How can you too crank out law blog posts every week on topics related to your area of expertise?
I’m happy to share my law blog writing secrets and writing rituals to give you some inspiration.
Let me start off by saying that not every productive writer has the same schedule and rituals.
George RR Martin is known for writing the Game of Thrones novels on a DOS computer with WordStar 4.0 software and no Internet access.
Stephen King has a self-imposed 2,000-word writing quota every day of the year.
And Andrew Cabasso is known for having his cat, JD, sit on his laptop keyboard when he’s writing.
While I cannot provide a firsthand account of insight into how George RR Martin writes, I can provide you some insight into how I write and publish multiple law blog posts every week.
And if my personal insight is interesting to you, let me know. Maybe we’ll feature other law blog writers to share their insights.
My Hardware and Software
My writing equipment setup is pretty simple.
I do all my writing on a Macbook Air 13″ with Microsoft Word and the JurisPage blogging platform.
No additional monitors.
No mechanical or external keyboard.
I don’t have a standing desk. I’d like a standing desk though.
Where I Write
I don’t have any writing sanctum, unfortunately.
My apartment features a wandering cat in constant need of attention. This means that I better not be doing anything that diverts my full attention from her when I’m home.
But, I also hate writing in crowded areas. There are too many distractions.
Starbucks is a writing nightmare for me. And once I’m there, I feel compelled to buy burnt and sugary coffee drinks.
And then there are other writers working on their novels and screenplays, and I just don’t need that.
So, no writing in Starbucks.
Usually, I find myself writing articles at the office.
Article Topics and Editorial Calendar
By the time I’m sitting down to write, I know exactly what I’m writing about.
I’ll use some of my designated writing sessions purely for idea generation to come up with blog posts that I will write in the future. I’ll use this time to:
- research new topics;
- see what’s already been covered;
- see what existing conversations I can add to
and at the end I’ll have a list of a half dozen to dozen article ideas for the next few months.
If I am really out of ideas, I go on a vision quest in the desert.
These article topics will provide me with an editorial calendar for the months ahead.
The editorial calendar helps me organize my topics and ensure that there is a constant stream of new content each week. So that even if I take a week off from writing, there will be an article in the can that gets published.
And just maybe, I can use my designated writing time to write a few blog posts at once.
By the time an article gets published, it should have been drafted, edited, and reviewed.
Writing on Schedule
Here’s some solid advice now.
My biggest piece of advice for writing is to create a writing schedule and stick to it.
I know that in practice it’s easier said than done though.
But here’s what you do:
First – find a day and time to block off each week.
Great days (at least for me) for writing are Mondays and Fridays.
Block off a few hours at a time to get your writing done. Don’t schedule anything else. Treat this time as you’d treat a meeting or client consultation.
Otherwise, you end up quick to schedule over this time and you get 0 writing done.
Then – go into your writing sanctum, block out your distractions, and start writing.
Save your drafts, review, and publish.
And then keep doing it every week.
First, to begin any writing session, I pray to Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom and scribe to the gods.
Then, to bring upon a fit of angst (to help me get my trademark biting writing style), I call my parents for a short conversation about politics.
After this call, I’m basically Holden Caulfield, writing and ripping on everything as being “phony”.
After about a half hour of this, I’ve calmed down somewhat and found a nice balance between angst and insight. Then the real writing begins.
And if you don’t believe any of that, that’s probably fair.
Here’s what I really do:
The worst thing for writing is distraction. So I need to cut that. The single-worst offender is email. So that has to go.
Starting any writing session – email apps and notifications are shut down.
No desktop notifications. No phone notifications. Nothing.
Second-worst offender is phone calls.
If I need to crank an article out, phone goes into do-not-disturb mode while writing.
Then, I outline my post (if I don’t have an outline yet from my idea-generation session).
Then I just start writing. I don’t worry too much about the quality yet because I know I will go back later and edit.
The first pass is a “brain dump.”
You are not committed to these words, so don’t feel like you are. Don’t worry about being perfect on the first pass. We just need the idea written down so we can get it on the paper and make it work (or excise it) at the end.
Plenty of people are meticulous with their words, and consequently they spend several minutes on each sentence.
That may work for them, but that’s not my style.
My writing style in general is more conversational, so I’m writing down exactly what the voice in my head is telling me to write. I’m not agonizing over every single word or phrase.
After the first pass, it’s time to tighten everything up. Get rid of the verbose or nonsensical.
One app I like to use is Hemmingway App. You can plug in your article text and it will tell you when your writing is incomprehensible, uses too many adverbs, or passive voice.
Then, I do another review, and schedule the article for publication.
What Works for You
This is just a personal account of one person’s law blog writing process.
If you have a unique process that works for you, awesome. But if you don’t know where to start, take some of these tips:
- Schedule some time specifically for idea generation
- Come up with an editorial calendar based on the ideas
- Block off time to write each week
- Find a writing environment that works for your style
- Minimize distractions
- Outline your topic, then just write it (you can edit and revise later)
- Edit and proof
- Schedule your articles
Feel free to share your personal law blog tips below.
Oh, and if you want a run-down of these tips in video format, check out this video post on blogging.