Blogging, like working out and minding your diet is good for you. But it has one other thing in common with looking after your health — it can be hard to get around to. You tell yourself that you’ll post three times a week, and before you know it, the week is over and you haven’t written a single paragraph. If you find you don’t post as often as you’d like to on your blog, here are some fixes that you can try to write more each day.
Write your posts in the morning
Whether you think you are a morning person or not, research has shown that mornings are our strongest times for exercising willpower. All the choices we have to make throughout the day wear us out. By the time you get to relax in a quiet space in the evening, you’re more likely to flop down and watch TV than craft a great blog post. Get up earlier in the morning, and do some of the things you always mean to do but struggle to get round to.
Turn it into a habit
Write every day (or at least, most days) at a set time and you’ll build a habit. That means you don’t even think about whether or not you will write. You just do it. It takes a bit longer than the 21 days that many people believe habit formation takes, but once you have established it, you’ll watch your blogging productivity soar. Even better, it doesn’t have to be every single day — you can take weekends off if you prefer.
Set daily word count goals
As part of building the habit of daily writing, it’s also good to set a daily word count goal. It’s important to set a realistic goal that will make it likely that you’ll be able to achieve your daily goal so you continue it throughout the year. You might also want to write that book while you’re creating more blog content as well.
Have you ever had a random flash of inspiration that you knew would make a wonderful blog post? Then when you actually get around to sit down to start working on your blog, you no longer remember what that great idea was? This should never happen. Get into the habit of using your phone or a notebook to record sudden ideas, and expand on them a little so that you can re-discover your inspiration. That way, you won’t find yourself thinking “What on earth did I mean by that?” when you consult your little memo.
Write first, edit later
Don’t interrupt the flow of your thoughts by pausing after every sentence or paragraph. Get your ideas fully roughed out and then go back to edit. That way, you won’t lose your inspiration while you wrestle with typos, check your spelling and adjust your fonts.
Get some exercise before you begin
Exercise makes you alert and improves your concentration – it also stimulates creative thinking. Does that sound crazy? Researchers have found that people performed better in creative thinking tests after going for a run. You’ll be in good company if you adopt this habit – many famous artists and writers habitually took a brisk walk before settling down to write.
A 30 second break can improve your mental clarity by up to 13%, and a two-minute break every half hour or so can work wonders for your productivity. Just looking up from your computer screen every now and then will reduce your fatigue. So – if you want to be more productive – take short, regular breaks. Stretch. Take a few deep breaths. Return to your writing feeling refreshed and alert.
Plan your distractions
While you’re researching your post, you may come across some interesting websites. Bookmark them for later rather than checking them out right there and then. Social media and email can also provide hours of distraction. And it’s not just a matter of sharing the occasional Facebook post or sending a Tweet. By the time you return to your writing, it will take a few minutes before you can get your thoughts back on track. Try the Pomodoro Technique where you focus for short bursts of 25 minutes. You can then schedule your ‘planned distractions’ or use them as rewards during your short breaks.
Plan before you start
Draw a mind-map or rough out your subheadings before you begin writing. Not only will your work be more structured and have a good, logical flow, you’ll save yourself from losing the blog post’s focus and having to delete chunks of irrelevant writing that doesn’t have much to do with what you’re trying to get across.
Research before you write
Instead of researching while you’re actually writing, try to do all your online research before you even begin. You can copy-paste relevant paragraphs under your sub-headings so that you don’t have to look through umpteen open tabs to find the nugget of information you wanted to include in part of your article. This should make the blog writing smoother and help you get the post done in less time.
Choose a quiet uncluttered environment
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get a lot of work done in the library? The quiet atmosphere and the lack of distractions will work wonders. Keep this in mind when choosing your workspace for blogging. You can’t possibly be productive with the TV on, kids demanding attention and chores staring you in the face whenever you look up from your work. Some people are better able to tune out noise and distractions than others, but you still won’t be at your most productive. Find a distraction-free place to write and make that your writing area each morning.
(Photo courtesy of IMG Lighting)