Deciding how to blog is different for everyone. Unlike a 9-5 job, there are no hard and fast rules attached. In blogging:
- There is no official start time.
- There is no one to tell you to go home and relax at the end of the day.
- There is no definitive end to the work.
Some bloggers spend a few hours in front of the computer, one or two times a week. Others write and promote all day long. Blogging can be a hobby, a passion, a career, and an obsession. For many bloggers, it is a combination of all four.
How Not to Blog When Life Gets Busy
It was bound to happen eventually. This week, life caught up with me. I felt like a plate spinner who pushed himself to the limit. Everything was perfectly balanced, and it looked beautiful. I also knew that if I so much as sneezed, everything would come crashing down.
Balancing family, work, and blogging is tricky–especially the blogging part. For me personally, when things are going well, I get excited and to want to do more. The Barna, Strength’s Finder Assessment, calls this being a Maximizer. Maximizers get fired up when things are going good. Our passion is to take everything to the next level.
The dark side of this strength is two-fold:
- First, maximizers get so focused on refining their work that they don’t want to publish it. When I began writing, this was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome.
- Second, maximizers get so caught up in the excitement of things going well, that they don’t know when to slow down–This would be my current challenge.
For maximizers, blogging can become an addiction.
- There is always one more place to promote our work.
- Because there is no limit to the number of posts that can be published, there is always one more post to be written.
If we are not careful, blogging becomes a black-hole that sucks away our time. The tricky thing for maximizers is not allowing this to happen.
How to Blog with Balance
On most days, I listen to a podcast or audiobook on my drive to work. Usually, I choose one by a favorite blogger or author. This week I smiled as I listened to three of my favorite writers recall how they wore themselves our physically and emotionally by trying to keep up with everything–It reminded me a lot of myself. I’m willing to bet that if these writers took the Strength’s Finder Assessment, they would rate high for the quality of maximizer too.
This week, I wrote down my mental to-do list. Not my blogging to-do list, but my list of stuff that needed to get done, but I had been putting off. The first things I noticed is that my list had doubled in size. I had become so focused on keeping all of my blogging plates spinning, that I began putting off important life tasks.
A circus plate-spinner has two options. He can keep adding plates, and spinning them until he is no longer able to keep up. Or, he can take his bow and delicately begin to downsize. I bet you can easily pick out which option is best, and this week I opted for the latter.
How to Blog by Pivoting
A pivot is a slight shift or change in direction. It’s a skill used in basketball players when the ball-handler isn’t able to move forward without receiving a penalty. Though unable to progress, these players can still pivot. This ability to make small changes in direction makes all the difference. In sports, knowing how to pivot well, is a must.
This week, I took a number of blogging pivots:
- I let my normal Wednesday post go, and slept-in instead.
- I took a break from many of the linkey parties I had faithfully participated in.
- I slowed down with the Facebook groups.
- I took a deep breath, sipped my coffee slowly, and smiled.
I had fallen into the trap of treating blogging as a hundred-yard dash, and not a marathon, and it was time to slow down. I’ll be the first to admit that pivoting isn’t easy. These small changes have already resulted in less engagement and decreased blogging stats–so I’ve been forcing myself to quit looking at them, for now.
How to Blog During Life’s Seasons
Some seasons of life provide plenty of room for blogging and social media connection. As you have probably guessed, I love these times!
Others are more rushed. Currently, our family is in a season of preparation. We are getting ready for the arrival of Baby Emma. Of course, this is one of the best seasons of all. Jenny and I can’t wait for her to get here! For me, the trick is remembering that I don’t need to keep everything going. This week’s post on how to blog when life gets busy is written specifically for me. It’s the result of my own, private brainstorming session. Yet, I thought that you might benefit from it too.
How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Busy Bloggers
- Write Shorter Posts: There is much to be said for posts that are short and to the point. There are two reasons for this:
- People are busier than ever before.
- There is more content to consume than ever before.
Danny Iny, from Mirasee, recently sent an e-mail suggesting that the greatest challenge facing companies in 2016 is that readers are drowning in content. [Tweet “Shorter blog posts can be a breath of fresh air to busy readers.”] As you can see by the length of this post, short and sweet is not where I excel. It is a pivot I’m working on.
- Post Less Frequently: Friday’s posts are a personal favorite. I plan to keep this link-up going even when I’m in a time-crunch. Everything else is optional. This week I pivoted by letting my normal, Wednesday post go. While I don’t plan on doing this every week, I’m learning that taking a break is perfectly acceptable.
- Tell More Stories: Stories are fun, and flow easily. This is a simple, fun, and time-saving pivot I’m striving to use more often.
- Use Quotes: Last year, I chose three topics I was interested in:
- Leadership, and
- Blended families
I listed five to ten quotes on each topic and wrote about why I thought each quote mattered. It was a way of adding my personal touch to other people’s inspiring thoughts. For some reason, Google loved these posts. While many of my posts follow a predictable pattern of initial traffic that dies down over time, these posts receive consistent visitors week after week. This is another strategy that I plan to use more frequently.
- Revive Old Posts: A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a retro link-party. Bloggers were asked to contribute posts that were a minimum of six months old. For fun, I joined in. Looking back at my old posts, I was surprised at how much my style has changed. Post that had been favorites now looked bland. The maximizer side of me kicked in. I wanted to brighten up the language and graphics, add in bonus content, and tell new stories that illustrated the key points. Reviving old posts is an idea that I haven’t tested out yet, but it’s on my list of blogging pivots that I can’t wait to try!
- Start a Series: Instead of cramming every idea into one post, I’m trying to convince myself that list-posts,–like this one–can be broken up into a series. It’s another pivot that I’m excited about testing in the future.
[Tweet “The key to blogging when life gets busy is to get creative!”]
When I look back on my blogging journey I realize that posts that I worked hard on, sometimes fell flat. Others, where I quickly shared from my heart, and then reluctantly published, lead to awesome engagement, new friendships, and a whole lot of fun! From these experiences, I’ve learned that simple pivots often work better than I expect.
[Tweet “When life gets busy, the key is to pivot and keep going.”] Make small changes that free up your time. Don’t stress. Don’t panic. Don’t force yourself to try to keep up with everything. Instead of spinning ten plates, keep the one or two most important things going. This is my blogging advice for myself this week, and I hope you find it helpful as well.
Have you found yourself spinning too many blogging plates at once, and if so, how did you fix this? What essential blogging pivots have you made in the past year? What additional advice would you give me for blogging when life gets busy?–With a new baby on the way, I can use all of the blogging wisdom that I can get. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!
For more writing ideas, be sure to visit our writing resources page. I pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite writing resources. You can also check out my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!
I’d love your help choosing a cover. Your can leave your vote as well as any additional cover suggestions in the comments below! Thanks for the awesome feedback last week. Please keep the ideas coming!
Family, Friendship, and Faith Link-Up
This link-up is an excellent place to meet new friends, network, and share your posts. Please feel free to include any family, friendship, and faith-related posts. If you have time, please visit some of the other submissions, leave a comment, and make some new connections–after all, this is what teaming-up is all about!
[Tweet “I’m Teaming-up at the #Family #Friendship and #Faith link-up. Join the Party! “]