Notebook and pen

2 Essential blogging tools

In my blogging I routinely use two tools which the experts seldom mention.

There is much discussion about the need to have quality content on a blog for it to attract people to read it, so where does that content come from? Short of simply repeating what others say (a.k.a. plagiarism) or using a wizard (why have a blog if you can’t write??), blog content comes out of your head, and unless you happen to have Dumbledore’s penseive you need a reliable way to get that stuff from your head to your blog.

My best ideas usually occur someplace other than where you can immediately do something about them. Therefore they need to be captured’ – i.e., written down! I find that simply carrying a pocket notebook and pen with me results in the luxury of being able to choose which of my ideas to write about rather than struggling to remember what those ideas were.

For this capture process you need a small notebook and pen. Allow yourself permission to cross-out, scrawl messily, doodle and tear pages out — this will be a scruffy notebook because you cart it everywhere and are just scribbling down rough ideas.

The next step towards a blog post that does not resemble keyboard vomit is to take one of those ideas and work it into sentences and paragraphs (OK then, and lists, if you must). For this I also prefer to use pen and paper because it is quicker to access (no startup time), helps me see the flow of thought best and it is easier to concentrate on writing without gadgetry to distract me. Only once I’m happy with what I’ve written on paper do I type it into WordPress and add formatting, hyperlinks, images, headings, tags and category metadata (often I indicate on my paper version what formatting or tags are required).

Then comes editing to fix all the typos and etc. I know some folks don’t edit posts after publishing them, and it shows! Others care about the quality of their writing and take time to fix errors.

In summary, two essential tools for good blog writing are; a notebook and a pen. Any sort of  notebook or pen will do but in case you are weirdly interested, here’s what I’m currently using:

  1. Pen; Uni Lacnok — I like these as they are cheap and don’t clog so write reliably.
  2. Capture notebook; Moleskine pocket cahier journal, small and inconspicuous but nice to write in.
  3. Writing notebook; my old Moleskine 2008/2009 weekly diary/notebook, still has unused pages so I’m filling it up.
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