Pre-Writing Posts: Write Ahead for Best Results
Here’s a quick blogging tip for anyone who writes online (which includes you, if you’ve taken my advice and started a blog to promote your writing). Stockpile posts ahead of time and use WordPress’ post scheduler to automatically post in the future.
I try to do all my web writing for the week in two blocks of uninterrupted time. That way I can relax and focus on other things the rest of the week. In WordPress, you can schedule posts days, weeks, even months and years ahead of time, and they’ll go live automatically when that time comes.
If you’re getting ready to launch a new blog, do the same thing, only more so: write a month’s worth — or more — of content to launch with. Schedule two or three posts a week as far in advance as you can. Getting a new site off the ground can be challenging, and until you settle into a routine it can be hard to know how much time it will take. If you launch your site and something important comes up, it may sit with no content for days or weeks, doing nobody any good.
Making sure the first couple of months are well-stocked can take a lot of pressure off, allowing you to focus on building relationships with other bloggers, promoting your site, and of course doing the writing that is your life’s blood. My goal before launching this site was 100 posts “in the can” — more than half a year’s worth (at 3 posts per week). Of course, I can and do slot in new material in response to anything that happens in those first several months.
Another time to pre-write a lot is before a vacation or any other long time away from your site. Get two week’s worth of posts in the can before you take a week’s vacation — one week for the week you’re gone, and one week for the week you come back. That way, there’s no pressure to take up 100% of your daily life when you return from your vacation — and if, as often happens, you come back with Hungarian Death Flu or Angolan Sneezing Sickness, you’ll have time to recover without worrying about your site.
That outis very good advice indeed. I recently preposted 3 artcles to cover the one-week period when I was scheduled to travel. A family medical emergency stretched the time to two weeks, and my blog lay fallow for about 7 days.
I guess I really should sit down and write another 100 pre-posts, just to be fully prepared! Actually, I have a three-week trip scheduled for June-July, and I do in fact need to start writing some advance posts.
Tom: You want to know another benefit of pre-writing a big chunk of posts? You get into the “groove” — one topic follows from another, and the style sort of settles in and comes really naturally. And another bonus: you can let your work sit for a while, which makes proofreading more effective.
The downside is, I admit, that 73rd post might well be out-of-date by the time it comes up in the queue. I’ve had to scramble with some of the content I wrote for WordPress, since 2.5 came out; fortunately, it’s a radical enough change that many people are sticking with 2.3 or earlier versions, but it might not have been that way!
But for evergreen topics, why not? You might have three or four really good ideas right now — do you really want to push them all out this week and then struggle to think of something to write next week? I feel it’s better to have something always ready to go — and if I want to write something different, I just push the pre-written post back in the queue.
Definitely pre-write! Takes so much pressure off of posting consistently. Using a blog editorial calendar, I have my basic scheme in place and just work to build content.