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:
- Those who simply do it for fun
- 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 I blog five days a week (though I don’t know if that really counts for anything :)).