Normally when I write a blog entry, there are 2 ways that I can go about doing it, I can either slam out an entry in a matter of minutes or I can lovingly craft an entry over a period of what can sometimes be months. As you might imagine, there are problems with both styles.
When I am just slamming out an entry there are spelling and grammatical errors, and it is definitely not my best writing. This is usually because I am pressed for time, or I just want to get something out the door, mostly to say "Hello" to my readers, and let them know I am still alive. Something that is very important as I am pressed for time.
If I lovingly craft an entry, it is basically the exact opposite. Some of my best entries in terms of structure, grammar, and clarity have gone through multiple drafts and revisions. In fact, frequently I will start one of these entries and then finish them off 2 months later. They really are the cream of the crop.
The problem is, that neither style is working for me. I want the speed of option one, with the beauty of option 2. Where is my damn cake, and a fork to eat it with?
Back in junior high, we were taught to outline our thoughts, before we wrote our paper. Very complex things—these outlines. First you have to make sure everything is indented properly, and your first level of indentation should be in Roman numerals, the next level uppercase letters... oh the structure! The problem with this method of outlining is that it isn't conducive to writing down thoughts as we think them. Mind Mapping is a great technique, but I don't want to pull out a scratch piece of paper every time I want to write a blog entry.
The thing is, that outlining is a really powerful technique of writing a blog entry (or essay, or book, or..) before actually writing it. It provides a focus and a structure. Because there is a clear delimiter of where the end goes, it is easy to write out an entry in a short span of time, and not get lost half way through, or run out of steam. As ideas come and go, the outline can be added to and subtracted, and there is an easily visible road map of what you are doing and where you are going.
Here is an example outline that I did for this entry (how wonderfully meta):
- what i did in past - slam one out real quick - spelling errors - not best writing - write revise write revise write revise - good writing, clear - takes forever, months even - new idea with outlines - speed up entry writing - make writing clearer - outline using simple text - this one for example - see how it goes - maybe publish more entries
I've already written this entry in half an hour, which isn't really that bad. Maybe I can end up publishing more entries and still maintain my extremely busy 2 job with family day. I guess we will just have to "see how it goes".