Please give a warm welcome to Krissy Brady, the first guest blogger on the Cat’s Eye blog in 2012. I met Krissy when she began reading and commenting here. I checked out her blog and was impressed by the resources she so freely offers to writers. I encourage you to visit her blog. And if you like what you see (I’m sure you will), sign up for email or RSS feed delivery.
How to Remove the OCD from Your Blogging
by Krissy Brady
There are times when we get lucky: we set out to write a fantastic blog post, and it pours out of us like a waterfall. For me, it feels like an out-of-body experience, and I squeal like a little girl once it’s published. There’s a surreal amount of excitement (and relief) when we put our hearts out there.
We relish every minute of the experience, because we know the next time we visit our blogging bubble, it may not go as smoothly. We may set out to write a fantastic blog post, but for some reason it won’t… come… out.
Before we know it, a blog post that was only supposed to take 2 hours has taken up our entire day. We become finicky about every little detail. We have become an OCD blogger. For those not afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, let me explain.
It has other names. Some call it perfectionism, some call it writer’s block, some even call it general stuckitis. Whatever you call it, know that it happens to every blogger.
Here are some common barriers OCD bloggers experience and some tips for breaking through them:
Barrier #1: Your headline is too long. Then it’s too short.
There’s a lot of pressure attached to creating a snappy headline for each blog post we write. Our headlines are the deciding factor of whether a potential reader will give our blog the chance it deserves. You need to hook them, and hook them fast.
If you’re struggling to think of a catchy title, do what all writers do who are in the same boat: create a working title, and list the important points you want to include. Then, let it simmer as you work on the post itself. While you’re working on the body of your post, you never know when inspiration will strike.
Barrier #2: After searching through pages of photos, you still can’t find one that’s “just right.”
While planning your post, think of 3-4 different types of photos you feel would suit the topic you’re writing about. This will maximize your search potential, and the extra planning ahead of time will make the process more enjoyable.
For example, for this post I wanted an image of someone who was adjusting a crooked photo to represent perfectionism. My second option was an image of someone sitting at their computer, staring blankly at the screen to represent writer’s block/general stuckitis. As I was searching, I found the adorable image above, and went, “Aha! That’s my photo!”
Another quick tip: don’t just look for a photo that suits the topic of your blog post; choose a photo that also suits the mood of your blog post. It’s a subtle way of letting your readers know the style of post they are about to read.
Barrier #3: You write the first paragraph, then revise. You write the second paragraph, then revise. By the time you make it to your concluding paragraph, you’ve gone cross-eyed.
Sometimes, I get really antsy when I’m working on a blog post. It could be due to the amount of coffee I’ve ingested beforehand, but it’s usually because I’m not letting my creativity happen naturally. We all know we don’t have to write a blog post in the exact order we’ll eventually present it in, yet I find I still try to do so, which restricts my creativity.
Write your blog post paragraphs in the order your ideas come to you. The creativity will eventually spill into the areas of your blog post you’re struggling with, and you’ll soon wonder what all the fuss was about.
Barrier #4: Before publishing, you read your post over and over and over…
Even if we’ve proofread our post 15 times (admit it, you’ve done it before), we still feel the need to check “one more time” for a misspelled word or a comma splice, as if our word processor is going to put them in for us.
Use the Rule of 3: read once for flow, deleting unnecessary words and editing clunky phrases, read a second time for structure, punctuation, and misspelled words, and read a final time pretending you’re a potential blog reader. Make sure you’ve covered your points in a clear, concise, and personable fashion.
Barrier #5: After your post is published, you wonder if it’s really finished.
After investing so much time on a post, it can be hard to disconnect yourself from it once it’s published. There’s a definite grieving process that happens, since our creativity is deeply intertwined with our sense of self.
After publishing your post, immediately close your blog and let out the breath I know you’ll be holding. Consider logging out of your blog to be a symbol of you letting go of your post, and I guarantee you will be more inclined to let your next one start brewing.
You might be thinking to yourself, “This is great advice, but it’s a lot easier said than done.” Of course it is! Isn’t all advice?
Start by building your own trust.
Place your left hand on your keyboard. Raise your right hand and say, “I, [ Your Name ], solemnly swear to release myself from the shackles of my inner critic.”
It’s a small step, but it’s a big start.
How about you?
Do you have tips of your own for getting over OCD blogging?
About Krissy Brady
Krissy Brady is a freelance writer located in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. She is a blogger dedicated to keeping the passion for writing alive and is currently working on her first novel, poetry collection and screenplay. To learn more and keep in touch with Krissy, visit her blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for the latest writing-related information.”