Maintaining a blog involves a lot of work, dedication, and a purpose strong enough to keep you going.
As I have been blogging both for personal and professional reasons, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in keeping a blog. Whether you’re thinking about starting a blog or you’re having struggles keeping one, here are some tips that will help you keep your blogging groove.
1. Find inspiration, don’t just wait for it.
Sometimes inspiration comes when you least expect it, so when it does, you have to make the most out of the moment and write your heart out. But more often than not, you find yourself in front of a blank page waiting for inspiration that just won’t strike.
The trick is to not wait for it, but to go look for it.
Be pro-active in finding inspiration. Read a book. Take a walk. Go to places where you know you’d be inspired to do something, like your favorite coffee shop, or a bookstore. If getting out of your house or office is not possible, have a list of websites you know would inspire you to do something. For me, these are some of the “places” I frequent online when I’m in need of inspiration:
- Goins Writer – There was never a post in Jeff Goin’s blog that didn’t make me feel like wanting to change the world through blogging. His articles about writing and pursuing your passion are inspirational and actionable, no frills. In fact, I just went there before I wrote this one.
- Seth Godin – What can I say about Seth Godin that hasn’t been said before? I’m in love with this guy’s brain. Also, he blogs everyday, and I love how I can go there anytime and be assured that he posted something new.
- Design for Mankind – Erin Lochner’s blog always makes me inspired to blog about my family. To write from the heart. Her style of writing is almost poignant, IMO, even when her post is sponsored by a soap company or a furniture brand.
Don’t hesitate to click the subscribe button of the blogs you believe in. You’ll be surprised at the amount of inspiration coming your way when you intentionally look for it.
2. Write with a purpose.
Know your purpose and the kind of impact you want to have on your readers, and let that purpose guide you. I love the days when bloggers blog Dear Diary style and not really care whether people are reading or not. But we’ve entered an era where people actually read blogs because they either need information or inspiration.
So, more than just documenting your life or sharing your thoughts, think about the people who read your blog. And those who will someday chance upon your blog for the first time. And your children. What kind of message do you want to impart to them? What do you want them to remember long after they’ve closed the browser? What kind of legacy do you want to leave the world wide web?
When you know your purpose, you’ll find that it’s easier to start or end your post. Don’t lose your grip on that purpose. Write in such a way that will make a difference, no matter how big or how small.
3. Eliminate the distractions.
How many times have you had a brilliant topic for a blog post but you ended up just posting it on Twitter in 140 characters? How many times have you abandoned your draft because you got distracted by your Facebook feed? You know why it’s easy to get distracted? Because we make the option to just share a link or twit an idea so tempting by keeping our Facebook and Twitter pages one browser tab away while we’re writing! Eliminate that temptation. Disconnect from social media for a while and focus on your blog.
Often it’s easier to be distracted than it is to be inspired. Just as you can intentionally look for inspiration, you can also deliberately shut down the sources of distractions.
A note to moms: Choose the kind of distractions that you will allow. I had to add this one bit because my kids are often my biggest distractions. And sometimes I let them distract me. When I hear them laughing or crying from the other side of the wall, I sometimes step away from my laptop and play with them or cuddle with them for a few minutes. Then I go back to writing feeling more recharged and more inspired.
4. Listen to the sound of rain.
Something about the smell or the sound of rain that makes me relaxed, reflective and inspired. And I realized just a couple of months ago that the sound of rain actually propels me to write. Do you feel that way too? Of course it’s not like we can instruct the sky to pour in rain anytime we need to write something, but I’m letting you in on my secret to getting work done:
www.RainyMood.com. You’re welcome.
If not rainymood.com, I use the Infinite Storm app.
I used to listen to instrumental music while writing, but I learned that the sound of rain is so much better. I also like plugging in my earphones when writing because it shuts off the surrounding noise, and it brings me to a zone where it’s just me, my thoughts, and my fingers tapping on the keys.
Also, having your earphones plugged in is like a subtle way of telling people “Do Not Disturb”. Works all the time. ;)
5. Maintain a blogging habit.
Keep doing something and it eventually becomes a habit. Here are practical ways to get into the blogging habit:
Set a time in the day/week for blogging.
Time won’t free up by itself, you have to be the one to make time. It works for me that I blog at night once the babies are tucked in, or in the weekends (like now). This is different from the writing/blogging I do at work, which of course I have to do during the day. If I want to keep updating this blog, I have to make time for it.
Start a blogging calendar and follow through.
List down content ideas and plot them in a calendar. Don’t let them get stuck in your drafts too long. Finish the posts that you started and publish them on the dates you’ve set.
Start a blog series or do a creative project.
I’ve done a 30-day Challenge three times in the past, where I force myself to blog everyday for 30 days. Some of the best content I’ve written are from those days. You can check out the links on the sidebar. Right now I’m doing a 52 Week Project where I take portraits of my babies once a week and post them here. When you have a specific “theme” to follow, it’s easier to update your blog on a regular basis.
I can list more blogging tips but at the end of the day, it’s really up to you to figure out what works for you. Find that sweet spot where you can regularly blog without pressuring yourself too much. Maintain that frequency. And don’t forget to have fun. :)
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