Blogiversary IV: Anatomy Of A Blog Post

Ever wonder what goes into writing one of our posts? No? Well, we’re gonna tell you anyways. Consider it another peek behind the scenes and into our crazy blogging minds a bit further. We probably take our post writing a bit more seriously than most folks (but maybe we should since paying the mortgage depends on it) so we’re certainly not saying this is how it should be done. It’s just how we do it.

In general terms, most of our project-oriented posts go through these stages: from planning & prep through doing & documenting things, all the way to posting & responding to comments.

Those of you who write blogs about your home probably go through a similar process. Of course sometimes the process is fast and can happen within a day or two, and sometimes it’s quite long (as you’ll see in a moment). And on any given day, we’ll be juggling a few different projects/posts that can be at very different stages since we usually share eight of them in a five day span. The chart below is just hypothetical, but the dotted line shows how at any one time we could be writing a post about one project, while doing, planning, or responding to comments on several others.

But we already covered what any given day could look like, so let’s turn back to the purpose of this post: following the path of a post. Let’s use our bathroom mirror project from earlier this month as our example, since it was a bit of a (mis)adventure in its own right.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 21st:

8:30 am-ish: Sherry realizes it’d be good to have a last minute one-day project to share in the coming week – specifically on Monday (aka tomorrow) morning. Yikes. I suggest framing out the bathroom mirror since it has been something on our list since January and it sounds pretty simple. Sherry likes it, so I scout the web for some tutorials / advice (including Layla & Kevin’s experience) to help send us down the right track.

10 am-ish: After breakfast, we all hit up Lowe’s to stock up on supplies – i.e. mirror adhesive and trim (Clara “drives” the cart while Burger rides in the back – gotta love that dogs-allowed policy). We like doing things like this together so we can both come to an agreement on materials (like trim in this case, which comes in a ton of sizes and shapes) instead of one person staying home with Clara while the other one nervously makes all the decisions alone.

11:30 am-ish: Now home, Clara goes down for a nap and I dive in by taking “before” pictures of the door and then remove it. Sherry’s in the office writing another post for that week.

1:00 pm-ish: The project is slow going since I take a few more pics of the process than I end up using, but it never hurts to have more to choose from when it comes time to write the post. I finish putting the glue on the door, Sherry helps me place the mirror, Clara’s starting to wake up… and that’s when I realize that the directions on the adhesive say to wait at least 72 hours before sealing the edges. Crap. There’s no way this will be done in time to share Monday morning (or Tuesday or Wednesday for that matter). We kick ourselves for not thinking of that. Time for Plan B.

1:15 pm-ish: Plan B is the pallet compost bin I’ve been wanting to make. Sherry’s lukewarm on the idea (afraid it will also take too long) but it wins because we already have all of the supplies (i.e. pallets & screws) on hand (and shopping for supplies and doing an entirely new project isn’t likely to be accomplished in such a short time period). Sherry feeds Clara lunch and I head outside. The rest of the afternoon is spent making, photographing, and writing about the pallet compost bin (Sherry is beyond relieved that it’s done) as the mirror sets in the sunroom.

MONDAY, AUGUST 22nd:

10 am: Pallet compost bin post goes up, no one is the wiser (until now) that it was a pinch-hitter post. The mirror is still setting…

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24th:

9:00 am: My mom is over to do her regular three-hour Wednesday morning babysitting, so I use it as an excuse to return to the mirror project (even though I’m a couple hours shy of the 72 wait time) while Sherry begins refinishing wrestling with her rocker. The directions do suggest waiting a full week before sealing the edges, but having had our plan to share it this week already thwarted, we’re determined to at least have it ready to share next Monday. We have guests scheduled for the weekend (because of my cousin’s bridal shower) so it has to get done before Friday.

10:30 am-ish: Taking pictures along the way slows me down a little (trying to match lighting from the previous set of photos is a bit of a challenge), so it takes me this long to realize the 3/4″ trim that we bought isn’t thick enough (looks cheap and flimsy). I hope Sherry disagrees and can convince me it’s okay, but instead she comes to the same conclusion before I can even finish my sentence. Looks like a $5 college mirror (not that we didn’t both have one of those back in the day). Sigh.

10:45 am: I duck out to Lowe’s again to find thicker trim.

11:30 am: I’m back, thicker trim in hand. Clara’s napping, so my mom has left. Sherry’s busy responding to comments and I fight off deja vu as I measure, cut, and re-take pictures of my new trim process (which is why most of the previous photos were never used).

12:45 pm-ish: Thankfully I finish gluing the trim in place before Clara’s up from her nap, meaning that I’m available to go on baby watching duty (instead of having to pull Sherry off of comment-responding duty since so many are coming in at once). Trim glue sets in place overnight.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25th:

11:30 am: Clara’s down for her morning nap (once again) and Sherry’s doing comments (once again), so I get a head start on cleaning the house before our weekend guests arrive the next day. I figure that it has been nearly the recommended 24 hours set time on the glue, so I’ll “clean up” the sunroom by getting rid of the bathroom door that’s been living in there nearly five whole days. I screw the door back onto its hinges and voila – we’re done!

11:45 am: The excitement of having privacy returned to our bathroom makes me decide to take a shower (Clara naps are extremely valuable for squeezing these in).

11:55 am: Shower done. I’m dressed and on the computer responding to emails while Sherry takes a phone call in the living room. Then I hear “BAM!” followed by “poundpoundpoundpoundpound.” I recognize the latter as Sherry’s urgent footsteps. She informs me the former was the sound of the mirror falling. Sugar.

Noon: Fueled by frustration  – both at myself for screwing up, and at the mirror gods for teaching me not to rush a project – I get right to scraping off the half-hardened glue from the mirror, door, and trim pieces. Scraping was a good way to release some anger, I’ll admit.

1 pm: Mirror is re-glued (this time with feeling!) and we come to terms with the fact that we’re just gonna have to let this thing set for a full week… and our sunroom’s gonna have a half-completed bathroom door when our guests arrive (not to mention that there will be a doorless bathroom in our bedroom). Oh well, worse things have happened.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27:

Hurricane Irene hits and our guests decide not to travel. Bummed we won’t see them, but at least our chaos won’t be on display to them… not that we had any electricity by which to see it anyways.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31:

8 pm: Clara has gone to bed and our one-week-long timer is about 12 hours from going off. I hesitantly jump the gun a bit, but knowing that we’ll be out of town over Labor Day weekend I have to get a head start. Plus, the sunroom is getting cramped with Sherry’s office cabinet painting which is going on in there too. So with my glue supposedly set and some “security” nails placed around the edges, I lean the door up against the wall (almost vertical) with a pillow at the base of it as an “overnight test.” I figure if the mirror is gonna fall again, the least it can do is fall before I bother with the trim a second time.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1:

8 am:  The mirror survived the night standing up, so I take pictures of the nail system now that it’s light out again. I didn’t bother photographing it earlier because I was still unsure if it would work and already had wasted enough time taking photos of things (the small trim cutting process) that wouldn’t see the light of day.

11 am: With Sherry on comment duty and Clara napping (are you sensing a theme about when I get things done?) I lay the door back down and re-glue the trim.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4:

8:30 pm – 10:30 pm: Being out of town for Labor Day forces us to let the trim glue set for a few days, but that means we can make progress when it comes to writing the post (since the project is nearly complete). While my siblings and I watch a movie at my parent’s beach house, I sort and size all of the photos taken so far. Then I write the post, leaving spots for the after photos that we have yet to shoot.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6:

11 am: Traffic got us home too late on Monday to do anything but unpack and fall asleep, so I use Tuesday morning to rehang the door. Sherry suggests that I take “after” pictures before it falls again (such a comedian, my wife) but (1) the light is bad due to the rain and (2) I want to be sure it survives a night before calling it a true success.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7:

8 am: Victory! The door looks great in the morning, so I break out the tripod (it’s rainy again, so not much light – I’ll just have to do my best) and start snapping after pictures. Sherry plays with Clara until she becomes determined to be in the photo stare at herself in the mirror.

9 am: After photos are taken and uploaded. I quickly size them and upload them into the post. Sherry trades me baby for computer, and gets right to proof-reading since we only have about an hour to go live.

10 am: The post is up. It’s two and half week’s later than planned, but at least it’s up. Sherry camps out moderating comments for a couple of hours while I entertain Clara for another hour-ish before naptime.

11 am: Sherry’s still responding to comments, so for me it’s back to sizing pictures and writing another post, this time it’s for the office desk top post (which was constructed and poly’d the afternoon before and is currently waiting to fully dry before it gets accessorized, photographed, and posted the next morning). The thing about sharing eight posts in five day’s time is that we always have to have a few in progress, a few in the early planning stage, and of course the finished ones have to be written up and those comment questions need answers. So it’s sort of like juggling eight balls… but in a fun no-day-is-ever-the-same way.

THE END

Admittedly that process was a bit more drawn out than a lot of our posts. Some are much quicker (like Sherry’s butterfly art, which only took about twelve hours between beginning to posting) but that wouldn’t have made for a very dramatic story, now would it? Conversely, some projects actually take longer (like our wall to wall desk or our patio or our laundry room – which is why we prefer to tackle them in stages and just share our progress along the way).

Was there anything that surprised you about what goes into a post? What do you do in your job or daily life that’s more involved than some might think?

Comments

  1. Penny says

    I am so impressed with your persistence. I would have been crying over the mirror and then probably yelling a bunch of words.

  2. Patti says

    I know how much goes into working a website from home (my hubs does it) so kudos to you both. You’re both so tenacious, a very admirable trait if you ask me.

  3. Tressa Meacham says

    Wow! That’s a lot of work but I am so glad we get to benefit by reading your awesome blog! Keep it up! :)

  4. says

    Thanks for a look into the behind-the-scenes of a post. I always wonder how you have new projects going up so often! All your hard work allows us to get great inspiration (and also constantly send posts to our husbands so they can get inspiration/step-by-step directions) to work on our own houses!

  5. says

    I can see where posting as it happens can make your life easier! Tell us that the bathroom mirror gave you the fits before it’s perfect. It will be interesting for us (and maybe someone out there will have advice).
    Echoing everyone else, thanks for letting us into the behind-the-scenes of your little world. I have that much MORE appreciation for what you do, your tenacity and the details of it all.
    I’ve been attempting to blog 5 days a week, and man, it is hard.
    Bravo, you two!
    P.S. I totally dropped your name today, Sherry. ha!

    http://thejenksfamilyblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-nap-aka-please-dont-do-it.html

  6. Dana says

    Fun read!

    I know this post isn’t about code, but I wanted to ask since this post was pretty link heavy. Have you thought about having your links open in a new window instead of opening in the current one?

    • says

      Don’t they open in a new window? We try to program all of them to do that, so it must just be a mistake. Haha. I’ll go back in and make sure we have them set that way. Sorry for the trouble!

      xo,
      s

    • RC says

      It’s actually better netiquette to have them open in the same window so the back functionality works and can be used for browsing. If someone wants to force open a link in a new window or tab, all they have to do is CMD-click the link (I think it’s Ctrl-click on a PC).

    • says

      Never knew that! We usually get requests like these quite often (to have them open in new windows) so we just follow those suggestions! Haha. I’ve actually never heard the word netiquette before but it’s hilarious!

      xo,
      s

    • Martha says

      I much prefer having things open in a new window. This way, if there are multiple links on the original page, it’s easy to go back to the page and click on them. In fact, I like that you always have your links open in new windows. On other sites (I’m looking at you Apartment Therapy) I always have to right-click on the link to open it in a new tab to avoid losing my page. Just my $0.02.

    • Susie says

      I love that they open in a new window! Sometimes there are quite a few old posts referred to, and I like to click them as I’m reading the new post and go back and read the old ones later. Then I just close out each window as I finish reading them.

    • says

      I’d like to add my vote of my personal preference is opening in a new window/tab since that helps me stay more organized. Otherwise I’ll get off track and forget to finish reading where I started from. Either way Love you guys! YHL fan tees anyone?

    • says

      I definitely need “Take that baby to the market” written SOMEwhere on SOMEthing. On a PC “open in a new tab” is just a right click. Haha we have TWO buttons on the mouse here in PC land. I don’t know, its a preference thing with the new window/same window shenanigans. I prefer same window because I know I can choose to open a new window if I want to, but some people don’t do that. Oh well, if there are tabs/windows galore I just remember to clean house every couple minutes, aka close a window when I’m done reading. HOW, HOW can I talk for this long about something like this?? I just look up and suddenly it’s 1500 words…

  7. Pip says

    Full on! I’m even more impressed now, juggling all those projects at once – and dealing so sweetly with a bazillion comments even though you’re well and truly onto the next thing. Thanks for another insight into your mileaminute minds!

  8. says

    I really love this post! It’s great to see how you guys do things. Oh, what I would give to be able to do things during the day, instead of being stuck in my 9-5 office. :P It’s been a really great week of posts from you guys! Thanks so much for all of the insight, it really helps us fellow bloggers. I can’t wait to see what happens with you guys in the next year of blog posts!

  9. Lenore says

    Just wanted to let ya’ll know (and your blogiversary seems like a good time) that although I’m a new(ish) reader, I’m totally hooked. You have helped me gain the courage to try some DIY projects I’d been reluctant to do. We recently replaced the carpeting in our rental kitchen (yuck) with vinyl and it turned out great! I have a whole host of other projects in the works, inspired by you guys! Thanks for sharing your home with us.

  10. says

    I’m not surprised that you have several projects going on at the same time. That’s exactly what we do. We have project ADD and we’ll switch gears or I’ll get an itch to create something and start on a project.

    I think the more spontaneous blogging is a great way to go. Not only does it keep you the most up to date, but it’s fun to see things progress, rather than waiting to see everything until the end.

    Happy blogiversary!!

  11. Diane says

    I never realized how much time and effort goes into your posts – I mean we all know it takes time to do it – but I think you guys have mastered the art of multi-tasking! There should be some kind of award for this, lol! I’m lucky I can handle two things at once.

    Have a great weekend – and is anyone else on the east coast sick of RAIN RAIN RAIN? Please make it stop!

  12. Maggie says

    It might be “better netiquette” to have a new page open in the same window but I think it is MUCH better if it opens in a new window.

    Often there is a link on the 2nd page that I want to click on and then another link on that page…. and the next thing you know you are lost and can’t get back to the original page.

    If the new page opens in a new window you can wander as much as you like but you still can get back to the original page.