It’s not always easy being consistent with blogging. I should know. I look back over the past year of this blog and see very large gaps in between posts at times. This is something I am now trying to remedy by sticking to a consistent schedule and making sure that I use whatever time I have to work on the three elements that need to come together to create one post. Because it’s not just about writing the thing. It’s also about presenting the thing.
I like a minimal aesthetic and a personal touch in blogs I visit, so I have tried to do the same with my own blog. This means a very clean layout and using my own artwork as featured images. I know there are plenty of AI programs out there that could do the artwork for me, but I am still in the camp of ‘that’s cheating’ when it comes to AI art, and also because it seems some of these AI art sites are none to ethical in where and how they create images (see this article for more info). So, in addition to writing a blog post, I also need to create an illustration and it needs to link to the content of the post. Then, once all of that is done, I need to create some headers and images to pop it on my social platforms to get people to read my blog post.
For this entire process I use three tools to create each post.
This is where all the drafting happens and where I make notes and keep source material. It’s my second brain. I have tried others, but I always come back to Notion because it just does everything I want and it looks nice and clean too. As a writer, it’s fantastic because I can keep my drafts in a database and easily duplicate them or export them to other apps. It’s markdown functionality is intuitive and it copy/pastes seamlessly into WordPress, which is what I am currently using as my blogging platform of choice.
Notion is free to use – the free plan let’s you do pretty much everything with only some limits on size of file upload. There is a pro plan that teachers and students can get for free too, but the rest of us have to pay for that.
I do all of my digital drawing on my iPad because I can curl up on the couch with my dog, cat and a cup of something warm (which I will probably forget to drink) and I can doodle away as I half watch/listen to something on the TV in the background. This program is well known and nearly everyone with an iPad has it if they like to draw or design things. Even on my old 2018 iPad with a generic stylus pen, it works perfectly.
To create my blog illustrations, I look for good reference images in my own photo library, make a composite and then use that as the base layer to draw over it and add my own flavour. This process works well for me and I can usually produce something in a couple of hours.
The app will cost you a one time fee of $12.99 and is absolutely worth the price.
Once the blog post and accompanying image are done, I import the image into Canva to make social media ready versions and sometimes add some text or animation to it so that it will pop a bit more when I post it to stories. Canva is a great programme that makes creating quick designs as easy as filling a bag of pick-and-mix. I also use this for all my other design projects (book covers, banners, logos, ebooks, etc.)
Canva is free to use, and you can do a lot with the free plan. There is a pro plan that offers a good deal more, but unless you are going to use it professionally, the free plan should be enough for anyone.
So, there you have it. Three tools that help me get my posts ready for publishing. There are plenty of alternatives out there and people will swear blind that their tool works best, but that’s sort of the point. You need to find the tools that work best for you and the equipment you have access too. The point here isn’t necessarily which tool you use, but that you have a working toolbox that meets your needs. If you’re looking for some new tools, why not give the above a go. You might find exactly what you’re looking for 😉
If you do have the perfect toolbox, let me know in the comments what you’re using. I’m always interested to read about how people create their content and I love testing out new apps 😊
Until the next time, have a great week and keep on creating!