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Yesterday I read some excellent writing advice on medium.com. Shouting out @tijmenr, who’s medium handle I stumbled across yesterday morning while coffeeing and blog browsing in Starbucks Iloilo City.
I wish I’d heard it 2 years ago.
And when I say heard — no doubt I read it, or saw it, or stumbled upon it before yesterday — but it’s only now I’ve chosen to actually ‘hear it’.
There is no substitute for doing the writing itself. If I could go back in time the way Marty McFly did in Back To The Future and do one thing differently, it would be to stop being distracted by bullxxxt and just do the writing.
It’s simple, obvious advice. And it’s so true. When you are getting started as a freelance writer, just concentrate on the writing. And blog on an established platform (ie, medium, Linkedin) so you spend your writing time writing — instead of fiddling around with column widths, or interchanging WordPress themes.
Oh, it struck a major chord. Because this is exactly why my website is starting to feel a bit like the American Brigantine Mary Celeste, a fully stocked ship at sea with set sails. And a vanished crew.
One of the biggest obstacles to my publishing schedule is feeling the need to produce (and include) original (or interesting) photographs to accompany the text. It’s become an obsessional disease. And I’m so overcome with it that lately it has silenced me completely.
Because I’m reduced now to only writing if (I feel) I have a few decent photos on the subject, and leave so many blog ideas behind simply because I don’t possess a suitable ‘featured image’.
Then to further compound my affliction, I’ve made an art-form out of wasting writing time by insisting on decorating my WritingBiz ‘listicles’ with royalty-free stock photographs, Canva designs, and well placed quotations.
When I really think about it, I’m spending 2 or 3 times the actual writing time of each blog post, sourcing images and quotes (6-10 per post), preparing each Canva design on Canva, downloading each Canva design from Canva, then uploading each Canva design to WordPress. Seriously.
Then I fill the spaces between the Canva designs with writing.
When I’m not creating Canva banners for blog posts I haven’t written, I’m experimenting with plugins or contacting WordPress.com customer service to help me tweak on-screen margins and mobile layouts. And I’m not doing much writing.
No wonder I’m irritable, frustrated, and fixed.
Well today I’m fixing this.
And tomorrow. And tomorrow’s tomorrow. And for many tomorrows beyond that. See you back here tomorrow.
PS: the Mary Celeste was an abandoned ship found adrift in 1872. The ship was fully stocked with food and provisions to last 6 months, but the fate of the crew and passengers remains a mystery.
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I do think a photo (or illustration) is important for a blog post but it can be very simple. Mine are often taken on the iPad (on which I write most of my posts). It’s function is just to catch the eye and, with caption, add a little more to what the post is about as contained in the title.