A couple of weeks ago I spoke to a friend of mine who was interested in starting a blog. Actually, she had already started a blog but, like many who do, was feeling a bit overwhelmed. What are tags? What about categories? What is all this I hear about SEO?
She had a lot of questions. I answered many of them, but one of the most important questions I answered was the one she didn’t ask. Namely, how do you keep a blog alive?
If you’ve tried to start your own blog, you’ve probably experienced the phenomena of the slow death.
It starts great. You’re excited about blogging. You’re a writer, after all, and your blog will be wonderful. It will be full of your thoughts, your ideas, and all the important things you have to write about.
The first post goes off without a hitch. Sure, you might spend hours crafting it, hours of editing and rewriting until it’s just so. But when you publish, it’s a fantastic feeling.
The next week’s post is the same. Sort of. It feels great, but it’s not as great as the first.
Then it sets in. You have to do this again every week. Once a week for the rest of your life. A new idea, a new post, a new collection of important thoughts.
The realization is a hard one, and that plan on posting once a week becomes every other week. You start strong, but then your posts go to once a month, or “when you get inspired.” Pretty soon, you’ve had a blog for three months and have a grand total of four or five posts, the last of which you wrote a month ago. You’re not a professional. This blogging thing isn’t for you. It’s too hard.
Other than hiring a ghostwriter, what are you to do?
You’re never going to have a blog if you can’t write on a regular basis. You have to write. You have to write regularly, you have to write a lot, and you have to finish what you write. Those are non-negotiable terms.
For most people, this reality is what stops their blogs cold. It kills them slowly, like the dreams of becoming a violin player. It’s a nice dream, but the reality is you have to practice every day, hours a day, for the rest of your life. Most people aren’t ready to do that, which is why most people never become violin players.
It’s the same with blogging, but there is a way to cheat.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. You sit down, write, and don’t stop until you have something. Half hour? Hour? That’s up to you. But sitting down to write is the hard part.
When you do actually get the time and the discipline, you have to use it. Can you only write once a month? Ok. If you have a blog and want to post once a week, that means your writing session will have to produce four posts. Twice a month? Great. You still need to write four posts. Write four for this month, four for next. Use the time when you have it.
Write a lot at once. Hit it and quit it. You can write once a month. You can write twice a month. If you want a daily post, you’re going to have to write more, but that doesn’t mean you have to write every day. Once or twice a week will probably do it. Get the most out of your time by writing more than one post at a time, and that slow death will wait.
“But wait,” you’re thinking. “I can sit down to write, but I don’t have anything to write about.”
Of course you do. Unfortunately, you have to wait until next week to find out what that is.