Blog Daily

In recent months, I’ve received a few tweets, questions, and emails asking my strategy for how I blog every day. The truth is that I hesitate to answer this question because I think that so much of being able to do so has to do with each of our personalities.

For example, some of the most creative people I know can’t stand schedules, timelines, certain forms of organization, and what not – simply put, they find inspiration in the chaos.

This isn’t to say that I consider myself creative in the sense that many artists and designers are, but I think that we all have some form of creativity within us, but I digress on this point for now.

On the other hand, I’m one of those that tends to be more rigid with my time management. I try to have guardrails setup for social media, I like making lists, I think there’s something to be said about writing every day even if it’s not blogging, and I tend to “go dark” when I really need to focus on a certain task (and this is true both online and offline – just ask my wife!).

But if I had to generalize some tips on how to blog every day regardless of your personality, it would boil down to the following three points.

Blog Every Day

Simply put, I think blogging is a lot of fun. Despite some of the criticism or whatever you may get for it, I generally view it as the next iteration of what humans have been doing for thousands of years: writing.

Now, some people have been writing diaries – which are obviously private – others have been writing books, news articles, journals, memoirs, and so on many of which have been geared toward sharing their experience with others to help educate, improve, warn, or help others.

For the most part, I view blogging as the next form of that. The thing is, if people have been writing that long, why is blogging such a chore for some, despite the fact that they have a desire to do so?

I don’t necessarily have an answer for that, but there are several things that I’ve found useful in keeping me both energized and inspired as to comes to writing.

1. Get Offline

For people (myself included) who spend inordinate amounts of time online either by choice, by nature of our jobs, or by both, I think that we actually burn ourselves out a little bit by trying to keep up with everything that’s going.

I’m speaking primarily from personal experience here – I used to be one of those people that felt as if I couldn’t miss a tweet nor miss a blog post or piece of news that was related to what I do for a living.

So I did what any person would do: I created systems in which all of this information would be filtered into my inbox or some type of reader. This created a constant need to stay on top of whatever came into said inboxes. It created an endless supply of information that I believed required my demand.

But that’s a myth. When you begin to accept the fact you can’t keep up with it all, it frees you from the burden of feeling as if you’re missing out on something.

Different people discover this at different points in their career. Some never have a struggle, others struggle with it, and others overcome it.

Wherever you are in your particular situation, the best advice that I can give is to realize that you don’t need to keep up with everything, and simply take sometime offline.

Watch a movie, get outside and exercise (play even!), go for a walk, read a book, – you know, all the usual cliche advice that you normally hear. But the point isn’t to urge you to do something that others do.

The point is that you just need to disconnect and let your mind relax from the things that it’s on the majority of the day.

I’ve found that in doing that, I can come up with a handful of blog posts, project ideas, and more when I’m simply away from the very that I want to make a living doing.

2. Start Slow

From what I can tell, there are two types of people who blog:

  1. Those who simply do it for fun
  2. Those who have the ultimate goal of forming some type of community around what they’re sharing

Those who want to do it for fun are going to do it for just that. They may or may not actually blog daily, but they don’t see it as a form as anything either than something fun. There’s not really an endgame.

Now, as far as the second type is concerned, “community” can also be defined as those who want to make money blogging, those who want to educate others, those who want to chat with others, and/or all of the above.

If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ve got to start slow. I truly believe that writing is like a muscle and just like you may start off only being able to do 10 pushups, if you practice a few times a week, you’ll eventually be able to do 12, 15, and so on.

Such it is with writing.

Commit to writing once a week. Then when you have enough ideas for, say, three times a week, up your game. Then repeat the process. Eventually, you’ll have enough momentum or “strength” to write five (or seven or nine to ten, even) times a week.

Bottom line is to start slow, then work your way up; otherwise, I think we all run the risk of taking on more than we can handle which induces stress, burn out, and frustration.

Ultimately, that leads to a moment of “someone remind of why am I doing this again?”

3. Schedule Your Time. Or Don’t.

Some people say that you need to cut out a time during your day to focus on writing; others will say to write when inspiration hits. As far as I’m concerned, I think either one is fine.

Do whatever works for you. The challenge, though, is finding what that process is for you.

Sure, I can share my n-number of steps or suggestions (as I’ve done here), but there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work unless your personality type is similar to mine and even then, I’d be skeptical.

But the point is not to shoehorn blogging into your life. Ideally, it should naturally fit with your day-to-day activities. Maybe something needs to go, maybe you’ve got time to burn. Regardless, if you find yourself feeling obligated to blog or feeling as if it’s a chore, then you’re probably not managing the task appropriately.

This Won’t Work For You

As with the rest of the posts in this particular series, there’s no process, 3-steps, or tips that I can share that will guarantee anything. Generally speaking, these posts are nothing more than long form answers to questions that I’ve received over the past few months.

So although I’m not sure if this will work at all, I do hope that something in here is worth applying. If not, now you know how blog five days a week (though I don’t know if that really counts for anything :)).

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Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. “But that’s a myth. When you begin to accept the fact you can’t keep up with it all, it frees you from the burden of feeling as if you’re missing out on something.”

    That’s a golden nugget of advice. I still struggle with that feeling of not wanting to “leave the party early” for fear I’ll miss out on something, but, for the most part I’ve learned that the important information tidbits will still be around when I log back in.

    The moment I feel like I *have* to do X, Y, and Z to be a successful blogger is the moment that sucks joy out of doing it in the first place. Maybe I thrive in chaos? :)

    • That’s a golden nugget of advice. I still struggle with that feeling of not wanting to “leave the party early” for fear I’ll miss out on something, but, for the most part I’ve learned that the important information tidbits will still be around when I log back in.

      Yeah, totally understand that. I think what helped me the most was putting boundaries on it – I don’t have, say, Twitter on my phone and I generally just try to use it during the working hours.

      If I miss something, odds are it’ll be in my inbox, my ‘mentions’ feed, or a friend will have shared it with me through other some way.

      Plus, I’m technically just leaving one party for another. Such is life with a 16 month old and two crazy dogs ;).

      The moment I feel like I *have* to do X, Y, and Z to be a successful blogger is the moment that sucks joy out of doing it in the first place. Maybe I thrive in chaos?

      Totally! I know certain people who hate schedules, rigidity, and all that stuff.

      I’m just not built that way. I like lists, schedules, routines, etc. I mean, that makes me sound like the most boring person. It’s not that I mind being spontaneous, but when it comes to certain things, I like to have, y’know, less chaos ;).

  2. Thanks for this post. It is really helpful.

    With my recent attempts at blogging, it has become apparent that posting consistently is much more difficult than I would have thought. I think this is mostly due to my obsessive need for detail and a hesitation to post anything that hasn’t been extensively researched with tons of details and citations.

    I regularly tell myself to keep a “thirty thousand foot view”. Hours into it, however, I’ve got something that looks more like a masters thesis or a client strategy document than a simple blog post.

    I’ve only let two posts go live in a month! I have roughly another 30 drafts I’m just not satisfied with yet. Maybe I’ll go through them this weekend and get some of them out the door.

    I could go on :) but I’ll leave it at that. Thanks again!

    • With my recent attempts at blogging, it has become apparent that posting consistently is much more difficult than I would have thought. I think this is mostly due to my obsessive need for detail and a hesitation to post anything that hasn’t been extensively researched with tons of details and citations.

      The obsessive need for detail doesn’t go away. You just have to learn to be comfortable with imperfections. At least, that’s what I’ve had to do.

      I make grammar mistakes despite the fact that I read through it three times. I misspell things, provide incorrect links (because I copied the wrong tab’s URL to the clipboard), and so on.

      But that’s what’s awesome about working with a blog – just hop back into the editor, change it, update it, and you’re good to go :).

      I regularly tell myself to keep a “thirty thousand foot view”. Hours into it, however, I’ve got something that looks more like a masters thesis or a client strategy document than a simple blog post.

      LOL, man I feel like you’re preaching to the choir. I had to learn to write much shorter form posts myself. It takes time, but think of it this way: Split those long posts into a series of posts.

      What may be one really long post could end up being five posts, and then you’ve got your entire week’s worth of content :).

      • What may be one really long post could end up being five posts, and then you’ve got your entire week’s worth of content.

        That’s a really good point. So, when you find yourself getting to much into the details or going off on tangents do you just let yourself go, taking them as far as you can before breaking the content down into smaller posts? Or, do you stop yourself and move those sections into draft posts for you to expand upon later so you can get back to the topic you started out to write?

        • So, when you find yourself getting to much into the details or going off on tangents do you just let yourself go, taking them as far as you can before breaking the content down into smaller posts?

          I used to do that exact thing; however, now I’ve gotten more a rhythm and a voice that I follow so it’s a bit easier to know when/where I need to stop. I’ll then go ahead and start a draft making notes on what I’m going to cover in the next post in the series.

  3. Love this series… I had to comment on this one part, I have worked a few places where I truly have an obligation for a certain time period, (6 month contract, 1 year) and a penalty if I leave early. I dread that time period, however, once the penalty was removed, I usually enjoy everything and don’t want to leave. You are so right that setting constraints do not work for everyone…. thanks for the inspiration.

    • Of course, John :).

      And yes, I’m the same way: There are something about definitive penalties that can zap the fun out of something, but when you feel less “managed” for lack of a better term (or perhaps for “freedom”), then it’s easier to simply enjoy what you’re doing.

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