It takes about 30 days to develop a daily writing habit.

I have written over 1,500 blogs and articles over the past several years. I started out writing a daily blog with the goal of writing 365 blogs in 365 days. I missed writing and publishing a blog to my website on Day 90. So, I wrote two blogs the next day and continued my quest.

On Day 300, I found that my hosting company shut down my website because I had violated some rules in the fine print. I cannot remember what rule I violated today. Regardless, I started another website the same day with WordPress and continued writing daily until I reached 365 blogs in 365 days.

I joined the My 500 Words FB Group in 2014. The goal was for a bunch of us to write 500 words daily for 31 days. I found it relatively easy to write 500 words in seven or eight minutes – did I mention I type 70-80 words/minute.

At the end of 31 days, many of us decided to keep going. The next goal was 100 days, then 365 days, then 500 days, and then the sky was the limit. I found myself challenged a few times along the way. I needed to write more than 500 words to be challenging. I bumped up my writing to 1,000 words a day, eventually settling on 1,300 words per day.

I continued writing daily at that level for several months. I decided I had the habit well established into my daily routine and let the words per day be whatever they were each day. I had three occasions that I recall going to bed and remembering that I had not written anything that day. I got up and wrote at least 500 words, and went back to bed.

Even when my wife and I walked the Camino de Santiago five years ago, I wrote every day on a seven-week absence from home, including walking 500 miles in 30 days in northern Spain. Most of that was long-hand – taking notes for a future book I still intend to write.

Life, business, and other things happened along the way. On January 1st of last year, I decided to write and publish a daily blog/article on my website and social media (FB and LI). My initial goal was 31 days for the 31 days in January. Those short goals instill a habit and make it a need that must be met each day.

How do I write daily? I Google ‘health headlines today’ as part of my daily review of the Health and Wellness world. I research the human body at the cellular level looking for cause and effect relationships. Treat a cause and fix a problem. Treat a symptom, and you will always treat the symptom.

Health and Wellness is a passion I have. My first love was chemistry. I planned to become a chemist until I got an invitation to Vietnam upon graduation from college in 1969. I joined the Navy, earned my Naval Flight Officer wings, flew nearly 1,000 flights in P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare aircraft, and eventually retired as a Navy Captain in late 1999.

I said, “I do!” to the Navy on a Sunday afternoon. The following Wednesday evening, I said, “I do!” to my wife. Thirty-one plus years in the Navy, and in another month, it will be 53 years with my beautiful bride.

What does this have to do with writing 500 articles? I started out writing in college. It bled over in the Navy, then into writing procedures for the companies I have worked for over the years (thousands of procedures), then again in academia. Eventually, I wrote a book, then another, and another. My last couple of books are on longevity, capitalizing on my passion for finding the cause-and-effect relationships in healthy bodies.

When I find an article I like, I copy it, and the headline link to a blank page. The next operation is to highlight the entire document, change the font to New Times Roman, the font size to 16 (I find it easier to read on the computer screen), then hit the ‘bold’ button to bold the entire document, then hit it again to remove all bolding. It removes anything bolded in the article I selected.

I then remove all photos, captions, advertisements, and anything not related to the topic. When I chose the subject, I usually know a lot about or something that interests me that day. I think about ways I can write about the contents of that article I copied.

Maybe there is something in the current news that can be referenced. When there is, I keep the currency factor upfront – within the first paragraph. I want my writing to be up-to-date, engaging, and something easy to verify. How I proceed next depends on the topic du jour. I can introduce background information on the topic to ensure that everyone starts with the same basic information.

I wrote recently about lupus. I found another article on lupus that described the causes, treatments, etc. It gives the reader a baseline of information, so the rest of the article makes sense. I am leading them down the railroad track with the guideposts they need to know. I keep my writing about the specific topic to a minimum – usually, no more than a couple of paragraphs that I already know enough about to write, or I summarize the article pulling out the pertinent facts. The link is there for those who want to learn more details.

As I decide which road I will take, I do further research into related topics to have two, three, or more links and subsequent paragraphs providing value to my readers. Then the article that caught my original attention has been appropriately set up, and I am ready to summarize it for my audience.

Why the links? Google ranks articles with active links higher than writing like this article today without any links. The quality of the link also counts. When I link to MIT, Harvard Medical School, CDC, FDA, and other sources, these links have higher punching power than if I pulled something from the local gazette.

Each section is identified with a subheading – mandatory for Google appreciation. Each section has at least one link. I end up with the Conclusion – again, something that Google likes to see when trolling my writings.

Sometimes, I can wrap up a topic in under 400 words. It happens, but not often. Most of the time, my daily writings end up between 500-1,300 words. A few times, the articles are longer, but not often. I run the standard Editor check from Microsoft Word; then, I let Grammarly do its thing. I do not always accept the Grammarly recommendation, but it allows me to validate exactly what I wrote. Sometimes, I correct the few passive sentences, but not always.

I then run the Read Aloud function in Word and make any corrections that popped out as I heard the computer reading aloud to me. The last check is my wife’s review for continuity. Did I lose her from one paragraph to another? Was something too complex? I do that a lot. Did I add value to the reader? Once a human has given me the OK to proceed, I begin the posting and publishing process.

I always, absolutely always, include photos in articles for every posting. I use for nearly every photo I choose. I usually have a different picture for my website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and each group I post on FB. Photos capture attention.

I have been using a headline analyzer to title my articles. I want something that pops, captures attention, and promises something – hopefully with the photo supporting the written title. Sometimes, the picture will be pertinent to the details of the article and not the headline. It just depends on what photos I find and what I think works well with the article.

Write about something you are passionate about using my formula above, and you can write many more words than you imagined. Introduce the topic, give it a road to travel down, then wrap it up concisely. Include links and ensure that you have removed as many writing errors as possible. Select your photos wisely. And post your work to establish your credibility.

Content is KING! Create content and post as often as you can. Oh, use hashtags where you want credibility. I use them every day on LI, but not everywhere else. I have written every day for 517 days in a row and published over 250 articles on COVID-19. I chose to write about COVID-19 because there is a plethora of information not contained in the daily headlines.

On average, it takes roughly 90 minutes to select a topic, research it, write it, and post it every day.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for a lovely detailed article on how you write and put your articles together! I’m going to print it, reread it and give your method a try.

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