How to Pre-Blog

Thinking about starting a blog? Then you should devote some time to what I call Pre-blogging.

Pre-blogging is akin to the pre-writing work that goes into writing a book. Most writers, before they type Chapter 1, think about these elements: idea and plot, characterization and viewpoint, authorial voice, theme, and, last but not least, getting it written. That's pre-writing. Let's apply this pre-writing technique to starting a blog.

Idea and Plotting

In a book, you get an idea, and you turn it into a plot. What's a plot? It's what happens in a story and it's built from the significant events in a story. In a book, you come up with events that have important consequences.

In a blog, you should also have an idea upon which you can write again and again without getting bored or boring your audience. You take an idea and create a plot - a series of significant events called blog posts. These articulately presented thoughts should have important consequences of drawing readers to your blog.

Decide what thoughts you wish to impart to your audience. For this blog, I sling words about the art, craft, and business of writing with a bit of extraneous material thrown in every now and then as an element of the unexpected. Primarily, this blog is about book writing. So I plot out posts based on what I wish to provide.

~~ What are the ideas which will serve as your constant topics? Start plotting it out by thinking of post subjects.

Characterization & Viewpoint

In novels, you create characters who take action, moving your plot along. Of all the characters, you'll have one who is your primary viewpoint character. Everything will be filtered through this character's eyes, ears, brain, etc.

In a blog, you are the main character. You're the hero/heroine, and everything is filtered through your viewpoint.

~~ How will your blog be a vehicle for your character? How will you use your viewpoint?


In a book, an author's voice is the style by which the story is told. Voice is comprised at the very least by the words the author chooses and the way sentences are constructed. The style and the tone of the book is part of the author's voice only in that the author may choose to write in a humorous vein as opposed to a serious one, in a conversational chatty style as opposed to a formal one.

In a blog, voice is shown in the same way, and style and tone may be used similarly.

~~ How will you use your voice in creating your content? Will you deliberately choose a comfortable style or a more formal one to fit the demographics of your potential audience?


In a book, theme is what your story is really about. A romance starring characters from opposite sides of the tracks is really about love conquers all.

In a blog, theme is your underlying truth. In my blog, the underlying truth is that I believe we should help each other. It's like Jackie DeShannon wrote long ago:

Think of your fellow man. Lend him a helping hand. Put a little love in your heart.

~~ What's your underlying theme, your philosophy that drives you?


In a book, if you're under contract, you look at the length, let's say 100,000 words. That's about 400 manuscript pages. You should know how many pages a day or words a day you can write given the demands of your life. You go to a calendar and block out writing days. If you write 4 pages a day, that's 1000 words, and you can write 5 days a week, then it will take you 20 weeks if you schedule no days off.

In a blog, you look at your calendar and you figure out how many days a week you want to post to your blog. You figure out approximately how long each blog post will be, and you estimate how much time it takes you to write a post. Then you make a commitment to post to your blog X number of times a week by scheduling that time in your life.

~~ How much time can you commit to the blog? Be honest and be consistent even if it's just once a week.

Takeaway Truth

Time spent in preparation is time invested in success.


  1. Fascinating article, Joan! I've never actually thought of "pre-blogging" like novel writing... but that really makes a lot of sense when you put it like that, and I can see how that could help.

    Probably the only thing I finally thought about when starting a blog was the voice/tone. ;) After a few failed starts, I realized my natural voice and style is informal, laid back and goofy. So I go with it.

    Thanks for the thoughts on this, I'm definitely going to have to consider pre-blogging more seriously now and see how it works. :)