Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blog Posts Behind-the-Scenes: The Pedantic Thrift Core Writing Process

I love the hell out of blogging, even when it's frustrating, it's my crack; truly addicting. I was a professional copywriter/blogger for three years and wrote for the web a decade before that. Over the years and with professional training I've developed a particular process and style. I love reading a look into anyone's creative process, here are the steps I take to arrive at a finished blog post!:

Step 1: Writing Down Any and Every Idea



I have notebooks full of ideas for blog posts, I'm never tapped for content. The well of ideas, she flows! By the way, Yuko photo-bombs constantly, I could do a whole post of Yuko-bombs!

Step 2: Plotting in Advance

I plan my blog posts 1-2 months ahead of time, I've tried Google Calendar but prefer to hand-write it on a big calendar. I keep it flexible, I'll add new ideas when I think of them and often cancel scheduled posts if I find them to be banal or uninspiring. Having the schedule keeps me organized, I know what to photograph for posts when I'm out and about.

Step 3: Rough Draft, Free-Form Writing from the heart

GOD DAMN that's a lot of text. That's stretching across the whole computer screen.

For the rough draft I open notepad and just regurgitate my brain matter into the digital world. It's rough and wordy. I then try to leave it alone for at least 24/hours then come back to edit sometimes hundreds of words from it later. When you do this flaws stick out for easy editing. It's hard to see errors when the writing is fresh.

Step 4: Photography


Sometimes, photos are the first step. Photography is paramount when it comes to art/e-commerce blogging! I may take up to 63-100+ photos for ONE blog post! I go through and choose the best photos from the bunch and upload them to Google + where they're color corrected, cropped, and put directly into the post via Blogger (Blogger and Google + are connected). I sometimes edit them in Paint Shop Pro 7.02 and/or Photoshop as well.

Step 5: Editing and Refining

Copywriting is the art of making the biggest impact with as few words as possible. I edit out everything that doesn't pertain to the main point of each post. Write like Hemingway, where every word is purposeful.


I play with photo placement and text placement on photos, sometimes for an hour or more until I'm happy with the visual beauty of the piece, too. Above is an examples of changes I've made before landing on the final photo used in the post.

TIP, Marinate that bad boy: The tastiest posts "marinate" longer. I write them a week or even months ahead of time and refine and perfect daily. Sometimes I re-take photos for the entire post or end up starting over entirely to get it right.

Photo outtake: I take hundreds of photos that never make it onto the blog. I'm a brutal editor.

I recommend blogging to everyone: your mom, dad, gardener, plumber, Voltron, Batman, cruciferous vegetables and cantankerous creatures from the cretaceous. Writing daily is proven to keep your mind and memory sharp and it's a journey to self-discovery. I see myself blogging 'til the day I die. And hopefully that last post reads something like "Dear blog, today I'm signing off for life. 'Twas awesome. Blog on, bi-otch! - Old Lady Van"

What's your blogging process like? Have any questions? Do share in the comments.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

27 comments:

  1. As always your posts are interesting and informative! I also write down all my ideas for future reference. I've actually been thinking about starting a blog. It seems like a good idea for me now for several reasons. For one, my dad lives in Australia and says I'm terrible at keeping in touch and talking to him about how life is going. lol. Two, we are in the home buying process and want to buy a fixer upper and I'd like to document the restoration/renovation. I'm pretty busy to add one more thing to my plate, so we'll see! Thanks for all the inspiration! :)

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    1. Dooo it Michelle, that's an incredibly popular subject for blog posts and like you said, an awesome way for family to keep in touch and a great journal for yourself. I forgot to add that blogging daily is an excellent portfolio piece, marketing tool, personal journal... :)

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  2. Interesting post. I write down my posts too, but not very far in advance. Some days I wing it. You're right about writing too-- I think of the phrase: weed your words! Much more effective that way!

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    1. Love that phrase, never heard of it before! Some days I skip what I had scheduled and wing-it if I decide I dislike the post I had ahead of time. Or I just hold back the post. I almost did that today. Need to write crazy-ahead of time for everything that way I can edit it more and feel satisfied with each post I publish.

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  3. Thanks for a peek into your process. I love writing blog posts, but I mostly love the teaching aspect of it. I wish I were more of the "inspirational photos" type of person because I know they are super popular. But I am a teacher by trade. I definitely have to get into the habit of keeping an actual journal of ideas. Right now I just quickly log in to Wordpress to write a working title for a post and quickly type in some words and save as DRAFT. But I need to just dump all of my "brain matter" on to a surface - physical or digital. I have a hard time dumping. The English teacher in me screams at me "Where's your structure?"

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    1. The teaching aspect of it may be my favorite. When I first got into copywriting abandoning structure and in many cases proper grammar (fragments were popular since they emulate real conversation) was something my boss drilled into me at first. Now I'd have to read reference books if I were to write a proper English essay!

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  4. Wowzer woman. Your posts are so well thought out and planned. I feel like I'm just 'puking' up a post in comparison. It's like whatever is happening at that moment get regurgitated right into the blog and posted before it's cleaned up... That sounds like an appealing invitation I could send out to invite people to read my blog! Lolzzzz
    I apologize now for grossing anybody out :(
    Becky

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    1. I did the same thing the first year or so of blogging. With posts on thrifting/thrift hauls I can be more relaxed and free-flowing with the content since it's a subject I'm used to. Anything outside that topic is more carefully edited. In short, depends on your postibg style. Different methods for diffetent folks 'n such.

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  5. I'm in awe! My blog posts are always off the cuff. I have no idea what I'm going to post about (or even if I am going to post) until I sit down. xxxx

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    1. That can be a fun way to write, too. When I get randomly, energetically inspired I'll so metimes break schedule for somethibg spontaneous.

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  6. Wow. If you're going to do anything do it well, they say. It's interesting to see how other approach their blogging and writing. Let's just say that my approach is somewhat planned but certainly no as much as you. I'm always in awe of your gusto and enthusiasm in all that you do, it's probably why I like visiting your blog so much. I love people who do things well and chase their dreams. X

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Trudie!

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  7. Great post! I also enjoy peeking into the creative process of others. I'm just starting out with blogging so I haven't developed my process yet. So far, I just write whatever comes to mind and post - be it good or bad. But I'll be working on my process! And your kitty is very adorable.

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    1. That's how I started, too. It's a good way to determine the direction you want to move in as long as you do it frequently.

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  8. 1. I am totally going to write a post in response to this, which I think you'll enjoy reading, because I have a lot to say and love the way we approach our blogs differently!

    2. LOL on the Hemingway comment, because I just read "The Old Man and the Sea" and thought there were far too many words and very little point!

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    1. I thought of you with this one, I remember you writing more than once that you're curious about blogger's processes. I shall check out your reply tomorrow.

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  9. Totally agree with you! Blogging keeps the mind sharp & I hope to do it til I day, too. Loved this post & reading about your process...editing is such an important part but so tedious, sometimes I think I take too much time to edit. I've got some posts that are still marinating, too! I started setting a schedule for my posts & trying to stick with it. Lots of ideas in my notes, just need to get around to writing them.

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    1. Yep, I'm bad too. Need to work on getting the ideas from the pad on into the computer. The DIY ones are intensive on top of a busy schedule but they're so rewarding. I wanna get into more of them.

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  10. My blogging process is typically very structured, too. At least once month in advance, I write out a list of almost all the posts I want to do in the coming month (leaving a spot or two blank for ones that spring up organically during the course of the month), write and schedule several of them in advance, and keep working on the coming weeks throughout the month. I completely agree with you about how writing help keeps your mind sharp - I find that to be wonderfully true for myself as well, and don't like to let more than a couple of days pass usually without writing something new for that very reason.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. You can see your attention to detail in your posts, not surprised you're so organized with your posting!

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  11. This was really interesting. You're the second blogger I follow who's revealed their secrets to good blogging. Both of you keep a calendar for your posts, scheduling way in advance and are constantly jotting down ideas. I now have a better idea of what to expect once I start blogging :0)

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    1. I'm glad it helped you Serena, good luck! I wanted to show a real-deal behind-the-scenes, some people write on the fly and it works perfectly for them but that doesn't usually work for me. I don't feel right about what I've published unless I put a few hours of editing and hard work into it.

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  12. Hope is truly the driving force in us all. Finding someone you believe in, and who believes in you, braids that hope into success.

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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