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cubewarrior How to Publish Daily When You Have A 9 5 Job : Blog Promotion

It’s a typical, grey, Michigan winter day. People are heading home trotting quickly to their cars bundled against the cold air.

One cube warrior walks a touch slower than the rest. He’s lost in thought. You can see the steam rising from his moving lips. It looks like he’s recording something into one of those iPhone headsets. He even stops once to tap a quick note into his phone.

In a minute, he gets in his car, shuts the door, and takes out a moleskin stashed in the center console. He spends 5 minutes scribbling down an idea. Starting the car, he vanishes into the late commute traffic.

It’s 9:30 PM and the house is finally quiet. His wife is catching up on the latest Facebook thread, the baby snores softly through a stuffed-up nose. The high-maintenance golden retriever, Nala finishes her nighttime ritual by lapping up one last drink and loafing upstairs to burrow her way under the covers between the two older boys.

Now the only noise heard throughout the house is the practiced staccato on a time-worn keyboard.

It’s me – blogging.

Similar Stories Play Out Every Day

The latest Technorati State of the Blogosphere study shows that 18% of the blogging world is made up of “professional bloggers.” These bloggers either pen posts for pay or run their own blog-focused business. They make about $18,000/year on average for their efforts.

They keep doing it because they know that a blog is a powerful tool for attracting a devoted audience. They hope that they can turn this audience into a business that can support them and their families full-time. Others just want a little extra cash to replenish what the economy has drained away over the last few years.

People Often Ask Me How I Do It…

Right now I publish a post every weekday. Friday is a light day since it’s an easy roundup post. But from Monday to Thursday, I’m blogging full out. The pundits say that I and others like me will burn out eventually. We’ll see.

However to do what I do with any quality you need to have a game plan in place. Here’s mine. Hopefully it will help you as much as it’s helped me.

Waking-up:

Write a draft in 20 minutes.
The first thing I do every morning is write a draft of the next post listed on my editorial calendar. I don’t care if I don’t like the topic. I write the draft anyway. Believe me, I’ll love the topic come tonight when I have to finish the post, if I want to or not.  The morning time is the witching-hour for most writers.  It seems that your brain likes to reward you for dragging your butt out of bed.  I cheat sometimes by pulling my iPad under the covers and pecking out my draft one letter at a time.

The Shower:

I have to squeeze in creative thinking time whenever I can. I keep a pad and paper beside my towel. It used to be my iPad, not a good idea. The moment I have an idea, I talk it out. I write it down as soon I exit the shower. Sometimes, I write a quick outline to get a head start on writing.

Morning Coffee:

My coffee ritual takes about 10 minutes. During that time, I quickly flip through my RSS feeds via Flipboard or Feed.ly. I have a Twitter RSS feed set-up to push tweets with the #blogging hashtag to my Reader. You can do the same thing for your topic of choice. Just find the appropriate hashtag. Here’s a post from Kristi Hines showing you how to do the RSS Feed Ninja move.

The Commute:

I used to have a digital recorder now I use my iPhone to record any post ideas that pop into my head. I normally listen to an audiobook loosely related to marketing, strategy, entrepreneurship, and leadership on my way to work. I find that the material gets my creative juices flowing. I record anything that occurs to me, no matter how wild it sounds. I’ve learned that censoring your brain is the quickest way to shutting down your creativity for good.

Before Walking in to the Office:

I have a strict rule. No blogging while on the clock. I don’t need the hassle. Neither do you. Respect your employer and blog on your own time. That means I spend 10 minutes in the car recording my thoughts into my iPad or Moleskin before I head in to the office.

Lunch Time:

I spend 30 minutes fleshing out my morning draft. I write full-out for those 30 minutes. Most days, I can finish the text of the next day’s blog. If I have time left, I check my RSS Feed again.

Commute Home:

I listen to fiction. Science fiction to be precise. My brain needs a break and my 45 minute commute is perfect. I’ve learned that this mental downtime is essential for my productivity and creativity. I also enjoy admiring the writing of exceptional authors.

9-11pm:

I have a terrific wife that makes it easy for me to devote crazy amounts of time to my blog. However I try to be available to talk with her and fool around with the kids until 9pm. At 9pm, I put Jay-Z on the headphones and finish up the post that I’ve been working on since waking up. I add photos, links, and other doodads that make my posts sing.

If I have more gas in the tank, I’ll outline 2-3 new posts from the notes in my notebook or iPad.

My writing is over at 11pm sometimes earlier if I’m lucky. I’m getting better about getting at least 8 hours of sleep. Like most, I make it up on the weekends, if that’s really possible.

Some Tips…

With this regimen I always complete one post and put 2 more on deck. My editorial calendar is a lifesaver because it keeps me on task and on purpose. Finish yours if you haven’t already.

I also keep a spreadsheet of post ideas. I keep this spreadsheet open on my desktop to jot down the random idea. I won’t flesh these ideas out until the evening session or the morning drafting session.

I spend 3 hours over the weekend putting posts in the bank. I get them 95% finished and save them as drafts on WordPress. I never save anything that I don’t plan on using. If it gets to WordPress it’s getting shipped. Just a quirk of mine.

Finally, the best professional bloggers fall in love with discipline and planning. They learn to avoid people who cut corners, lower the bar, or make excuses for themselves. It’s just bad mojo that can play with your head.

It’s a weird notion, but your mind craves discipline. It likes to know when it needs to deliver your next burst of inspiration. I’ve never had writer’s block, since I’ve gotten serious about writing and publishing. My daily regimen puts creativity on auto-pilot.

Gather Around, It’s Story Time

I love reading about how other writer’s do their ‘thang. How do you squeeze in your writing around your day job?

One more thing –  Publishing every day doesn’t help if you are focused on the wrong audience or have horrible post mechanics. Before you increase your posting frequency, let me review your blog and let you know if you are ready to turn your new traffic into subscribers, donations, or sales.


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  • Mihai Erhan

    Thanks for the suggestions mate, hopefully they’ll work for my laziness :D

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  • http://www.homedev.eu/ bianca oosthof

    I liked this article because I taught me one thing, keeping up a spreadsheet with ideas. Very often I have ideas while I am writing then follow them and in the end get so far of the road that I don’t know anymore where I started. And the next day I can find myself without inspiration and say to myself, how is this possible, yesterday you had so many ideas. I am not a professional blogger, don’t think my life is interesting enough but try to make regular content for my sites and to be helpful on twitter. Over the last 3 days i got 15 new followers and I don’t even know why:-) Well I have been very active on twitter….
    I work at home, freelance webdesign and SEO manager so I do have time to think and write. No kids. It is snowing now in France and I don’t even think of getting out of the house.
    Question: i have english, dutch and french clients and can write in each language but in the past I have noticed that I can’t keep up with a blog in 3 languages. It is boring to translate your own post 2 times. That really kills inspiration. 1 blog with articles in different languages doesn’t work well neither. What would you advise me (i.e. french are often not good in english)
    Bianca

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  • coombemill

    Don’t think I am a professional blogger but while I don’t have your disciplined routine, I do adopt elemnets of it. I always blog late at night, but finish and publish in the morning when I am fresh and have time to re read. I also have a stack of posts in draft which I come back to when I am struggling for a good idea. Thanks for sharing your tips

  • davidlawyer3

    As always Stanford. Super helpful. Didn’t know about the Twitter RSS feed deal either. Nice!

  • http://www.anacanhoto.com canhoto

    Wow… I am exhausted just from reading it :-) But you are absolutely right about the power of routine – including when and how to use downtime.

    Could I pick your brains on the use of blogs for teaching purposes? I am planning to ask my post grad students (Digital Marketing) to keep a blog. Do you have any tips re: platform, open vs closed, assessed vs not, free vs directed content, and so on? Thanks in advance.

  • Rachel_Burgon

    Cheers for the positive feedback Stanford – I look forward to updating you on my progress through the year!

  • mamalazarus

    This is super helpful, thank you!

  • http://www.quaypointsmarketing.com Sarah Davies

    When I was working full-time and working on a personal blog (I’m back in school right now), I had a ritual very similar to yours. I’ve always been an early morning writer and I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as “no time to blog”. If you can get up half and hour earlier each morning you can start a blog. Keep up with the habit and eventually it will become a ritual that you can’t live without.. – Sarah M. Davies

    • Stanford

      @Sarah Davies Absolutely. People underestimate the power of a good habit.

  • glazarv

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I’m glad I subscribed to your email list. In a world where the overwhelming majority of content ranges from poor to completely useless drivel, I’ve found yours to be helpful, specific and very low on the BS meter. This post is a great example. Thanks! One word of totally unsolicited advice: you could use a good proofreader/copy editor.

    • Stanford

      Thanks, and I agree with the proofreader comment. The problem I have is that I post every day. Normally around 700 words that means I’m paying a small fortune for proofreading. So I’m hoping my fab group of readers are patient with me :)

    • Stanford

      @glazarv Thanks for that. As for the proofreading…. Well. Here’s the deal. I post 5 times a week. Each of my posts average 700 words. Proofreaders want .2 cents a word. If you do the math you see that I would be spending a small fortune. So for now, I’m trying my best to not sound too stupid. I’m hoping my fab PS audience will be patient with me.

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  • Rachel_Burgon

    Thanks for the ideas, I’m currently challenging myself to ditch the desh (the nine-to-five) and blogging that journey. It’s difficult to fit in the time with full-time job and two kids and you really have to be organised, stay motivated and keep at it. You can follow my journey out of the rat-race at http://www.ditchthedesk.com or on twitter rachel_burgon

    • Stanford

      @Rachel_Burgonrachel_burgon That sounds like an awesome topic Rachel. I look forward to following your adventure

  • nevinbuconjic

    Hi Stanford,

    Great post. I am currently trying to step up my blogging and social media efforts to grow my business while also working full time. It is a difficult process. Your daily regiment is quite structured, and I think is essential to be successful at it. I hope to take a few lessons from this, in order to increase the number of posts I can do each week! Thanks for the motivation.

    • Stanford

      @nevinbuconjic Thanks for stopping by! The hard part is getting into a rhythm. Once you do, you naturally increase your productivity. Keep me posted on your progress!

  • BMargaretAdams

    I had assumed that because you look as though you work in social media (you tell us who you work for) that this blog was all part of your job. Given that it isn’t, what you’re doing in amazing. As a reader, I’d like to say that I think your content has always been good, but recently there’s been a step change and it’s so much better.

    • Stanford

      I appreciate the compliment. It’s hard work but I’m totally in love with blogging :)

    • Stanford

      @BMargaretAdams Well thank you. Cool thing is that my day job at Fluency Media gives me ample time to think deep thoughts about social media. Which helps a ton…

  • joethoron

    Love that you save one of your commutes for science fiction. After a full day at work I rarely feel like listening to a marketing podcast on the way home, but usually I just turn on the news and get cranky.

    • Stanford

      @joethoron This week it’s Ender’s Game :)

  • http://www.iintentio.com Jeff_Gross

    Hey Stanford! That is indeed a great idea, I think i will have to do the same, coz off-late because of the increasing workload in the office, i havent been able to give quality time to writing, now i only do it on weekends. Yes, but i do note down the ideas and some current additions to my iPad.

    I absolutely liked your schedule, going to try it now.. Thank you for sharing

    • Stanford

      @Jeff_Gross Your welcome. I understand trying to fit in blogging with an increased day job workload. It can be done you just need to build up a few blog posts when you get the inspiration and energy to write more.

  • http://www.shirleywilson.com/ ShirleyWilson

    Thanks for giving us your “day in the life” of a successful blogger. It absolutely does all come down to discipline (mixed with a little family cooperation too :) ) I, too, had no idea you had a full time job too. So impressive! It really helps hearing your routine, especially about capturing and organizing your ideas throughout the day and night. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Stanford

      @ShirleyWilson Thanks for coming by Shirley.

  • http://heatherbond.me hvbond

    Hi Stanford,I entered a 90 day blogging challenge which got me started writing. It now needs some sorting and improvement following your tips. Thank you.I found myself around the same time each evening sitting with a cup of Earl Grey and writing my post. I’d post to Facebook just before I begin. I now have quite a few Earl Grey followers – interesting what sticks :)Love your blog and support.

    Thank you

    Heather

    • Stanford

      @hvbond Earl Grey followers – I like that!

  • MommyInSuburbia

    Hi Stanford!

    I’m a stay at home mom and blogger, and it isn’t as easy to fit in blogging time as you would think even with being home all day. I love some of the ideas you shared and can adapt them easily to what I do during the day.

    Keeping my camera clicking constantly helps me. When I upload photos weekly, of my kids or some project I’m working on, it provides instant post ideas.

    • Stanford

      @MommyInSuburbia I know how hard it is to write with kids underfoot. Thankfully, my boys have been trained to steer clear when I’m writing – well sometimes they do.

  • http://iamconvicted.com/ bretthenley

    Love the ultra-specifics here Stanford, so thank you for sharing the deets.

    I think it’s interesting (and important) that you hold to a strict rule of posting what you start. It creates a habit of shipping for sure, but also helps set the bar for starting at a place of “good enough.”

    Perfection is nothing but the perfect enemy of the writer.

    Best of luck my friend – definitely one of my fave posts so far.

    • Stanford

      @bretthenley Glad you liked it!

  • GemWriting

    Hi Stanford. I had no idea you had a 9-5 job too – respect (to your wife too!).

    Idea generation can be one of the hardest things when blogging. Like you I usually find when I need something, the essence of an idea will pop into my head. Quite often this happens after sleeping on something or taking a walk.

    I then trust my instincts and give it time to nurture. Then when I sit down to write somehow the words just flow. And that’s one of the amazing things about being creative – if you let it happen, get out of your own way and suppress those “well that’s a stupid idea” thoughts it’s amazing what you can produce.

    • PushingSocial

      @GemWriting Yep, I’m a busy boy. I forgot to mention my lunch time walks. You are right, this is a good way to generate some ideas.

    • Stanford

      @GemWriting

      Yep, I’m a busy boy. I forgot to mention my lunch time walks. You are right, this is a good way to generate some ideas.