On Hitting “Publish”: Everything That Goes Through My Brain Before Publishing a Blog Post

by Brenna Holeman

Why yes, my workspace DOES always look like it’s straight out of an ethereal Instagram account (only thing missing is my straw hat) and DEFINITELY NOT a scratched IKEA desk with red wine stains on it. *cough* (Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash, AKA not by me and not really my workspace. More on this photo below)

Everything that goes through my brain before publishing a blog post:

-Yikes, I just spent four hours writing this blog post that might be an utter flop.

-Is this even worthy enough to post? I mean… years ago I would post almost every day, even if it was only a few sentences. Why don’t I post like that anymore? Why must everything be at least 1,000 words? Am I a better writer now that I write more, or was I better writer then when I was more succinct?

-Why is my Yoast SEO analyser telling me that there are so many things wrong with this blog post? Why must it mock me with that little red light? What must I do to appease the Yoast gods and make the light green?

-Wow, I really don’t know anything about SEO.

-Wow, I sure do write a lot of posts that will never, ever rank in Google. I should probably write more of those. Why don’t I write more of them? Oh yeah. ‘Cause I find them super boring.

-Should I add an affiliate link in here somehow? Nah… it doesn’t really fit the post. This is precisely why I make just about no money from this site and am constantly worried about money (Step one: probably avoid living in one of the most expensive cities on earth. Step two: probably avoid eating lunch from Pret every single day). Oh hell. I’ll put in an affiliate link anyway and maybe I’ll make enough money from it to buy an extra coffee next month if someone happens to buy like, a package of elastic bands or edible paint or something that I definitely did not recommend but someone in Missouri fell down some weird Amazon rabbit hole and bought heart-shaped balloons through the link I provided (this is honestly what happens with Amazon affiliate links). *token affiliate link to book I’m really excited to read*

-Should I put advertising on my site? A bunch of my other blogger friends are doing it and making mad money. Do people still say “mad”? I don’t know. I should get off the Internet more and spend time in the real world, and then I would know if people still say “mad”. Anyway, would I have more time in the real world if I was making more mad money, AKA that sweet advertising money? But wait… doesn’t that mean I’ll have ads every other paragraph, and don’t I think that looks really, really ugly? And isn’t it claimed that the ads are catered for the reader, and yet every single blog shows me ads for luxury SUVs? *spoiler – I’m not buying a luxury SUV*

-These photos really don’t match what I’m trying to say. Why don’t I have more “stock photos” of my own? How many times can I put a beach photo in the post and just call it a day? Should I start using pretty photos from online? How are those photos free to use? They’re so pretty!

See? Pretty! Or maybe I’m just distracted by the undeniably irresistible pull of succulents, sunshine, and bourbon (I see you Jim Beam) (Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash)

-This wine is OK but not as good as that other wine I had last week. If I made money from this blog maybe I could afford to always drink the other wine. Or maybe I should just keep drinking shit wine so that I don’t have to have ads. That’s kinda romantic, right? Like… isn’t there something Hemingway-esque about drinking cheap red wine while writing?

-Hemingway was kind of a dick, though. Didn’t he have four wives with very little time between them, if at all? And didn’t he straight-up ghost one of them to marry another one? Very suspicious marital timeline, Ernie. Maybe I shouldn’t try to emulate Hemingway, although I bet his third wife Martha Gellhorn (travel writer and war correspondent extraordinaire) would have a few stories to tell over some bottles of red.

-I wonder what someone like Martha Gellhorn would think of travel blogging?

Accurate depiction of wine consumption this year (photo by Elisha Terada on Unsplash)

-Um… where was I? Oh right, I was hoping to publish this blog post before midnight and it is now 12:23am. Is it bad if I change the time of this post and publish it in the past?

-Do I have to promote this blog post on Instagram, too? Why do a bunch of people have that “slide up to view” thing on Instagram and I don’t? Does anyone actually click links from Instagram profiles?

-In my procrastination Googling (it’s a thing) I just found out why I don’t have that “slide up to view” thing on Instagram… I don’t have a business account. I used to have one then went back to a personal account because I thought having a business account was perhaps the reason my Instagram was doing so poorly/growing so slowly (hint: the personal account is doing no better). Should I get a business account again? Also, do I still have some of that truffle cheese left in the fridge?

-I wonder how much time I spend Googling things instead of just publishing blog posts?

-Did I read through this enough times? I know that inevitably I will re-read this post months from now and spot a typo in it, despite editing it four times. How can I get better at editing? There’s no way I would ever hire an editor for this blog because every single professional editor would tell me I have way too many side-notes and rants and rambles and strung-on sentences and that I start most of my sentences with conjunctions and end most of them with prepositions and I still need spellcheck to make sure I’ve spelled “receive” correctly.

-Are you sure it’s “recEIve”, spellcheck? That looks wrong. Why can’t I just remember this word?!

-I really shouldn’t have been so proud of myself for spelling “phosphorescence” correctly on the first try in that blog post. This is probably why I can never spell “receive”… I’m too goddamn smug and karma is catching up with me, one word at a time.

-I don’t know why but thinking of spelling just made me think of elementary school which made me think of the time my principal asked if anyone had any questions at the end of an assembly and I raised my hand and stood up in front of the WHOLE SCHOOL and asked what linoleum is. My principal laughed and asked me why I would ask that and I said, “Because my mum is always making fun of my dad for saying it incorrectly,” and OH MY GOD, seriously, why would I ask that? And how precocious of a kid was I? Shading my dad in front of the whole school when he was at work not able to defend himself or prove that he could, in fact, pronounce “linoleum”. Sweet Jesus.

I typed in “blogging” in an Unsplash search and this photo came up. This photographer gets it. (Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)

-OK, back to editing. But first, I need to look through my emails to find all the times people have written to me saying that I should hire them to edit my blog. To be honest whenever someone writes me that I’m like, “Excccccuuuuuuuuuse me? Why do you think my blog needs editing?!” even though I just found another post where I spelled “receive” incorrectly. My favourite email pitch is when someone wrote to me saying she’d edit all of my blog posts for free and managed to spell at least five words wrong in her pitch, including my name. Half an hour later she wrote to me again saying, and I quote, “LOL I sent that before editing. NVM the spelling mistakes, Breanna.” Seriously… what?!

-Whoops, there goes half an hour. I just need to research this one tiny thing for the article and then I’ll be able to post this blog post.

-HO. LY. SHIT. In more procrastination Googling (it seriously is a thing) I found out that I have EXPLODING HEAD SYNDROME (this is also seriously a thing). I have been dealing with it my entire life but I just thought it was like when your body jerks you awake when you’re trying to fall asleep. NOPE. Turns out I have been suffering from auditory hallucinations my whole life. I repeat: I HAVE EXPLODING HEAD SYNDROME. Should I be worried? Or should I be weirdly proud that I have something called exploding head syndrome?! I feel like I probably shouldn’t put that on my Tinder profile.

-Should I get Tinder again? Wait. That didn’t go so well last time. Maybe I should stop talking about my auditory hallucinations on first dates.

-DAMN IT I was just about to hit publish and I realised I haven’t created a “Pinnable” image for Pinterest. Is anyone even going to pin this anyway? This is just some weird post that will never rank in Google and doesn’t even have the proper images in it.

-Yeah, OK, fine, I’ll get a business account on Instagram again.

-Oooh, new season of Narcos?! Some trivia about me just in case there was ever a situation where someone was forced to name my top five dreamboats (let’s not dwell on the fact that I am conceited enough to think that this would be an actual, real-life game show scenario): Agent Peña (AKA Pedro Pascal) is on that list. Good golly is he on that list. I had ZERO feelings for the blonde agent (I forget his name, that’s how little I care) and once I saw the actress who played the blonde agent’s wife in a little dive bar in North London and I smiled at her and she honestly looked so angry at me that the Cypriot guy I was on an accidental date with (this, too, is a thing) actually said, “Yikes. What did you do to her?” Good thing I NEVER LIKED HER CHARACTER and didn’t care that she was basically written out of the second season so that there was more time to focus on dreamy Agent Peña. In case you need to win that fictional game show, other dreamboats include Garrett Hedlund (specifically when dressed in 70s clothing… actually, I might just like 70s clothing because I just developed a crush on virtually everyone in that photoshoot), Matthias Schoenaerts (specifically when playing Mr. Oak in a movie… yes, I watch weird fan fiction montage videos, don’t judge), Trevor Noah (specifically when ALL THE TIME), Chris Evans (those photos/videos with his dog on Twitter are getting me), and Jake Gyllenhaal (any way, any how, any damn day of the year). Honourable mentions go to James Marsden, John Cho, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., and Dwayne “The Rock”, Johnson. And those are just the living ones.

-Oh fuck, it’s 3:21am. I am definitely not publishing this blog post tonight. Whatever, I’ll just publish it on Wednesday instead.

<remember to insert Pinnable image here before publishing, you dimwit>

What thoughts go through your head before publishing a blog post?

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Carina DeWitt September 6, 2017 - 4:39 pm

Love how your posts are so varied all the time. About this, that and some completely random other thing. You are truly an exceptional writer! Especially enjoyed this one. Keep blogging… I’ll keep reading. (…this reply has not been edited…haha!…)

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:31 pm

I do worry that I am TOO much all over the place… but as long as people don’t mind/like it, I’ll keep writing! Thank you, Carina!

Victoria September 6, 2017 - 5:24 pm

When it comes to ads, I think that C’est Christine is one of the few bloggers that gets it right. They’re on the side of the blog, tastefully chosen, and you can tell she actually supports the brands. You have a big loyal readership and you absolutely *should* make more money if you can, but in a way that feels true to you. I would definitely still be a reader if you brought in ads! (Also I do often swap up on Instagram stories, it’s kinda fun.)

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:32 pm

Christine’s blog is great! Thanks for letting me know that you would still support the blog, Victoria, it means a lot 🙂

Cate September 6, 2017 - 5:49 pm

These types of posts are exactly why I love your blog! You post what you want, when you want, and are completely honest about it! I think your blog is one of the best because it doesn’t have ads, the pop up ones on other blogs are like those annoying jack in the boxes you want to punch. I totally agree with the food statement and wine!

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:41 pm

Aw, thank you very much! I’m glad that you are enjoying the blog so much, Cate 🙂

Diana September 6, 2017 - 6:47 pm

Haha this sounds exactly like me! I wonder if I should get tinder again every once in a while, it didn’t go to well for me either. The pinnable image- I always forget to create that I’m glad I’m not the only one! I really had a laugh reading this xx

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:42 pm

Aw, thanks Diana! I’m glad you liked it 😀

Brianna September 6, 2017 - 11:30 pm

Ha! Totally relate to this! I mostly get to a point where I’m just like…I don’t even care anymore. I’m publishing this and moving on with my procrastination Googling. (Seriously, is that a disease too? Maybe like OCD but you just…HAVE to google things?)

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:44 pm

Ha ha, if it doesn’t have a name yet, it should have one!

LC September 7, 2017 - 1:53 am

Oh god, I think I have exploding head syndrome too!

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:44 pm

I was so relieved to find out I wasn’t the only one, ha ha

Jolene September 7, 2017 - 2:03 am

Had a cheeky smile on the entire way through! Loved reading this after work!

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:46 pm

Aw, thanks Jolene!

Jayne September 7, 2017 - 2:48 am

I absolutely love this article. I have all these thoughts, plus more, on a daily basis. Based on how much I enjoyed reading this post I would like you to continue ignoring SEO and keep rambling. There’s not enough real shit on blogs these days and it’s this kind of randomness, I for one, love best.

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:46 pm

Ha ha, thank you, Jayne! I have WAY more fun writing this stuff so I will definitely try for more of it in the future. 😀 x

Erin Dosreis September 7, 2017 - 2:59 am

Brenna I personally wouldnt mind if you had more ads in your blog and your posts and i doubt many readers would care either!

Add links to your favourite pieces of clothing, luggage, when talking about what to wear or what kind of luggage you buy etc etc…if you actually use it and recommend it then readers will trust your authority on the topic 🙂

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:48 pm

Thank you so much, Erin, I appreciate that!

veena September 7, 2017 - 3:04 am

This absolutely made my day and is exactly why your blog is one of my absolute favorites. Your realness and your genuineness shine through in every post you publish, and I appreciate that don’t try to put on airs or pretend that your life is perfect. Thank you for that, and please keep doing what you are doing. And when in doubt, don’t get back on Tinder 🙂 xx

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:49 pm

Aw, thank you so much, Veena! You’re the best 😀

Ashley September 7, 2017 - 3:06 am

Hahah, love this post, “Breanna!” I laughed out loud at the linoleum story, and I agree the Yoast gods are indeed bastards. Also, thanks to your procrastination Googling, I now realize I may also suffer from EHS. This would explain why I’ve woken up in a panic countless times, thinking I’d heard a loud noise. So thanks for that 😉

Suzie September 7, 2017 - 7:11 am

Ughh this post got me, so true! and I was also trying to finish a post before 12… yeah, that didn’t happen. ?

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:50 pm

Ha ha, it never does, does it?!

sheloveslondon September 7, 2017 - 10:56 am

I really don’t understand the pinnable image thing. I have yet to pin an image from the end of a blog post. Before I press publish, it’s usually something along the lines of “bloody hell, how the hell did it just take me 5 hours to write 500 words”. And also, “I hope someone reads this”.

Kuheli September 7, 2017 - 3:07 pm

I just realised I too have EHS. (I had no idea it has a name) I think it’s pretty cool.

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 8:53 pm

Ha ha, perhaps it is!

Kristine Li September 7, 2017 - 4:51 pm

Lol! I love how you brain-dump on this post, totally relatable though I don’t have the guts to do it! Am getting a bit tired of doing all the things that are none-writing, for blogging, and how I try to make each post be of use to the readers, nightmare!

Anyway I’m going to google about exploding head syndrome. And maybe will go down a rabbit hole from there.

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 9:00 pm

Ha ha, I hope you didn’t fall in too deep!

Alex September 8, 2017 - 8:19 am

Pah! Same here luv. I think you’re doing just fine without all the SEO stuff – I read your blog and I read like no ones blog. Well maybe 4, so you’re priviledged to be in my 4 😉 Just kidding, that’s no priviledge at all. And I don’t know if I’m spelling priviledge right. It turns out I was wrong, I googled it – it should be privilege. Sorry.

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 9:02 pm

Ha ha, don’t worry… I spell things wrong all the time!!

Ange September 8, 2017 - 9:55 am

Hahaha, Sorry but I DO love your writing skills: I find your post always very highly entertaining!
Ever thought about writing a funny fiction book? I’d definitively buy it (there you go, 1. write a book 2. become a 5 start published writer 3. zero money problem 4. Wine & profits!)
Much love from France,

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 9:22 pm

Ha ha, that definitely sounds like a good plan!! Thanks, Ange 🙂

Renee September 8, 2017 - 7:00 pm

Hahaha This is literally us every week before posting! Oh why oh why did we leave it to publish day before writing a post. Thanks for your honesty, glad to read we are no the only ones who do this… it will get better right?!?

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 9:23 pm

Oh yes, in 14 years of blogging… it will get better one day… ha ha 😀

Katie September 11, 2017 - 1:16 pm

Bwahaha! This is why I’ve only picked out the few SEO-friendly posts on my blog that drive the most traffic and added affiliates to those. I make a tiny amount from those posts and don’t worry about my current ones because there ain’t no way my regular posts are going to generate anything but laughs (and the occasional well-meaning “okay this is funny, but if it’s also a cry for help I’m here for you” email). Use your blog to build your following and your books (there will be more than one, I’m sure) to make your money. 😉

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 9:24 pm

That is the plan… eventually!! Thanks for the comment, Katie, you always make me smile 😀

Victoria @The British Berliner September 11, 2017 - 9:17 pm

Ha! Ha! Ha! So funny, and yet, so true!

I usually write between 2,000 and 3,000 words! Luckily, for my readers, I only write once a week and I can ramble quite easily! Half the time, I have to cut stuff out, as it wasn’t really relevant, but well, I write as if I’m talking, and you can “hear” my accent which many people tell me is quite posh!

I have a large British / American / German readership, and I still drop in words that the non-Brits probably won’t understand. And knowing this, do I change those words?


Oh dear!

Brenna Holeman September 11, 2017 - 9:25 pm

But you have to remain true to who you are… that’s what makes a blog personal, fun, and authentic! Thanks for the comment, Victoria 😀

Joanna September 13, 2017 - 3:58 pm

I found this so funny. The Yoast thing is my biggest complaint. It will tell me something is wrong and what to fix but it’s already been fixed. It drives me crazy!

Anne.C.Imakumbili September 13, 2017 - 4:19 pm

As a blogger myself and someone who believes creatives should get paid for what they do, I wouldn’t mind one bit if you started placing ads, you write great content, why shouldn’t you be compensated? I also agree with another commenter on here, I’d love to see a book from you if it’s something you’re considering, you have my pre-order money on the table.

Side-note, I’m devasted I didn’t find your blog while you were still living in London. I came across it a few weeks ago and I’ve read almost every post.

Enjoy your travels, will be following along. Oh and I showed my girlfriends the post you did on sex and travel over dinner. Made great conversation over wine. Everyone started swapping their stories. Was a hoot 😛 xx

Fingal September 14, 2017 - 9:05 am

That “ugh” photo made me laugh so hard! How are all those amazing images on Unsplash free to use, they are so awesome, makes me want to write a post just so I can use the images.
Your brain sounds like it works like mine, from one thing to another, constantly thinking of random things and procrastinating ha ha ha.
Great post, brightened my day x

Mo September 18, 2017 - 3:34 am

Thanks Brenna, I just went on an internet black hole by clicking every single link in your post and procrastinating on editing my blog! No seriously, that really happened. Great post, and yes, there is something Hemingwayesque about drinking cheap red wine while writing.

Elle Croft September 21, 2017 - 4:35 pm

Haha, oh Brenna, so many of these had me nodding along shouting YES (in my head, obvs, not aloud) at my computer. Except Exploding Head Syndrome. That, I do not have. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who freaks out about what I should be doing/am not doing/could be doing if I wasn’t procrastinating so darned much! x

Abigail September 23, 2017 - 6:08 pm

I have to say, this made me feel so much better about all the nerves I get before I post something. I would have thought that a blogger at your level just doesn’t struggle with that anymore, and in a weird way it makes me feel better to know that that never goes away.

Also, I thought I was the only one that prayed to the Yoast gods. They are particularly cruel.

Helen September 27, 2017 - 12:42 am

Ha ha, love this Brenna!

This is practically me as well. Currently trying to write a post, but instead I’m reading this, and googling random things that have no reference to my blog post and it’s now 00.42. Oops! xxx

Brenna Holeman September 27, 2017 - 11:36 am

Yep… we are too similar sometimes! xxx

Sonja September 29, 2017 - 9:21 am

How did I get here?? Down this rabbit hole of procrastination ‘research’; this place where the last comment wasn’t dated back to 2013 and the blog echoes my own thoughts. Really glad to have stumbled upon this gem.

Brenna Holeman October 3, 2017 - 5:42 pm

Ha ha, thanks Sonja!

Jill at Reading the Book October 18, 2017 - 1:32 am

Oh, this post has made me laugh a lot!! I totally identify with so much of what you’ve said! Especially the bit about “remember to insert pinnable image before posting” – so glad I’m not the only person who leaves myself random notes mid-post and then prays to god that I notice and take it out before publishing… 🙂

Zalie October 26, 2017 - 3:12 am

OH MY GOD BREN!!! I laughed so hard at this! Your EHS and linoleum hahahaha!!!!

Liana December 30, 2017 - 6:21 pm

This post is so pertinent and hilarious! Damn Yoast gods and their red and yellow lights…and now I’m concerned about the whole Exploding Head Syndrome thing. I wonder if it’s at all related to lucid dreaming? I see a rabbit hole in my near future. Quite appropriately, I’m reading this while procrastinating on a post LOL! I love your humor and writing. Thanks for sharing the real blogging journey!


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