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The ProBlogging Workflow of a Working/Traveling Mother

This post on blogging workflow has been submitted by Melissa Petri of Europe String.

Apart from maintaining 5 travel blogs under 3 different networks, I also: (1) work full-time; (2) am a mother of 2 very young boys; and (3) travel a lot for work.

Many have asked how I manage all that and still get some sleep.

The conflicting demands of my family, work and pro-blogging can only be answered if I manage my time well, set my priorities and use tools to aide me in my research and in blogging.

1. Time Management
I have to admit that problogging takes a backseat BUT I still meet my quota if I make use of my free time at night and/or on weekends.

I try to be strict with myself when I face the computer. My YM and Skype are on invisible mode to avoid distractions.

On the other hand, when the weather is beautiful or something interesting is going on, I take a break even if it’s time to blog. I have no plans of missing life. Besides, the beauty of travel blogging lies in the fact that almost everything I see or enjoy could become great blog fodder.

Whenever I am on business trips, I also use my downtime to blog rather than watch TV out of boredom.

2. Priorities
There was a time when I had way too much blogs to maintain, with an impossible number of posts to write per day. Rather than lose all of my blogs for failing to meet the required posting frequency, I decided to cut back. I ended a couple of blogs.

I think that we always will have options. We should just keep in mind what our goals are and decide base on that.

3. Tools
Blogging is a lot easier and faster with the use of several tools like:

  • Bloglines – I usually blog about destinations, travel tips, budget options, hotels and airlines, among others. Along with these mini-features, I also need to blog about current travel events. Bloglines help me sift through news without wasting my time over an article which is of no use to me in blogging.
  • Forums – I feel like an outsider listening in or butting in on other people’s conversations. Reading forums gives me an idea of how different people view a certain topic. And this helps me when I write my post about, say, a certain destination.
  • Notepad – Would you believe that I write a lot of my entries on this very simple application? Sometimes, when I am offline, I get an idea or two and just need to write. I use .txt files for my N70 and laptop. This saves me the frustration of editing codes when I have to copy paste my entries onto MT or WordPress.
  • Backpackit – When I have bloggerís blog, I rely on Backpackit to remind me of the great idea I had when I was on a blogging roll.

A goal is all we need, imo, and this makes it possible for us to build a workflow around it that will suit our needs.

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. I use notepad, too, sometimes when I don’t have a network connection or if I just want to jot down an idea without writing a full post yet. I carry a real, actual notepad in my purse, too, to write ideas and phrases.

  2. Shaun says:

    I don’t have the luxury of carying around a purse ;) but whenever i get and idea i sometimes write it in my cell phone for when i get home.

  3. I find myself with just a totally awkward schedule, it seems I am blogging way more then I should. I loved your post and i think it is time for me to make a tight schedule.

  4. One tool I would add that I don’t think many bloggers make full use of … Google Alerts.

    You set these for blog subjects, localities you write about or keywords you are interested in. Virtually every mention of the subject around the blogoshere and the rest of the world (yes, there is a world out there beyond the ‘Net ;-)) will come to your mailbox (use separate folders for different alerts) and when it is time to produce apost there are snippets all in order for you review and behin writing on, if they grab tour attention.

    It’s like having a full-time research assistant, even when you’re traveling and away from the Internet.

  5. Steve says:

    Melissa,

    First off, I think it’s great that you’re blogging. What i think is even more cuel is that you gave up some of your other blogs in order to put more focus and balance into the rest of your life. I am a big believer that if I take on something new I need to give something else up in order to maintain life’s balance. This isn’t always true but it’s a general rule of thumb for me.

    Kudos…

    Stephen Martile
    Personal Development with NLP
    http://www.stephenmartile.com

  6. Ryan says:

    Dave beat me to it. Google Alerts is great for sending ideas. One thing to watch out for though is not to sign up for too many. I started a new blog a few weeks ago and set up alerts for about a dozen different keywords and phrases that I thought would keep me up to date. I had to turn most of them off because I was getting so many emails.

    Another Google tool that helps me is Google News. On the search results page there’s a small XML icon that you can use to subscribe to that search in a feedreader.

  7. Karen says:

    Five blogs, two kids and you travel all over– I’m impressed! :)

    I use my trusty Sidekick when I’m on the road and I send notes and blog topic ideas to my home computer. Sometimes I even start a post on the Sidekick and tweak it later.

  8. Anne-Marie says:

    It’s inspiring to see that you can keep up your blogging even with a fulltime job outside of mothering. Yet, there are times when it’s just too much, i.e., BURN OUT. It’s not a matter of cutting back or ending a few blogs. Instead you don’t want to blog at all.

    Just had a month long (plus) episode myself, kept up with my paid assignments, but lost a lot of traffic on my personal blogs. Now I’m trying to catch up.

    So any advice on avoiding (or seeing the warning signs of) burn out, Darren and Melissa?

  9. Matt says:

    I agree with the notepad usage. I write pretty much everything in notepad, from html code to articles. Sure it lacks spell check and all the rest. But I was fine before spell check existed so i’ll be fine now.

    Not to sure why i always use notepad, its lightweight, no on screen clutter, simple .txt format, no nonsense. perfect for blogging.

    Its then nice and easy to paste into wordpress, and format from there.

    I thought I was the only one!

  10. How do you manage a family while working so much? Do you hire someone?

  11. Melissa says:

    #10: I work at the office from 9-5 from Monday until Thursdays. I travel a lot but mostly within the EU. Rather than spend on hotels, the company pays a bit more for my plane tickets because I prefer to go home every evening. I am a night owl so I blog when the kids are asleep. And on weekends, my husband gives me a few hours to work on my blogs.

    There are days when it really is difficult and when my mind goes blank but I do manage. I slip from time to time and fail to meet my blogging quota but it does work out most of the time.

    Anne-Marie: whenever I feel like I can’t blog, I turn my computer off and just do something else. For me, it makes me even crazier to face a blank screen with an even blanker mind. hehe

    Steve: thanks. I am very conscious about my work-life balance.

    It is sooo interesting that a lot of people do use wordpad! hehe