Monday, 26 October 2015

How I write my blog

Over the past week, I've had a few conversations about writing a blog. As a result, I thought I'd record my approach to blogging, to try and encourage a wider group of people to write. Here's how I get from idea to tweet.

No backlog

I prefer to write about things that I care about right now rather than work from a backlog of ideas. I tried a backlog of ideas once, but it didn't really work for me to have a bucket of potential topics to write from. I found the choice to be paralyzing rather than enabling.

Write to a person

I like to think of a real person who would potentially get value from my thoughts, then write the post for them. This helps me to pitch the tone of my writing - not too condescending and not too complex. I also find writing to an individual easier than writing to a generic group e.g. Bob vs. "testers who want to start blogging".

Refining loop

I write my posts by paragraph. I'll type out my ideas, almost in a train of consciousness, then go back through the words and refine them into something that reads nicely. Realising that my thoughts don't have to come out perfectly the first time has really helped me to write more freely.

Proofread in context

When I finish a post, I read through it in my blog editor. Then I also read through it in the preview version to see it in the layout that will appear on my blog. Even when I think I'm done, looking at the words in a different format will often prompt me to change phrasing and pick up spelling mistakes. It's a fresh perspective for my brain.


When I look back at my earlier blog posts, I find them pretty embarrassing. I imagine that when I look back on this post, and others of this era, I will find them embarrassing too. I feel that my writing is improving the more that I blog, so I try to keep practicing to maintain this evolution.

Set goals

I have a self-imposed target of three blog posts per month. I don't always hit that target, but I find that it motivates me to write. Without this, I am prone to getting stuck in writing ruts where my head won't settle on a topic and I can't identify people who will care about what I have to say without doubt creeping in.

Pleasing everyone

What I write doesn't have to be something that everyone likes, or universally useful, or shared widely across the world. I figure, at a minimum, it's valuable to me to write my blog. I get better at writing, I work out how to articulate my ideas, I develop a voice. I find it easier to consider pleasing others as a bonus.


I always tweet when I write a blog. It's difficult for people to get any value from what I'm writing if they don't know it's there. I also like getting feedback from the community. Because sharing is circular, I also try to promote writing from others by tweeting content that I enjoy and having a list of blogs I follow on my site.

If blogging is something that you'd like to start, or you'd like to do more of, it's likely that the only thing stopping you is yourself. I hope these tips encourage you to write. I look forward to reading what you have to say.


  1. Hi, Katrina!

    Happy to be a first commenter for this post.

    Contrary to what I just said, I like your overall writing style. I re-read some of your posts not once, and it always feels nice. Even when I disagree :)

    The secret you uncovered now - “write to a person" style - is an epiphany for me; I'm going to steal it to practice myself. Thanks! :)

    I'm, too, looking at my blog as a self-development tool among other things. Funny, though, I get hundreds of visits to my pages with code snippets and only dozens to my article type pages. Do you find that your resource type pages get the most traffic over time?


    As a technical feedback: in IE11 the commenting box is just 4 lines. Very inconvenient. Actually, I'm writing my comment in notepad; then I'll paste it. If the theme allows to configure the lines to more comfortable level you may want to consider it. One barrier less for the feedback.


  2. Katrina, thanks for sharing your approach, it's really useful. I especially agree with your "Pleasing everyone" paragraph - I felt a lot more relaxed once I accepted that there will always be people who disagree with me or don't like my style of writing.

    Something I'm starting to do is I dictate the "stream of consciousness" in Google Docs (Tools > Voice Typing) or It saves me doing so much typing, and gets me to the editing part much quicker. Also, I like using