I’m often asked how long it takes me to write a blog post or web article. My answer is: until it’s done.
Some blog posts take only a few minutes from idea to finished product. A few minutes to edit and clean it up, making sure I’ve got all the bits and pieces in the right places before hitting the publish button.
Other blog posts were started in 1994 and I haven’t finished them yet. The ideas are good, the research is fine, but it’s just not ready for publishing. Something isn’t right. When it’s ready, I’ll publish it. Until then, if the idea isn’t out-of-date, it sits and ferments, waiting to ripen into a fine wine in the future.
Those are two dramatic extremes, but why are people asking the question?
They want to know how much time and effort goes into the work of blogging.
Do you have an answer for them?
How Long Does It Take to Think of an Idea for a Blog Post?
For many bloggers, writing the post takes the least amount of time. Finding something to write about takes much longer.
Ideas can come from anywhere or anything at any time. Many get their best ideas in the shower or bathroom, when their mind drifts off into that “space” where we just don’t spend enough time brainstorming and doing free association, finding linking around corners and under furniture in our brains where we rarely look when we’re paying attention. According to the Science News (March 22, 2008, Vol. 173, “Eureka!”), these sudden bursts of insight can come with little warning but recent research shows that they come more often when your brain is “off” – wandering around thinking little or nothing at all, and definitely not thinking about work.
According to neuroscientist Joydeep Bhattacharya of Goldsmiths, University of London, England:
“The ‘Aha!’ experience mainly occurs because you’re minimally aware of what you’re thinking as you try to solve a problem.”
The article went on to explain:
The road to “Eureka!” may start even before he mental preparation period, as a person sits quietly and does nothing at all, Kounios [of Drexel University in Philadelphia] suggests. In a recent Neuropsyhchologia, he and his coworkers report that the brains of people who later use insight to solve word problems already display “resting-sate” electrical activity associated with a broadening of attention. This activity appears in the right=brain areas that identify distant connections among words and verbal concepts.
Their study shows that the harder you work at solving a problem, the longer it takes, but once you relax and “take your mind off the subject” the answer may come in a flash of insight.
It’s the time spent waiting for insight that can make finding something to blog about a time consuming task. The most successful bloggers expose themselves to a lot of input from reading other blogs, their feeds, going to conferences, meeting other bloggers, and enjoying a healthy family, work, and social life, surrounded by stimulation which generates ideas. But the creative process requires some quiet time for the mind to roll all the thoughts together to generate the ideas for blog posts.
How long that process is depends upon the individual. Professional writers train themselves to “write on command” and be there waiting for the muse to appear. In other words: practice, practice, practice.
How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?
Once the idea is hatched, how long does it take to write a blog post?
For some, it takes a few minutes to jot down the idea, concept, and spell out the whole post. For others, like me, I like to write the whole thing down in my head before my fingers hit the keyboard.
I’m constantly writing and editing in my head, working through the concept, the points I want to make, revising and sorting. Which is why so many people think it takes me so little time to write a blog post as they only see the phsycial activity not the mental processing.
Once the concept is set in the head, it flows out through the keyboard onto your computer. I use a text editor for writing and editing my blog posts, but most people just type right into their blog editor. Once the plot is written out, the editing process begins.
From comments made recently about how often most bloggers preview their post before publishing, a lot more bloggers edit their work than most people assume, taking care that the writing is good, grammar solid, and spelling the best they can. For those determined to publish their best work, understanding that their blog content is their online resume and reputation inspected by future employers, friends, and partners, it takes a lot longer to edit and prepare the post for publishing. For those who publishing only a few sentences or don’t care, it takes only a few moments.
If you follow the mythology that an unrelated or semi-related image on your blog post helps improve your blog traffic, then you now have to search for an image or two to add to your blog post.
If you podcast or do video, you have the same preparation time, creative process of creating the podcast or video, and then the editing time. This is often a much longer time process than writing a blog post. Added to the workload is show notes and/or transcript to meet web accessibility standards and laws. It’s a lot more work and a lot more time.
Is there a right or wrong amount of time to spend publishing a blog post? No. It’s just your way and methodology. Some posts take only a few minutes from conception to publish, and others take hours, days, or weeks – or maybe even more.
How long does the average blog post take you? How do you go about the process of writing and publishing your blog posts?
How Much Work Does It Take to Blog?
So when someone asks you how long it takes to blog, the real question is how much work is there to blogging. It takes time to come up with ideas, and it takes work to find those ideas and let your mind sift through them to generate publishable content. It takes time to write out a blog post, and it’s work to edit and prepare it for publishing.
For some, this isn’t work but fun. For others, it’s work – hard work. So what would be your answer?
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.