I just came across this post the other day on Pro Blogger, 5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier. It is one of the blog sites I have subscribed to for years to get new ideas for both content creation and how to hone in on my writing voice. In fact, I’m even implementing some things in this post today that I learned from this particular article.
I thought it would make a good follow-up to my post 9 Ways To Feed the Blogging Beast, which mostly dealt with content creation and ways to get inspired. I know, it only took me three years to ever touch that topic again, but hey.
Like Stacey Roberts says in her article,
But that is just the beginning, right? That doesn’t include planning, goal-setting, editorial calendars, blog design, design tweaks, multimedia, multiple updates on social media, a social media workflow plan, guest blogging, networking, sponsorships, affiliate sales, creating products, launching products, email marketing, creating newsletters, being part of the blogging community, going to events, keeping up with trends…
The first thing I did after reading this post was download an editorial calendar plugin and begin spreading out my upcoming posts. Planning time to write or create content isn’t my challenge, but planning a few weeks in advance the type of posts I am going to write or have already written and plan on posting. Having a calendar helps me to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what I am posting and what I wanted to achieve when it comes to blogging.
I have no problem sitting in front of a few dashboards and word processors every day and writing something. But having a plan where what I’m doing today is part of a larger strategy of what I’m doing the rest of this week and maybe month helps give me focus and get my individual posts written pretty speedily and succinctly. The larger whole helps me focus on the individual parts.
I find myself doing something very similar to Roberts,
When I finish one post, I look at my list and move onto the next. I move the calendar around when I write spontaneous posts, but having an overarching framework with which to reference has been the breakthrough for me.
Planning how I am going to reach writing goals and the specific tasks involved helps keep me on track. Using such a calendar and breaking down my writing goals into smaller chunks reminds me what I have left to write.
At the time of preparing this post, I’m also in a free trial period of CoSchedule which provides an editorial calendar feature which also hooks into your WordPress blog folders (in my case, for drafts I’m working on). But it also helps promote to my social media sites directly from inside my WordPress dashboard, saving me time in posting directly to those sites myself.
Other Personal Tips for Making Your Blogging Life Easier
A few of the following relate mostly to things I’ve been doing, and time management ideas I got from this article on TipsForThat.com.
I write a lot using Scrivener, and usually with the full screen composition mode on, which a lot of sites like WordPress now include. This is a quick list and not meant to be exhaustive:
1) Stay Focused
For help with this I used to use FocusBooster while it was a free app. It uses the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time management system that challenges you to focus on a single task for 25 minutes and then give yourself a 5-minute break. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. When those 25 minutes are up, the app sounds the alarm and counts down the 5 minute break as well. I wrote the lion’s share of 9 Lies People Believe About Speaking in Tongues with FocusBooster turned on.
2) Block Out Distractions
Nowadays I primarily use a Mac app called Self Control which blocks out websites and apps of your choosing — in my case, social media profiles — for an hour or two at a time. Not having the ability to go to these different sites helps me not to bother trying to, and I stay focused on what I’m working on.
3) Create a sense of urgency
I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on my blog before, that one of the best ways to accomplish anything is when you have deadlines — whether self-imposed or from outside sources, like someone holding me accountable asking me to show my progress. Whenever I’ve had assignments due in highschool or Bible college, I found that the closer I got to the deadline, the more productive I became. Imaging that! I believe a lot of people are this way as well. Give yourself deadlines.
That’s where the editorial calendar I’ve begun using comes into play.
4) Do something else away from the screen
Take a break. Get away from the screen. Stop sitting on your heiny for pro longed amounts of time. If you like me, then the tips in number 1 will help you when you take advantage of those 5 minute breaks to go have a coffee break. Stephen King takes walks every afternoon after having spent all morning writing. Jeff Goins reads for an hour before hitting the keyboard.
Now get up away from your computer screen and take a walk. When you come back, I am willing to bet you have your creative juices flowing.
Have a good day!