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How to Blog Reactively … and Why You Should

This guest post is by Alex of ToMakeALiving.com.

The word “proactive” is tossed around a lot these days, and you could easily be forgiven for thinking that being proactive is pretty much the only way to blog or do anything else.

Certainly in your blogging life there are times when being proactive is important; but it’s not always the answer!

The problem with being proactive

On target

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Being proactive essentially means doing things unprompted—typically, you set a schedule and you work to it. This is a great way to ensure you get things done. The problem is that to be proactive in this way, sometimes you have to write blog posts at times when you don’t feel all that inspired; this can result in posts that are less than perfect, which is never a good thing.

Reasons to be reactive

There is a lot that you have to do to build a successful blog, but the one vital ingredient you cannot miss is writing top-quality blog posts. Like it or not, the best posts are not the ones you force out—they’re the ones written from seeds of ideas which spring into your head at three in the morning, on the way to work, or when you’re out with your friends.

Inspiration is not something that can be forced, and as such the best blog posts will always be the ones written in response to the inspiration we get when we are not even seeking it. This is the beauty of writing reactively.

The problem with being reactive

On the other hand of course, if you only ever write when inspiration hits you, you might find that you just don’t write often enough, or that your posts are inconsistent—which, again, is bad news for your blog.

So how can you get the best of both worlds? Write reactively inspired blog posts which flow and read like poetry, but do it proactively and in a structured way so as to build a reliable blog that gathers a consistent following of dedicated readers.

How to blog reactively-proactively

The key to successful reactive blogging is to be proactive in every other area of your work flow, support the elements which encourage inspiration, and grab it when it comes. Here’s how.

Have a schedule for posts

For best results you should have posts going out consistently, so decide on a schedule and stick to it. Write it down or even publish it so your readers know the deal (this makes you accountable, so you are less likely to let it slide). From now on, no matter when you actually write your posts, this is when they will be published.

Keep a bank of posts

On some weeks, you’ll be visited by inspiration, and some you won’t. Try to get ahead so that you always have at least two or three weeks’ worth of content ready to go live. This way, on the weeks where you can’t string together a decent post, you don’t have to force out something that isn’t up to scratch.

Schedule your inspiration

Just because you are waiting to be inspired before you write doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive about what inspires you. Make a list of the websites, newsletters, and bloggers who inspire you and utilize your favourite RSS reader, iPad app, or simply subscribe to have their content delivered to you each week.

My personal schedule

Just to help put the process into context, here’s the blog schedule I use for one of my blogs.

I use the time-release WordPress plugin to ensure that a post is published every Wednesday at 6:30pm. All I need to do is ensure that there is always at least one post written and ready to go live; the plugin makes sure I stick to my schedule.

I use Google reader to aggregate my favorite sites, then every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday around lunch time I check my reader and have a look at what’s new in my niche.

So when do I write my blog posts? Whenever I get a good idea or otherwise feel inspired to write! By following this proactive schedule I never fail to have at least one good idea each week, but by keeping four or five posts in the bank (this is what I aim for), I never feel any pressure to write.

All the same, if I find that I have more posts than I need and my bank of posts is full, I will skim a couple off the top and use them for guest posting and link building purposes. I have a separate schedule for link building, but that’s another post altogether…

Summary

So hopefully you can see how this strategy allows you to get all of the benefits of being proactive without having to smother your creativity. The result? You get inspired, very topical posts, published consistently and to a timely schedule—and hopefully an altogether better blog. Neat, huh?

My name is Alex from ToMakeALiving.com where I blog about how to earn money online in all manner of different ways. I also offer a quality link building service for bloggers and affiliate marketers. Please check out my site for more info and lots of great tips.

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Comments

  1. Wiz of Tech says:

    You’re right. It is better to write pots in advance so you can just publish it. Sometimes we may get busy that day, making it unable for us to post.

  2. I try and combine both, however the times that I usually find inspiration is either in the shower or in traffic in my car, I’ve been testing different speech to text for when I’m in the car, so I can capture the moment, and edit it later. That doesn’t work so well in the shower though lol

  3. Gin says:

    I absolutely love using the RSS feeds to subscribe and agree- set a time aside to visit and leave comments. It’s all about time management and committing to a schedule. Great post!

  4. surya says:

    Great advice..My problem is, I never post a Article in schedule so i am going to follow your tips. So i am going to set a fixed time and post regularly.

  5. Alex,

    I tried to schedule posts and I did it for months, then all of a sudden a project came along from another blog and my whole schedule was postponed due to me following and writing about my progress in this project.

    Blogging is give and take. Like you said proactive and reactive. A great combination of both makes a blog much more interesting. You can feel it when a blogger simply writes a post out of necessity, which every blog needs, yet can get boring. And then you can tell when a blogger writes out of passion. But many times a blog needs facts. So a nice mix of both is really nice.

    ~Allie

  6. tushar says:

    i will differ with you on this one. I personally believe that being planned sometimes make blogging hectic. Things should be sometimes done spontaneously from heart and they often get good results

  7. Shayla says:

    This is a great post. We have a schedule for posts, but we have to take it to the next level and stick to it. I love the tip about the time-press plug-in. That should be really helpful!

  8. Bank of post is a must actually for my blog right now. Even I will bookmarking all the content that I can get from any sources in the Internet.

  9. Somehow I never thought of having a bank of posts, this is a really great idea. Writing and scheduling – yes, I do that a lot even though each time I blog from inspiration (which is often) I just want it out there immediately. I’m going to try to be progressive about being reactive ;)

  10. I love these tips on blogging reactively-proactively. I desperately need to build up a nice bank of ready-to-publish posts, because I’ve noticed that I’m a much, much better reactive blogger when I’m not feeling the pressure to wrap something up and hit “publish.”

  11. Marcia Wong says:

    Thank you for the post. Sometimes, I’m very lazy and procrastinate a lot, so I need to schedule a bank of posts. At the same time, I have times when I randomly feel inspired. I’ll try to act reactively and proactively, that’s really the best way to blog.

  12. Eamon says:

    My challenge is coming up with fresh content all the time as I am working in a small niche market with limited topics. Any ideas?

  13. Bougie Girl says:

    Great post! I have a lot irons in the fire and sometimes I do not manage my time very well. However, I am learning how to balance writing, marketing, researching, and networking. It’s hectic, but I am having a great time!

  14. I agreed with you. Writing post in advance is the best thing to do and i have been using this method long ago. I usually write posts and post them to my blogs as draft, and if i get busy what i have to do is to grab my phone, login in to my blog dashboard and click publish. Thanks for the article

  15. Joanna @SBT says:

    I try to do most of my writing on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that the rest of the week I’m free to laze about and jot down ideas. Now if only I could come up with topics easier I’d be set.

  16. BT Stream says:

    100% agree with you. Thanks for the idea!

  17. Very nice.. got to try this for sure. :) thanks a ton :)

  18. Liking the tips here Alex. I write when inspired: first thing in the morning, when ideas hit me non-stop. My subconscious mind is super receptive to ideas at this point.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

  19. XuDing says:

    Thanks for your great tips.

    What my method is:

    take notes of blogging ideas from the starting of the month to the end.

    write articles at the end of each month using ideas from my idea notes.

  20. soubhiks says:

    this is pretty right.. i dont feel like writing regularly, instead i fee llike writing sometimes when i am inspired the ,most.. this post will dfntly help me arrange my blogs in a better way…

    thanks a ton!! :)

  21. Keeping both in balance is the key to writing consistently with passion. What helps for me is to have my voice recorder. Talking engage a different part of my brain and shed a light from a different angle as I am writing a post.

  22. Bernie says:

    I would daringly suggest the more you write the “better you are at being reactive” – if you just “mouth off” that is what it will look like.

    I heard someone say “they write to work out what they think” and this really struck a chord with me and actually got me writing more!
    As for capturing inspiration I use evernote and organise my work there, I also noticed that if I sit down to blog nothing happens, inspiration always strikes on a train, bus or airport so everything I use is mobile.

    After reading this I am going to start pre-posting more, I feel you have given me permission Alex! Thanks ;-)

  23. Sonal says:

    Keeping a bank of posts ready encourages me to write more and without pressure. I try to post 3 quality posts per week, but when I’m not able to stick to this schedule, this bank of posts comes to my rescue.

  24. Agree with you. I am always blogging ahead. I keep some posts for future publish and I continuously work on new posts for future as well. :) I need to keep at least 2 posts and write a new one before publishing the old one. :)

  25. VYang says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m a newbie to blogging and one of the most common tips I’ve seen is to stick to a blogging schedule. That’s hard to do when you’re not inspired to write out your idea, especially because quality expression of a great idea is just as important as the idea itself. I get a lot of my ideas when I’m commuting and that’s not a place that inspires me to draft a quality blog post. Keeping a bank of posts is an awesome tip and it will certainly help with sticking to a posting schedule. Thanks again for sharing!

  26. Andrew says:

    It is certainly something that I would like to try achieving with my new blog, to get a few weeks ahead so that for weeks without inspiration, I have something to post, however, that process would really only work for blogs that are non-time-specific wouldn’t it?

    I couldn’t imagine a blog that has time sensitive posts being able to do that, or would you basically limit this process to those posts that are not time-specific for that blog?

  27. James Greg says:

    I didn’t think seriously about a bank of posts. This is true, when we are not feeling inspired but the blog needs updating there’s no one to the rescue and a bank can be cashed on that day. Its always handy to save something for the rainy day.

  28. Sharon says:

    I’d rather not write anything at all than write something forced or resort to posting a canned bit I’ve stored up for days I don’t feel inspired.

    I’m reading fewer blogs these days because so many posts are trite, canned pieces that clearly lack inspiration. They are also clearly desperate — an obvious attempt to maintain a blog audience, to keep up a “presence on the internet”. I’ve cut one blog from my feed because it’s become so manipulative and fake. No give, all take.

    Meh. Blogging is over, I think. Who has time to read stupid, narcissistic drivel written by stupid, narcissistic people all day long? Better to turn off the electronic stuff, relax, open a real publication (you know, the paper kind, with articles written by real writers), and read something thoughtfully written.