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10 Fresh Tips for Finding Time to Blog

This guest post is by Brian Milne of The Corporate Mentality.

Work. School. Friends. Family … and kids.

We’ve all got a lot going on in our lives, and I haven’t even mentioned our online worlds yet.

Twitter. Facebook. Google Plus. LinkedIn … and Pinterest.

The list is always growing, and as our offline lives get busier and online worlds more cluttered, our blogs are getting more and more neglected.

And while it’s great spending time learning everything the above social sites have to offer, let’s not forget the importance of our own blogs, and the significance of providing readers with quality content. After all, without quality posts, you’ll be slow to take your blog to the next level and will have little original content to push out to your followers.

And, in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? Generating exposure, traffic, leads and potential customers or partners?

That said, here are ten ways I’ve been able to carve out more blogging time of late—despite running dozens of sites and having our third child in five years this past April. (And if these ten tips aren’t enough, ProBlogger’s timely Blog Wise ebook will certainly do the trick!)

1. Get up early

There’s nothing better than starting off the day with something you really enjoy, whether it’s a nice jog around the park, a bike ride through town, or a trip to the gym. And if you’re someone who truly enjoys writing, you’ll appreciate making blogging part of your morning routine.

Just be sure to do so before you get online and open your inbox. Your writing is more impactful when ideas are fresh in your head—and you aren’t bogged down by your list of tasks for the day.

2. Write at lunch

If you can’t get up early enough to write before work, get away from it all at lunch. Take the iPad or laptop with you to the park, fire it up on a shady bench next to your brown bag and write to your heart’s content.

3. Go offline

No wireless connection at your local lunch getaway? No worries. Disconnecting makes for a distraction-free hour of writing. In fact, while you’re at it, turn off your phone, Twitter alerts, Facebook messages, IM and email inbox—anything that’s going to keep you from getting your thoughts down.

If you get the inspiration to Tweet, take that clever 140-characters and expand on it in a blog post. Remember, it’s better to own your content than get owned by Twitter or Facebook. Make those platforms work for you, not the other way around.

4. Stay up late

All the hustlers do it. And don’t just stay up late and use the “free time” to soak up more David Letterman. Kill your TV and breathe new life into your blog.

As Gary Vaynerchuk writes in Crush It, “If you already have a full-time job, you can get a lot done between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. (9 p.m. to 3 a.m. if you’ve got kids), so learn to love working during those predawn hours. I promise it won’t be hard if you’re doing what you love more than anything else.”

5. Use an app for that

Don’t have time to post, but have a second to snap a photo? Start photo blogging from your mobile device. Mobile content is becoming a lot more acceptable in today’s blogosphere, whether it’s an inspirational image or an event photo that’s related to your site, snap it, and post it in less than a minute.

You can use the WordPress app, which allows you to post images, text and even HTML straight from your mobile device. Or set up your blog to allow for email publishing, whether it’s straight from your mobile email client or through a third-party platform such as Flickr—which can auto post images to the site and your blog via email.

6. Use shortcuts

Take advantage of additional WordPress features that streamline posting. For example, did you know you can embed a YouTube video in the body of your WordPress blog by simply pasting in the URL of the video? In the latest version of WordPress, 3.4, you can do the same thing with Tweets, embedding an individual Tweet just by pasting the link to the Tweet in the body of your blog post.

Knowing shortcuts and quick tips like this can cut down your “time to publish” considerably.

7. Accept guest posts

I know, it’s your blog, and it’s tough to allow others to post on the site you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into. But there comes a time—when either you get too busy or your blog gets too popular—when you have to take a step back and ask for help.

It’s a good problem to have if you think about it, because your site has likely scaled to the point where it’s bigger than you ever would have imagined. To keep feeding the content machine, reach out to some folks you trust for regular contributions. Adding different perspectives to your site often brings in new readers, and also encourages those you trust to help build and promote your brand when they post.

8. Hire some help

If you’re not sure where to turn in terms of guest contributors, post an ad on a related freelance board for part-time writers. Be sure to ask candidates to include a résumé and links to from three to five related blog posts. That way you can see exactly what types of posts you could expect when outsourcing. You never know, you might just find someone who writes as well or—gulp—better than you do!

9. Post different types of content

Have you ever created a video for your audience? How about a podcast? Sometimes turning on a microphone or camera can be easier than sitting down to craft a solid 600-word blog post.

As noted earlier, photo blogging or producing short, informative videos or podcasts can be a quick way to whip up new content and complement your writing. And in some cases, audiences respond better to non-traditional content types. New mediums also allow your audience to digest your content on the go, which is becoming increasingly important in this mobile world we live in.

10. Put it down on paper

Maybe it’s the former journalist in me, but I still use an old-fashioned reporter’s notepad to jot down quick notes and sketch out illustrations when I’m not in front of a computer (during my commute, for example).

It helps me organize and prioritize my thoughts, and keeps me from cursing iPhone autocorrect fails—which, when funny enough, lead me to waste another 15 minutes ridiculing those blunders with all of you on Twitter.

And that, my fellow bloggers, would be a waste of everyone’s time.

Brian Milne is founder of the BlogHyped Network of sites, where bloggers vote up posts and receive valuable links and exposure for their blog. Follow @BMilneSLO on Twitter to share your blog productivity tips and to be featured in his upcoming “Book on Blogging.”

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Comments

  1. Bryan says:

    I’m a total night owl. I get most of my work done after the family is asleep, and I hardly watch TV anymore…except when Game of Thrones is on.

  2. Good tips there Brian.

    I’d like to add that the best way to find time to blog is to get passionate about it. When you create real, true passion for blogging, you WILL find a way to post on it regularly, no matter what.

    The moment you start treating blogging as a chore, you will have a hard time working on it. Being passionate about what you’re doing is the key to achieving long term success.

  3. Great tips…I think some of them such as staying up late or waking up early when there are kids in your life will be very difficult to practice. However, hiring someone else to step in, writing at lunch, accepting guest posts and random posting can fill in the gap…

  4. Brian H. says:

    @Brian:

    Thanks for these great tips. I find that I have to employ many of them when my collaborative photo blog gets rolling. Lots of submissions tend to come in at one time and it’s hard to keep up. Right now, I’m posting between my shower and getting dressed for work. Waiting for the coffee to brew is a pretty good time for me to read or write a little.

    Though it’s not exactly the same as guest posts, people should try collaborative blogging. One of the benefits is the time involved. The more people working together, the more the workload is spread out. This allows for better quality posts all around. It’s worked like a charm for our photo blog. Many of our photographers have families, so it’s a good way to contribute when they can as opposed to the pressure to always produce content themselves.

    Thanks again!

  5. Julie says:

    I am trying hard to do my blogging in the morning and then work on other things the rest of the day. It can be hard to get motivated so I make sure I write down exactly what I am going to be blogging about the next day so it is already for me in the morning.

  6. Hi Brian,

    Make a blanket decision. Blog. Simple ;) Seriously, all excuses fade away and you naturally follow these tips if you decide to post daily no matter what. Power tips here.

    Get up early. Set your alarm. Blog first thing in the day. Or set up a specific time where you drop everything and blog. Choose to blog daily no matter what. Dissolve excuses. Prosper.

    Thanks Brian!

    Ryan

  7. Brendan says:

    Hi Bryan,

    I own a blog, but hate writing :) In order to find time to write – I often start with snapping pictures. When I go through and edit my pictures I force myself to write stories about the pictures. Bringing truth to “a picture is worth a thousand words” while motivating myself to write blog posts :).

    -Brendan

  8. Abhishek says:

    Great tips i fully agree with you, if we want to do hard work on our blog then we have to get some time from our busy schedule…

  9. Yep, serious blogging has to become habitual, so that it feels odd missing day. Early mornings and through the night are best for me. Sometimes I’ll become so absorbed in writing, hours creep by and it’s suddenly 4:30 a.m.!

  10. These tips are great! If you are a serious blogger and you love what you’re doing you will find time to do it. These tips here are guidelines as to when you could squeeze blogging in your busy schedule (who doesn’t?).

  11. I always love a post that can make me laugh!

    Tip number 1 is killer! I was actually at the gym today when I came up with an entire sales funnel idea that I will be running some tests through by the end of the week.

    It’s nothing original, but it’s not common by any means. The fact that working out helped clear my mind and create something was just awesome. I also used tip 10 to organize it. Yeah, I used that thing called paper! Haha

    Thanks for the awesome post,
    -Gabe

  12. KJulian says:

    Good job Brian,

    A couple of suggestions, back when I was working a full time job, I kept several index cards in my pocket along with a pen. But not just at work but everywhere I always had cards. So if I was in the supermarket and came across a good idea for an article I would jot it down in bullet points.

    Next I carried a pocket size recorder for dictation. When an idea came to me I would just press record and record it.

    Now I utilize the notepad app on my I phone. I can type a whole post and then forward it to my blog if I need to.

    My point is there are always opportunities to at least jot down your ideas if you are really motivated to do so.

    Thanks!

  13. I think the weird fact of blogging is we don’t have time to give to our own blog though we are working online for hours. I’m the victim of the mentioned quote above in the article.

    As I’m a professional designer by profession but blogging on Tech as I love that topic & want people learn more tips & tricks I have on computing for them so was blogging for last 2 years now but as I’m much busy with my clients on their logo designs I’m not getting time to blog.

    The tips you have mentioned in your article are quite effecting but as all are not made to go on a mind path following it is quite difficult for many like me.

  14. You mentioned ‘Post different types of content’ but I read lot of places that you must write only related to same niche of website to get good Google search engine rank.

    • Anabelle says:

      I think he means different type of posts–lists, descriptions, etc… instead of content about different topics.

  15. As a part time blogger I always use to have regular issue regarding the time. Its hard to manage time for blogging and write for my own blog.

    Thanks Brian for highlighting some really great points. Definitely helped me out.

  16. Anabelle says:

    Most of those are useful, but I’m wary of the “work late” one… Writers (and anyone really) should get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. If you don’t get enough sleep, your productivity and the quality of your writing will drop significantly.

    So, in my head, 2 things are more important than writing: sleeping and exercising. Without a healthy, rested body, you cannot have a sharp mind that’s good for writing.

  17. Sparkstone says:

    I agree with Rahul – From what I’ve read online It’s important to produce unique relevant deep content about your particular niche.

  18. Rick says:

    Once upon a time, I never considered myself a morning person. However, the year since I started my site, I find I’m up by 4:30am every morning taking care of most of the ‘housekeeping,’ like emails, comments, adverts, etc.

    However, I once made the mistake of trying to write CSS code at 4:30am, and have never tried it since; took me 2 hours to get the site back on-line.

  19. Thanks for these great tips! I especially loved tip number 2. I never thought of that option. From now on I will write during my lunch breaks or at least get any ideas down.

  20. I type in Word all the time and email the document to myself. It’s a life saver.

    My site, Keep the Tail Wagging, is scheduled a month in advance, because I write when I have the time and a computer or notepad (computer is easier, because of copy and paste).

    I also accept guest contributions, but few people are able to commit long term so I don’t make this a primary source of content.

    Love and appreciate the tips!

    Kimberly

  21. Scott Mandel says:

    Brian,
    Thanks for the information. I’m currently new to blogging and this will be very helpful. I have 30 potential topics I want to blog about, but no idea where to start. Any basic rules or principles for a new blogger? Pitfalls or advice?

    Thanks!

  22. Blogging for Busy People is a topic that applies to small business owners to full-time employees. Great info and practical tips have been shared. I will forward this article to my network. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Blogging for Busy People is a topic that applies to small business owners to full-time employees. Great info and practical tips have been shared. I will forward this article to my network. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Valerie says:

    Writing early in the morning is my preference, because that is when my energy level is the highest, but it isn’t always possible. I have learned to work in snippets of time – 15 minutes here or there. I like your suggestion to go offline – that’s something I haven’t tried in quite a while!

  25. Feli says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips on trying to find time to blog. I blog on my commute (ie uploading photos and writing down notes on my little iphone).

    I have actually tried to enlist help from guest bloggers but have not worked so far.

  26. JimsGotWeb says:

    I get up early and find it’s a great way to put in a little extra time on my blog. During the day I write notes on my I-Phone to help me remember ideas for future articles. I’ve tried using the WordPress app but it seems like it just takes too much time, guess I need more practice with my thumbs!

    I’ve just become a member of MyBlogGuest.com and have started having guest bloggers, that’s working pretty well.

    Thanks for the great article.

  27. Christelle says:

    Thanks for the list. This topic is often discussed but never out of fashion. So many people make excuses when really we can all find the time.
    I think a huge help is to work in small chunks of time, or at least start by thinking it will be a short writing session. Quite often the hardest part is to start, and then words start flowing. I used to think that I needed 2 hours clear ahead of me before I could start writing, but I’m learning to break down my work given that I work full time and have a young child to look after.
    I never tried lunch time but I might give it a go!

  28. Thanks Brian!
    Finding time to blog is always tough, when it’s a hobby. Reading your post, reminds me that I’m not the only one having the problem with time.

  29. Nanda says:

    Thanks for the tips, Brian!

    I really need to get used to getting up earlier. Well, not just that, but getting started at 8AM instead of 11AM. That’s definitely a habit I need to get used to again.

  30. Laura Bazile says:

    Hi Brian, hi everyone,
    What is a refreshing post, thanks for the tips!
    Delighted I came across this as I feel the need to move forward: thus, I have been planning sort of blog revamping (during the summer break) + scheduling new work/blog habits from September.
    Thanks for sharing this rejoicing source of inspiration!

  31. Prateek says:

    You just need to keep yourself away from distractions. This problem is faced by many people especially the ones blogging from home. You need to manage your time with daily work life and as we have only one mind just focus it on your content only when you blog

  32. Christine Rose Murray says:

    Hey!

    I was reading through your blog and thought it was very insightful. I’d love to contribute, so let me know if you could fit a guest post in!

    Thanks,
    Christine

  33. For those who can’t pry bar writing time into their schedule, but could give an all day seminar about their subject matter Short Cut Blogging is perfect. It’s a fantastic way to “blog” without having to do any writing. It’s not a ghost writer or a fake blog. Your words are guided by a professional interviewer and converted to blog format for you. I highly recommend them. You can learn more here: http://www.shortcutblogging.com/

  34. I don’t want to make excuses, I would love to work until the early hours in the morning but let’s be honest, unless your partner is very supportive that can be a one way ticket to singledom. Also you can run the risk of burnout which is not good for creativity or life in the long run. Genetically some people can function longer and with less sleep but many others can’t.

    Your best tips are to have time off line and avoid many distractions and maybe an hour or two in the evening away from any family distractions. It is amazing at what you can get done when you spend a full focused hour on something without distraction than trying to do it when you are tired and half asleep.

  35. Dave Young says:

    Thanks Brian Schmitt for your kind words and for pointing out this article to us. Brian Milne has a great list here and many of these tactics will work for lots of folks. Of course, if they want to test them, I know you’ll take care of them at http://www.testmymarketing.com

    Just as some people can’t get themselves to the gym without an accountability partner (or paid trainer), some people just cant get the blog output done without the same. I’m glad to find The Corporate Mentality.