As anyone with a blog knows, blogging is an activity that requires some serious discipline. In order to have a successful blog, you need to make high-quality posts that your audience connects with. Not only that, but you have to post consistently in order to keep and grow your readership. If people don’t know when the next post will arrive, they can lose interest and stop following your blog.
Putting out content that is authentic and meaningful on a regular schedule is easier said than done. It takes a great deal of focus, structure, and diligence to continue this type of work long-term. However, once you figure out an approach that works for you, things get much easier.
In the beginning, any habit, whether it’s writing, exercising, meditating, etc. requires a great deal of willpower. Each time you do the activity it takes a conscious effort, which can deplete our energy and leave us feeling drained. Fortunately, if you stick with it things get easier.
Once a habit is well-established in your life and in your daily routine, if ceases to require so much willpower to complete. The longer you keep up the habit, the easier it gets to continue. Eventually, the habit feels like such an integral part of your life that it feels wrong to skip it.
Today, we’ll be going through some strategies to establish blogging as an essential activity that you do with consistency and intentionality. We will also discuss tips for making the time you set aside for blogging as productive as possible.
Building Your Blogging Habit: How To Start
In many ways, blogging can be treated like any other habit when it comes to doing it consistently. Hopefully you will find this tips helpful in making your blogging a more regular activity.
1. Track Your Consistency
Having a visual gauge of your progress when it comes to working on your blog regularly is an essential step for long term success. If you don’t track what days you do and do not write, there will be less pressure on you to stick to the commitment.
A common approach many people take to tracking daily habits is by using a calendar. If you mark each day that you complete the habit with a symbol, like an X, then at the end of the month you will have a clear and concise visual representation of your degree of success.
Using a bullet journal can also be an effective way to track your habits. Sites such as Pinterest have countless different habit tracker designs showcased so you can find a system that works for you, both aesthetically and practically.
2. Stick to a Space, or Move Around
If this sounds like two completely opposing options, that’s because they are. It’s fully up to you to experiment and determine what yields the best results for you personally.
There are a great many merits to creating a workspace and sticking to it. Maya Angelou famously did all her writing in a hotel room. She never actually stayed in the room and slept there — she came solely to write. She would have all the staff remove all of the decorations from the wall, so she could write with no distractions but her own thoughts, a glass of brandy, a bible, and a notepad.
However, just because this sort of approach worked for Maya Angelou doesn’t mean it will work for you. And with the modern miracle that is cloud computing, your work remains untethered to any specific location no matter what device you wrote it on.
There is no wrong answer here — you should work wherever you feel most comfortable. If you much prefer your home office with your comfortable ergonomic desk chair and air conditioning, then by all means write at home.
But if sticking to one location leaves you feeling trapped and uninspired, try working on your blog in an internet cafe or at a park using a mobile hotspot. If you aren’t posting or working on your website design then your options are even wider, as you probably won’t need an internet connection to work.
The Benefits of Writing Everyday
The steps laid out above are helpful, but they do take a serious commitment. If you need a bit of extra motivation to start laying the foundation for a daily writing habit, let’s go through some of the benefits that you’ll enjoy once you start writing for your blog with this degree of consistency.
1. Your Writing Will Improve
While this may be obvious, it’s still an important factor that deserves mentioning: if you write for your blog every day, your writing will get better. Whatever you do consistently you improve at, whether you’re a chef in a restaurant or you do sales recruitment for a company that offers recruitment services. A chef who cooks every day will make better food, a sales recruiter who keeps at it will have a better sales career, and a blogger who writes every day will put out better content.
At this point it may be trite to talk about the
10,000 hour rule, yet there really is something to it. No, there is nothing magic or concrete about that specific number — your abilities do not magically transform the moment you exceed 9,999 hours dedicated to practicing a craft.
Yet the truth is, mastery is always about more than just gifts. Yes, certain predispositions and natural abilities can give anyone a leg up. Someone with genetics that make them more flexible will have an easier time becoming a contortionist than someone who has back problems running in their family. But the majority of the time, it is only when natural inclinations are combined with diligent, consistent practice over a long period of time that mastery can be achieved.
So where does the actual number in the 10,000 rule come from? The answer goes back to the ’70s, when researchers William Chase and Herbert Simon published a paper in American Scientist that drew a lot of attention. The two men were investigating the nature of expertise, with particular reference to grandmaster level chess players such as Bobby Fischer — had the paper come out today, it probably would have used Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian grandmaster who currently holds the titles for World Chess Champion, World Rapid Chess Champion, and World Blitz Chess Champion.
At nearly 30 years old, Carlsen has likely exceeded the 10,000 hour rule many times over. If you work a job full-time — eight hours a day, five days a week — for a decade, then you will have dedicated just over 20,000 hours to that job. That is the power of committing your time.
2. You’ll Be Less Stressed About Deadlines
Even if you run your own blog and so your deadlines are self-imposed, they are still important. They can also still become a source of stress if they are not met. When we fail to stick to goals we have and promises we make to ourselves, it can take a serious toll on our self-worth.
If you plan to make a certain number of posts each week or each month and you stop hitting that quota, you can start to lose trust in yourself and in your abilities. By writing each day, we can avoid spiraling into a pit of self-doubt. Writing each day keeps our objectives at the forefront of our minds and guarantees that we will take steps toward them.
With a well-established writing routine, deadlines and objectives stop feeling so scary. Instead, they feel much more manageable and within reach. This is because we’re breaking the tasks we have for our blog into more doable daily segments, rather than trying to cram a bunch of writing in at once and burning ourselves out.
3. You’ll Connect With Your Inner Self
In many ways, introspection is the fuel oil of the imagination. Looking within is how we find what our core values and beliefs are. While your blog may be topical or informative rather than purely creative and fictitious, your fundamental values still have an important bearing on what you write.
When we get in the habit of sitting down to write every day, we also end up cultivating the habit of listening to ourselves and tuning into our inner world each day. In some ways, closing the window curtains of our room when we sit down to write for our blog operates on two levels. We are shutting out some of the visual distractions of the world so we can achieve better focus, but we are also symbolically shutting out the noise and information that is external to ourselves so we may bring our inner self into sharper relief.
With all this talk of consistency, dedication, determination, and hard work, it’s important to take the time to address a very real challenge of honing one’s craft: burnout. Running a popular, high-quality blog is challenging and involved work, but there’s no point to putting all of that work in if you can’t sustain it. It’s essential that any person, regardless of whether they are a blogger, a novelist, a painter, a basketball player, gives themselves the time they need to rest and recover.
In fact, one of the reasons to write every day is specifically to avoid the burnout that can come with having to cram all that work into a short window. However, writing in smaller but more frequent sessions can become draining as well if one does it over a long period of time. It’s important to listen to yourself and to notice when the work is starting to overwhelm you and cause anxiety.
There are two different approaches you can take when it comes to avoiding or mitigating burnout. One option is to try to avoid burnout by remaining mindful of how you’re feeling each day, and taking a break when you’re noticing some extra tension or resistance associated with working on your blog that day. Or you can build breaks into your schedule, so that you don’t write on certain days each week, or you take an extended break once or twice a month. This approach is useful in that it doesn’t require as much thought, although it also means that it can take some adjusting to find the right balance.
Beyond scheduling breaks, everyone has different methods for disengaging from work and taking time to relax and recharge. Going outside can be a highly effective way to manage stress and promote psychological well-being. Research from Cornell University has found that as few as ten minutes spent in nature can have a measurable impact on mitigating stress and anxiety. While the study was specifically conducted with younger participants aged 15-30, there is no reason to believe these effects would not extend to people of any age.
Other people use natural medicines to promote relaxation. There are a whole host of teas that are helpful for anxiety out there. For folks who live where it is legal,
medical marijuana products can also be a helpful option. It’s worth it to take the time to experiment and find tools that work for you.
Keeping your blog’s output strong and consistent will never be a walk in the park. It takes hard work and dedication, as well as sufficient pacing and mindfulness to avoid burnout. However, once you have taken the time to experiment and find the right habits, everything should fall into place.
Hopefully these methods help make the process a bit easier. Through building blogging into your daily routine and using proven strategies to stay focused, you can ensure that your blog reaches its potential.