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Declaring War on Blogger Apathy

It’s time to talk about something that has the potential to KILL your blog….

Apathy

A blogger can have the best strategic plan in the world but if they have no motivation, passion or drive for their blogging it will almost always amount to nothing at all. One of the keys to the success I’ve managed to have as a ProBlogger is that I’ve taken a long term approach to my blogging which calls for constant work over 2.5 years (so far).

Whilst there have been times where my spirit has been low and the drudgery of researching, writing, networking and dreaming has threatened to put a stop to what I do – I’ve continually pushed myself to find new and creative ways to beat down the blog killer of Apathy. I’ve seen other bloggers not been able to break through this and as a result their blogs today either don’t exist or have become something like the ghost towns of the Western Movie with breezes blowing around the tumbleweed of comment spam and out of date content.

So I’ve decided it’s time to declare war on Blog Apathy and want to share a number of the things that have helped me keep my motivation up in blogging. Feel free to add your own experience and tips in comments.

• Start a Series – it gets hard to constantly come up with new topics to blog about each day so why not pick a larger topic to break down over a week or so. I find that once I’ve got a topic to work on I often get the creative juices flowing – a series can fast track the process. The past few days have definitely lifted my own interest in ProBlogger (not that it was too low) – simply because I’ve been in ‘series mode’.

• Invite questions from your readers - get your readers involved in your blog by setting the agenda for you to write about over the next few weeks of your blogging. Once again this is about stimulating ideas for topics.

• Revisit old Posts – if your archives are anything like mine they are full of posts and articles that you’ve put hours of work into. Keep in mind that many of your newer readers would not have read your old posts and so from time to time it might be worth either reposting old posts, updating old posts or simply bouncing off old posts and continuing old streams of thought.

• Redesign – I always find a fresh coat of paint can really lift a room, a haircut can improve a mood and a blog redesign can get the creative juices flowing again. Tweak it, adapt it or completely redesign it – either way you might just inject a little more energy into something that’s grown tired and find that you’ve got more energy for your blogging.

• Write Posts Ahead of Time – this won’t help you now if you’re in apathy mode – but if you’re not and currently have some energy consider writing a few extra posts that are non time specific to keep for a rainy/apathetic day. When you’re inspired write more so that when you’re not you don’t have to.

• Keep an Idea Journal – this is similar to the previous point but just involves keeping a list of possible post ideas you could write on at a later uninspired point in time. It might include just titles of posts or even a few points that you could write about. I’m constantly jotting down ideas for posts or series and even new blogs all day everyday. Take your journal with you everywhere you go so that if inspiration strikes you can capture it.

• Develop a Posting Schedule – it’s amazing what you can produce if you give yourself a deadline. Whilst for some people the idea of schedules and plans might have the opposite effect – for many of us they help keep us going. My posting goal is 25-35 posts per day – knowing what I’m aiming for helps keep me on track. Whether you’ve got a goal of 2 daily posts, or 500 monthly posts some goals can help get your blogging into gear.

• Get a Guest Blogger - put a little new blood into your blog by inviting someone else to join you in posting either while you take a short break to rejuvenate or to blog alongside you. I’ve recently added a few bloggers to a handful of my blogs and have really enjoyed both the pressure that it’s taken off me but also the energy and fresh ideas that they’ve brought.

• Read other’s blogs – sometimes its easy to become so focused upon blogging that we forget to interact with other bloggers. I remember a few months ago realizing that I rarely really read other blogs any more (apart from those I scanned each day for useful information to blog about). Get back to basics and actually read other blogs – you might just find that in doing so you rediscover the reason you started your own blog in the first place. In addition to that you’ll probably find yourself stimulated to bounce off their blogs with your own.

• Interact with other bloggers – connected to the last point I also find it very useful to not only read the work of others but to converse with them. I regularly chat via instant messaging or phone with other bloggers – in doing so we encourage and inspire each other to break through the dry times. So leave a comment somewhere, start an IM conversation, send an email – talk to someone. Don’t let blogging become an insular lonely thing – rather take advantage of the relational aspects of blogging.

• Meme it Up – another way to get yourself a little more interested in and energised by your blog is to start some sort of Meme. Run a competition, start a blogging project, add a quiz or survey – do something fun, creative and interactive to get other bloggers involved in what you’re doing. To be honest this is why I started the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog project – seeing the wonderful response from readers has definitely lifted my blogging spirits this week.

• Subscribe to a new Source of Information – sometimes it’s easy to get into a rut when you feel like you’re just seeing the same sorts of information on your blogs topic over and over again. So subscribe to some new keywords on Google News Alerts or Topix RSS feeds or find some new blogs to follow. If you put fresh content and ideas into your head hopefully some fresh content will come out.

• Short Posts – if you don’t have much to say – don’t say much. Keep your posts short and to the point. Even if they don’t feel profound to you, just the act of posting something might loosen the blogging creativity within you. Short posts can actually be incredibly effective communication tools also so it might just add something special to your blog.

• New Stimuli - one of the best ways to get your creativity levels up is to expose yourself to new stuff. Buy a book, watch a movie, meet someone new, go for a walk, spend time with your family, listen to some music – get out of your normal daily rhythm and expose yourself to some new sights, sounds, tastes, touches and smells. Remember that what you put into your life has a direct baring on what comes out.

• Just Write – it’s amazing what comes when you just start writing sometimes. Some of my bests posts emerged out of really dry patches when I forced myself to sit and write. The first few paragraphs might end up being scrapped – but if you keep writing you’ll eventually hit gold.

• Get a Coach – I’ve talked a few times here recently about how I’ve found myself a business coach. Whilst the two of us don’t catch up heaps these days – every hour I spend with him is invaluable. He forces me to take a step back from what I do and look at the big picture, he keeps me accountable to the direction I’ve previously set, he asks the hard questions and he encourages me when I’m in a slump. The great thing about him is that he has a very limited understanding of blogging and sees things from quite a different perspective. So get a coach or a blogging partner (you can coach each other). You might consider paying someone to do it or just find another blogger/friend/business person/family member to fill the role. Give them permission to ask questions and give you a kick in the pants if you need it.

• Take a Break – as many people have said in the comments of previous posts in this series – taking a break is often just what a blogger needs. We all need a holiday from time to time so I suggest bloggers build into their yearly rhythm extended periods of non blogging as well as shorter ones on a weekly and even daily basis. I would suggest that if you’re taking a break that you set an end time and date for it – this is important for a couple of reasons, firstly it gives your readers a sense of where you are and when you’ll be back (I find it frustrating as a reader when a blogger disappears for an extended period without warning) and secondly it puts a boundary at the end of you break which will help you to start up again.

I’m sure between us we can come up with many other strategies for breaking the back of blog apathy – I’m interested to hear the suggestions and experiences of others in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for the great tips. I’ve been away from blogging for a while (one of those disappearing bloggers!) but I’ve taken a few of these tips and put them into practice already, I can confirm that they work. I just need to keep reminding myself!

    Cheers,
    Dan

  2. Darren,

    Hope things are going well. I’m at SES San Jose right now, and will be posting relevant tips for bloggers concerning search over the next few days.

    Let me know how the PRWeb thing worked out.

  3. Yzabel says:

    Interesting thing, to have this in one article. I read the separated posts with pleasure when you published them, but having everything all at once under the eyes is definitively a plus to really visualize all the process and all the tips themselves.

  4. Troy says:

    Thanks for the great round-up.

    I am only just starting at the blogging adventures, but I had already bogged down in apathy:)

  5. Darren,

    Appreciate your hard work here…this article alone has good tidbits of info in it and ideas… keep it up.

  6. Fathead says:

    Guilty as charged. We can’t all be prolific and interesting. I’m glad to see that my symptoms now have a name. But being both apathetic and a pro-procrastinator, I’d like something I can take with a glass of milk, thanks!

    Good article though.

  7. jozef imrich says:

    Yet another excellent series … what a feast ;-)

    Coda: Tools for bloggers

  8. B. Z. Herzel says:

    Interesting article. I never read the individual entries, and I think that it makes a lot of sense as a single unit. I’m thinking that many people find this useful, ’cause you’re a star on del.icio.us…

  9. Lee Marshall says:

    Darren, first I want to say thank you for the motivation that your articles and posts have given me over the last few weeks of finding your site. But i’m still stuck. Unlike yourself and other bloggers on here i’m not very good with words, my posts often seem to be a unique language in themselves. I like to talk about extreme sports, which is why i setup extremelee.co.uk and i also like streetskating which is wh i setup urbanskaters.co.uk – but for the life of me, trying to word things and make sense takes ages and is probably the biggest killer for me.

    I’ve also just started a project with my friend called digitalsurgery.net , which i’ve failed at misserably. mostly because he’s such a great writer that i’m always trying to match his work and when i don’t, it bumbs me out.

    Sorry. I’m moaning and that’s a negative.. Any advice?

  10. I have hit the wall and have been infrequently updating my blog over the last few weeks. I have chalked it up to a new day job, vacation and the fact that it is so hot these days but it is really kind of discouraging. I just don’t feel like doing anything on it so I’m not. I know that I won’t give up on it so that’s not a concern but I think I was maintaining an overly optimistic posting schedule for awhile and that could be part of the problem. I will be easing myself in over the next few weeks and plan and focusing less on quantity and more on quality. It’s been tough, especially if like so many of us you are writing your blog on top off having a day job, family etc. but I think the key is to not try and feel so guilty about taking a break and just letting yourself naturally get back to writing when you are ready. I would definitely agree that having a bunch of pre-written posts or revisiting old posts might be a good way to help you through a dry patch though.

  11. rewindback says:

    Oh yes, apathy kills our best ideas and intentions. Great article.

  12. Brad says:

    Darren, I agree with most of theis. Especially writing posts in advance, and keeping a journal. There are so many times I have been listening to the radio or news, and thought “Man, I’m bloggin’ that!” but I don’t write it down and then forget about it. I have been a lot better lately about this.

  13. John Yen says:

    Nice post. Though I would say the most direct thing which kills blogs is more of a lack of posts and seo rather than just apathy in the general sense.

    Great tips otherwise.

  14. Bandicoot says:

    Excellent points, especially about being an insular blogger. I blog becasue it’s a way of keeping me writing every day and keeping the creative synapses firing. And yes, I should make a point of carrying around an ideas notebook!

  15. Mr_Gadget says:

    Darren, I love your site! I remember when you started blogging 2 years ago…and I’ve just seen your sites grow and grow!

    Well done bro!

  16. Awesome list. I learned a lot from this post. Thank you!

  17. TopITC says:

    Still a great post to revisit from time to time, food for brainstorming. A big belated thank you, Darren.

  18. Thanks for the tips. Even though I’m really in to what I’m blogging about it’s hard to post everyday. Even when I make up some in advance.

  19. I understand It’s a good article the people more uses to this article the marketing strategy is more useful to people. If you are interesting visit the site marketing strategy

  20. SilverDK says:

    Thank you for a great post..

    I cannot count the days where i have had “writers block” simply because i either:
    – Had nothing to write about.
    – Didn’t have the energy to sit down and write something..

    And it really annoys me.. I hope that with your tips above, i will get some new energy and hopefully find a few new places to get ideas from..

    Plus i am quite new to this whole blogging thing really, my blog is only around 20 days old or so. :)

    But still, so few readers.

    Thanks again for the great post.

  21. led display says:

    I just start my company blog,
    Really lots thing to study!
    Thanks for this artic.

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