How I Started Writing my Blog by Doing It Badly

This post will only ever be an unedited first draft (unless there’s something major I missed), so the writing and formatting is likely to be quite rough around the edges.


I had never written a blog post before ‘Start by Doing it Badly’. 

I’ve wanted to for a very long time, but was worried about all the things I am sure everyone worries about when creating content. The final nudge that got me started writing was imagining how some of the ideas I have, would have really saved me a lot of headaches in my journey. So I decided that’s who I should begin writing for – those just starting their journey. 

Now came the hard part – Starting writing. 

Fair warning, I am still a novice when it comes to writing, and can only share my own experience. This means that some of what I share below is likely to be a terrible way to approach blog writing, but it is a true reflection of what I did.


Starting My Journey

I began by just thinking about ideas for topics. I used two questions to help me along:

  • What knowledge would have made my life easier as a beginner practitioner?
  • What topics do I navigate carefully to not to get on my soapbox about, when working?

I then made a list of all the ideas that came to mind on some sticky notes, however they came to mind. Some as potential titles, and others as just ideas/concepts. I put those stickies on a wall in front of me. Looking at my list, the topic of ‘Start by Doing It Badly’ stood out to me because, well, I’d have to start writing my first blog post with that same mindset – It seemed awfully fitting. I then put some time in my calendar to write the first draft.

As I knew I would want to share this with others (and I didn’t know what software they could access) to get some feedback, I decided to go with writing it in Google Docs. I also decided to write it as a skeleton of the core concept, capturing some key points around the following:

  • General Concept
  • Important points:
    • Ideas
    • For the practitioner
  • Desired take away for the reader

As you can see below, it was just a bullet-pointed list, no fluff, nothing fancy at all. Just enough information that I could send it to someone who fit my idea of the intended reader, and give me some feedback. 

Now the scary part came – Sharing my idea and getting real feedback on it. I am fortunate to know people who will give me unfiltered feedback on my ideas, so I sent it to three of them to get their input on the concept so far, and if they would like to see a full blog post on the subject. 

I actually had to get on a video call with the editor as I couldn’t understand their notes. But after they talked me through it, it made future feedback much easier to absorb.

Luckily they not only got back to me with their feedback, but also agreed to continue providing feedback for later drafts. So I spent some time thinking about how I could turn this skeleton along with their thoughts into a sensible narrative.

Back to writing. How to turn a list of bullet points and input on the concept in to something that makes sense to read? This is where I tend to really struggle, but I have found a trick that helps me get started – I pretend I am writing a fantasy story, at times even opening with ‘Once upon a time’. This liberates me from taking my ideas too seriously, and getting hung up on formal language and formatting. That method may work for you, or perhaps you have another trick that lets you start putting words on the page.

Once I had my narrative version down, it was starting to look like an actual blog post. It was time to face the feedback, again. So I sent it off to my trusted reviewers, again, and asked one of them (who happens to be an actual editor, credited at the end of this post) for feedback not just on the content, but on the language, grammar, and structure as well.

The Empirical Process

As you may have noticed by now, this is all part of the empirical process loop.

  1. Transparency – Write something and share it.
  2. Inspection – Get feedback on what you shared and review the feedback.
  3. Adaptation – Make changes based on what you learned during inspection.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until Done.

So now that I’ve gone through Step 1 again, it’s time for Step 2 – Inspection. You can see the second draft (the narrative version) above, along with the feedback. There was a lot.

To channel my inner Jocko Willing – “Good!”

Once again I had to sit down and think about the feedback given, and what I wanted to take on board or ignore. For the most part, I took it on board, but there were some things I decided not to change. The example that stands out to me is my use of the word ‘Hell’.

The note from the editor pointed out that some audiences may find that word offensive or abrasive. I do not, and the audience I am writing this for, and any potential clients I may work with, would not. So I decided to keep it in. There were other examples, but that one stands out as it gave me a moment to reflect once more on who I am writing this for, and what kind of narrative voice I want to have.

As you can see in the 3rd and 4th drafts, some parts are in red, this is actually me changing the editor/feedback notes to red as I personally find it easier to read. The editor who helped me out happens to not be a fan of the ‘red pen’.

Rinse and Repeat

At this point, it’s a matter of rinse and repeat. I’ve taken on the feedback, I’m once again rewriting and tweaking to make the third draft. My focus being on getting the content right, and not worrying too much about the final formatting or any supporting graphics I may want to add.

Off it goes again for feedback, and as it comes back I once again sit down to process and then rewrite based on it. At this point I also created the first drafts of the graphics I had in mind. One was just sketched out on paper and then sent via WhatsApp as a picture {see below}.

I would have repeated this cycle until I felt like I was happy, or until my dear friends stopped giving me feedback (their time is precious after all!), but fortunately there was only one more loop after this as I had finalized the graphics to use – I also started formatting it based on how I wanted it to look online (more on that in a bit). 

Finishing Touches

I finally had myself a blog post, well, almost, it was still just a Google Docs document. I still had to take the crucial step of actually uploading it online on a blog page for it to actually become a blog post.

So that’s what I did. And it broke everything!

Turns out, I had not taken the formatting tools available on the website in to account when I was creating it using my own tools. Which meant I now had to, in between much muttering and cursing, reformat based on what was available to me. But I did get there.

And now, all I can do is hope for the best, take on board the response it gets from a broader audience, and rinse and repeat for future blog posts!


So What Did I Learn From This Experience?

A bunch of stuff, many of which I’m probably not even aware of, but here are some of the main ones:

  • It was fun! Once I got over the initial fear, I started enjoying the process.
  • Have, or find, people whose feedback you need, value and trust.
    • The kind of people that will tell you “No, that haircut really doesn’t suit you, sorry.”
    • You don’t need an editor, but chances are you’ll learn lots from them.
  • Focus on good enough, not perfect. Always remember that we have to start by doing it badly.
  • Make something you care about – But don’t start with your favourite topic!
    • After all, your first few will likely not be as good as you’d want it to be for your favourite ideas.
  • Understand the tools available on the site/s you will use to share it.


Special thanks to the friends and family who helped me get started!

And if you liked the style in the ‘Start by Doing it Badly’ blog post and you’re looking for an editor I can heartily recommend Evalena Styf. If the name looks familiar, it is because that is indeed my mother – I know, I cheat, not everyone looking to write has an editor in the family!