Today I am celebrating my 47th post of this year. This is the most I’ve written on my website since 2013. I’m working on topping that number and should by the end of 2016. I, like many, have had the grand idea of writing a glorious blog, full of fantastic ideas, tutorials, and case studies, only to find the idea fizzle after a couple of months. But this time is different. I started writing in August of 2016 and am now almost through November of 2016.
I haven’t been perfect in my writing schedule but I have succeeded in producing a blog post every other day in September, October, and November.
I have felt frustrated at the slow growth of site traffic and even more frustrated when traffic dropped.
But I continue. I am still here. I am learning what works and doesn’t work on a weekly basis. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
How to Blog Better
Be consistent and make yourself write a lot. By writing as many posts as I’ve written this year, I’ve been able to explore a number of topics on my website and measure what articles get attention. The more attention articles get, the more I write about a particular topic. The more I write about a particular topic, the better I get at writing and the better I can serve my audience.
How to Blog Consistently
I write almost daily.
By “almost,” I mean most weekdays and some weekends. The weekends are far more vulnerable than the weekdays. I aim for every day, even if it is a super short amount of time. By constantly working on my blog, I stay connected to the project and believe in it more. Ideas flow far more freely. My confidence and determination grows most of the time and on the days that I don’t feel so confident or determined, I draw strength from all the successes I’ve already had.
I write first thing in the morning.
This is super important for me. I need to write first thing in the morning. I tried not writing first thing in the morning, and guess what? I rarely succeed in writing when I don’t start my day with writing. My day starts with me waking up, feeding dogs, getting my breakfast, planning my day, and then writing for my blog. When I don’t work in this order, it is almost impossible to get myself to write.
I do something fun at the beginning of each writing session.
For me, “fun” can be defined as continuing education. I usually find this super inspiring. I have a number of courses I have paid for that I haven’t revisited in awhile, haven’t completed, or haven’t even started. Now I take ten minutes at the beginning of each writing session to continue working through my courses. And I LOVE this. I have to set a timer so I stick to 10 minutes. I finish my 10 minutes normally feeling excited and uplifted; I take that energy immediately into the writing I’m about to do.
I work in short timed spurts.
I set a timer for 25 minutes and work. Then I set a timer for 4 minutes and get away from my computer. Then I return to my computer and set a timer for 25 minutes and work again. 25 minutes doesn’t feel like enough time to get anything done, so I have to force myself to focus and I get more done quickly while taking breaks. The breaks are good for my brain, my eyes, my body, my focus, and my motivation.
If I get ahead, I keep writing.
My goal is to produce an article on my blog every other day. If I am ahead of myself, I keep working rather than take a break. I took a break once this year and learned it didn’t serve me to be away from my writing for days at a time. Here’s the thing: If I get ahead and have many days already written, I can then allow myself to get deeper into my articles and research when needed. Right now I want to write a tutorial and then I want to create a cheat sheet around the tutorial. Tutorials and cheat sheets take a lot of extra time and will throw me off my regular publishing scheduled if I am not careful. So I write my regular articles and when I get ahead of myself, I spend some time on the more time intensive articles.
More things I do to stay consistent
- I let my ideas get recorded.
- I use Asana to record my thoughts that enter into my mind while writing. I put them in a project that will get revisited again in the future.
- I set a specific amount of time each day to write.
- I love to have 2 hours to write each day. I can’t do that always, but if I can that is normally enough time to write, produce, and research.
- I make this my first priority other than doing what I need to in order to pay the bills. This has meant that some of my other ideas have had to go away for now or have to happen slower. This is my foundation and everything else has to take a back seat to my blog.