Last year, we were debating the effectiveness of frequent and consistent publishing. One side felt that quality would suffer if bloggers had to publish at a machine gun pace. The other side scoffed at the notion that infrequent, devil-may-care publishing could build a quality audience (my side).
As expected, the darwinian pressure cooker of blog publishing has settled the debate. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t easy or convenient.
Write as many quality blog posts as you can. Pedal to the metal, especially if you are a new blogger.
The funny part is that ALL of my clients agree. They all want to blog like Seth Godin hooked to a caffeine IV-drip.
The problem is – when do you find the time?
Determined But Out of Time
My latest 60-minute coaching call was with a remarkable blogger in the making –
She is a cancer survivor. A single-mom putting her son through college. Oh, and she went to college at age 40 to earn her degree. She is a dynamo with enough grit and determination for you, me, and ten of our friends.
But the clock isn’t cooperating. Her question to me was no-nonsense and direct –
“Tell me how to find more time to blog”
Here’w what I told her…
1. Get Realistic
“How many hours a week do you have to write?”
She paused, mentally tallying up her scarce minutes –
“About ten hours a week.”
“Ok, about two hours a day – when do you have that time – in the morning, lunch time or at night?”
“Stan, the only time I have is between my two jobs in the evening”
“Wow… so let me get this right. You get home at 5PM, feed your kids, snatch a few minutes to write, before you have to get yourself ready for the 2nd job?”
“Yes…that’s exactly it”
Suddenly I understood why our 60-minute coaching was proceeding with almost military precision. She needed to get off the phone in enough time to get something to eat for lunch.
“Ok”, I started “… Here’s what you need to do.”
2. Work in Intense Bursts
“On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I want you to brainstorm new blog post titles.
Get one of those cheap spiral-bound notebooks from Wal-Greens. Something small enough to fit into your purse.
When you get home at night, fix dinner, and sit down and right down 5–10 thoughts that can turn into good post ideas.
“Seriously?“ She asked. ”Do I need an editorial calendar?“
”Sista, you don’t have time for one, at least not how those ivory tower bloggers use them”
Chuckling she prompted me to keep going “Got it. Keep going”
3. Write when You’re Hot
“I’ve taken up three hours, I’ve got about 7 left right?”
“Yes”. I got the impression that lunch hour was almost over.
Do you have more time on the weekend?
“A little more. I can spend about 4 hours writing on Saturday and Sunday.”
“Great, on Thursday and Friday, go back to your notebook, pick 5 posts, and write a quick blog post outline for each of them.”
“Use my Problem Solution Application Blog template to make it easier. Start your outline with a reader question. Spend a few paragraphs answering the question and use the last paragraph offering a concrete way to take action.”
I heard her car door opening and closing in the background as she made her way back into work.
I’m still listening Stan, you’re taking notes right?
“I got you covered. I’ll send them to you after the call. So –
On Saturday, start with your first outline and write. Don’t ge fancy. Just fill out your outline. Get at least one post out of the session, two if you want to double your impact.
What about Sunday? she asked.
“It’s up to you. Write another post or outline a few more ideas. Don’t burn yourself out though.”
“Got it Stan. Let me give that a try”.
The call was over. I knew in my gut that she was going to be all right. She sounded like someone who knew how to execute a plan with minimal excuses.
4. When Crap happens…
Kids get sick. Spouses stage a blogging intervention. A blown transmission, busted water heater, or an expanding roof leak forces more overtime. I get it. That’s why you build up posting ideas in good times, for quick posts in the lean times.
If you can’t post. That’s ok. But don’t fool yourself. A good excuse today, is a crutch tomorrow. We are all addicted to laziness. If you aren’t vigilant, you’ll slip back into delusional procrastination. So write even when you don’t feel like it. It works believe me.
You Have More Time Than You Think
So let me slap the molasses out your um…butt.
- Eliminate Facebook (2) days – if you can’t get help
- Ax Twitter for a week – yes it will be there when you get back
- Stop “curating content”. Come on. You’re talking to your crazy cousin – Stan – unless you are working for Sotheby’s you don’t need to do much curating.
- Replace your podcast-packed iPod with a notebook
- Go to sleep an hour later or
- Wake up an hour earlier
- Break for lunch 15 minutes earlier
- Take one less smoke break
- Get your butt home immediately after the day job
It works my friend. Do it.