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.