I've always loved reading about the art of writing: how the best writers practice their craft; tips to become a better writer; advice about being more productive.
Call it procrastination if you will, but when you write every day, as I do, you're always on the search for that elusive ingredient that will make your work better.
So, while perusing the Copyblogger blog, I was interested to come across this 2015 article by Jerod Morris, which is aptly titled: "How to immediately become a more productive (and better) writer." (In fact, the original version of the post was published in 2013 - that's evergreen content right there.)
One of Jerod's most interesting pieces of advice is this: "write, don't blog."
And I would agree that there is a clear difference between the two. Anyone can blog; not everyone can write. Blogging is a step-by-step process - a set of boxes to be ticked off as you go; writing is more organic - it's inherently creative.
As Jerod says: "You can never duplicate that uninterrupted wave of initial thought and inspiration. In my experience, once it's gone, it's gone."
It's often during this initial period of writing that some of your most interesting ideas emerge.
That's not to say that you can leave all the rules at the door when you're creating blog posts in a professional context. After all, you have an audience to reach and, ultimately, a product or service to sell.
But once you've defined your topic and your argument, go ahead and just let the words flow.
Afterwards, you can go back and ensure that you're on-brand. That's what editing is for, after all.
So, in the words of Jerod: do you blog, or do you write?
There are bloggers, and there are writers. Bloggers casually write, adding links, pictures, and videos as they create content. Bloggers may even have Twitter open to capture any late-breaking news about the topic they are covering. The words are important, but they are just part of the show. Writers write. Writers do their research, open up a blank document, have their notes handy, block out the world, and then focus on the words and only the words. Writers don’t edit as they go. Writers don’t break their flow to pull a video embed code from YouTube. Editing, linking, embedding, etc., can always be done after the first draft is complete. But you can never duplicate that uninterrupted wave of initial thought and inspiration. In my experience, once it’s gone, it’s gone. Do you blog, or do you write?