Blog-a-Versary Special: How Do I Write a Post?

Happy blog-a-versary again!  For my first “behind the scenes” look, I thought I would give you an idea of what my process is for writing a post.

This varies depending on what kind of post it is, of course.  So that’s the starting point, I sit down and think “what sort of post do I feel like writing now?” and then I go from there.  Sometimes there will be a post that I HAVE to write because of my weekly schedule even though I really don’t feel like it.  That’s when you may notice the TGIF post doesn’t have the best pictures, or the Sunday fanfic is a little dry, or the Friday Classic is a bit short.

Related image

(Still very ashamed that I forgot to include the neck-kissing in the Vampire SRK TGIF post.  Just feeling off that day, Friday the 13th curse or something)

But, let’s assume there is a post I actually want to write.  There are generally three kinds of posts, the long written review type things, the shorter news/box office posts, and the video/photo posts.  No matter which kind it is, I start by writing the title just as a place holder to identify the draft, and the first couple of sentences before the “more content” line to help me remember the general topic I was thinking of.

If it is a writing post, I just start writing.  No real mystery there.  I’m not someone who thinks a lot before she starts, in fact that tends to dry me up, I can never type it up as well as I had it in my head, so it is better if my fingers just hit the keyboard and the thought goes straight from head to hands.  By the time I have finished the first two paragraphs of a review or a fanfic or an editorial type thing, I have figured out my general slant on the topic and what I want to say.

Image result for edward said

(Totally did not mean to turn my post on the Padmavati trailer into a discussion of Edward Said, but that’s where my fingers took me!)

After that, it is just a matter of filling in the blanks.  Giving the background for the thought piece, talking about the actors in a review, establishing the set-up for a fanfic.  And so on.  Always trying to bring it back to my basic theme.  I re-write a little as I go, typing a sentence and then immediately deleting it and rewriting it, but I don’t do what I consider a “real” rewrite, I almost never move paragraphs around or delete them entirely or anything like that.  I just keep typing along and delete and rewrite little bits as I go.  The only part I will delete entirely and rewrite and then write again and really think about and then rewrite again is the ending, something that will quickly refer back to the theme, and also be a little poetic, a little deeper, because you’ve read my whole post by that point, I’ve earned your trust and I can go out on a bit of a limb.

Once the full written part is done, I’ve got a good ending and all the major points are covered, I will go back and add in links to related content and videos and images.  While I am putting in videos and images and links, I also have a chance to skim through the text again, catch some typos and spelling errors and stuff (yes, my posts could be even worse!), but I don’t really change any wording or do any editing beyond that.

(Videos like this!  My writing process is nothing like Sanjay’s)

 

For the box office posts, I pull up the related content in another window, and go back and forth picking out what I find interesting to write about.  I don’t just start and keep going with these, I have to cover certain things and hit certain points.  So I start with something like US figures for the newest Hindi release per screen, and then go to the next biggest film on the list, and so on.  As I write, usually a pattern starts appearing to me, and that’s what the discussion is about.  And that’s also my second glance at the box office list, looking a little farther down, checking out the funkier countries, figuring out what might fit with my new pattern, or not fit.

 

For the news posts, I skim through every article on Bollywoodhungama, and pull up a half dozen or so that look interesting.  I start writing about each in turn, and sometimes I discover after half a sentence that I don’t really have anything to say about that particular article, so I dump it and move on.

 

Fanfic, that usually bursts into my head more or less fully formed.  I have the feel for the whole story right away, it’s just a matter of writing it out and filling in the details and so on.  And if it doesn’t burst in fully formed, it’s never going to work, and I just give up.  Or not, if the deadline is coming up, which goes back to those not very good posts that I have to force myself to do.

(My Abhishek and Rani Pride and Prejudice post, I just never really got a feel for it.  And it was such a good idea!)

 

Besides that, I write fanfic the same as with the other longer written posts, just go straight through occasionally re-writing a sentence as I go, spend a little longer on the closer, then come back and add in links and videos.

 

 

And then there’s the video and photo posts.  Most often those start with the photos/videos.  I pull a bunch of links and images and just throw them into a blank blog post.  For the DDLJ posts, I pull a bunch of screenshots and throw them in chronological order.  Then I go through, figure out a theme that might tie it all together, put in clever (or not so clever) comments for each video/image, and add the headline and opening bit before the “read more” line last.

(Okay, the “tere bina basmati” post, that one I had the idea before I found the videos.)

 

So, that’s the story!  That’s how I write these things.  Full written post of 2,000 to 4,000 words usually takes me an hour and a half to three hours to write, about a third of that is adding the links and videos and other finalizing bits, 2/3rds is the actually writing it out.  Shorter news or box office posts, takes about 45 minutes start to finish, 10 minutes of that is adding links and videos and stuff.  Videos/photo posts (DDLJ excepted) take about 20 minutes total.  Speaking of, now I have to spend about 20 minutes adding in my links and videos to this.  And that’s my poetic closer.

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17 thoughts on “Blog-a-Versary Special: How Do I Write a Post?

  1. Your writing style is a lot closer to mine. When I did this for a living, I had a bunch of editors managing different blogs on our network line up leads for me. I had to pick out a headline, search for/edit pictures and videos to go with the story, actually have a bunch of tags down. And I basically wrote the post in my head while I put the rest of the content together. Sometimes the lead wad saucy enough to me to get the write up done and then I searched for images to go with what I wrote than what the lead’s suggested theme was. But I could churn up a 300+ word post fully ready with image links, citations, other sources, images, etc in around 20 minutes. The writing gave me such a high. That’s one reason why my comment tend to take a life of their own. I get carried away. It became a problem at times because it diluted the crispness of my style every now and then.

    What helped was putting the entire story together in a single Word document. Headline, opening, opening image URL, paragraphs, image URLs and video embed codes, closer, list of sources, tags.

    If our website’s internal posting page went down, I could just email this document to my editor who could post it whenever they liked.

    Like

    • Yeah, I have the same problem with getting carried away. My last few reviews, I have forced myself to stop a lot sooner than I needed to, because it would be stronger shorter. Versus, say, my Dabangg review that just kept going and going and going.

      Like

  2. Just wondering, why do you use Bollywood Hungama over other news/gossip sites for your news posts? Habit, or do you prefer their style or the range of issues they cover, or other?

    Also very impressed with your consistency and scheduling. Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you manage it?

    Like

    • A couple reasons. I like that they are quarantined from “real” news, because I don’t want any of that.

      They have the best box office info, and so long as I am there for box office already, I might as well check the other stories.

      And they have a nice balance of being timely (unlike rediff which is usually about 24 hours behind) and reliable, not that it is thee “truth, But it is at least a substantiated rumor if the print it.

      What keeps me writing is you guys, in the comments. If I feel like I am talking tok someone, it all just flows out of me. It’s when the comments slow down that I have a hard time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, that is so interesting about the comments motivating you! Sometimes I try to write for an imaginary audience at work (where much of what I write is read by a handful of specialists in the world if anyone at all does). It must be nice to have a more immediate response, but yes, also disheartening if that response isn’t there sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You can track it actually, when the comments go down, my post length goes down. I’m still writing, but I just don’t have the energy and interest. That’s why I started putting questions at the end, even something like TGIF and the fanfic which don’t really require comments, I need you to make them or else I can’t get myself to keep writing. Even if I can see that the view count is high and the demand is high, I need the comments.

          On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 1:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

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