Creative Action And The Learning Curve

My greatest intention has always been to write the very best works that I can, every time.  It is something I can achieve if I have a plan before I start.  My action starts by writing out the plan.  I have learned that this method works well for me.

Usually I write long hand, so I get lots of sheets of A4 paper and a few good pens, and I categorise each sheet before I begin.  I already have a fair idea of the topic in the first instance, but then I break it down into chapters, or headings.  Each sheet has one heading on it and then I can write underneath within those guidelines.

Eventually I have to put it all together, but once the bulk of the writing is done it is easy to create the linking paragraphs or sentences.

Most of my ebooks are planned this way.  Doing it on A4 sheets of paper means I can move the pages around, change the order, before I type anything up.  It makes it much easier for me to manage everything and I don’t get so confused with technical computer type stuff!  In fact Paul Wolfe advocates the ‘outline and bundle‘ method.  Essentially it is based on writing your ebook in chunks, then putting it all together.  Darren Rowse of Problogger also uses this method.  It isn’t something I learned from these people, it is something I have always done.  Great to know the big wigs use it too though!

The interesting part for me is the creation stage, moving sheets of paper around, laying them out (usually all over the floor!), and then seeing the end product when I type it up and make it look neat and presentable.  I rarely suffer from writer’s block because I write everything in small chunks, so I am not looking at the project as a whole, just small steps, individually.  If you do get writer’s block yourself you may like to read Debarpan’s post about overcoming this.  You can read his post here: 5 Tips To Overcome Writer’s Block.  Indeed a great way to think of anything large is to view it as a series of short blog posts that you then put together.

In my efforts to help people to learn to blog in a better, more effective way, I often talk a lot about writing properly, good grammar, correct spelling (taking into account the US/UK English, of course!), and using the appropriate punctuation.  It is something I find lacking in a lot of writing, which is a shame.  I truly believe the written word should be readable, and sometimes it just isn’t.

In addition to this it offends my eyes when the typing is not good, when there is constant mis-spelling, poor grammar, incorrect punctuation.  The occasional mistake is always going to happen, I make them all too often, but it is the very poor standard that I find difficult to read.

So my planning is very important, I research and check everything, then I type it up and make sure it is presented in a readable fashion.  I often write as I speak, so hopefully this helps the reader to find it easy to read!

I also had to learn about blog carnivals when I first started using them.  It was a great learning for me and has enabled me to get involved with this PAC Blogging Carnival, so if you would like to read more posts from people who have entered the Carnival just click the banner below and you can see all the participants in one place!

PAC Blogging Carnival


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  1. Awe, you are so much like a very old girlfriend of mine and my daughter. I would tease them both and call them the accuracy police. Yet, expressing thoughts in grammatically correct manner has a beauty of its own. Me, I used to sweat it, but I find WP or perhaps myself troublesome at times….and after many corrections I say….
    Screw it, I will take the C!!! I know,it isnt very professional. Thanks for pushing for the best!

    1. Hi Paula, thanks for visiting. Yep, I can be the accuracy police, for sure! I like things to be done properly when writing because it is the best way to make the message clear and understood. When we get careless with grammar and punctuation our sentences take on a new meaning and it might not be what you intended to say at all. I’m sure you have seen the info graphics on Facebook that highlight the different meanings of using the same words with and without punctuation in a sentence. It’s important to me, although I know it is not so important to others. But we can only work to our own standard, can’t we.

      Enjoy the journey!

  2. Thanks for sharing your methods for planning and organizing your ebooks, Mandy. For blog posts I keep any notes and references in a OneNote page and then write an outline, and often the post itself, in the same place. Once done I move it to my posts done section. For blog article length it works well for me. It’s easy to edit and move things around.

    But I can see how efficient your method is for something longer and will consider it when I write an e-book. Saying that I’d probably type it first and print the sheets and only edit by hand. The most I write by hand these days are reminders on post it notes and my handwriting legibility has suffered 🙂

    I am careful with spelling and grammar but let the occasional passive sentence go unedited.
    Sue Bride recently posted..Morphing to Mindfulness & ProductivityMy Profile

    1. Hi Sue, thanks for visiting. My biggest problem is I am often away from my computer when I have my best thoughts. So I carry a notebook and pen with me and sometimes I might just be out having coffee and need to write something down. It’s then easier to just get all those notes together on the floor and sort them into some semblance of order before starting to type it up.

      Enjoy the journey!

  3. Hum, did I,loose my trackback?
    Paula recently posted..The Ministry of ExorcismMy Profile

    1. Hi Paula, thanks for visiting. Not sure, what trackback?

      Enjoy the journey!

  4. Hi Mandy

    I love your process of writing and it is difficult to have writer’s block if you keep your thoughts in chunks. Thank you for sharing your process. Take Care
    ikechi recently posted..What You Should Know About The Learning CurveMy Profile

    1. Hi Ikechi, thanks for visiting. Yes, the outline and bundle method works well as it is often much easier to write in small chunks. I think anyone can think of hundreds of topics they could write about, but it is the writing of the post that becomes difficult. If you can break it down and write a small chunk, then another and another, then link them together, it makes the whole process so much easier. For example you can pick anything and start right now. I usually have the main thrust in mind to begin with, so I might say today I will write about email marketing. My next job would be to brain storm an words that I feel are associated with email marketing and write those down. I can then construct short sentences around those words, then I will pop them in Google and search for similar blog posts and maybe make a reference to that in my sentence. It all comes together quite quickly working lie this.

      Enjoy the journey!

  5. Loved hearing how you create your writings Mandy ..
    I am currently planning a workshop and I have a notebook I carry with me during my “creative phase” and scribble thoughts and ideas … then morph them into the final project … love the creative process… I like the carnival! We should absolutely plan more …
    Lesly T. Federici recently posted..Learning To Accept The Learning CurveMy Profile

    1. Hi Lesly, thanks for visiting. I love carrying a notepad. It is an essential tool for me as I often think great thoughts when I am nowhere near my computer! Can’t wait to see your workshop! Oh, and definitely more Carnivals!!

      Enjoy the journey!

  6. Hi Mandy ,
    thank you for sharing your process of writing.
    I know very good about taking care of the spelling
    and grammar and… this is why it takes me much longer
    to write a post and I need to be undisturbed to make it
    good. I often search long for the right words and sometimes
    I do not write about things which I can not find the right
    words. It is a learning curve ,mine is very long 🙂
    Thank you
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted..Successful Dreams – Do What You LoveMy Profile

    1. Hi Erika, thanks for visiting. It is difficult to write quickly if you are not writing in your native tongue. I used to write in French when I lived there but no I made many many mistakes with the grammar,a nd that was even when I took it slowly!

      Enjoy the journey!

  7. Hi Mandy,

    Great description of how you plan for your writing. Most of my writing has been short stories, articles and blog posts, so not really any need to worry about timelines and things like that.

    However, I am starting on my mystery series and right from the beginning I found that I need to come up with a way to keep facts in order. I’m glad I noticed it in the beginning instead of 3/4 way through the book. In the first few pages, I already had 4 characters mixed up.

    I may try this method to keep track of characters, timelines and events.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted..Published Author Roundup – OneMy Profile

  8. Hi Mandy,
    Love it; I know for myself if it’s on my calendar I will do it no matter what 🙂
    Planning keeps you on track.
    Thank you for sharing!
    emi recently posted..3 Ways To Benefit From Live WebinarsMy Profile

  9. Thanks for the peek into your creative factory, Mandy.

    Everyone has their style.

    I try to be organized, but just tend to do an awful lot of meandering when I write. I often start with one idea and it morphs midway into something else.

    I suppose I should be more disciplined since I’ve been a professional freelance writer for many years, and for a long time, it was my sole source of income.

    Goes to show, there are many ways to end up at same place, lol.
    David Merrill recently posted..4 Ways To Get Money From Your List | Optimized Email MarketingMy Profile

  10. Hi Mandy,

    This is an interesting process. I used to do it that way and I may go back to it. Writing with paper and pen seems to let the ideas flow better and typing becomes very fast.

    Thanks for reminding of this method!
    Lillian De Jesus recently posted..Top Business Tools Freelancers Need to Succeed & GrowMy Profile

  11. Mandy,

    I’m sure that you found that interesting that the big wigs use the same approach and process as you do! That’s amazing!

    I am a detail-oriented Virgo so I can appreciate that process!

    For some reason, as I became an adult, I chose to use the outline method, just like I learned back in middle school. It was just a mental way to organize my thoughts, and what comes before what when writing a story or post.

    Being organized and planning for success I think is very important so that I deliver what I intended to deliver.

    Thank you for an awesome post and for sharing your experience.

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted..Create A Blogging Plan [video] [infographic]My Profile

  12. I always enjoy learning about others writing process. I know there are many writers who like to hand write their drafts, but it would make me crazy. I’m sure the fact that I’m comfortable with my computer and type around 120 wpm has something to do with it. I also agree with you about the importance of proper preparation. One of the biggest complaints among readers about the massive influx of eBooks is that so many contain typos and poor grammar. Sadly, that makes us all look bad. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Mistakes Are Our Gateway to Self-DiscoveryMy Profile

  13. I have a notepad to jot down my ideas, then I just sit down and type out in a word document. When I have a particular topic in mind and everything is clear I can refer to the notes and just write the whole thing out. Other times I have to read through several times to tweak the content.
    I was much the same when writing music. I found that my best stuff just “happened”. In fact the one song I put up on You Tube called Destiny was written very quickly. I was given the lyrics and when I read through them I immediately heard the tune and the whole feel of the music. Then I sat down and played it!
    It does take a lot of practice and focus to do this though, but when I get “in the zone” it seems I can do it with almost anything I do. There is a lot of preparation required for this too, but it’s mostly mental preparation and being in the right frame of mind to achieve it. Distractions are a killer when doing this, which is why when writing I’m sure to note the key points down so I can come back to it if there is something that takes my attention away.
    Barrie Evans recently posted..What You Learn Today, Take Action On Today!My Profile

  14. Hey Mandy 🙂

    Great post! Yes I can totally relate lol 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Very creative indeed 😉
    Joan M Harrington recently posted..Is Your Content Good Enough To Publish?My Profile

    1. Hi Joan, thanks for visiting. I really love learning, and I love learning about other people’s ways of doing things. I simply like to write, and that means writing by hand. I guess other younger people might not be so keen to use a pen and paper but it is always king for me!

      Enjoy the journey!

  15. Hi Mandy sir, Wonderful, creation is best practice and I really like the way you write. Thanks for sharing
    sazia recently posted..Classy to Cute: Chinese-Bun Hairstyle-Japanese-Bun Hairstyle-Two-in one Roll HairstyleMy Profile

    1. Hi Sazia, thanks for visiting. I am actually not a sir, but I’ll let you off that one!! The creative part of producing any written work is the bit I love best, and I simply adore hand writing things. It’s much better than typing, although I type very quickly as I trained as a secretary when I was much younger. It’s a skill I am so glad I have too!

      Enjoy the journey!

  16. Hi Mandy,

    Funny, I was taught a similar writing strategy, except using index cards. Because I’m in the habit of writing in text docs, rarely use this method now.

    For longer projects, there’s Evermore, which is good. Still, arranging index cards during the visualization process, was probably more satisfying. Maybe even easier.

    Thanks for the reminder,
    P.S. Really like your new blog design!
    Edward Thorpe recently posted..6 Fun Way To Encourage Your Kids To Stay Active This SummerMy Profile

    1. Hi Edward, thanks for visiting. Ah, yes, I used index cards a lot when I did my PhD, they were invaluable. And of course computers were pretty new then too so hand writing was pretty much the easiest and best way to produce anything. Now of course there are so many software programmes you can use to create and write, it makes it much easier for everyone.

      Glad you like the new theme, I do too, it’s Optimise Press, very easy to use and so versatile.

      Enjoy the journey!

  17. I also use the process of ‘outline and bundle‘ when it comes to my own writing projects. Sometimes I use paper and pen, but often I do the same thing in a Word document. I love being able to cut and paste different sections of a project to create my final work.

    Thanks for the tips!

    1. Hi Deborah, thanks for visiting. I love cutting and pasting too but sometimes have been know to ‘cut’ and not ‘paste’ then lose what I was working on! Which is why I like pen and paper best, I never throw them in the fire until I am absolutely finished!

      Enjoy the journey!

  18. Hi Mandy,
    It’s interesting to see different methods of writing.
    I sometimes sit outside and write an outline with pen and paper of what I want to write about.
    I also just use notepad and can then cut and paste from research that I’ve done on the subject.
    Maybe for writing an ebook the offline method of organizing would work a little better as there is so much to it.
    Great article!

    1. Hi Kathryn, thanks for visiting. I love writing outside! One great thing about pen and paper is that it works outside, unlike computers and tablets! The glare of the sun makes it almost impossible to work outside with them, even though a good lot of marketers try to promote by showing a picture of a laptop on the beach!

      Enjoy the journey!

  19. It’s been always a pleasure to go through your articles.Short yet unique style and very interesting topics of your article always attract me a lot.Anyway I too believe in planning very much.I think when you planned everything very carefully it’s become much easy for you whether it’s about writing or anything else.
    Debaran Mukherjee recently posted..How to Get Organic Traffic to Your Blog?My Profile

    1. Hi Debarpan, thanks for visiting. I like short posts, they are easily digested so people don’t have to sit and read for a long time to get to the point. You are right, planning is so very important. I always plan, no matter what I am doing.

      Enjoy the journey!

  20. Prepare yourself before it starts ,is the way to have fruitful result.Thanks for this article.
    Bishop chakraborty recently posted..All About Graves: Learn How To Counter GravesMy Profile

    1. Hi Bishop, thanks for visiting. Preparation is a key to success for sure.

      Enjoy the journey!

  21. When I write a blog post, I just close my eyes and write! I used to be able to do 90 words a minute.. I just let it pour out of me, Full or typo’s and mistakes (Well, My eyes are closed! lol) And when i open them i auto correct mis spelling and add images and links and a touch of seo and I am done. Some posts take longer to write.. One I have been working on took me a week I wanted that one 100% perfect. Other times I want to do something quick to convey a message. Everything does not need to be perfect but it needs to be written and the message sent.. Everything can always be amended 🙂

    Happy writing!

    WILLIAM OTOOLE recently posted..CoachingMy Profile

    1. William, thanks for visiting. How lovely to close your eyes and write. I really like that idea. I too am a touch typist. I trained as a typist from the age of 14 and we used to have to type with a cover over the keyboard and we used to have to type to music to get a regular rhythm! One trick for speed is indeed to only correct at the end rather than stopping your flow anywhere on the way through.

      Enjoy the journey!

  22. What a great post. I love that you use pen and paper to write your ebooks. I use pen and paper when I get stuck
    DeAnna Troupe recently posted..Tips For Small Business Owners: How To Improve Your MoodMy Profile

    1. Hi DeAnna, thanks for visiting. I love pen and paper, it’s my absolute favourite way to write anything.

      Enjoy the journey!

  23. Hey Mandy,

    Wonderful post! It was awesome to know how you create your great content.

    I do prefer to write on papers first too. Then, I move to my laptop to for editing and formatting.

    Keep it up!

    Hussain recently posted..Could Pop-ups Be Bad for Your SEO? Google Answered!My Profile

    1. Hi Hussain, thanks for visiting. You do things exactly the way I do! So simple and having different topics on different pages makes it easy to move things around before I get to typing.

      Enjoy the journey!

  24. Hello Mandy! It’s nice and refreshing to jump on your blog and blog posts. 🙂

    I should commend you for having a good home in this blog ma’am. *Thumbs up*

    One of the things I come across on the internet (some of my blog friends always ask me, “Sam, how do I keep coming with content upon contents?) everytime is Writer’s Block.

    Truth is to keep coming up with content upon contents, you will want to do a lot of jottings and of course write like you’re having conversation with your lover.

    What I do is; I write my random thoughts on my Smartphone’s memopad and then do a lot of research that helps me to mind-map and come up with even more thoughts of my own. Then I start juxtaposing them together to have a whole – content.

    Majorly though, I practise writing like I speak with friends and this helps me in coming up with quality and engaging content. Quality, because I mix my personality into my copies.

    Oh less I forget. I comment the style you, Darren, and Paul have taken up in developing and creating your ebook products. I’m not sure if that will work for me though.

    Thanks for sharing your process with us, Mandy. It’s really appreciated!


    1. Hi Sam, thanks for visiting. And thank you for nice comments about my blog! It’s taken a long time to get to this stage but I’ve always preferred short posts that make one specific point. Easier to read and digest.

      Enjoy the journey!

  25. Mandy,

    Great article. Love the short posts too.

    1. Hi Alicia, thanks for visiting. I love short posts. Easy to read and digest.

      Enjoy the journey!

  26. Hi Mandy,

    that’s an excellent post. I love the tips on how you plan and create your ebooks. I think this will certainly help me getting my one finished faster.

    Thanks for sharing these tips and good luck,

    1. Hi Torsten, thanks for visiting, it’s great to see you over here! I have written many ebooks over the years (having completed my degree and PhD and used this method there also), so I know it works for me. I usually carry a dictaphone in the car door pocket too as I get inspiration while driving often. It’s great to just whip out and record my thoughts before I get home and forget them all!!

      Enjoy the journey!

  27. Hello Mandy! I to like to create my posts with pen and paper before I write them up on my blog! I have never wrote an E-book before, but would probably use the same technique!

    I have always wondered if I was the only one to do things this way.. LOL I call it the old fashioned way..

    Thanks for sharing
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..Fears We All Dwell OnMy Profile

    1. Hi Chery, thanks for visiting. You’re not the only one!! I love pen and paper and use it prolifically!

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Want More Blog Visitors? Run Your Own Challenge!My Profile

  28. Hi Mandy,
    I never write my post by E-book before but i should try it because i see a lot of effectiveness in this way.
    Thanks for share your tips.

    1. Hi Sakura, thanks for visiting. I wish you luck with your ebook endeavours!

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Want More Blog Visitors? Run Your Own Challenge!My Profile

  29. Hi Mandy,

    Like Mr Ed I was taught a similar method of creating written content at school. Of course, back then, we called it “essay writing” not “blogging” or “e-book creation”. Which is why I probably never thought to apply it now:-)

    In general I don’t have difficulty coming up with content for blog posts. I bought a little course about creating an ebook in 6 hours which actually worked very well for me, so I tend to use that method when I need it.

    Totally agree with you about grammar and spelling. With all the free tools available there really is no excuse for shoddy work. Of course we all make the odd mistake, but I have been known to just stop reading a post if bad grammar etc was too intrusive of my understanding. (Now…. just doing a triple spell check here!)

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    1. Hi Joy, thanks for visiting. I agree about grammar and spelling. There are also so many people who will do proof reading for very little money.

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Don’t Worry, Be Happy!My Profile

  30. LOVE your post man
    You have written it all so amazingly. Loved the way you said that you carry a notebook and pen with you always in some previous comments; its a great idea. You can always jot down your ideas at the moment they start flowing and what else can be greater right?
    Usman recently posted..Not Happy With Your Life? Maybe You Need To Realize This!My Profile

    1. Hi Usman, thanks for visiting. I agree, writing something down immediately does let the thought pattern flow and if I don’t get it down on paper right then I will forget it when I sit at the computer!

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Time Out!My Profile

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