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13 Ways I Get Back into Blogging after a Vacation

Yesterday was my first day back at blogging after a 10 day vacation with my family and on Twitter I commented that I was finding it a little hard to get my brain back into blogging mode. @Mikeachim responded by suggesting I write a post on the daily rituals that I use to get my mind into gear.

I thought I’d take his suggestion and jot down a few notes – both as a way of getting my head back into blogging but also because looking at the tweets I received this morning it’s a problem many bloggers face.

As my head is a little scattered today (as I readjust) I’m going to tackle this as a list post – here’s a few thoughts:

1. Coffee

2 lattes with a sugar in each is a fairly essential part of my blogging routine.

2. Cafes

More important than the fact that I get caffeine into my bloodstream each morning is the fact that I do it in one of 2-3 local cafes each day. I find getting out of the house (I usually walk to them so get a 10 minute walk in too) helps me to snap myself out of ‘home mode’ and into ‘working/blogging mode’. I also find that blogging in public is stimulating too – sitting in the middle of a cafe is noisy and some might find it distracting but for me I find it actually helps me generate ideas and takes me into a slightly more social space than sitting alone at home in my front room.

3. Planning

I’m a fairly impulsive guy and like to go with inspiration when it hits – but I also find it helpful to spend time thinking ahead and planning posts in advance so that I have some places to start when I have a tough day where inspiration is not coming. On my laptop’s desktop I have a number of text files which are full of topic ideas, titles of posts and even half written ideas that I pull out when I’m stuck for ideas.

4. Series of Posts

Similarly I like to have a series of posts on the go at any time so that I can always write a post that adds to something I’ve written previously. For example I’m currently working on a series of posts on Principles of Successful Blogging which I add to 1-2 times a week and will keep running over a number of months.

5. Twitter

This post is an illustration of the power of having a network of people to help you generate ideas. I didn’t ask for ideas for posts but out of a conversation I was having on Twitter someone made a suggestion that helped generate an idea for a post. While Twitter can be a distraction – it can also be an idea goldmine if you use it well.

6. Face to Face

I won’t do this today as I’m manically trying to catch up on email as well as write new posts – but I do try to schedule in face time with other bloggers, twitterers and entrepreneurs ever week or two. This is partly just because I’m an introvert and could quite easily work alone for weeks on end (and need to force myself into some social interaction) but it’s also about putting yourself into places where your ideas connect with other people’s ideas – that’s often where the magic happens.

7. Capture Ideas

Another strategy that I use is to capture as many ideas as I come AS they come into my brain. I returned home from my vacation with a notes documents on my iphone that has 6-7 post ideas that came to me over the last 10 days. Some I may never use but there are a couple that will be great posts that I’d have forgotten if I didn’t immediately capture them in some way. I used to carry a notebook for this but my iPhone now does the job.

8. Exercise

I mention that I walk to the main cafe that I work out of – in addition to that I try to walk each day for at least 15 minutes. I find that this gets the blood pumping and often gives me a burst of energy to help me through the afternoons.

9. ProBlogger.com

This might seem like pure self promotion but I’ve found the ProBlogger community to be a goldmine of ideas and inspiration. I’m increasingly finding that I come away from the forums having seen what someone else is trying with inspiration to see how their approach will work on my blogs. Whether it’s the ProBlogger forums or another one – I think putting time aside to interact with and collaborate with other bloggers is something well worth doing.

10. Mind Mapping

I’ve outlined how I do this previously in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook but using mind mapping is something I do on a weekly basis to come up with post ideas.

11. Manage Distractions

I read many articles on this type of topic that tell you to eliminate distractions. They say to get offline completely, don’t check your email, turn off Twitter etc. I’ve written about doing this previously but am starting to wonder if completely eliminating these ‘distractions’ is always a good thing. For me it’s more about ‘managing’ the distractions and setting aside time to do them rather than just ending up with a confused jumble of tasks. Instead of flipping between writing a post, email, twitter and Facebook – give yourself set times for each task. For example – in the writing of this post I’ve stopped 2 times when I’ve begun to feel my energy for the post decreasing a little. The first time I jumped on Twitter for 5 minutes, the 2nd time I cleared a few emails. Each time I gave myself 5 minutes for the other thing and was disciplined about jumping back into writing for another 10-15 minutes. Perhaps this is just my impulsive nature Attention Deficit Disorder but sometimes I find eliminating distractions can actually make it harder to work as you’re wondering about the things you’re trying to ignore.

12. Play

Related to the idea of managing distractions I recently have been rediscovering the power of letting myself ‘play’ a little each day. While many productivity experts talk about eliminating ‘playful’ activity I think it’s actually important to spend time each day doing activity that is a little mindless and fun. I can’t explain why – but often after a 10 minute burst of playing a tower defense game on my iPhone or reading a post but funny article on a humor blog I often come back to my ‘work’ feeling a little fresh and with good ideas for my blog. There’s something powerful about letting your brain relax every now and again – the key is to manage it and not let your whole day become one big playful experience.

13. Golden Hours are…. Gold!

My ‘golden hours’ are 9-11am. This is when I do my best creative work and as a result it’s when I do most of my writing. Admin tasks, Emails and other tasks can usually wait a couple of hours until I’ve cranked out a post or two!

A lot more could be said on this topic. In fact I asked my Twitter followers how they get their brains into gear after a holiday and they came up with some great suggestions too. You can read them here.

What would you add?

How do you get your brain into ‘blogging mode’ after some time away from blogging (or first thing in the morning)?

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. BloggerDaily says:

    Yeap. It’s hard to be back blogging after taking rest for a while. Wow, you got interesting steps! Gonna try them after this.

    But I make bringing notes everywhere as habit so I can write any idea out there =)

  2. Ryan says:

    Darren, I use many of your methods. Exercise is a big thing for me. I take an hour walk or 30 minute run daily. My Golden Hours are from 4 AM – 8 AM. Everything flows smoothly in silence. After this I hit the library at 9:30. I focus better in a public setting after the early morning hours. Working at home is a blessing, more of a blessing earlier in the day ;)

  3. forex robot says:

    great post as usual .. thanks .. you just gave me a few more ideas to play with

  4. This is really very difficult to start again with the same passion.

  5. I am just the opposite, I come back flooded with ideas just dying to get them out! LOL

  6. No vacation for me right now. But when my energy is flagging and I am having a hard time writing, I like to combine #8 and #12.

    Back away from the keyboard and jump for about 5 minutes. With a smile. It really gets the energy flowing. I am at home. It could also stimulate conversation in a cafe. :)

  7. Mumbert says:

    Darren,

    I know the feeling. It’s sometimes overwhelming to come back. My suggestion: Stay on vacation!

    Seriously, there are several things in your post I feel strongly about. Taking care of your body (exercise) makes the brain better able to keep up with demands. Manage demands is high on my list. Many people can’t or won’t get back on track after distractions. Lastly, getting face time with people. I would encourage your fans to get out among very successful people from other walks. It’s stimulating and keeps your hat size relatively the same.

  8. free income says:

    @kapersky

    Maybe just right after you got home, but if you’re really passinate at it im sure you’ll get back your momentum again

  9. Darren, seriuosly your a person who knows about managing time and drive people. Salute for you and thanks for your advices. After 4 months subscrbing to this blog now I know how to fulfill your blogging spirit.

  10. Youngistaan says:

    Twitter and going to cafe in an best to stay in touch with web and too are blogs. Great post.

  11. Blogbooze says:

    I was also planning to get a small vacation from this Saturday. Since i may not get internet at that time (most probably 8 days) i was thinking of writing in hand few articles to post after I’m return on my blog. For this I have already added few toastmaster magazines to generate ideas.

    I was planning like this because after I returned back in to my work. there won’t be any hurry writing articles since I may have written hand full of articles ready to publish.

    Thanks for the tips Dareen… As always!!!

  12. SEO Basics says:

    These are great tips. I have a hard time getting back into the swing of things after vacation. Planning before hand may help with that I guess.

  13. Darren,

    Thank you so much for this list. As my staff and I attempt to rev up a fairly new finance blog in the UK – we always welcome any ideas on how to get up and running for new blog posts.

    I have been reading numerous articles on your site and I can’t thank you enough for the insight.

    I would love it you have any suggestions for my blog http://www.yourmoneymarketplace.co.uk/blog

  14. For me, I don’t have a routine but instead I just jot down ideas in my special blogging notebook whenever they pop into my head and, sometimes, in the morning I’ll have a look through it, pick one, and then think about it all day before writing the article in the evening when I get home from work.

  15. Why not keep on blogging while on vacation. Blogging IS vacation.

  16. hokya says:

    wow, you still can manage your times well even when in vacation, don’t you :-)

  17. blogging 101 says:

    one can also blog during vacation?

  18. Manon says:

    I find that my biggest problem is setting a set routine, between the various tasks for running my online business…I still have not established the most profitable way of dividing my time between educating/blogging/article writing/client attraction/social media and etc. With all of these tools available I find myself not being completely consistent in any one area.
    Great post I found this to be helpful!

  19. Blog Tips says:

    @blogging101

    If you prefer to, then why not.

    You can blog anywhere in the world

  20. Arijit says:

    I think that a blogger should take break and need to pass time with his family… but in the same time he can blog from anywhere….

  21. Maven says:

    If I haven’t said this before because I usually lurk, I love your blog and missed you while you were gone. I could relate to what you wrote about being an introvert and somehow suspect I’m not alone in that sentiment.

    I too write best in the morning but often don’t have time as I workout in the am and then head to work. What I do though, is create the day’s blog in my head while I drive. I flesh it all out, “write” the dialogue, and let it all brew somewhere in my grey matter while I work.

    When I arrive home, I prepare dinner, and while it’s cooking I write a rough “quick and dirty” version of the blog letting all the good stuff from my head flow out. After dinner I edit, and then I leave it and enjoy the rest of the evening coming back to the blog around 10:00 pm. I find that taking those few hours away helps me to find any errors and add final funny touches. I always post at 12:01 am so that it’s ready for most timezones in the morning as I’ve marketed myself as “the way to enjoy your morning coffee.” The cool thing is that most of my comments and blog views on the current blog come in the morning which tells me it’s working :-) I do this everyday Mon-Fri and take time off on weekends where I usually try to write a few more substantial blogs for the week ahead.

    I also carry a notebook everywhere I go to jot down ideas, phrases, and punchlines that come to me.

    My challenge, because I have a very demanding job, is finding balance and not burning out. This schedule seems to be working but I’m always aware of the potential for saying farewell to blogging forever and then returning two months later.

    As such, I am a reincarnation many times over ;)

    Anyways, sorry about War and Peace – this post just got me talking….

  22. I have found that if you blog for a living or run web business’s it is nextto impossible to take a day off. I work 7 days a week on my many sites even on vacation. I will knock out the work on the sites in the morning of my vacation and then go to the beach

  23. Thank you for the awesome tips i love when someone writes about how to blog better and yours has obviously taken off! Thanks

  24. technofreak says:

    the best thing to do, is become a traveler and travel all around the world, while blogging from your laptop !!!!

  25. Rene Kriest says:

    ADD, laziness?! Never heard of! *cough*cough*

    While many productivity experts talk about eliminating ‘playful’ activity I think it’s actually important to spend time each day doing activity that is a little mindless and fun.

    To eliminate guilt from playing have a look at The Now Habit from Neil Fiore.

    GTD etc. are really good books – technically spoken. Now Habit goes way beyond that, it connects with the feelings and the emotions.

    We all have our wants, must, shoulds, wishes, aims, fears etc., our daily needs and constraints – and then this book tells you something like that: Play harder in order to work more productivly – instead of working more and longer hours. Commit yourself to play and recreation no matter what circumstances you are and you will endure almost any work and chores. That’s what it is mainly about. I learnt a lot from the book’s insights.

    Kind regards,

    René

  26. ldii says:

    I’ve never strictly planed for blogging. I blog based on hobby so I produce posts whenever I stumble great idea in good mood too. Really the insightful idea sometimes reveals amongst quiet, calm and relax circumstances.

  27. bb100 says:

    It is a nice post. I have stopped blogging for a long time. I think I should get back to it again, but I only drink a lot of coffee without writing any post……

  28. Chris B says:

    Coffee is always number 1. The very act of putting the coffee pot on (filling the water, clean filter paper, coffee …) can be almost a mantra to start the focussing process. Of course, going through a pot a day is not necessarily the best – but in my defence I start at 5am so feel no remorse whatsoever :).

  29. Ylod Sean says:

    Great tips and ideas. Some of them will be useful for me in the next future