My process for continual + happy content creation
Keeping up with a blog is hard. Even when I feel good about having my content done ahead of time, all the sudden that content has all gone up and it's time to produce more (can you relate?) But, constant content creation doesn't have to be a huge time suck. And you don't have to post filler content you're not proud of just to stay on your schedule. It's totally possible to keep up with your blog in a way that maximizes efficiency and quality. I'll walk you through my process, and hopefully it can help you too.
How-to continually create awesome content without using up all your time
—When you're not writing—
CAPTURE YOUR IDEAS ON PAPER...or you know, digital "paper" (I use Evernote, an app on my work computer, laptop, and iphone.) Whenever you come up with an idea for a potential post immediately put it into your Master List of blog ideas. This way when you get to the next step, the truly hardest part of writing is already done. And, you get to utilize your creative mind from all times of day, instead of being limited to whatever ideas strike when your scrolling through twitter pre-writing.
CURATE There's probably anywhere from 20 to 100 ideas on that list (yay you!), so go back and comb through seeing what you want to write about in the upcoming weeks. Highlight those and start popping them into a loose editorial schedule. I find it's helpful to have a editorial schedule with topics, even though they may or may not be adhered to—but we'll get to that.
—Time to write—
PICK YOUR TOPIC. When it comes to writing well and writing efficiently, what you're writing about makes all the difference. Even if you've put in your schedule to write about a certain topic, if you're not feeling it in that moment you're going to write it, pick another one. Pick from the upcoming topics on your calendar, and if none of those make you say "YES!" it's back to the master list and that's totally fine.
IDEA DUMP also known as brainstorming. Figure out everything you have to say on the given topic. I do this stage with real pen and paper (well, pencil, I have a weird pen hate). Then start numbering the points you want to write about in the order you want to write them. Sometimes from this step you learn you actually don't have a lot of quality things to say on this topic. Don't worry, it happens to me too. So loop back to the step above and start again with a new topic.
OKAY YOU CAN ACTUALLY WRITE NOW. Start composing. And while you are writing you have only one task and that is to write. You don't have to be an editor (that comes later), and you definitely don't need to check those twitter notifications. Think of it as idea dump part two in sentence form. PS: I'm serious about the twitter thing. Resist the urge to do anything but write. Start doing this and you'll never believe how fast a writer you are.
— When you've finished writing —
PUT ON YOUR EDITOR HAT Now go back to your mess of a post and realize "hey, it doesn't take so long to clean up even though I didn't edit as I went." I often do my editing on an entirely different day than when I wrote it. Make your edits (which is probably cutting down your article dramatically). Go back and edit again (probably cutting more.)
HAVE A DANCE PARTY because you just wrote an awesome piece of content and it probably didn't take you as long as it usually does! If it did take you a long time, look at what points you hit resistance with, and tweak these steps to develop your own content creation system.
Although I've had my process down for some time now, I can still hit resistance at the picking a topic stage. And that resistance comes when I start to doubt my ideas and my voice. I work through it by starting to write anyway. What do you struggle with most when it comes to content creation? What systems have you found that work for you?