Two Major Tips for Writing Blog Posts (Or Anything Else) Faster & More Easily

Hi, friends. In today’s post, I briefly share two major tips that help me power through rough drafts and free my mind when writing. Implement this advice if you often find yourself staring blankly at a blinking cursor!

Keep a Running List of Ideas

When I open a fresh, blank post and settle in to start a rough draft, I consult the list of writing ideas I keep in a Google Doc, choosing the one that appeals to me most in that moment. I add ideas to the list at random points throughout the day; my ideas are inspired by observations, conversations, thoughts I have when reading other things, and basically anything under the sun.

If I didn’t keep a list and had to think of ideas on the spot when I decide to write, I’d spend more time racking my brain than typing.

[I used “decide to” rather than “want to” because here is a tip within a tip: though writing is a passion for most of us, we must discipline ourselves to flex the muscle regularly to keep it strong.]

Distinguish Writing from Editing

An artistic representation of a brainstorm

Writing a rough draft equates to brainstorming for me; I (try to) write everything down without filtering myself. When I re-open a rough draft to start editing, I delete, move around, and polish my words. The mental processes of writing and editing differ for me. Writing is creating; editing is perfecting.

When I write the first draft, I know perfectly well as I type most things that they don’t sound right and will have to be altered. The key to powering through a rough draft, for me, is to resist my type-A urge to edit as I write. Instead of focusing on the way things sound, I try to tap into all my thoughts about what I’m writing and just let them pour out.

I hinder my imagination and halt the flow of my thoughts when I stop every few seconds, hold down Backspace, and just sit there, pondering exactly how I should phrase a sentence. It is so much easier to perfect something than to create perfection out of nothing.

Also, our brains chew on the things we read, watch, write, etc. A person who writes a speech a week before giving it will (usually) be better prepared than one who procrastinates on writing it until the night before because the first person has extra time for contemplation. I recently gave the message at another church and chose to reuse a sermon I gave at my own church back in March. I wound up reworking the whole message because my thoughts on the scripture had further developed since that time. I feel that the reworked version was more insightful, penetrating, and convicting than the first version.

Giving my mind the time and space to mull over words I write in the rough draft actually heightens my proficiency in polishing my thoughts.

In summary, keeping a running list of ideas and distinguishing writing from editing are two blogging methods that enable me to bang out rough drafts without restricting my creativity.

Thanks for reading! What does your writing/editing process look like? Do you keep a list of ideas? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

51 comments

  1. My process is a bit different. For me writing has always just kind of come to me. When I was in college, I would think about and when the moment came, I started writing. With blogging, ideas come to me and I write. Sometimes I write a few posts ahead and God impresses on me to wait to post. It works for me but I don’t think my process is good for others. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I also like to take advantage of those moments where I’m feeling inspired to write something. It usually comes at very inconvenient times, but how can I pass it up? 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Yes, I would be pretty lost without my ongoing, ever-growing list of (random) ideas. That has been a big help to me so that I don’t wind up scrambling for something to write when publish-day comes.
    I think my most major stumbling block when it comes to writing is that I frequently overthink things. I get so caught up in the post needing to be perfect that I get discouraged before I even begin writing. It’s hard, but I definitely find that writing more often (like daily even) helps immensely in deterring this mindset. Also, if I try to do as you advise and simply write whatever comes to mind, that makes things a little less stressful. Writing it doesn’t automatically mean I’ll publish it, but at least I’ve accomplished something (rather than just feeling stressed out all day).

    Thanks for sharing some of your insights, Lily! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Emma! Writing more often and trying not to overthink things are good ideas!! I find that the more often I write, the more naturally the words come to mind. And there is always time to overthink the details AFTER you have something on the page to work with. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My writing process is very similar to yours. I brainstorm ideas in a note on my phone. Then I will choose one I want to write about and write a rough draft on my phone. Then I edit and polish off the good copy on my computer. And then I add the final touches like photos and a signature. My posts are not scheduled so they are very sporadic but I try to post once a week. I wanted to write one a couple days ago but my toddler hogged the laptop the entire time, and I didn’t have unlimited WiFi on my phone so writing did not happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life and little people get in the way sometimes, ha! Your process does sound similar to mine. 🙂 I usually post on Fridays but I occasionally post on Tuesdays. Posting one day a week allows me to write 1-2 rough drafts throughout the week and edit a previously written rough draft for Friday.

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  4. For me, brainstorming and drafting go hand-in-hand, as I write best when it is most prominently on my mind. But after the draft phase, my process looks similar to yours. It is wise not to agonize over a first draft. In the words of one of my college professors: “Drafts are ugly. They are supposed to be ugly.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I keep a list of ideas too! Your writing process reminded me of a writing class I recently took for college. We had Sacred Writing Time, we were given a prompt and then had to keep the pen going for five minutes, and we couldn’t worry about grammar or wonder if things sounded right! We had to keep on writing down whatever comes to us and it was a neat experience to do☺️💗

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you talked about the difference between editing and writing! That used to trip me up, but now I’ve separated the processes. First I write and don’t edit it as I go. Then I walk away for at least a day, so when I come back to edit I have a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes I just need one round of editing, but other times I have to repeat the process of letting it sit for at least a day before editing again a number of times. But now I rarely write and edit the same piece on the same day.

    Thanks for sharing such good advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those are wonderful tips to help anyone in the blogging process. I write in a similar fashion. I like to spill it all on to the “paper” so to speak and then come back in a day or two to edit and finish it up.

    Once it gets on the computer screen for the first time, it sort of “slow bakes” there and the same kind of thing happens in my mind and when I get back to edit it, what follows is a much more final version, if not a final version.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, finishing a post–dotting all the i’s, crossing all the t’s–takes time and is easier said than done. And if you’re like me, you publish a post and somehow still find the occasional grammar error despite all the agonizing! Thank you. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I do keep a blog topic calendar in Excel that I keep updated as I post so I’m more organized. Rough draft and brainstorming is foreign to me as I’ve gotten away with not doing it in school because it seems superfluous or redundant. I’m sure it’d help but I’m not going to guarantee anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it is good that you are content with your writing in the first go-round. My thoughts just don’t come out as well as I’d like without some polishing. I spend a fair amount of time converting passive sentences to active sentences, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “…distinguishing writing from editing…enable me to bang out rough drafts without restricting my creativity.”

    I am also a first draft is for getting everything out on the page kind of a gal! And for many of the reasons you shared. I consider much of it stream of consciousness at that point. I have ideas and points I want to make, but with the first draft I am more interested in what I get out than what it looks like and save the editing for the next step which is putting it on my blog. So that’s the first edit. I wait several hours or a day and go back and do another edit. For me, time away from writing is very important.

    And the point about keeping a list of ideas works for me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for some great advice. I do keep a list of ideas, but it is really hard for me not to edit as I go. (I know you’re right though!) I usually write about what the Lord is showing me at the time and what is going on in my life (even if I don’t say so), so my blog is more about “my journey” than people might think. Blessings, Lily! I love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent tips. I will definitely be making use of them 🙂 I have come up blank so many times in the past few weeks, since I started my blog, that it has ceased to be funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t have guessed that from reading your blog! 🙂 I hope keeping a list helps. You may find after you start it that ideas will pop into your head at the most random times.

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  12. I find a lot of ‘tips for writing’ posts and they often emanate an air of superficiality, as if the author doesn’t actually believe their own advice.

    However, what you’ve written here is genuine and practical advice, and conveniently succinct. This post helped me a ton.

    I also keep a list of ideas, but I think I need to add to it more often, and check it more often. And when you say that ‘writing is creativity, editing is perfecting’ – that is exactly what I needed to hear. I am a fiend for editing while I write, but I need to kick that habit.

    Anyway, thank you very much!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Drew, your compliment is very specific, and it made me feel good about myself, so thank you for that. I have also found the habit of editing while writing a rough draft hard to kick. I wrote a cover letter for a job application the other day and was struggling with this once again. Of course, when I returned to it the next day, the changes I needed to make were so clear, and I kicked myself for agonizing so much over the rough draft.

      Thanks for dropping by! Going to check out your blog. 🙂

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  13. I have three places for post ideas and often I do not use it because another idea will appear and lay very heavy on my heart. But having those lists are so important! Especially when we are not sure what to write or what to make sure certain topics are touched on for our audience. Lists are great for series, too!!! ❤ Great tips!

    Like

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