say, and writing the first draft of posts. Then coming back to posts to edit/finish them and then one last check before posting takes time. Even these shorter style posts are taking anywhere from an hour to three hours.

Or it might be a mix of code learning and blog posts, with some of them being about what I have learned.

Other Activities

I also need to keep time for my 100 Day Project wine bottle shape drawings or adding restaurants to Gotta Eat Here. Doing so helps for when it’s safe to travel. I want to have plenty of places to eat when I’m away.

I want to add some features like a map of all the places for a given location on a separate page. Doing it this way as not to slow up the downloading of the main list of restaurants. The maps feature needs more research for the best way to add them without cost to me.

I would like to make the website a progressive web application, too, at some point.

Doing All the Things

So here’s to making time to both write, learn to code, etc., while still getting time to relax too.

Veggie Stew

Over the weekend (Saturday), I made a veggie stew. It might even be vegan, but I would have to check the ingredients on a few labels.

Let the Chopping Begin

I started out dicing up three medium-sized onions and got them cooking down in my cast iron skillet. I used two good olive oils to help soften them up. While the softening up was happening, I peeled and chopped up a head of garlic from the farmer’s market.

Ingredients

Once the garlic was in the pan, I added some salt, pepper, and spices. The spices were curry powder, cayenne, chipotle, smoked Spanish paprika, and Ancho chili powder. I then added dried basil, thyme, and oregano along with many turns of finely ground Szechuan peppercorns.

I let the spices cook a bit to intensify the flavor. Before adding the pound of Rancho Gordo heirloom Classic Cranberry Beans to my large stainless steel pot (16 quarts?).

Soaking Beans and Wild Rice

The dry Rancho Gordo beans started soaking three-hours before I started chopping my vegetables. I also soaked half a pound of Trader Joe’s wild rice separately.

Okay, it was probably between 14 and 15 ounces of bean because I put 50 of them in a small envelope in my wine cooler. The reason being I wanted to see at some point if I could grow my own beans.

Slow Cooking

I added the beans and then made sure they boiled for five minutes. Then turned them down to a simmer. I then went to read some more, lying on my sofa. About every twenty minutes or so got up to check on the beans and other vegetables and stir them. After about an hour, I added the soaked wild rice and it’s water to the pot.

Stirring While Reading and Writing Blog Posts

More reading, and I think outlining a blog post or two along with more stirring.  After another hour or so, I added in a 12-ounce package of Anson Mills Slow Roasted Farro. Before adding the farro, I made sure to presoak it for an hour or more.

Over the next hour or more, I let the beans, the wild rice, and the farro slowly cooking. I added the following a 4 ounce can of Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles. Then I added a 13.75-ounce jar of Trader Joe’s Corm and Cile tomato-less Salsa. Followed later by a one 15.25 ounce can of Wegmans No Salt Added Whole Kernel Crisp’ N Sweet Corn.

At some point in all of this, I cooked up 10-ounces of Impossible Burger in my cast iron to then added to the pot too.

Oops, I forgot I chopped up a medium-sized head of fennel and cooked in my cast iron pan, and added it in at some point to my veggie stew.

All this needed time to meld together and get tasty.

Extra Notes

For the spices, I probably put in two tablespoons of each, give or take in a very large pot. I learned over time; I can add hot sauce for added flavor and heat later. Instead of putting n to many hot spices in, that got hotter as the water evaporated.

Leftovers

So now I’m eating it most days for one meal. I need to put some in the freer for later if there is any room.

Here’s to more large batch cooking on a slow Saturday to have good food and lots of leftovers.