Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Four-Step Plan To Blogging A Long-Form Piece Of Work

In this article, I would like to explore the idea of writing a more comprehensive article based on past work. For years, I have played around with the idea of writing my dissertation through blogs. If I can write a dissertation, then I may even be able to write a book. The possibilities are endless.

For weeks, I've been writing about the history of Kappa Alpha Psi and I'm wondering how I'm going to start combining them into a more unified entry. What's the process for doing that? Below, I've outlined my plan for achieving that goal.

So far the work has been in short increments. I spend about an hour in the morning reading and then writing a few paragraphs. According to Roger Parker, this step is called Chunking.
Blogs help authors write books because they break big tasks–i.e., writing books–into a series of short, easy-to-complete tasks (i.e., weekly blogposts.) It’s hard to sit down and write a chapter containing, perhaps, 5,000 words. But, it’s relatively easy to commit to writing 350 to 500 words once or twice a week 
Here on Blogger the word is "Label," but the idea is to group the post by keywords. This is a neat way to organize my writing into similar buckets of information. As I prepare to write a new article, I can quickly review past work and build on it. Additionally, by allowing the system to count the number of articles I have in each topic, I can see where I have amassed content and where I may need some attention (see my "Topics" drop box for an example) --->.

Once I have numerous posts on a similar topic, I'd like to begin combining them somehow. In a previous post, I thought about creating a 'Top 10 List' or "Best Of" series, but that doesn't work so well in a dissertation style project. Instead, I need to write a new post that builds on my previous writing. This strategy allows me to take the best parts of each past article and add something new.

I still struggle with the idea that I should be working on a single document (i.e. Book, white paper, dissertation, etc.) versus recreating duplicate work with additions (i.e. blog articles). However, I can see with each iteration, the latest document should be much better than it's predecessor or individual parts.

While I haven't experienced this step yet, I imagine a few comprehensive blog articles that has been built upon solid writing should provide me with enough content to actually publish a single document.

In my head, I see this as a step process. Once I finish my research on the history of Kappa Alpha Psi, I can put it together as a single document on my page. I can see it becoming a PDF document that eventually gets stored under a "Library" tab.

With each new published document, I am essentially writing the first draft of a section or chapter. Neat, huh?

What Makes Each Product Different?
I've asked myself that very question. If I write a blog article on, why would anyone want to read them in a combined state?

In my mind, each time I transfer past work into a new format, I have the opportunity to rewrite it. As an example, I've borrowed from a couple of my older posts, but I changed the wording to better fit this project. The same would be true when transferring blogs into published documents and again from published documents into ebooks (..and so on and so forth).

Additionally, I can see some readers would prefer to own a single product versus trying to sort through 30 individual posts. Isn't that why we buy books to begin with, it's convenient.

Final Thought
Well, that's it! That's my game plan for moving forward with the dissertation. I continue to chunk, tag, build, and then publish.

What do you think? Does it sound doable? Have any experience writing long-form documents through a blog? If so, I'd love to hear your story in the comment section below.


YoTrip said...

Interesting methodology and should work for your project. I like how you process things. Best of success

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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