The Haunted Housewife was polished recently, and during that time I completely changed the way I write blog posts.
One pattern I tend to fall into when it comes to writing blog posts, is procrastination. Writing is something I enjoy but it takes a lot of work. It’s not as easy as it was in school; turning in an essay because your grade depends on it is quite different from pumping out 2+ essays a week because you want to.
Getting Smart 👓
A lot of us use Google’s free services for organizing our blog data. The three that I use are Google Drive, Google Sheets and Google Forms. With the help of Google Forms and Google Sheets, recording ideas and writing posts has never been easier.
Let me show you how you can use Google’s free services to streamline your blogging process. The results are life-changing!
Developing An Idea
With Google Forms, I’ve created a form for my blog post ideas. When an idea strikes me, I fill out the form to develop the idea further. This helps me turn a vague idea into a solid plan.
|Fields I Use In My Idea Planner Form|
|Google Keyword||Finding the keyword is what I use to base my post titles on. They’re important for search engine optimization, so I’m sure to have my keyword planned right away!|
|Title||Using the keyword, I create an awesome title. Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer is a powerful tool for writing headlines.|
|Description||The description is a simple summary of what the post will be about.|
|Category||Using a drop down, I select the category my idea is a good fit for.|
|Tags||I list any tags in this field, just as a reminder to my future self.|
Once the form is complete, it’s a little more than idea but not quite an outline yet. The data you input here will transfer onto a spreadsheet, which is excellent for organization. I find it very helpful having all of my plans on a spreadsheet!
We’ve now got out idea documented and planned, what happens next? The next step is where the magic happens.
The Post Writes Itself
Now, I usually don’t write posts immediately after I use the Idea Planner form unless I’m in the zone. My method is to let it fester a bit, for no good reason, while focusing on other posts I’ve already half-written. As I said, when an idea strikes me…
The next step is creating an amped up skeleton outline builder with Google Forms. We ran into skeleton outlines in school, and we all pretty much have an idea of what they consist of.
The Skeleton Outline Builder form I’ve made is essentially a fill-in-the-blank version of a skeleton outline with a few extras. This form is far too big to show as a screenshot, but you can view my live example form here.
|Fields In The Skeleton Outline Builder|
|Title||Title of the post.|
|Disclaimer||I use a handful of different disclaimers for my blog, so this is a drop-down list.|
|Introduction||The introduction section is broken down into two parts; the reader’s problem and how we plan to solve it. This helps me focus.|
|Key Points||Key points as well as their supporting paragraphs.|
|Conclusion||Wrapping it up, call-to-action, etc.|
The information I enter in this form doesn’t populate onto a spreadsheet. Using a Google Forms Add-On called Form Publisher, I’ve created a Google Document template that literally turns my entries into formatted paragraphs ready for me to copy/paste onto my blog’s text editor.
Form Publisher is a genius add-on, great for invoicing as well. You can learn how to use it here. Don’t forget to download it before you start!
Check Out This Blogging Magic!
The End Result: The post is pretty much written; it just needs some fluffing. This is a solid rough draft, I’d say.
The Finishing Touches
Once I paste the text in my text editor for my blog, I’m nearly done. All that’s left is a little fluffing, creating the graphics, and spellchecking. Using this method has done wonders for my
writing process; being a computer geek makes this fun for me too.
Re-cap: 2 Powerful Ways To Streamline Your Blogging Process
- create a form for developing ideas and turning them into plans
- create a form that will turn your plans into rough drafts
If there’s anything we can automate in our busy world, we should pounce on it. While writing isn’t something we should ever automate, using a form and template to format it for us certainly saves us some time!