For all the blogging I’ve done, I don’t think I’ve actually talked about how I go about writing. In fact, I haven’t seen many bloggers talk about their process, from an idea in their head to something published on the internet for other’s to read. I’d imagine for many who just tune in to read some reviews, and occasionally what I’d call commentary – this is probably going to be a bit boring. Especially given I’m talking about this on my fourth anniversary of blogging, verses something more… celebratory. It’s a choice.
I’ll do my best to make this insightful. But I will be polite and do two sections to accommodate most readers. The first will be the simplified, unelaborated outline of what I do from idea to publishing with approximately how long each step takes. The time being approximations on average, I obviously don’t time myself when writing lol. The second section will have more explanation for certain steps and what that looks like for me.
So here is the basic order of how my blog posts get set up:
- Start to read/watch the thing I want to blog about. (Several hours to several months)
- During reading/watching or shortly after, basic notes on the thing. (5-10 minutes)
- Finish the thing I want to blog about. (Several hours to several months)
- Review notes, pick big picture points, and decide general opinion on the thing. (5-10 minutes)
- Bulleted list draft of the post. (10 minutes)
- Re-write the bulleted list draft into the first actual post draft. (30 minutes – 2 hours)
- Edit the first draft. (30-60 minutes)
- Second edit/final edit of the draft (30-60 minutes)
- Schedule the completed post. (a minute or less)
And there you have it. My basic nine steps from picking the thing I want to talk about to, publishing a blog about it. Pretty simple, probably could simplified more if I wasn’t so picky about editing but it works for me. For those not interested in the nitty gritty of certain steps, go ahead and jump down to the next double line break for my final thoughts.
Step 4. Review notes, pick big picture items, and decide general opinion on thing.
What that typically means is I look to see what I actually noticed while I was consuming the media I wanted to talk about. For example in Kotodamasou I regularly mentioned that the mood wasn’t consistent and that the cast as an ensemble had no chemistry, but paired off they did. So, I put that into the review.
Other things I look for are typical things like reoccurring motifs, color theory, acting, production, etc. Sometimes I do broad points like just acting, animation and those related areas if I’m having trouble finding unique to this production category. I do my best during this time to pick one or two smaller points as, that were either ‘icing on the cake’, or were irritating enough to draw attention to.
Step 5. Bulleted list draft of the post.
In my notes, I might have a specific line or two that I want to use for sure in the final blog. I tend to have a bulleted list first to make sure I don’t forget something, but also since it’s easier for me to flesh out full paragraphs from them.
I tend to write mostly after work, and occasionally before. Given my workplace is very accommodating, if I have a significant amount of down time to myself, I might be able to get a paragraph or two out.
7. Edit the first draft.
Typically after I finish my first draft – I force myself to do something completely different before editing it again. Partly because I will hyper fixate on writing and forget to do other important things like, making dinner, or doing laundry. Partly because I am someone who over-edits first draft(s) to the point they completely fall apart and I have to restart them. If you haven’t guessed that’s happened more then once. So taking time off to do something unrelated, allows my thoughts to mellow out and saves me from over editing. It also gives me a bit better of a work/hobby/personal life balance.
The edits of the first draft are usually pretty minor. Catch the major spelling errors, or character name inconsistencies, as well as any big formatting issues. This is also the time I’ll re-work run-on sentences, and simplify my thoughts so readers of many levels of English comprehension can follow along. Typically, this is where I’ll also double-check my tone and intention. I can be really crass unintentionally, and I do my best to try to avoid miscommunication from that.
8. Second edit/final edit of the draft.
After my first round of edits, I typically force myself to wait another 6 to 12 hours later before doing the final edit. This ‘rule’ of mine comes from my college years. I was someone who very rarely waited until the last moment to finish or edit papers. When I did though; I destroyed several very promising papers in the process. It’s a lesson well-learned I don’t edit anything back-to-back when I can avoid it.
Especially since I am annoyingly through. I re-read my entire post from start to finish, and on average that’s about 1000 ish words. What can I say, I like the sound of my own writing. This is typically where more simplifying happens again since I tend to be wordier then I should. Sometimes the point I made originally in a paragraph, is better off just being a sentence or two. During this time I’ll look up technical terms to swap out for longer explanations, and make sure that my naming conventions are consistent. There’s a big difference between a character in a movie, and the actor playing said character.
Again, also more small stuff; spelling, formatting, grammar things. Yet, somehow I still miss some of these things lol. It’s only now that I add in my featured image, additional media, tag, and categorize a post.
The last thing I do is then go back and copy any points that could spark an interesting follow-up post. Sometimes I cut entire paragraphs since they’re a longer tangent that doesn’t fully contribute to the current post but have the potential to be their own stand-alone post. Ideas like a live-action casting, character studies, are born from these little tidbits and ‘cut’ material. This is where my blog about Horimiya’s episode three came from.
And that… is my long ass blog about my writing process. I’m not going to say this is particularly riveting piece of media, but it’s one of the few times I feel comfortable opening up and talking about the person behind the blog. No matter how indirect that actually is. It probably says something about my character and I’m not sure what you guys will make of that but here we are.
But, I would like to thank you guys on four years of blogging. It’s been an interesting journey, and while I make no promises I hope I can make it to four more year’s worth of blogging. I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who stumbles upon my blog and takes the time to engage with it, big or small, as it does mean a lot to me. I wouldn’t have stuck it out this long without you guys, and I hope you’ll continue to stick around as far as this goes.
With that, I’ll see you guys next post!