This guest post is by Marelisa Fábrega of the Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online.
If you keep telling yourself that you’re going to start blogging on a regular basis, and that intention has failed to materialize, it’s highly probable that procrastination is the culprit. My favorite definition of procrastination is the one provided by Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., creator of the popular web site procrastination.ca, so I quote it often. Here it is:
“Procrastination is the needless, often irrational, voluntary delay of an intended task.”
That is, you intend to write a blog post, but you go off and start doing something else which is not as important to you, and which doesn’t need to get done right away. Below you’ll find ten surefire ways to overcome blogging procrastination, so that you can achieve your goal of blogging on a regular basis.
1. Make blogging a priority and schedule it
If you keep telling yourself that you’re not blogging on a regular basis because you simply don’t have the time to do so, ask yourself if blogging is a priority for you. If it’s not, then you should seriously consider giving up your blog. After all, your time is being occupied by other things that are more important to you than blogging.On the other hand, if blogging is a priority for you, then you need to make time for it. The way in which you make time for blogging is by giving it a time slot in your schedule. There’s a huge difference between the following two statements:
- I will write a blog post this week.
- I will sit down to write a blog post on Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m.
The first statement is a vague intention, while the second statement is a strong commitment. Which of the two do you think is more likely to render the result of a published post on your blog?
2. Create a list of all the reasons why you blog
When you have powerful reasons for doing something, you’re much more likely to overcome inertia and procrastination, and get moving. Ask yourself: “Why is it important to me to update my blog on a regular basis?”
- Do you want your blog to become the definitive source for quality information in your niche?
- Do you blog in order to attract potential clients to your business?
- Do you blog to help others achieve a particular goal, such as to lose weight or get their finances in order?
- Do you blog in order to create an additional source of income so that you can save up to travel around the world?
Hang up your list in plain sight. Then, when you’re thinking of turning on the television instead of working on a blog post, look at your list. Allow your reasons “why” to fuel your motivation, so that you get to work on your blog post instead of giving in to the lure of the couch and the TV set.
3. Blog about a topic that you’re passionate about
As Piers Steel, Ph.D. explains in his book, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things off and Start Getting Stuff Done, the more valuable a task is, the less likely you are to procrastinate on it. A task’s value is determined by two different factors:
- The first factor is how much you enjoy performing the task itself.
- The second factor is the external reward that you expect to receive if you perform the task.
When you blog about a topic that you’re interested in, it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy the process of writing. That is, writing blog posts will become a rewarding activity in and of itself. This makes blogging a valuable task, so you’ll be much more likely to engage in it.
4. Increase the external reward
As I explained in the previous point, the bigger the reward that you expect to receive for performing a particular task, the more valuable that task is, and the more likely it is that you’ll do it. Therefore, you need to ask yourself how you can make the task of blogging more rewarding.
The reward that most bloggers seek is to have their posts read by a large audience. So set up a strategy to make it more likely that others will read what you write. Here are some examples:
- Optimize your posts for the search engines so that what you write is more likely to be found by your target audience.
- Tweet your posts and share them on other social media, such as Facebook and Google+.
- Each time that you publish a blog post, visit from five to ten popular blogs and leave comments which add value to the conversation so that others are likely to click back to your blog.
5. Keep a notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas
When asked what was the most frightening thing he had ever encountered, novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “A blank sheet of paper.” A lot of people share this same fear, and they procrastinate on getting to work on a new blog post in order to avoid the prospect of staring at a blank screen, without knowing what to write about.
You can lessen this fear if you keep a list of possible blog topics that you can choose from. And that’s where your notebook comes in. Write down any potential blogging topics that pop into your head as you go about your day. Ideas can be triggered by anything:
- a question a client asks you
- a comment your two-year old makes as she trying to get out of eating her vegetables
- a slogan you read on a billboard
- an article you read on another blog during a coffee break.
Inspiration is fleeting, so make sure that you carry an idea capture tool with you at all times. Then, when it’s time to work on a blog post, you have a well of ideas to choose from.
6. Break it down into smaller pieces
The bigger a task seems, the more likely it is that you’ll look for ways to avoid it. The way in which you make a big task look less threatening is by breaking it down into tiny bite-size pieces, or subtasks. It’s even better if you can assign a specific amount of time to each subtask. Here’s an example:
- Spend 40 minutes researching an article on the relationship between humor and creativity.
- Spend 15 minutes creating an outline for the blog post.
- Spend 25 minutes developing the first idea.
- Spend 25 minutes developing the second idea.
- Spend 25 minutes developing the third idea.
- Spend 25 minutes writing the introduction, the conclusion, and a catchy title.
- Spend 15 minutes editing the blog post.
- Spend 15 minutes formatting the blog post and adding an image.
7. Create a blogging checklist
If a task lacks structure, we’re more likely to procrastinate on it. When we know exactly what to do next, we’re less likely to procrastinate. Therefore, it’s a great idea to create a checklist of everything that you need to do in order to get a blog post published. Then, when it’s time to work on a blog post, you can just work your way down the checklist.
8. Use the Swiss Cheese Method
Stop telling yourself that you can’t write a blog post unless you have a large chunk of time available. If you only have periods of about 20 minutes scattered throughout your week, put that time to good use. Make holes in the task of writing a blog post by working on it during small pockets of time, on a consistent basis. Soon, by writing a little here and there, you’ll have a published blog post.
9. Create a ritual
One way to make sure that you sit down to write your blog post at the scheduled time is to create a ritual that signals to your brain that it’s blogging time. Your ritual can be anything: light a candle, put on classical music, say a little prayer, or get yourself a cup of tea—whatever helps. Your lizard brain is much more likely to cooperate if you train it to recognize a certain series of actions as a firm command that it’s time to get to work.
10. Create accountability
We’re much more likely to keep promises that we make to others than we are to keep promises that we make to ourselves. Use that fact to your advantage and bolster your willpower by relying on others to hold you accountable. Here are two ways to create accountability:
- Put an “About” widget on your blog’s sidebar and make a commitment to your readers about how often you’ll be posting on your blog.
- Join a group of other bloggers and agree to hold each other accountable.
The good news is that there are many ways to overcome blogging procrastination. Get started by applying these ten surefire ways to overcome blogging procrastination presented above. How do you overcome blogging procrastination? Please share in the comments below.
Marelisa Fábrega blogs about creativity, productivity, and getting the most out of life over at Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online. She’s the author of the ebooks “How to Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List”, and “Make It Happen! A Workbook for Overcoming Procrastination and Getting the Right Things Done”.