Good Day Class

Today we are honored to have a ghost writer as our substitute teacher (guest writer). What I’m not sure of is, if he’s a ghost writer, is he really here, or is it just an illusion? I’ll let you decide.

It’s my pleasure to introduce Sean Platt, author of Writer Dad and most recently of Ghostwriter Dad.

Welcome Sean.

The floor is yours.

ghost writer dad sean platt

Hello Class!

My lesson starts with a short story.

Let’s get started.

When I reflect back on my first days blogging, it is easy to recall one of my more regular fears. I remember often thinking, “How will I ever be able to think of something to write each and every day? What if I simply run out of new things to say?”

Turns out, finding something new to discuss five days a week wasn’t nearly as difficult as deciding what not to talk about.

We are thoughtful creatures. As soon we allow the gears of our minds to start turning, the machinery will rarely reel back on its own. For humans, the production of thought is as regular as the drawing breath; one only expires alongside the other.

Today’s Lesson

As I have added more to my plate and the need for writing at a single site has bloomed into the constant requirement for content, I have needed new methods to get more done in less time without sacrificing the quality of my work.
?How do I do this?

Sometimes, I write my articles in sets. Say, for example, I am hired as a ghostwriter to do a series of articles for a blog about baseball. Rather than start from scratch, I allow my mind to wander around the subject until I’ve gathered a handful of ideas. I then write an entire series at once.

Even without having to juggle a dozen different drafts on any given day, this is a method that can allow anyone to get more done in less time without a sacrifice to their quality.

Getting air born is the hard part. There’s no reason not to fly once you’re there.

Today’s Assignment:

  1. Is it easy to imagine your output would increase if you were to batch your writing?
  2. Do you feel like the quality of your articulation would suffer or benefit from batching your posts?
  3. Do you think that batching posts could lead to an increase in time that could be spent in your comment section or perhaps reading the blogs of others?

Raise you hand and share your thoughts.


sean_platt.jpegSean Platt gained notoriety online with the phenomenal writings he posts on his Writer Dad blog. He has also launched another site titled, Ghostwriter Dad which sports the tagline “Making Your Life Better With The Write Words”. It’s on this site where those who need writing done (for both online or offline purposes) can find Sean and a list of his services. When he’s not blogging or writing, you can find him on Twitter.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. Ulla HennigNo Gravatar says:

    Since February I have put up a monthly plan with three blog posts each week (mondays, wednesdays and fridays). I am trying to schedule my posts, because I have a “normal” job and have to write my blog posts in my free time.
    I haven’t tried writing a series up to now – but I will think about it definitely. Thanks for the post!

    Ulla Hennig´s last blog post..Spring is in the Air!

  2. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Can’t do the batch blogging thing. I think I lose my voice, passion and enthusiasm, and I think readers can tell.

    I wish I could, honestly.

    George

    Tumblemoose´s last blog post..Do you need an online writing portfolio?

  3. naturalNo Gravatar says:

    yes i feel like no. 2. my goal isn’t really to publish just to post. i like to connect with my post. i need to feel a connection and the timing has to be right and the moon aligned i guess. i have things to write about now, but there’s something about ME that’s not feeling in the mood to connect with what i’m writing.

    usually i will think about a subject and if the words don’t come to me, i won’t write about it. i never force a post just to publish. even if that means going a week or two and no posting.

    .02

    natural´s last blog post..Answer: A River Runs Through It

  4. Hi Sean – I didn’t want Pete to get hurt from falling on the floor laughing should he be asked if I’d ever run out of things to say. 🙂

    Subject matter comes to me at its will. I’m lucky that I can generally stop and greet its arrival, and then give it the attention it deserves. Seems it has its own schedule. This is why our posts don’t conform. Probably not such a good thing according to those who think a schedule is key, but I’m not willing to post just for the sake of it. Thanks, and congratulations on all our activities and projects!

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..ON THE WINGS OF EAGLES

  5. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sean,

    I like to prewrite posts so that I won’t have a chance to get blogger block. I think writing in sets can help with that.

    I have written series of posts on my blog for a variety of topics. I am planning a few more in the near future.

    I agree with Natural though. I don’t think we need to force ourselves to blog and shouldn’t be afraid to take a day off here and there if we come up dry.

    Chase March´s last blog post..Out to Save Hip Hop

  6. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sean – I do this quite a bit and I think it’s a great idea. If you’re researching a particular topic, it’s a waste to use your research for only one article.

    Also, if I’m short on time but more posts on the same topic spring to mind, I just make a list of points to include in each blogpost and come back to them later.

  7. For me, batch writing assumes a level of writing proficiency that I’ve yet to reach. I’m a coach who writes not a writer who coaches. For now, I need to be fired up about the main intention in the post. I enjoy being free to change my mind. Batching assumes a level of organization and forethought that seems to run counter to my quirky ways. I know I could challenge myself to change these preferences but I must not really want to yet.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Free Yourself

  8. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Ulla: Hi, Ulla, How’s my favorite Berlin blogger? I wrote a series one time and loved it. It was one post that ran about 3,000 words, but I simply broke it into five parts and scheduled them. It was like getting a week off which was really cool. That kind of thing is more difficult to do with Writer Dad, but fairly easy with most subjects. Sounds like you have a good routine going.

    George: I know exactly what you mean. It’s been a lot harder for me to pull it off at WD than it has at pretty much anything else I write. I think it’s because it is so personal, and writing ahead of time loses the immediacy. I don’t like staring at the screen and wondering what to write though. One happy medium I’ve found is scheduling what I’ll write about, even if I don’t actually write it yet. That’s what I’ve done for the month of March. I’ve grouped the next four weeks into one subject per week, with what I want to talk about and then slice the subjects even thinner into days. For example, this week is all about my son. Monday introduction, Tuesday a replay of an old story, Wednesday an anecdote, Thursday his interview, and Friday pictures and a poem. Because I knew ahead of time what I was going to cover, each one came out fairly fluid.

    Natural: Connecting to your writing is really important. Even if it’s just a paid gig, it’s great to find something to link your brain to the subject matter. Otherwise it reads like a cereal box (grown-up cereal, not the colorful stuff). On a personal blog, it is better to go a week or two without posting rather than letting something roll down the assembly line.

    Chase: I totally agree. I took a week off on purpose and then an extra half a week because I lost my internet. It was the most time I’d spent away in the seven months since starting, but I feel like the rest was exactly what I needed to come back strong. I’ve enjoyed this past week tremendously and I think the time away had an awful lot to do with it.

    Cath: Absolutely. You never want to waste your research. That’s why this strategy works best when you’re not talking about personal blogs. I have a couple of niche websites. I’ll read for about an hour on a subject and then start writing. I’ll write five or six articles on the same subject, schedule them to post, and then move on to another project. I could never do them one at a time. I would cry at all the melted minutes.

    Tom: That’s a reflection of your commitment, which is a good thing. You’re not interested in putting out content without passion. Your coaching clients are lucky to have someone that connected. It’s most important to listen to yourself. There is no one strategy that works best for everyone.

  9. Hi Sean — Welcome to the blogosphere classroom as our teacher for today!

    Regarding your questions, what you do is very smart and, to be honest, I sort of envy your ability to do it. I have a hard time batching things. My writing doesn’t come naturally in that way. It’s one reason, I have difficulty doing a series. Instead, my writing comes to me as a phrase, a word or an image that develops momentum in my mind. If I’m lucky the momentum carries it into a post. Then once I put a post up, it’s done. Thanks for the great post :~)

    Sara B. Healy´s last blog post..Online Dating: The Rejection Letter

  10. At the present time batching posts probably wouldn’t be relevant for me. I’m not sure how I would apply this strategy right now.

    Perhaps this is mostly because my posts are generally all on different subjects. Well, in a way at least. I mean, it would be one thing to write a few posts on baseball or writing strategy.

    But when your subject is humor and inspiration… it doesn’t appear that batching would be all that helpful here. Though I could be wrong.

    I’ll think about it.

  11. Great question(s).

    I think in batches, and so I write all over the place. Then come back and cut cut cut. Just the stuff that reads like filler, that may slow down the reader. I figure folks come to my blog to get a thought to take with them as they head out into the rest of their very full schedules. (Sometimes pausing to share their own thoughts, which often lead to future posts.) So that’s what I’m hoping to serve… tidbits.

    I’ve never organized the extra pieces of those tidbits into other posts, or really thought about breaking down the topics as I write, but that’s a great idea. Thanks.

    I’ve learned a lot from the comments made here as well your post. Thanks for all of it!

    Barb Hartsook @OverCoffeeBlog´s last blog post..How Do You Find the Time to……..?

  12. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Betsy: Sorry I missed you there early. Looks like the moderation dungeon may have got the best of you. I hate it when that happens. My wife’s the same way, in fact one of the architects of Writer Dad was her desire for me to have an outlet other than her ear. I’m only half joking. Thanks for your compliments and support. I appreciate them!

    Sara: Most of my writing comes to me in the same way too, but as I’m writing I will get a new thread that will take me in a different direction. I then take note of that thread and write it in a notebook or a phrase in Text Edit and then I have an immediate prompt for my next bit of writing. Works like a total charm.

    Bamboo: You are way too awesomely unique for batching. Be proud. Though if you ever want to get into production as a writer, it is a nice skill to hone.

    Barb: My pleasure. It really does work. Especially if you get in the habit of doing it. It feels a bit unnatural at first, but once you get going it becomes easier and easier to stay on task.

  13. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mr. Platt – It’s great to have you in the classroom today. So far all of the “students” are behaving. 🙂

    The title of your lesson reminds me of how I’ve asked myself the same question. With this blog being about blogging, I didn’t want to be a carbon copy of the other bloggers who blog about blogging, and worried how I could look at blogging from a different angle and not be redundant.

    Over time I am learning how batching my writing has helped me to be more efficient. Whereas in the past I was writing my post for the next day on the previous day, now I’m thinking in advance and often have the next week of posts planned by the end of the previous week. Even if I don’t have them all edited and ready to publish, having the information in rough draft form alleviates a lot of stress and frees up time so I can concentrate on work, life, visiting other blogs or Twittering.

    I also like how when I write freely, numerous ideas emerge and I end up with content for several posts.

    Great topic, Teach!

  14. Hi Sean! Good to see you here!

    I had the exact same concern when I started my blog, and the reality of my experience has mirrored yours: “Turns out, finding something new to discuss five days a week wasn’t nearly as difficult as deciding what not to talk about.”

    Here are two things I’ve found:

    1. On the macro level: When you start a blog, don’t try to focus on a hot idea that you think people will flock to. The blog absolutely MUST have the thing YOU care about most at its core, even if that thing doesn’t seem easily marketable. If you’ve located and focused on the right big idea for you, the post ideas will keep on coming (and the people will, too, because they sense your natural excitement).

    2. On a micro level: Don’t necessarily try to come up with your post ideas while sitting at your computer. It’s so easy to think that writing is about writing, but I’ve found it’s first about thinking and conversing. Most of my blog posts are started in my head, while I’m taking a walk or having a conversation with my husband or a friend.

    Kristin T. (@kt_writes)´s last blog post..Learning from the parts I don’t like

  15. Luckily, my blog is a rather “nicheless niche” — more for entertainment than anything, so I have great leeway what I write about and I don’t think in terms of batches on any certain topic.

    I think I actually might feel very hemmed-in if I did batch write.

    I do like the WordPress drafts feature and usually have quite a few post ideas cooking in there, for rainy days when i’m not as inspired as others. (That way it looks like I’ve always got something to say. ) 🙂

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Seriously Weird!

  16. I batch my posts. I write 4 of them together and schedule (I am now down to 2 posts per week). I do the same when I get a freelance writing project. I also batch reading blogs and commenting on them and my social media efforts. It makes sense to batch, because otherwise I jump between tasks which is far less efficient.

  17. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I hope I don’t sound terribly inefficient. I find it tough to pre-plan what I am going to write. I go with what comes up. I am seldom short of ideas however. The only thing I do in batches is blog commenting or stumbling on posts.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..What Are The Akashic Records?

  18. Hi Sean, recently I have started to schedule my blog on a monthly basis, and so far, so great.

    I believe that working in batches it’s usually better, it’s like it’s easier for the mind to keep doing what’s doing, instead of “gearing up and down” all the time.

    However, it’s good also to stop once your mind starts telling you, Man, I’m tired.

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..SWOT Kaizen for the rest of us

  19. Hi Sean. I’ve tried batch writing articles, but it usually just doesn’t work for me. However, sometimes I find I’ll write a rather long post and then am able to chop it up into 2 or 3 posts.

    I imagine if I could batch my articles I’d pump out more, however, since I’m a business owner and blogging is only part time for me, I am unable to dedicate the time it takes to draft up and edit a bunch of articles for a week.

    Blogging combined with our company and at home family time – always a struggle.

    Re: Do you think that batching posts could lead to an increase in time that could be spent in your comment section or perhaps reading the blogs of others?

    I do. But I suppose if you’re a writer you can probably batch out a dozen articles quickly, unlike me.

    John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s last blog post..Welcome To WpBlogHost and My Blog’s New Home

  20. WereBearNo Gravatar says:

    What a great subject!

    My own feed reader is proof of how tough some people find it. I discover a promising blog, and sign up, and often they taper away to nothing in just a few months.

    Your advice about batching is stellar. Once you are in the mood, take advantage of it! One idea leads to another, and another…

    One of the things I love about WordPress is the way I can lay out posts weeks in advance. To avoid burnout and keep my posts the length my readers seem to like, I post four days a week, and reserve Wednesdays for late breaking news or announcements.

    This keeps me and my readers from being overwhelmed.

    Then again, I’m an advice site; I need to have enough room in a post to cover my reader’s needs. I have a timeless subject, and I try to vary the approach to make it well-rounded; and to give me plenty to write about.

    One tip: there are now excellent non-linear word processors that I’ve found help keep the ideas flowing. For the Mac, there’s Scrivener, and on the PC, PageFour seems to be the best.

    These kinds of word processors don’t look at writing as one big chunk. These let you hold scraps and fragments in the document, as well as polished pieces. These “scraps” that don’t fit in the present post are an excellent “seed” to grow a new post from.

  21. Paul UNo Gravatar says:

    I’m going to hire one when I have the money. right now, I’m the only one writing for all my blogs.

    Paul U´s last blog post..Announcing my contest

  22. The schedule I now have that seems to work is to comment in the morning, build my backend content in the afternoon, and blog in the later afternoon.

    By the time I’m done, I’ll have 5 blogs at which I comment regularly and one (barbaraling.com) where I comment only twice a week. It takes time but does seem to mesh with my personality.

    Data points, Barbara

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog post..Mastering the Pullup

  23. Eric HammNo Gravatar says:

    Miss Barbara, are you sure Sean is qualified to tech? I’ve seen him outside of school and he certainly doesn’t act like an adult! 🙂

    For me, batching really depends on the blog I’m writing for. If the subject is more technical, than yes, I can see myself benefiting from batching. But for posts that are more personal and/or passion filled, I prefer to write ‘in the moment’. Tumblemoose mentioned this and I agree that I would loose my voice for certain subjects. Eric

    Eric Hamm´s last blog post..How To Be Happy

  24. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sean and Barbara,

    Well I have to say…my beginnings of blogging take me back to having ideas and wanting to put them out there somehow, so it started blog one, then two and then three and in the near future blog four….

    And today I find myself with too much to say and not enough time. But as I restucture my life, I am hoping all will fit into place.

    I try to write batch series sometimes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t as new ideas flood me that overpower the original idea.

    Evita´s last blog post..The Parts of Life

  25. @Eric: Sean’s totally qualified – children have the ability to teach us in ways that adults can’t!

    @Sean: I suppose this is just another example of how you and I are different. I’ve never been able to write a series – and the furthest I’ve ever gotten a head in my posting schedule is 3 days. I’m jealous of your motivation.

    You are great.

    Matthew Dryden´s last blog post..Preparing for the Night

  26. Eric HammNo Gravatar says:

    @Matthew: Good point! 🙂

    Eric Hamm´s last blog post..The Simple Guide To Single-Tasking Success

  27. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Good stuff, teach!

    I’m with you … there’s a lot to be said for chewing on a topic and then writing in bursts and batches. It’s a great way to write with might.

    I like your point that once you get the ball rolling, your thoughts snowball with momentum.

    One thing that helped me is writing ahead of time. I try to make it more of a routine so that I can gain efficiencies. But I supplement routine with ad-hoc and inspirational moments, so I get the best of both worlds. I used to wait for inspiration, but life passed me by. Now the routine helps me snatch opportunities when they happen … like greasing the skids for serendipity.

    Another thing that helped me is factoring “creation” from “production” where creation is writing it, but production is editing, sweeping ,and publishing it.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Why Your Talents are Enduring and Unique

  28. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara: I think the only way we can be a carbon copy of another’s thought is if we copy and paste their ideas. Reading their words are re-articulating their ideas on the other hand is simply storytelling. Odds are, you’ll say things in a way that resonates differently. That’s what has kept legends alive for thousands of years. It doesn’t matter what we say, only how we say it. That’s one of the wonderful side benefits of blogging – constantly pushing your mind to think about new things and then say them in new ways.

    Kristin: I am exactly the same way. The freelance gigs are different. They are born in my inbox. Posts on WD though, they are almost always birthed in conversation while I find myself searching for a notebook to make sure the thread is never lost. These days, I have far more thread than time to weave, but I’m sure that won’t always be the case.

    Jannie: HA! My drafts section looks a lot like my closet. Tons of moth eaten paragraphs just sitting there in the dank dark. If I spent a single day tending to those loose strings, I might have enough text to keep me published for a month. Yes, having a blog without a niche is totally awesome.

    Vered: This does not surprise me in the least. You seem like such an organized person. I like that you’re down to 2 a week. I wish I could do the same thing. I keep saying I’m going to drop to three, but I NEVER do. Itchy fingers I guess. Or itchy brain. Maybe both.

    Evelyn: Not terribly inefficient at all. It sounds like you have a really fertile mind which is terrific. Also, you’re batching your comments and Stumbles. That sounds perfectly efficient to me.

    Miguel: Hey, Miguel! Yeah, I’m with you. I plotted out this whole month for the first time ever. Even though the posts aren’t written, the fact that I know what I’m going to write about is such a load off. I think about the topic in the hours before I sit down to write, even if it’s just in the background of my mind as I go about my business, and then if feels fairly fluid when I actually have my fingers on the keys. Knowing when to stop when my mind tells me, that’s an area where I could definitely improve.

    John: Breaking one article into chunks is article batching. It works like a charm. That’s mostly the way I do it. I could never do a dozen articles on the same subject all at one time. Even when I have a dozen in a batch that are due, I have to break them up into smaller clusters. It’s just too much and I start resenting the work – the worst thing that can happen to my creative spit. Batches of four works well for me, and sometimes I can write them as a long 2,000 word thought and then split them into pieces. If they are organized from the start, this can be fairly easy to do.

    WereBear: It’s amazing how many blogs are left abandoned to float forever in the emptiness of old cyperspace. Tis true, blogging is a grind and it is easy to give up. I LOVE Scrivener. My favorite word processor ever. I wrote my first novel in Scrivener. I haven’t had much cause to use it lately, but it is an absolutely fantastic application for creative writing. Really really elegant.

    Paul: Well worth the scratch, if your blogs are there to make money. If they are your personal outlet, then not so much.

    Barbara: You have a system, and that’s all that matters. My wife and I have different systems for everything, but what we each do works for us individually. It sounds like your system works well for you. Congratulations!

    Eric: That’s perfectly put. Not about my qualifications, about batching. Technical stuff, no problem, but do I find it easy to batch WD posts? Er, not so much.

    Matthew: Thanks, Matthew. The absolute best thing for motivation is taking projects that you really want to do. That’s harder in the beginning because you’re willing to take anything that pays the bills. Soon, hopefully, I’ll be writing less about lawnmowers and more about stuff I’d really like to write about. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any moments that I truly had to push myself through.

    J.D. Routine really, really helped me with production. When I first started, I used to dance around from task to task all day. I simply cannot do that now and keep up with the demands of my day. I have to follow a schedule otherwise my production drops with drama.

  29. […] might think the most dangerous time to blog is when you run out of things to say but to that notion I say a hearty – “Oh Nay […]

  30. Dr. KNo Gravatar says:

    Great post!

    >Is it easy to imagine your output would increase if you were to batch your writing?

    It surely did. I find that when I write everything I have to say, and limit a post to 1200 words or less, I often have enough for a series.

    >Do you feel like the quality of your articulation would suffer or benefit from batching your posts?

    I benefit, as writing a long post that becomes a series of posts allows me to really explore an idea more fully. I’m more interested in it, and I hope my writing is more interesting as a result.

    >Do you think that batching posts could lead to an increase in time that could be spent in your comment section or perhaps reading the blogs of others?

    I suppose so. Though with all that I have going on in any particular moment of time, I’d likely have to use any time I saved elsewhere!

    best wishes,
    Rick

    Dr. K´s last blog post..Life Skills – Quick! Think Fast!