I’ve received several reader questions about blogging. One reader said that he hadn’t posted to his blog in a year because blogging’s too difficult.
Another reader, a self-publishing author, wants to create a blog to market his books, but “doesn’t know what to write.”
Blogging made simple: create
I love this Flannery O’Connor quote:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Writers write. We don’t need to know what we’re writing when we sit down to write. We need to be comfortable not knowing. There’s a term for this: creative anxiety.
Creative anxiety is rooted in perfectionism.
Many bloggers (and aspiring bloggers) suffer from perfectionism. They write a sentence or two, decide that it’s trash, and stop writing.
Every writer is overwhelmed by perfectionism at times; it’s a trait that recurs, even if we think we’ve overcome it. And it may cripple your writing — if you’re unaware that it causes anxiety and creative blocks.
Battle perfectionism by:
- Avoiding the backspace/ delete key — forbid yourself to delete anything in a first draft;
- Using a timer. Decide on how many minutes you’ll write — five minutes, half an hour — then keep writing until your timer sounds.
Let’s look at ways we can make blogging simpler.
1. Generate ideas which work for your blog
Decide on the results you want from blogging. If you’re looking for clients, ask yourself who you’d like to hire you. Today, there are more opportunities for writers than there have ever been.
You’ll get hired faster if you focus on local writing gigs. Who knows? You might be the only web content writer in 50 miles. 🙂
After you’ve decided on the results you want, make a list of topics which will work for your audience.
By the way — you may have several audiences; focus on one at a time.
2. Write SHORT blog posts (or post an image)
Many bloggers report that they’re getting good results by writing longer blog posts of 2,000 words. Very commendable… However, that can cause a new blogger (or even an experienced one) to imagine that you must write 2000 words. Well, no. Fashions in blogging come and go. But it’s your blog.
That’s what’s so amazing about blogging: if it’s your blog, you do it YOUR way.
I’ve been blogging for over 20 years. Looking back at some of the ideas which were promulgated I have to giggle. Here’s an example. For years on end, “expert” bloggers moaned that you MUST allow comments on your blog, because yada yada… I never listened. I thought it nonsense, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion, right? I’ve got to admit to a little schadenfreude when several of the “everyone can comment!” people came a cropper; it was inevitable that they would.
But I digress. Getting back to writing long posts… Here’s the thing. Writing 2000 words takes a while. Is it worthwhile in your situation? Try posting a very short blog post (100 words), or even just an image.
3. Batch-create headlines to generate content for a month
I do all my blog preparation on Sunday afternoons. I write a series of blog post titles, with a few sentences for each one to expand on what the headline means. I then post these to WordPress as draft posts.
Tip: don’t TRY to “write well.” As we’ve mentioned, perfectionism can cripple your writing.
Create your titles fast. You can change them at any time, and you certainly will. Your aim is quantity, not quality.
4. Can’t face blogging? Set a timer for five minutes
You’re bored. You’d rather jab a sharp stick into your eyeball than blog.
Set a timer for five minutes. Or two minutes. (We looked at the two-minute rule here.)
Write. When the timer sounds, you’re done. You may become inspired before your time’s up and write more. Or you may not. Either way, you’ve written something, and that’s an achievement.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.