Blogging is not all sunshine and roses, and neither is it easy. There is a common misconception that bloggers just need to open a new post, write it and then publish it. But blogging, as with any job or hobby can come with its own set of obstacles. Today I am sharing my biggest blogging obstacles and the strategies I use to overcome them.
Writing a blog post and getting it ready for publishing can take time. I don’t want to spend all of my time sitting at a screen and thinking about what I am going to write, nor do I want to miss out on other life events because of my blog, and I especially do not want to rush a blog post in order to hit any schedule I have in place. This is where time management is crucial. I have gotten into a routine of scheduling time of an evening to write blog posts, work on post ideas and plan my schedule. I set aside 2 hours of my evening in which to write, plan and read other blogs. It has taken time to get to this stage where it just comes naturally to me, that on returning from my 9-5 job I put the kettle on and make a coffee then settle down to craft a post. It’s all about being time savvy and finding a good balance.
If you are struggling with time management and feel that you don’t have the time to spend on your blog that you want it is worth keeping a log of how you spend your time for a week. The time log can be as detailed as you want but all you really need to see is when you have any downtime that could be used blogging. Once you have identified these blocks of time you can start scheduling in blog time.
Productivity can be a hard one to measure as a blogger especially when there are so many blogging activities that need to be done including writing posts, editing, images, links, catching up with other blogs, commenting and a whole host of other things. There are also distractions that can make being productive quite hard.
Productivity is one thing I am forever struggling with. Have I been productive by writing 3 posts this week? By keeping on top of my comments? By staying up to date with my fellow bloggers? Every day can be so different that comparing one day to another in terms of what I have accomplished doesn’t really work.
I manage my productivity by making lists of the things I want to achieve on my blog each week and then break it down into smaller, more manageable lists that I aim to complete each day. I roughly know how long each task will take me and try to allocate the tasks so that the time allowance is the same for each day. I find that when I know what needs to be done and I can cross things off that I can then measure how productive I have been.
Some days I am super motivated and seem to get a ton of blog things accomplished but then another day I have all the intentions of working on my blog but all I seem to manage to do is sit and stare into space and not get anything done. We are only human and need to have back up plans for when the lack of motivation hits us.
I like to deal with this kind of day by having a few posts written in advance (I write these on the days I am feeling super motivated) which I keep in my drafts folder. On the days I have a lack of motivation I open up my drafts folder and edit a post before scheduling it. Just this little act can boost my motivation and I can then work on some other blog things.
But, I have learned that on days when my motivation is lacking sometimes it is best to step away from the blog and work on something else I enjoy. There is no point in being harsh with yourself when you have zero motivation, it is your brain’s way of saying that you need a bit of time out.
When I first started this blog I went through a bit of Bloggers Block, its a bit like writers block (but for bloggers) where you have all the will in the world to write, you want to write and have a need to write but there are no words appearing on the screen no matter how hard you stare at it and will them to appear. Bloggers block is one of the biggest fears of mine and one that I hope not to experience again any time soon.
I have developed a system in order to avoid the dreaded blogger’s block and that is to have a journal where I write down any ideas for posts that I may have. Any idea, no matter how big or small or crazy gets written down. I go through the book when I am working on my posting schedule for the month and schedule the ideas in for the following month.
Coming up with ideas for the blog can be a bit hit or miss at times, and even though I add any ideas I have to a blog journal I am always conscious that these ideas may run out in the future. I like to sit down every few months and go through some exercises that can help with generating fresh content ideas.
The first exercise is to look at the categories I write posts in, for example, Fashion And Beauty. I get a piece of blank paper and write the heading in the centre then try to think of as many topics related to that category as possible, so for Fashion and Beauty, there may be things like the outfit, season, new shoes, shower gel, cleanser etc, a bit like a spider diagram. From this I can then come up with ideas for blog posts.
The second exercise I have is to perform a hashtag search to see what kind of things are trending which are relative to my niche. Sometimes words or phrases will come up that I had never thought of or expected which can then generate ideas for blog posts.
As a blogger I often feel that I am only accountable to myself, and being accountable to myself is something that I don’t do well with as I am one of those people who will put off today the things I can do tomorrow.
In order to bring accountability to my blog and get things done in a timely manner, I have a blog posting schedule which I have loosely planned out until the end of 2020. I created a calendar in Excel which I have written in re-occurring posts such as my Saturday Shout Out, Top 10 Thursday and Weekly Roundup, all the posts that are assigned to specific days. I have also written out onto certain days the category of the blog post I want to be written for that day, there is nothing very specific on it. However, I then start assigning specific blog posts and titles the month prior, so this month (September) I have already planned out the majority of my posts to their specifics for October. Working to a schedule means that I always know what is coming up, what I need to write and when I need it written for.
The other way I have bought accountability to my blog is by sharing a post each month letting all of my readers know what is coming up on the blog in that coming month. This works really well for me as I know, with my reader’s expectations, I stay accountable to them as well as myself.
Blogging is a fairly solitary activity and it can be easy to feel a bit lonely at times. With other activities, such as a job, you are surrounded by people all in the same boat and it is easy to chat, share problems and generally talk about the job, but blogging can be one of those things that friends and family may not fully understand. I have found that the best way to overcome these feelings of loneliness is to find other bloggers that you enjoy reading, start commenting on their blogs and build up a network of like-minded people.
I have been incredibly lucky to meet some really supportive, like-minded bloggers since starting this blog, and I am pleased to be able to call them friends. But, I have only been able to build up this group of friends through following, reading, commenting and replying to comments. I have found that if you reach out to another blogger, or if they reach out to you then it is worthwhile investing time in conversations, you won’t often feel lonely at all.
What are your biggest blogging obstacles and how have you overcome them? Let me know in the comments, your responses may be able to help another blogger who is struggling.