My article writing process

Being on a current job hunt means I’m getting a lot of questions about my article writing process. While I’ve written editorial processes over the years, I’ve yet to capture my personal writing processes until now.

Here’s my process for writing articles and blog posts:

1.    Ideation

Years spent as a freelance writer taught me to stay in idea mode so it’s always on to start my article writing process. I’m constantly on when it comes to ideation. My favorite source for ideas is Twitter believe it or not. It’s my newsfeed, and I use IDG TECH(talk) Twitter chats to keep me honest.

Recording my ideas down remains essential. Some of my favorite ways to capture ideas include:

  • Saving article links to Todoist for review later
  • Creating action items such as “500 words about x” in Todoist
  • Capture ideas in Notion for later action

If I’m writing an article for a publication, the ideation phase is complete with a pitch to an editor. It’s a short article proposal that should hopefully resonate with an editor. If the article or blog post is for a client, the client will approve the idea.

2.    Planning + researching + outlining

I used to rebel against creating outlines when I was a college English major. The older I get, the more I see the wisdom in outlines again, especially if I must run the content through people with diverse viewpoints on a subject. An outline can help prevent surprises if you use it appropriately.

Research for me is mainly online these days. I like to use Otter.ai to record and transcribe subject matter expert interviews. Then I capture links to web pages in Todoist and read review them on my iPad at my leisure.

If I’m planning corporate content such as a blog post, this is the stage where SEO keyword planning takes place.

3.    Writing + self-editing

The writing step is where the fun begins. My main writing tools are Microsoft Word or Google Docs depending on the employer, client, or publication. If I’m writing in MS Word, I save drafts to OneDrive so I can have the ability to review and edit the article draft on my iPad at my leisure.

I like to write straight through without editing if possible. Then I spend a few rounds of self-editing. It’s the one part of the process that makes me tense. However, over the years, I’ve come up with editing checklists and have had some luck using Grammarly as a level of self-editing.

4.    Reviewing + iterating

My reviewing and iterating phase is an extension of the self-editing from the previous phase. I call it a separate phase because other people such as coworkers or clients play a part.

If the article I’m writing for a publication, I now press send to email the article to my editor for their review. If I’m writing content in Google Docs, I now share the content with my editors and reviewers.

If the content is a corporate piece such as a blog post, this is the time the content goes out to reviewers such as subject matter experts for technical review. It’s also the point where I like to pull in other teammates for their edits and feedback.

5.    Publishing

The final step is the article goes live on the publication. Then I share the link on my social channels. If I were working on corporate content, the article or blog post would go live on the corporate blog or other channels in the case of sponsored content.

One final thing

I continually tweak and adjust my writing processes to the reality I’m working. For example. I often adapt my editing and review cycles to whether I have reviewers and other editors to work available to me.