“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” – William Faulkner
Four years ago I wrote about the power of a daily blogging habit, and how that doesn’t mean posting every day (which is neither appropriate nor realistic for most small business owners).
As I explained, “A daily blogging habit is a commitment to devote time to your blog. It means that no matter what day it is, you have at least one blog post that you’re working through the stages of the writing process.”
My own daily blogging habit has certainly fluctuated since then, but one thing is certain: finishing a blog post is much, much easier when I spread the task over several days.
On any given day, I may open my draft document and work on a post, write promotional messages for a post that’s finished, or complete other steps in my streamlined blogging process. Or I may simply let my mind wander towards my topics so I can do some mental blogging.
Here are the five habits I rely on to build and stick to a daily blogging routine:
Schedule a blogging time
I have a recurring appointment set in my calendar. As it happens, right now it’s 9:00 a.m. every weekday, just like in Faulkner’s quote. This means I won’t schedule other work or appointments at that time, or if I do, I’ll see the conflict and reschedule my blogging time. I have a longer time block scheduled on Sunday mornings.
Set up for success
I plan posts ahead of time and do the pre-work of outlining the basic ideas I want to cover (if I need to, I’ll use this time for outlining).
I eliminate distractions by closing unnecessary programs and browser windows, and turning off notifications.
I imagine my ideal readers and clients and how I want to help them. I also think about the people who graciously share my posts on Twitter (I call them my retweet heroes).
Throughout the week, I seek out and try new ideas to improve my writing and productivity.
Sit with discomfort
I set my Pomodoro timer, though sometimes it’s not as much to ensure I stop and move on to my other tasks of the day, but to make sure I don’t stop writing and let myself off the hook, even if the words or ideas aren’t flowing.
Go with the flow
With several posts on the go in various stages of completion, I can match my energy of the day with how I use my blogging time.
Instead of fighting with a post that’s not working, and before I decide whether to scrap it, I can work on another post or switch to a non-writing task like finding links or images.
Of course, this requires the self-honesty to acknowledge when I’m really just letting myself off the hook from writing.
Allow time for all stages of the blogging process
Trying to start, finish and publish a blog post in one sitting creates way too much pressure, and is a recipe for typos, readability issues, and unfocused writing. When I sit down to finish a blog post (usually on Sunday mornings), I’m reviewing and polishing what I’ve already been drafting for several days.
(You can even give yourself permission to write a “shitty first draft,” which is writer Anne Lamott’s advice for banishing perfectionism.)
Can you spare 10, 15 or 30 minutes each day to make some progress on your next blog post? I guarantee it will be easier to finish if you’ve already started!