We all know the importance of keeping blogs updated but the question is can we stick to it?
Blogging consistently can be an uphill battle for many people. There are so many excuses for not being able to blog regularly. Business owners easily put blogging aside because they have more important stuff to do. Freelance writers who write for several clients can’t find the time to write on their own blogs.
So how do you make the habit stick?
I’ve read an article from Mike Sobol of Search Enging People and it featured 10 ways on how you can be consistent in blogging. He’s presented really simple and actionable steps that I’m sure will help you become more disciplined and consistent.
Here are some tips that have helped me blog regularly:
Find the most productive time for you
There’s a certain time of the day when you’re highly productive. Find it. You’ll get things done a lot faster if you know which time you’re more productive.
I write better in the early hours of the day. I discovered that words flow easily and I can digest info a lot better. This could be probably because no one’s up and everything’s quiet but I used to write better between 6 p.m.and 12 midnight and that’s a time when everyone’s at home so I’m guessing that it’s not just because I have the house to myself.
These times change. You could be more productive at 5 a.m. today and then at 2 p.m. a couple of weeks from now so be prepared to adjust.
Shut everyone out
Being around so many people can suck at times. You sure can’t write continuously when someone’s constantly bugging you so be brave enough to tell people you live with to leave you alone even for just a few hours.
When I was starting out, I was living with a lot of people and my work area was either the living room or the dining table. And it’s really hard to focus on writing when you’re constantly asked to do something or they call your attention for something you really don’t have anything to do with.
It breaks concentration and makes you just want to strangle someone.
What I did was to go out and work at coffee shops or the gym. Even though these are public places, people usually don’t bother you so it helped me get more stuff done.
Talk to your housemates. Tell them that as much as you enjoy their company, you need to work and that means leaving you undisturbed for at least 4 hours. Do it politely and explain your work flow. Most people would understand.
Set a specific amount of time for writing and take frequent breaks
Once you’re settled in, take a timer and set it to ring after 30, 40, or 50 minutes depending on how much work you need to do. Write continuously and don’t stop until the timer goes off. That means no Facebook, phone calls, text messages, or emails.
Imprison yourself for that time frame and you’ll be surprised at how quickly tasks can be done.
Taking frequent breaks is also advisable because it keeps your mind refreshed. If you work continuously for long hours, you’ll get exhausted easily and won’t get many tasks done.
This is a lot like the Pomodoro technique, which has worked really well for a lot of people.
Always be on the lookout for ideas
One reason for failing to blog regularly is the lack of something to blog about. Make sure that you already have a blog topic before you open your computer. You’ll waste a lot of time if you don’t.
That means always be ready to capture ideas. Look for inspiration everywhere and be sure to…
Always have your iPhone or a pen and notebook
I’ve written before that blog ideas can hit you unexpectedly so you must be ready to take note. That’s why you should always have a pen and paper or your iPhone. The notepad feature can be useful when jotting down ideas for titles, link sources, and even titles. You can also download apps like Evernote.
Make an editorial calendar.
It helps to plan your posts early. That way, you don’t have to continually rack your brains for possible topics. Use Google calendar or simply create an Excel sheet.
It’d be better if you can have at least a month’s worth of possible articles. Having an editorial calendar is also good in case you decide to outsource your posts.
Download distraction-free apps for writing
Even though you’ve promised yourself to not check Facebook or send a tweet while working, the temptation to do an Alt-Tab and open a new browser can be very hard to resist.
Download distraction-free apps like Omm Writer or Write Monkey. I’ve tried Write Monkey and it’s really cool. Your laptop monitor will rid all distractions and all you’ll see is a black background and the words you type.
Take baby steps
If you’re just starting out, don’t overwhelm yourself with huge goals or expectations. Take things slowly. Take baby steps. Don’t rush because you’re only going to encounter more problems.
If you think you’ll find it difficult to blog regularly, then start small. Aim for 1 post a week then work from there. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.
If all else fails, just go back to what matters to you the most: your love for writing. Stop thinking about failing to meet your client’s needs for a while and focus on why you’re blogging. That should help motivate you to stick to blogging regularly.