When I sit down to write a newsletter, or a blog post, I don't usually know exactly what I'm going to write.
I'll have a title/topic listed in my writing calendar, and sometimes I'll have a couple of bulletpoints identified in my idea journal, but I rarely have all the details worked out inside my head. Mostly I sit down at a keyboard, with a title/topic at the top of the blank page, and I start.
From there, my writing usually follows one of three different patterns:
1.) Start typing an introduction paragraph, and let the rest of the story follow.
Sometimes that first paragraph is all I need, and the rest of the article comes along behind it - no different than telling a story to your friends, really.
2.) List out the key points of the article, then start adding details for each point.
When the story isn't flowing in order, I try to start in the middle by listing out the key components of the message I want to convey. From there I can start adding details and supporting information, and eventually the article starts to take shape.
3.) Sit and stare at the blank page.
Occasionally I find myself staring at the blank screen, as if I'm either trying to write the whole thing in my head first, or I'm waiting for a muse to show up and write the story for me. Either way, this method usually ends up with different browser tabs open and a vow to try again later.
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Newsletter, blog post, follow-up email to a prospect - the truth of the matter is nobody else is going to do your writing for you (1). Start typing. Tell your story. Fill in that blank page.
- Chris Butterworth
(1) I do offer a full feature, turn-key eNewsletter service, where I will write and send your monthly newsletter for you. But I meant that, other than that, nobody is going to come to your house and help you write your story.