Beginning my day pre-dawn instigates one negative. By the time my Evening Routine begins, my brain simulates mush. I’m more prone to making silly mistakes, what I dub mental hiccups. To protect myself, I schedule heavy-duty mental endeavors during morning hours when possible. But an Evening Review, by definition, transpires when my brain cells long ago nestled itself on a lay-away shelf. My cure: little tricks, as detailed below, each designed to defeat predictable trouble spots.
My Blog Writing Process
A few prior attempts at this logging task bombed because I failed to respect the numerous steps involved in moving from first words to final publication. That coerced me into sitting down, with legal pad in hand, sketching out each aspect from initial draft to final on-the-server proof to “publish.”
Update:At the time of initial publication of this post, plugins were not available to me, an irritation since remedied. With plugins —notably shortcodes— came additional workflow steps. I’ve updated this post to reflect those changes.
Detailing Blog Workflow Steps
During July 2018 I implemented a global refresh of this site, starting with the first article post. My workflow steps mushroomed into the following process.
✧︎︎︎1️⃣✧︎︎︎ The Actual Writing Process
This list reflects me, not thee, but may prove helpful in ensuring you hit all the bases. Understand: the listing does not appear in my Blog Bujo because decades of writing appellate briefs etched the process in my memory bank. However, a modified version populates my Writer’s BuJo as my Comprehensive Writing Log.
- freeflow writing — ignore grammar niceties, structure, etc → Drafting
- massage initial draft → Editing
- inadvertent repetition
- overall conciseness
- kill flabby words
- Researching → adding facts, resources, keywords
- 2nd Editing phase
Typically, a day or more passes between the the first four steps and the last proofing phase. Why? Experience induced wisdom. I know fresh eyes are my best friend as regards polishing any writing.
✧︎︎︎2️⃣✧︎︎︎ Image Selection, Massaging, etc
Hey, what’s a blog post without an image or two, right? FYI: any and all work related to images sources solely on my iPad. My standard process involves:
- selecting the image from Google Photos ~ nothing else affords the luxury of searching on, say, mockingbird, and having those specific bird pics fill my screen; Google may throw some extraneous pics into the mix, but dwindling thousands of photos to a few dozen makes it more than timeworthy.
- shrinking resolution / file size from a 10-16 MB to well under half a MegaByte
- massaging the pic (e.g. adding a watermark)
- tweaking the dimensions, twice ~ one as a featured image, the second for Pinterest
- adding the article title on each version of the pic
- optimizing the image for speedy page loading
- inserting the image into the blog post ~ on the server, so I can set/tweak alignment and precise positioning
- where additional images clarify the subject discussed, or will add breathing room, create/find & add ’em
Like the writing process, the image steps also mimic limbs. I’ve waltzed this dance so frequently the process embedded in my psyche. Some aspects, however, do muscle their way into my current log, as noted below.
The Companion Photos Log
Despite the extra steps incurred, I also list bird pics used as featured images in a separate Photos Log. Why? Saves time long-term. I don’t wanna mindlessly inundate the blog with, e.g. woodpeckers.
The Photos Log presents a full page for just about every letter of the alphabet. If I insert different pics of a robin, the Log will reflect each, with the associated blog post date of original publication.
This Log also promotes consistency. To illustrate, somewhere along the line BrainGirl decided that all articles focused on a certain subject would merit a bird of prey as the featured image. Owl … wisdom … hey, why not, right?!
✧︎︎︎3️⃣✧︎︎︎ CSS/HTML Coding Tweaks
I learn by the seat of my pants. Example: I want an icon for my lists, not the standard circle. How? Google proves a capable friend. My habit: once I locate the answer, I practice on a “private” published post. If the Internet is still standing, I know there’s hope!
Another example: working in the WP visual editor can descend into a formatting nightmare. The quickest fix = flip to the text editor and correct the errant HTML coding. For that reason, I taught myself the basics.
The related notations in the “SherlockReena” (a/k/a Figure It Out) section of my Blogging BuJo consists of the styling issue and where I’ve bookmarked the resolution page(s). Example: CSS/background → p/b blog.css.coding. The p/b = PinBoard. Trailing the notation: the publication date of the blog post first hosting the tweak.
✧︎︎︎4️⃣✧︎︎︎ Handling Links
Ideally, each article post includes both external and internal links. This appears as simple checkmark boxes: Read More and Crosslinks within my spread.
✧︎︎︎5️⃣✧︎︎︎ Putting it all together, adding Formatting Nuances
My checklist addresses each of the following per article post:
- Start box
- Pinterest image
- Featured image
- Internal images
- Quote / pullquote
- read More
- End box
- Related posts
- refresH content
In this Articles Log spread, you’ll notice a few extra/empty checkboxes after the above listing. I’ve learned: other tasks may materialize. Those trailing unused checkbox columns future proof the Log.
The highlighted letters span the top row of the “Articles” module of my Blogging BuJo. These posts, typically exceeding a thousand words, beg for formatting to ease web-based reading. No one wants to be greeted with a wall of dense text. Therefore, I strive to break up the text in a logical manner. This explains how this listing grew from its initial eight or so checkpoints,
The Articles-focused list doubles as a reminder:
Where is it?
History confirms my allegiance to the A5 Hobonichi Cousin and A5 Slim Jibun Techo (Biz). The Hobo is about a half inch wider than the Jibun. The respective companion booklets are similarly sized.
Many items in my bullet journal system, such as the Log discussed here, are permanent in nature. Therefore, to prevent hassles when I switch between the two Japanese systems year to year, I rely heavily on the Jibun Idea and Life booklets. Each fits within the Lihit Lab and revised (3 bookmark ribbons) Kokuyo Systemic covers. Each cover includes a large front pocket, perfect for sliding in the Jibun booklets (not to mention oodles of pens).
This spread, like its buddy Photo Log, lives in an Idea booklet. In addition to the all-covers friendly sizing, the 3.77mm blank grid pages can hold a wealth of data. The grid also provides checkboxes as needed, while making it kid’s play to devise columns.
Recall: I mentioned I build preventative measures into the spread to minimize the effects of mental hiccups. Gotta laugh, cuz I blew it anyway. Look closely at the spread. I entered checkmarks on the wrong line for one article. Smh 😒
Key? Yep, directly on the inside front cover for crazy easy access. 🤗
It’s funny. We get so used to a process, we don’t really think about the individual steps. Putting this post together forced me to flesh out my process. I’m gratified to see the drafting and images phases morphed into second nature for me. I look forward to the day when formatting nuances, in particular, similarly glue within this head.
May 2019 Update
That last yellow highlighted sentence, bearing a wish? Wish granted!
When I drafted this article in July 2017, most blog details lived only at the WordPress server. The Articles Log covered an info hole, providing a central location for the numerous blog post nuances, as reflected in the screenies above.
As I matured in my bullet journaling, I created an Editorial Calendar. By 2019, that analog Editorial Calendar gained a tuxedo, in the form of a 5-year Blogger’s BuJo. The multi-year Editorial Calendar replaced the Articles Log, because I no longer require a double-check when creating posts. Simply stated, repetition worked an embedded effect.
I re-channeled my energy, devising a version 2.0 Log, which evolved into the Refresh Log (detailed in a scheduled June 2019 post). The difference? The former Articles Log (version 1.0) focused on pre-publication nuances. Version 2.0’s Refresh Log instead hones in handling posts months / years after publication.
Read jointly, the two posts provide yummy morsels to nourish your Blogger’s BuJo.
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/02/07/what-the-hell-is-a-bullet-journal-and-why-are-people-using-the/, last accessed 2/8/2017 (boldface emphasis added) ↩