Writing a blog post

Benoit Laurent asked me how much time I spent writing my blog posts each day. Since August the 15th, I’m back into blogging once a day six times a week, about 600 words a day. Add the fact I write in English, which is not natural to me, and you’ll imagine how time consuming it can be.

My short – 600 to 800 words – posts take me less than 1 hour to write, mostly because I’ve been thinking about them for a while, split into 4 parts.

Finding a topic: 10 minutes

That part happens during my daily commute. I scan my nightly Twitter timeline and what I’ve sent into Pocket, looking for subtopics I can write about. Then I send myself an email with 2-3 ideas worth thinking about during the day. Many people say I should be using Evernote instead, but I really don’t like Evernote client even though it syncs everywhere.

Most of the time, I won’t write about what I’ve picked up that day because there’s already something I’ve been willing to publish before. It can be an answer to someone on Twitter, a blog post, or something related to the latest breaking startup news.

Writing the post: 25/30 minutes

That’s the longest part, and I usually do it during my commute back home, or after my supper. It used to take 45 minutes to 1 hour, but after 1 month and half I’m working much faster.

Indeed, it means I don’t have the writer block anymore, but it seems to have disappeared since I stopped writing in French.

I have a mental canvas to write my posts, but no real structure. That’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. It would give my posts consistency over time, and would help me write faster, but I fear it triggers the writer’s block.

Editing the post: 10/15 minutes

Editing is as important as writing. That’s where I realize how perfectible my English is, and how hard it must be to read for native English speakers.

I usually take a 1 hour break before I edit my post, and I use a different editor to have a real context change. I write my posts using Ulysses III on my Mac, and edit on Hemingway Editor. Hemingway is incredibly buggy, but it provides great editing feature like showing hard to read sentences, abuse of adverbs or passive voice.

Finding an illustration: 5 minutes

After I’m done with editing, I browse Flickr a bit looking for a nice Creative Commons illustration I can use. I have a precise idea of how I want my article to look like, and never takes long to find something.

When I find my illustration, I publish the post for the day after, 3AM so I can keep my blogging pace.

Pushing on the social networks: 2 minutes

During the morning, I push my post on the various social networks I have an account on.

  • Indeed, Twitter, which is the one I use the most.
  • Facebook, where this blog has a page you can like if you want.
  • Google+ where I usually get a few comments.
  • Linkedin, but it seems using https breaks it.

I sometimes write longer posts that needs much more documentation, HOWTOs. I also used to translate some English post that worth it in French. Those post can take up to 4-5 hours so I don’t write them often.

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