Sometimes you fail.
You worked super hard to draft a solid blog post, and in the end you realized it sucked. The writing just didn't turn out as you had envisioned.
You are not alone in your failure.
I am with you, and I'm not just saying this to be kind. The best blog writers fail. Jon Morrow, Brian Clark, Darrin Rouse, Demian Farnsworth, and Seth Godin all write crap now and then. They just don't publish it in that form.
Sometimes failures are simply destined for the trash. But, often your hard work can be saved with a strategic rescue. This effort requires courage because you are coping with flaws and failures, and you are tempted to think that you are stupid.
But you aren't. The current piece of writing may be. But you are an intelligent, strong writer. You can make this work if you are willing to invest in the piece.
Failure is success in progress.
― Albert Einstein
The rescue process can save the post.
The diagram of the writing process below is probably familiar to you. Notice that writing is not a linear process, meaning it doesn't move directly from beginning to end.
The writing process is circular, and you can move back and forth through parts of the process. The ability jump around in the steps is key to rescuing a post.
You begin writing a post with invention, but you can return to this stage down the road when you get stuck drafting. Even if you have already rewritten and edited the post, you can return and rewrite.
You possess many tools to improve your post.
Return to invention
- Brainstorm ideas that will add strength to your post. Write your ideas down and include specific examples you might include to help illustrate ideas. More than likely your post lacks a depth of ideas, but you can add to them.
- Research and read if you lack solid material. Many times posts are weak because your brain does not have enough stimulation to be creative. Research and reading move your mind toward new ideas that you hadn't thought of before.
- Discuss the post with a good friend that provides helpful advice and feedback. Putting your post before an audience is the best way to detect what works and what doesn't.
- Draw a mind map of your post so that you can see your ideas visually. A lot of great free mind mapping tools can assist you in this. Add ideas as you see gaps and holes in your ideas.
- Use stories and experiences to help you fill in those gaps because they engage the reader.
Return to rewriting
- Apply what you have learned during invention to fill in gaps and make your content concrete.
- Return to the beginning and make sure you have a killer title and opener.
- Be sure to include a powerful image and caption.
- Review each paragraph to make sure it's focused on a main idea and that it provides essential information.
- Keep your paragraphs short in blog writing.
- Cut and slash the empty language that is probably cluttering your writing like cliches, unnecessary phrases, "there is" constructions, and "it is" sentences.
- Strengthen your conclusion by making it forward thinking. In other words, what is your call to action? What should your reader do next? How should your reader apply what they've just read?
This represents a lot of hard work, but the steps also provide you a way out of a looser post. You'll also find that as you do them over and over, you will start producing better drafts, requiring less revision work.
So, get it done. Take a post that you considered lost and breathe new life into it. While you're at it, let us know what other strategies you use to strengthen weak posts.
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