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Kickstart Your Stalled Blog Content, Part 2: Make Writing Work For You

On the weekend we looked at a little exercise for kickstarting stalled content on your blog. This approach can be useful for reviving a long-neglected blog or just for reinvigorating your blogging when you’re struggling to keep up a regular posting routine.

For all the advice you can read online about blogging productivity, the one thing no one else can do for you is actually sit down and write content (unless you hire someone to do just that—which is an option for some, but not one we’ll consider here). But for many of us, finding time to write is a challenge and even when we have a great post idea, it can be difficult to get it out onto the page or screen.

For those who joined in on the weekend—who decided to participate themselves and kickstart their stalled content—I hope you’ve had a chance to write up the post you planned back then. We scheduled time for writing and editing back on the weekend, so hopefully you’ve been able to stick to that schedule.

But life can get in the way of blogging—believe me, I know! So if you’re falling behind your plans, or you’d just like some tips for the next time you’re struggling to fit writing and editing into your day, these ideas might help.

Break it up

The first post in this series introduced the idea of breaking up the writing task: in that post we researched and planned the post (which in itself was broken up into a series of individual tasks you could tackle when you had time). We then set aside separate time for writing, and for editing and publishing.

By breaking up the writing task, you can make it more manageable. You can even break up the writing itself: spending five or ten minutes of each section of the post you’ve planned as and when you have five or ten minutes available.

While this can make it difficult to keep the thread going, if you have a solid plan and a writing tone or voice that is effortless for you, this approach can be a good solution if you’re really strapped for time,

Tasks for times

Tackle the right part of the task at the right time—or whenever you have time. If you write better in the afternoon, try to schedule your writing then. If you edit or research better in the mornings, try to schedule that task to fit.

Perhaps you regularly find you have a few minutes’ spare at some point in the day. Try using that time for research or post planning, rather than tooling around on social media or checking your web stats. You’ll be surprised how much you can get through when you make the most of what might otherwise be wasted time in your blogging day.

While it won’t always be possible, knowing the best times to do the tasks involved in producing content can help you write better posts on a more consistent basis—not to mention that it can also make each task easier.

Make a habit of it

Get into the habit of using “dead time” like commuting or waiting places in this way. The trick, though, is to make a habit of this kind of work so that it’s a natural part of your day or week.

While you probably don’t want content planning, writing, and editing to take over every minute of what is currently your spare time, you can make decent inroads into blog productivity by using a reasonable percentage of your empty time in this way.

And if it’s a habit, there’s no argument—you don’t even think about opening up Evernote to compose an irresistible opening paragraph (or unforgettable ending) on the morning bus. It simply becomes part of life.

Focus for 15

For many of us, it’s the thought that we won’t get a post finished in the time we have available that puts us off even starting.

To get around this—especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to sit down and focus when they write—consider writing in 15-minute bursts.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and dedicate yourself to writing the post for that time. Don’t do anything but write, and write as much of the post as you can in that time. Stop as soon as the 15 minutes is up (or finish the sentence or thought if you like). Do another 15 minutes the next time you have the time to spare.

Do this three or four times, and you’ll likely have your post drafted. The advantage is that the time you’ve scheduled for editing will give you a chance to clean up any inconsistencies and make sure the flow is smooth.

Do it on the go

If you can’t find more time for your blog, find ways to fit content production tasks into the time you already have.

If you can write texts or emails on your phone, you can get down the bare bones of a paragraph or two (in Evernote, for example) while you’re on the commuter train in the morning.

Driving? Consider recording yourself dictating parts of the post, its key points, or outline, while you’re behind the wheel. Waiting in the doctor’s office or the car while your kids play sport? Take the laptop or tablet and work on your post. Even the ad breaks in your favorite t.v. show can be useful for doing short-burst topic research.

Can’t write in chunks like this? That’s fine: why not use those times for other blogging tasks so that when you do get back to your desk, your schedule is clear enough for you to devote some time to focused writing.

Keep the content flowing

If you joined us on the weekend, have you written the post you planned? Have you edited it?

Do you have any tips to add to this list? I’d love for you to share your advice with us in the comments. And don’t forget to check back on Friday, when we’ll be looking at your published post and using it to inspire your next piece of content.

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 can definitely get behind “do it on the go.” I feel like a “that’s what she said” is needed here. Anyway, I commute from Marysville to Seattle WA daily; it’s a 50 minute commute so I bring my notebook and get a lot of work done. I’m a completely non confrontation person (except when it comes to my family and then watch out) and I’m thankful that people working is such a regular site that most of my commute neighbors leave me in peace on the ride.

    I use this time to polish up blog posts, respond to emails and take on social networking. It really takes the edge off when I’m read to sit down to write.

    Kimberly

    • Yes, we all have different approach to when we can actually do the writing. But if you find what works for you that’s good.

      Darren has given us guidelines to try what might work for us. Thanks!

  2. Phil Jensen says:

    Very important article!

    Writing can be one of the toughest things to maintain and action out on a regular basis.

    Lots of great tips here…

    For anyone that hasn’t tried the “15 minute” trick I would highly recommend giving it a shot….works great and you’ll find yourself writing beyond 15 minutes in many cases.

    Cheers

    Phil

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  4. Samuel says:

    Break it up can be the exact solution for you to break through and create insane content for your blog.

    Just taking little breaks between writing can have such an amazing effect on your brain.

    It has worked for me tremendously.

    That is how I am able to produce great content.

    Excellent article in the series, Darren.

  5. Ehsan Ullah says:

    I have written my post Darren following your tips. Finding the peak time is must for every blogger to be more productive. I have already settled a schedule for writing posts, promotion and all other works. I’ll be waiting for Friday to show my published post.

  6. Great article Darren! I think what is most helpful to me is along the lines of “focus for 15″. I set a deadline for myself of an hour and tell myself to write in that timeframe. I don’t even think about the final product, simply putting something on paper (or in a word processor as the case may be).

    I think people focus far too much on the details in the first draft when they should just be putting clay on the wheel.

  7. Justin Mazza says:

    Love this blogging approach Darren. I have tried every possible way to write a blog post. What works best for me is a post that I work on for a couple of days before finally publishing it.

  8. Michael says:

    Nice article. I am still trying to improve my blog posting content every day. Good tips here.

  9. sumayya says:

    This is really useful. I travel almost 2 hours to work by the metro. i guess I am going to use the wordpress iphone app to write for my blog while i am on the move. There are so many articles I have been postponing to finish.

  10. katherin says:

    Excellent post..
    make a free time to be valuable..we should be enjoyed while writing then we can write a good blog content…thanks for sharing this post.

  11. Reed Nixon says:

    Reading this post makes writing seem easier. Good thing about writing; if it’s a passion, then it becomes a hobby, and soon it gets very interesting. You even find yourself sparing time to do it.

  12. I like this fact! ‘Do it on the go.’ It is encouraging and yea… you can always find time to write your blog. Nice post Darren! You are always at it with new blogging techniques. Thanks a lot.

  13. One huge thing I find that helps with motivating me to write better and more content is a blogging board. If it’s there I’m less inclined to do other things and more inclined to focus on the blog at hand.
    I wish I could say I had a 30 commute each day but sadly I have almost no travel involved. I need to find time elsewhere, which means less time working on other things or time away from family.
    BUT the blog board helps!

  14. The major issue and that seems to be a big problem is time, if we could all manage our time properly then everything will be smooth. We should know that our goal is to get things done and to get them done in their proper time and manner.

  15. “Do it on the ego” those words are not only encouraging but spiritual as well. We should believe in ourselves and we can accomplish the impossible.

  16. rakesh says:

    content is king i agree with you

  17. Shelby Roth says:

    Great stuff! Time is money and at the same time could be a big problem if not taken into consideration! We have to spare some time to do some practice on writing a very funny and interesting thing that can at the end will give us an influence to continue with the same spirit. I like the contents above, keep up!

  18. Sue Venables says:

    I’ve recently moved and I have a hour train journey to and from work each day. I’m finding the structure of sitting down and writing really productive. I think creativity needs this sort of rigid structure.

  19. Writing is such an important aspect of an online business. Some really cool points. I actually break it up as you mentioned. I find it easier to manage this way. Thanks Darren

  20. Peter Amerov says:

    Very useful. One of the most important keys to success “Keep the content flowing”

  21. Ju Nacheva says:

    I’m developing my blog and was looking for directions and here we go. Nice job. 10x for sharing. It’s realy difficult to find time to right.

  22. Science shows that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to exercise. I think the same thing applies to writing. Don’t pick your “ideal” time for writing. Just get it done. You are less likely to be interrupted, distracted or tired in the morning. Plus, if you get into the habit of writing first thing, you will begin your day with a sense of accomplishment and this will help your other tasks. I wrote my blog entry this morning at 6:30 am. I feel ready to tackle ANYTHING now!!

  23. Tom Southern says:

    Great tips Darren, especially the “Focus for 15″.

    Essentially though, I think it comes down to what all writers know in their hearts: If you don’t make time to write, your ideas won’t ever see the light of day.

    Blogging is all about ideas, and communicating those ideas to people in ways that inspire, drive and provoke them into taking action to improve something specific in their life.

    I look at it this way, if my ideas matter enough to me, I’ll make time to give them life and share them with others so we can all share their benefits.

    Tom

  24. Rohit says:

    Thanks a alot for the privious and this post help me lot to schedule my blog planning and specially the drafting technique works realy well for me initialy i sit down and just force my self to edit and publish at the same time but drafting and now i have scheduled different time of drafting, editing and then giving final touch up

  25. Darren has given us guidelines to try what might work for us. Thanks!