Blogging tips for the academic – from organising to writing

Academics are busy and always developing their organisational skills, now you have decided to write an academic blog and have chosen your subject <What The Blog Do I Write About>, below are some more tips and organisations tools to getting your blog written.


 

How much and how often?

Part of my full-time job or part of my free-time?

The amount of time you spend on your blog within your working day might depend on what you’re writing about. If your blog is related very much to your work then you could safely argue doing it within your working hours. But if it’s a more tenuously-related blog, you might want to make time for it in your spare time instead.

How often should I write and publish?

  • How often should I write? How often you write in your blog is up to you. Some people blog and publish many times a week, others are habitual and publish the same time each week along with a newsletter: Joanna Penn is an author I follow who blogs and writes as her job, but she publishes regularly and also sends a newsletter every week or two weeks – not enough to irritate me and the quality is fanatastic. 
  • How much should I write? This is also up to you although I advise ‘less is more and be concise’ is good practice. I hate reading blogs that don’t get to the point – I’m not interested in the superfluous stuff, just get on with it!!!! There are so many good blogs out there you have to keep people interested. As as rule I try not to go over 800 words.

Organising my notes and ideas for my blog

  • Workflowy
    • I love Workflowy – I’m using it right now to write my notes for this blog from which I cut and paste all I’ve written, It’s a great blogging tool for me because it’s not overwhelming; keeping me focussed on one aspect at a time. But then you might find some of the other note-keeping free-ware I’ve mentioned below useful. 

Here’s a screen-shot of my Workflowy for this blog -YES, you can cross off the things you’ve done as you go:

 Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.35.46

 

  • Evernote
    • Evernote is a more comprehensive note-keeper: I would be lost without my Evernote all of my work notes and meeting notes are in there, prescription for my glasses, details of collaborations on manuscripts down to lab notes I’ve taken pictures of. I started using Evernote during my PhD and never looked back. All my favourite recipes are safe too! 
  • Keep
    • The Keep application by Google is something I don’t use as much as the other organisation softwares but it still has its uses. For me it’s much like a Post-It of things you might use immediately, a picture of a train-ticket purchase code or an address or shopping list. You can download it to your phone and use it on your computer too (like all the other freeware I’ve mentioned). – I know someone who uses it as a homepage to remind them of things: A board of Post-Its!

KEEPskitch

  • Email
    • You might not have considered email as a good note-keeping tool but it does have its merits especially whilst you’re on the go. For me a great note-keeping tool should always be with you and easily accessible for that idea that’s slipping away as you go further into your day. Addressing a draft email to yourself that is full of notes and ideas is a great way or organising writing projects. And, if you’re anything like me and have a super-organised email with labels and filters for all your email you might have a priority inbox of on-going projects.

 

What you should be thinking about as you write your blog:

  1. What’s the message? Think about what this piece is about
  2. How long does it need to be? Be concise, say it in as few and as clear as possible
  3. Can you give more information? Put links to other blogs you’ve written and other source material, say where you got your conclusions from to back up what you’re saying.
  4. Can you make a list of points? – I do all the time, I’m doing it right now!
  5. What headings can I use? Much like a list of points, try and help people read through your blog, especially if it’s a longer blog piece.
  6. Pictures? Use them if it helps illustrate your point or theme (remember to source and/or ask permission from owner) Keep it as simple as possible and try not to waffle, it should be fun to blog so don’t make it a chore.
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About Dr Jojo Scoble

Freelance Science Communicator. Microbiology PhD Oxon. Fiction Writer. Social Media dilettante. Ideas Factory.
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One Response to Blogging tips for the academic – from organising to writing

  1. Pingback: The Weekly Roundup | The Graduate School

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