How to automate the creation of a new blog post

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Estimated Reading Time: 4 min

MDX and gatsby are great for building a blog. But it's a pain to create all the skeleton stuff every time I want to create a new blog post.

Steps to create a new blog post

  1. Create a new folder under content/posts///
  2. Create a new index.mdx file in the above folder.
  3. Copy the frontmatter from a template file or an existing post.
  4. Modify most of the properties for the new post.
  5. If the post has an image gallery, then
    1. create a subfolder with the name images.
    2. copy a data.json file from an existing folder and update it.

Here is an example of the frontmatter for this post

author: 'Ankur'
date: '2019-09-12'
slug: 'automating-creation-of-new-blog-post'
title: 'Automating the creation of a new blog post'
excerpt: 'Creating a new blogpost in markdown and gatsby has quite a bit of skeleton stuff. Lets see how to automate it.'
    - 'tutorial'
    - 'gatsby'
    - 'typescript'
featuredImage: ''
featuredImagePosition: ''

Wouldn't it be nice if it could all be generated by a single command?

Now you might ask whether it's worth spending the few extra hours to automate something that takes just a few minutes of my time.

You might be correct in saying that it doesn't save me much time, and there is not much of a context switch when I am starting a new post. But it's a pain creating this manually every time, and it's also error-prone.

Let's Automate all the things

Libraries we will be using

Install the following packages using yarn or npm.

  • slugify: Slugify the title automatically
  • inquirer: CLI get user input for title, excerpt, tags etc
  • jsToYaml: Convert json to YAML
  • mkdirp: helper to create directories
  • prettier: Optional. Code formatter to format the generated files using a prettier config.

Let's build the script

Helper functions

const padLeft0 = (n: number) => n.toString().padStart(2, '0');

const fromRoot = (...p: string[]) => path.join(__dirname, '..', ...p);

const formatDate = (d: Date) => `${d.getFullYear()}-${padLeft0(d.getMonth() + 1)}-${padLeft0(d.getDate())}`;

const listify = (a: string) => (a && a.trim().length ? a.split(',').map((s) => s.trim()) : '');

Use Inquirer to get details from the user

In my case, I am getting the title, description, tags and whether the post has images.

const prompt = await inquirer.prompt([
        type: 'input',
        name: 'title',
        message: 'Title',
        type: 'input',
        name: 'description',
        message: 'Excerpt/Description',
        type: 'input',
        name: 'tags',
        message: 'Tags/Keywords (comma separated)',
        type: 'list',
        name: 'images',
        message: 'Post has image gallery (yes/no)',
        choices: [
            { name: 'Yes', value: 'Y' },
            { name: 'No', value: 'N' },

const { title, description, tags, images } = prompt;

Create the folder structure

const date = new Date();
const slug = slugify(title);

const destination = fromRoot('content/posts', `${date.getFullYear().toString()}`, `${formatDate(date)}-${slug}`);


The date is set to the current date, and the slug is automatically created from the title.

The folder is created with a consistent structure.

Create the MDX file with the frontmatter

const yaml = jsToYaml.stringify({
    author: 'Ankur Sheel',
    date: formatDate(new Date()),
    excerpt: description,
    tags: listify(tags),
    featuredImage: '',
    featuredImagePosition: '',
    imageFacebook: './image-facebook.png',
    imageTwitter: './image-twitter.png',
const markdown = prettier.format(`---\r\n${yaml}\r\n---\r\n`, {
    ...require('../.prettierrc'), // eslint-disable-line global-require
    trailingComma: 'es5',
    endOfLine: 'crlf',
    parser: 'mdx',

fs.writeFileSync(path.join(destination, 'index.mdx'), markdown);

So what's happening in the above code snippet

  • Lines 1-12: Create a JSON object and use jsToYaml to convert it to a YAML object.
  • Lines 13-18: Use prettier to get a formatted string of the yaml object and wrap it with --- so that it's in a format that the MDX expects.

Some of the properties are hardcoded, such as author, imageFacebook, imageTwitter, and the rest are auto-generated.

The file name is also consistently named index.mdx and lives in the created folder.

Create the images folder and data.json (if required)

if (images === 'Y') {
    const data = {
        gallery: [{ image: `./${slug}-1.jpg`, title: '' }],

    const json = prettier.format(JSON.stringify(data, null, 4), {
        ...require('../.prettierrc'), // eslint-disable-line global-require
        trailingComma: 'es5',
        endOfLine: 'crlf',
        parser: 'json',

    const imagesDestination = path.join(destination, 'images');

    fs.writeFileSync(path.join(imagesDestination, 'data.json'), json);

Let's see what's happening here.

  • Line 1: Create the images folder only if the user indicated that this post will have an image gallery.
  • Lines 2-4: Create the basic JSON object with a single entry for image.
  • Lines 6-11: Use prettier to get a formatted string of the json object.
  • Lines 13-14: Create the images folder.
  • Line 16: Create the data.json file.

Other Notes

  • It might be better/faster to write the generator using plop so that I have a single template file that can be used. Plop also supports modifying a file which might be helpful if I have many blog posts and want to change the frontmatter structure.


Setting up a new blog post can take a few minutes of my time and can be prone to errors, but with this script, I just need to call the script, enter a few values specific to the post, and I am ready to start writing.

You can see the whole script here.

Have you automated something in your projects? What modifications would you make to this script? Let me know.