The decision to undertake blogging is a relatively easy decision in the grand scheme of things. Selecting a topic to write about, acquiring hosting, choosing software and a design for the site is fairly simple, especially if you have familiarity with blogging. The hardest part of maintaining a blog is writing with regularity. The difficulty level is magnified exponentially if you have a full-time job and come home to a family. How do you overcome the lack of time while sustaining your dream?
Quick background so you can get an idea why I am writing this article – I have a full-time, 7:30am-5:30pm job and come home to a wife and junior high school aged child. Maintaining the requisite balance between family, work and “hobby” (whereby in this case the “hobby” is a blog) is delicate – you need to ensure none are neglected for all to flourish.
If you have a full-time career and desire to maintain a blog, there are some strategic tips for ensuring you can continue to write without feeling guilty for neglecting your beloved blog. Here are some of the so-called tricks I have found to be pretty useful.
Set Realistic Goals.
Unless the number of hours in a day suddenly multiplies, you are only going to be able to write so much each day. Your number one concern needs to be quality, and writing valuable content is time consuming. This means writing three to four blog posts per day is going to be damn near impossible. One article a day may even be too much to ask yourself. Situations vary so goals will be different.
The point is to ensure your goals are realistic and attainable. You may find it easier to write three to four blog posts per week as opposed to per day. In this case, teaming up with a partner may allow the blog to have fresh content posted daily.
By being realistic, you will not only be able to achieve your goals, you will feel far less stressed about the whole thing.
It is important to know ahead of time what your writing standards will be. Having standards is equivalent to expectations – you will know what your expected output is to be. This is key because it allows you to schedule your time appropriately.
If you maintain a 100-200 word per article standard, you should know that writing such an article is a somewhat simple task. However, if your standards are 800 words minimum, the time required to complete a quality post has just been magnified.
And quality is critical. Do not pump out a bunch of lazily written paragraphs just to fill an article with meaningless words. Define the topic and aim for valuable content. Anything less will not achieve those standards.
As with creating standards, having deadlines is just as important. The triad of goals, standards and deadlines is vital for your blog. These mechanisms help ensure you do not procrastinate, and allow your article to fit within a defined set of rules. Deadlines are an important variable in the triad, forcing you to sit down and write and finish that article within a set time. It’s easy to say, “ah, screw it! I’m too tired tonight – I’ll get to that post tomorrow.” Then tomorrow turns in to 12 days later.
But deadlines are more than just that – they are also a way to hold you accountable for the work on your blog. Especially if you are working in a team environment, deadlines are a way of demonstrating to the team that you care about the “work” you’re doing. Failure to meet deadlines disappoints the team – the very team who is relying on you to contribute your part. Failure to meet a deadline lets everyone down, but should mostly be a letdown to you.
To successfully write a complete article you have to be able to write undistracted. Interruption lengthens the time it takes to write an article, and more importantly, increase the stress of writing.
Find a quiet part of the house, close and lock the door and sit down and write. Don’t let the wife or kids in the room, and just start pumping words out.
Disruption-free writing allows you to focus on the task and to finish in a timely manner. You will feel a whole lot less stress when you are not disturbed.
Don’t Feel Guilty.
This may sound peculiar, especially after waxing the advice already dished, but you have to make sure you do not feel guilty for missing a day. Nobody is going to be able to maintain a full-time career, family (with children) and write quality articles on a blog each and every single day of the year. It just will not happen – when it does, it’s the exception not the rule.
Things happen. They do. Really. Sick kids, tight schedules at work which lead to extra hours or any other curveball life may throw your way. Do not feel guilty because that leads to added stress, which may ultimately lead to the downfall of what is supposed to be an enjoyable adventure.
These tips are definitely not for everyone, but surely some will find value here. Even if you do not have a full-time career, the same basic advice still applies. The point is to keep having fun – hobbies are not supposed to be stress-filled!
What other blogging tips have you found helpful? Do you have a full-time job and still maintain your blog, pumping out quality content on a semi-regular basis?