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Write a Better Blog Series In One Sitting

This post was written by Glen Stansberry of LifeDev (feed). Check out LifeDev for tips to increase creativity and productivity in your writing.

If you’re wanting to generate a little bit of buzz around your blog, you might think about writing a blog series. I’ve found that they usually generate a fair amount of link love, and if anything it gives your regular readers something to look forward to.

However, writing a blog series isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It can be a daunting task, and the potential to stop halfway is very high.

I just wrote a blog series on digital vs. paper productivity tools, and while writing stumbled on a great little tip. I found that the best way to write a blog series is to write it all before you hit publish. Just by writing them all up, and use the advanced posting feature to automate the process over a few days (or however long your blog series is), you can kick back and watch your series take care of itself throughout the week. It’s a beautiful thing.

I know writing an entire series ahead of time sounds scary and daunting, but it’s really not that bad and it will pay off. Here’s why.

1. Failure of completion is impossible. If you’ve ever written a blog series, you know it can be a little draining, and you might get bored with it after a while. By writing it all in advance, you take away the temptation of stopping halfway through (and hoping that your readers don’t notice).

2. Continuous thought. If you decide to sit down and power through the series in one sitting, you’ll find that it helps you keep the series as a cohesive unit in your mind. One way to think of it is like an over-sized post. If you can break the big post down into many smaller posts, you’ll keep the continuity and the writing will go quicker. I even use multiple windows to write in as many as 4 different posts at a time.

Previously, I’d find myself rereading my previous posts again and again, trying to remember what the devil I was talking about a few days before. The one-sitting approach takes care of that problem in a hurry. Even if you can’t get all of the posts completed, outlining all of them works great too.

3. Keeping the idea alive. This one’s fairly easy. Usually I think of post series’ on a whim. So if I write the entire series while the idea is still fresh, I’ve got great potential of staying excited with the idea, thus ensuring I’ll complete it.

4. No procrastination. This leads into the previous point. If you can have the self-control to wait to publish the series as a whole, you totally eliminate the inevitable procrastination that comes with writing a blog series.

Sadly, there is at least one series that I’ve stopped half way through. Pretty pathetic for a guy who spends a good portion of his time writing about Getting Things Done, eh? The main reason why I didn’t finish is because I lost motivation. The posts in the series were pretty time consuming, and I completely underestimated the undertaking.

So there you have it. I’d encourage every blogger to at least try writing a post series if you haven’t already. It’s lots of fun, and it’s a great way to write a week’s worth of posts in one sitting.

PS from Darren: If you want to learn more about writing a blog series you might like to read a mini-series of posts that I wrote on the topic:

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Comments

  1. I’ve tried writting a series and only wrote a three part series. The thing is, I must be doing something wrong because all my single posts are more widely popular than the first series I wrote. But you’re right, a lot of work goes into writing a series and I too forgot what I was on about. Thanks for the tip on writing everything in one sitting.

  2. George says:

    Great post. Wish I had done that before starting my series. I have created an outline of what I want to do, so at least I know what to write next.

    I will keep this in mind next time I write a series.

  3. Mahala says:

    I wrote “part one” for a series about six months ago, never getting around to “part two.” Writing it all in one sitting seems to make alot more sense. Great advice :)

  4. Gaya says:

    Interesting point Glen!

    A blog series supposed to be educational. That’s where I think the difficulty comes in. We can’t write the way we used to write. Readers won’t need a news series. They need a comprehensive article series which would bring them extra knowledge at the end.

    This might be a reason to loose the motivation on the way. Producing educational post continuously is not fun or easy.

    Your advice is really nice to avoid the failure. However what would happen if the series contain 20-30 post? If the number goes high, producing them all at once going to be a big headache, in my opinion. In the usual way, if the first post goes today then in this way it would be after 5, 6 days. So, it damages a time sensitive series.

    Anyway, I really like the idea of avoiding failure. Completion always bring more spirit.

  5. Roberta says:

    This is a great post, I’ll try the blog series thing as soon as I can find an angle. Maybe I’ll try legendary rock stars or something, so that people won’t know when I’m done.

    Thanks Glen, I’m going to subscribe to your feed.

  6. Yeah, even two-part posts are such a big hit. I could see how an actual series would keep readers hooked and anticipating for more. Thanks for linking to those other two posts, too, Darren. You did mention in that second post that you feel more comfortable dividing your time and efforts in writing a blog series (ie post per day). I guess it depends on the topic you’re writing about — if it requires extensive research and much organization, doing an outline in one seating would make a lot of sense. But writing the entire thing over a period of time could prove to be efficient as well.

  7. Lee Odden says:

    Great advice Glen! That advanced posting feature has saved my rear many times.

  8. jhay says:

    Ah yes, no procrastination. That’s the one big problem bloggers face once it all boils down to making good content.

  9. Ryan Ambrose says:

    It’s certainly something to think about.

    Whenever I write a ‘series’ of sorts, it’s usually about a topic of the week or two weeks at most. Generally, I don’t think of series that can go much longer, especially if it’s about things like industry news.

    These are a few nice tips though, and definitely good suggestions for longer series than the 3 or 6 post ones I currently write from time to time.

  10. Jen says:

    I think the keyword here is “momentum”! The trick, then, is just to get the series started rolling…

  11. Shawn Blanc says:

    I write better in serieses (seriesi?). I have to make myself write a week or two of one at a time posts before doing another series.

    They can build momentum, but only if people like what you’re talking about. I recently did a series on finances that I thought would be pretty big but it was like digging myself deeper in the grave by the end of the week. yikes.

  12. Rubyxx says:

    A blog series is a good idea. Although I think there shouldn’t be any certain pressure placed onto it to create a long series. Maybe “Season 1″ of the series could be focused on a certain topic, maybe an important event going on at the moment, with your views related to it. Or something bit more technical and indepth like advise, research and industrial.

    But I always believed that blog posts should be kinda spontaneous and impromptu, about a certain feeling, topic, inspiration – at the spur of the moment.

    However, I’d definitely try for a series… sounds like a fun thing to plan out and blog about!

  13. I can’t really blame other people for thinking that series blogs are impractical; perhaps they’ve attempted to do it a few times and simply failed. However, it would be good to point out that bright ideas only become practical when individuals actually try to do something about it. If you have an idea, by all means, share it with the world…and chop it up into bits for some thrill if you must.

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  1. [...] Write a Better Blog Series In One Sitting “I found that the best way to write a blog series is to write it all before you hit publish. Just by writing them all up, and use the advanced posting feature to automate the process over a few days (or however long your blog series is), you can kick back (tags: blogging blogs problogger) [...]

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