Last month I set myself up for the impossible task of blogging every day. Guess what? Forty days later, and I’m still going strong. You know, I don’t think it’s something everyone should do. Thinking of a different idea every single day can be exhausting, time-consuming, but it’s also great to keep your creative brain alive especially when you feel like you’ve lost your zest for writing.
I’ve had a major case of writer’s block for the last couple of months. I’m not talking about the sort of writer’s block that can be fixed by staring at your laptop screen for an hour with Resident Evil save room music playing in the background, but the sort where you can’t pump out even a paragraph. I have no problem with ideas; that’s the easiest part, but putting them down into words is much harder. Earlier this year, I started my second serious novel (as mentioned before, I’ve previously written another two absolutely awful pieces of crap back in 2009 and 2010), and found myself just over 7,000 words in before I became stuck. Since I couldn’t continue with that story, I decided to turn my hand to blogging. Blogging means you can get your words out to people, and can interact with others on the world wide web. I decide to write about politics, because it’s difficult to escape from the world of politics, but you can write about just about anything. Because of that, I decided to separate my writing and other related posts to this blog, and talk about politics on my new site, The Fifty Percent Review.
Since I’ve seen a lot of people talk about the slog of blogging, and how so many give up after a few short months, I thought I should offer a few tips on how you can blog regularly. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who struggled one blog every couple of months when I first started in 2012. In 2013, I did one post in February, and then took a huuge break until June, and then only did two more posts between September and December. Lucky for me, I’ve managed to find a good cycle for posting on Gut Instinct (one post per month) that’s realistic to maintain. But you want to know how to write regularly, don’t you? Well, let’s get crack-a-lacking:
1. Write about something that interests you
It goes without saying. You’re going to get bored after about two seconds if you choose something you’re kinda interested in, but not really. If you’re blogging most days, you’re going to get burnt out if it’s a topic you’re not completely invested in. Even if you’re interested, all your articles will start to blend into one. Here’s a good article about why you shouldn’t blog every day. The problem is finding out what interests you. For most readers of this blog, it’s probably reading and writing. Go deeper. What specific elements of these do you enjoy? If it’s reading and reviewing books, check out other blogs that do the same, and head to BookTube for some inspiration. If it’s writing, what parts of writing do you enjoy? You’ll probably start with the obligatory ones about writer’s block and procrastination (we’ve all been there!), but as you get further along, you’ll probably want to be more specific. Same as before! Check out other blogs for inspiration. When I’m stuck for Gut Instinct ideas, I usually check out my favourite bloggers in my WordPress Reader: Shannon A Thompson, Vincent Mars and Ryan Lanz. For my political blog, I check out The Conversation Room, political-minded blogs who have followed me, and Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Eventually, you’ll find your niche, and therefore, your interest.
2. Stick to a routine
Write at the same time everyday. I’m a night owl, so I usually write just after midnight, but you might have a different routine. Midnight for me in Australia is daytime for the rest of the world, so there’s the global engagement from the Northern Hemisphere, where a lot of potential clicks come from. Don’t let that bother you. Choose the time you’re most productive (so, not 3.30pm), sit down in front of your laptop, and try to remove as many distractions as possible.
3. Don’t give up
You’re not going to get 10,000 subscribers straight off the bat, as well as an interview with The Guardian, Breitbart and your local paper. Building an audience takes time. You’re going to have to put yourself out there as well, commenting on blogs with similar content to yours, as well as likely maintaining the social media presence of your choice (I stick to Facebook and Twitter, but the choice is yours). It’s also a good idea to use the “tags” functionality if you’re using WordPress or the like, as that helps more people find your work. But, remember, all the other popular blogs began where you are, and weren’t immediately at a billion subscribers when they hit “Publish” on their first post. It takes time. Don’t give up.
4. Quality over Quantity
I know, you’re probably afraid you won’t be able to think of one idea—let alone a quality idea—every single day of the year. Don’t force it. Yeah, yeah, that’s what she said. But, if you can’t force yourself to make a post every day, then don’t. Do it every couple of days. After a while, that’s exactly what I’ll do for The Fifty Percent Review, but at the moment, it’s kind of an experiment to see if I can post every day. If quality goes down, however, I won’t force myself to post something. Don’t just write filler articles. Try your best to write quality content whenever you set out to blog. This is where the first tip comes in handy: if you’re writing about something you like, it’s easier to write quality stuff, because you’re interested in it in the first place.
Blogging every day has been a struggle at times, but ultimately, it’s rewarding. It doesn’t matter if I stick to a less lax routine in the future, it’s an enjoyable challenge at the moment. The wide range of people from different walks of life commenting and talking about my articles is more than worth it in the end. Their perspectives help me learn more about things than I ever got just talking about this stuff with IRL friends or by not posting at all. Even if you don’t end up posting every single day, you’ve learned that you’re capable of something you didn’t think was possible. Remember: Nothing’s impossible. Even the word itself says “I’m possible”. So think of what interests you and get blogging…right now! Or maybe tomorrow? I am still a procrastinator at heart, after all!