Driving across the Sydney Harbor Bridge on the way to the airport on a recent trip my taxi driver decided to give me a trivia lesson on the bridge. One of the statistics he recited was about painting the bridge – a job not for the feint hearted. It takes 80,000 litres (21,000 gallons) of grey paint and is an an endless task. As soon as they get to one end of the bridge they start again at the other.
Some days this is how I feel when it comes to blogging. There is an endless source of news, stories, tips and links to post on any given day. My goal each day is to clear my News Aggregator (Bloglines) of unread items. This is no easy task as I’m tracking 391 feeds in the search for quality content for my blogs. I do tend to scan more than I read word for word – however I like to do a pretty comprehensive job which takes time.
I get to the end of most days and have a similar feeling to the bridge painters in Sydney as I click the last ‘unread’ feed or folder – only to refresh the page and find more. A never ending task in a sense – but a satisfying feeling for that split second each day when its a fully read feed list.
A number of readers have expressed to me their frustration with this aspect of blogging – sometimes it can all seem rather overwhelming. I usually respond with some advice that my Dad used to give me when I felt overwhelmed by my studies:
One bite sized step at a time.
It sounds pretty basic advice – in fact it is – however my Dad is a wise man (despite his ignorance about blogging) and knows that a lot can be achieved if you break things down into achievable small tasks. In fact this advice is especially pertinent for bloggers as there are a number of bite sized steps you can take each day (or week – depending upon your schedule).
I recommend you set yourself some goals in some of the following areas:
• posting – whether its one post per week, day or even hour – a posting goal can help you be consistent with your posting. Make it an achievable number of posts per week – if you’re new to blogging start with 3 or 4 posts per week (per blog) – and as you get into the rhythm slowly increase your posting levels.
• sources – following other blogs, websites, newspapers, podcasts, magazines etc is an important part of most blogger’s work flows. News Aggregators are one way to help you achieve these goals.
• comments – its not all about you or your blog/s. One of the keys to successful blogging is interacting with others. One measurable way you can do this is by leaving comments on other blogs. Of course I’m talking here about genuine comments – spam comments are not the go.
• relationships – similarly I think its very important to build relationships with other bloggers. Whilst setting a target for how many other bloggers you want to email or chat with each day might be a bit artificial – I think its worth making an effort with this as such relationships can be very important to longevity in blogging.
• new blogs – whilst having more than blog is not for everyone – its an obvious way to grow your blogging income. If you want to grow via this method – set yourself a goal or deadline for when you want to launch your next blog and set out some achievable strategies for doing that.
Ok – perhaps I’ve just overwhelmed you all again with the vast array of goals that you need to set – but keep in mind that some of these goals might be less formal than others. Start out with a handful of achievable goals and build them as you’re able.
Lastly – don’t give up, inject a bit of fun into your blogging and don’t take it all too seriously.