Hey Friend! I’m back after my hibernation hiatus with a great series geared toward my fellow bloggers. Don’t worry, I’m not changing the overall focus of this blog, but so many people out there are giving the blogging life a go that I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned along my journey. So, during the month of February, I’m bringing a series called Love Your Blog!
This is the month for love, and you will find all kinds of Valentine’s Day content out there. I wanted to focus on the area in my life that needs the most love right now… my blog!
Ok, here is where I need to emphasize, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’! This winter has not been kind to my blog. Back in December, my editorial calendar took a couple of serious hits.
First, while I was shooting photos for a blog post, my lighting umbrella came in contact with my camera… while it was on a tripod. Ordinarily no big deal. But in my hasty, rushed, holiday-crazed state, I had failed to spread the tripod out to its max, leaving it dangerously unstable. The whole tripod came down, including the camera, hitting right on the lens. The camera fared better than the lens, which was damaged beyond repair. I ordered a replacement, but was put way behind with the photos.
Second, without warning, my site suddenly became un-editable, and in my attempt to diagnose and repair, went totally down. I spent 2 days on the phone with my hosting service and they couldn’t help me either. I did finally reach out to codeable.io, who got me up and running within minutes. They truly seem to be able to do anything! But many of my theme customizations were gone, so it still took a while to get all that fixed and up and running. I really just sort of put the blog on the back-burner until after the holidays at that point. I temporarily gave up on consistent blog posting.
I say all this to say that there will be times of discouragement. You will find yourself stumped for ideas to blog about. You will have things come up at home, or at work, or with family… etc… that will derail your blogging efforts. One of my very wise blogging friends once told me, ‘Blogging is easy – keeping it going is what’s hard’. That’s so true!!
The key is to get right back up on the horse. Don’t let the setback become permanent. Keep going. Plug away until you see milestones, either small or large. Find a support group – your tribe, if you will – that will lend support and encouragement. The blogging community is a great resource… make some friends!
Where do we go from here?
We’ve established that we should be consistent in our posting. That doesn’t mean you should publish when you really have nothing to say. I determined early on that if I didn’t have something worthy of my time to write, and your time to read, that I would wait until I had something to say! My personal feeling about this is that I should aim for 2-3 quality posts a week. Some bloggers post every day, and I admire those who do, but for me, 2-3 posts per week is optimal. Find your own sweet spot and then set a goal to publish at those times.
So, what are the secrets to consistent blog posting?
Here is a checklist to help you be more consistent with your blog posts:
1. Write. And then write some more.
It may seem contradictory that the list starts with one of the very issues causing trouble in the first place – struggling to come up with enoughawesome content. But, ironically, it’s like becoming proficient at anything: it takes time and practice. I took 8 years of piano lessons (can you believe that?), and I can remember each of my teachers saying something to the effect that ‘Practice makes perfect’. I hated to practice because to me, that meant scales and chord progressions and such. If they’d said, ‘Just play for fun’ – I’d have been all over it! But they spoke truth. I’d never have learned even what little I still know without putting in the hours of practice.
2. Use an editorial calendar.
This was helping me tremendously before I had the December that I had! I use Coschedule, and I highly recommend it! You can write down goals, make checklists, and even schedule social media posts using CoSchedule. Or use a standard paper planner. I have that too, and sometimes it helps me to see things written on a calendar that I can touch. The point is to make a commitment to plan your posts, and then schedule them. Here’s a screenshot of my Coschedule Calendar:
3. Keep a list of ideas.
Set time to brainstorm blog topics that you want to write about. Jot them in a notebook (or Evernote) or a document in a file on your computer. Keep a pad and pencil by the bed, in case ideas come to you when you should be sleeping (the norm for me!).
4. Develop a recurring feature or series.
Lots of my blogging friends have regular days or weeks on their blogs when they feature specific content. My friend Susan at Between Naps on the Porch offers Metamorphosis Mondays and Tablescape Thursdays, and includes a link up on each of those days. My friend, Lauren, at The Thinking Closet offers ‘Scarf Week’ every year concurrent with ‘Shark Week’ when she features different takes on scarves (BRILLIANT, I say!).
5. Blog your passion…
And be passionate about your blogging. If you hate getting your hands dirty, for heaven’s sake don’t blog about gardening! Ask yourself what it is that truly excites you. What do you love to do so much that it doesn’t feel like work, even if it is? Do you have a heart for orphans or the homeless? Write a service-oriented blog post. Are you great at organizing and administration? Blog about it! Are friends always asking for your recipes when you cook dinner for them? Please share them with the world! Answers to these questions are all clues as to the passion in your life. Find it and run with it!
6. Set aside specific ‘work’ time.
If you are blogging for reasons other than a hobby, you will do well to keep some sort of business hours with your writing. It’s so easy to get sidetracked by life itself – let alone all the trivial distractions we battle. Sitting mindlessly in front of the TV or chasing rabbits on the internet are a couple of the ways I struggle with time slipping away from me. I tend to write more at night when the house is quiet. I need to take my own advice and carve out more time for concentrated writing (note to self – turn the television OFF!).
7. Share your experience and talents.
No one else in the world has exactly the same knowledge, experience and talents that you do! I learned a song when I taught pre-schoolers that I hope they will remember for the rest of their lives:
‘Search all the world over there’s no one like me,
no one like me.
Search all the world over there’s no one like me.
There’s no one exactly like me!’
It was true when you were 4 – and it’s true now. You are special – unique! Only you can share your story. Only you can be YOU.
It’s time for us to take the bull by the horns and be great! Maybe you never thought about writing a blog. Maybe you’re here for the decor ideas and tips (they’ll be back – I promise). Whatever brought you here today was for a reason. Whether you desire to blog at all, each one of us has an infinite amount of worth and all of us can take what is uniquely ours and present it to the world!
That’s your challenge. Go. Make a difference!
See you next time,
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