Over the past several months I’ve tried to improve my blogging habits and to try to blog more effectively and efficiently. Too often I fall victim to the last-minute scramble to get something written and ready to be published. Much to my frustration the last-minute posts are fraught with spelling and grammatical errors missed when I proofread my work on a screen. Sometimes the WordPress spelling and grammar check I run on my drafts misses them as well. I have two words for this: not cool. I would get a number of texts from friends pointing out these errors, which I would have to fix as soon as possible because I am a stickler for proper spelling and grammar. Some might even go so far as to call me a “grammar nazi.”
The goal is for this kind of stuff to not happen anymore. I want to publish high quality and fun blog posts with a minimum of errors. To do that, I need to learn to blog more effectively. So far I have managed to keep to a blog post a week, which also happens to be one of my 30 before 30 goals. Ideally I wanted to be able to publish twice a week, but so far that has proven difficult and even a bit stressful. That is one thing this blog is NOT supposed to be. To that end posts twice a week aren’t an option; at least not now. Though the fact that I AM publishing a post once a week is a pretty big accomplishment considering I used to go for weeks or even months without publishing any new content. I am very proud of that.
I’ve spent my blogging time up to this point trying to create some new and to change current blogging habits. I’ve learned that my time management is what needs the most work. Ultimately, I want to give myself enough time to write an first draft, edit and revise it myself, send it to a trusted source for a second proofreading, then publish it on its scheduled day. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Let me tell you that it is. I’ve dropped the ball many times in trying to use this ideal-for-me process. This past week’s post being one of them. It’s an okay post, but nowhere near the quality I have come to expect from myself. It motivates me to work harder and be better. That is something I need now. I can always use something to motivate me as it’s something I struggle with regularly.
So, it’s come to this: creating a list of goals to help me manage my blogging time better, and putting a plan together to blog more effectively overall. It will be easier than with some of the other blogs I have looked at where they are income generators and posts are published almost every day of the week. I’m looking at a once weekly post for a blog that exists for no other reason than I enjoy keeping a blog and writing for it. It’s really grown and matured and I enjoy writing for this blog more than I ever have before. I hope it will continue to evolve as it has in the past three and a half years. These goals have to, in my opinion, go hand in hand with this idea of having fun and continuously evolving into something better. They need to contribute to this idea. This is what I am going with so far:
- Commit to writing for a minimum of 20 minutes each day. (It doesn’t always have to be for the next blog post, it can be free-writing, stories, anything. Who knows, it could make for another great blog post down the line!)
- Have the week’s blog post done and ready to publish a full 24-hours before it needs to be. (It gives plenty of time for last-minute revisions before it is presented to the public’s discerning eye.)
- Stay a week or two ahead on ideas for new posts. (This way I will never be stuck on what to write about next!)
This has been a great learning process for me, and an enjoyable one so far. I’ve learned more about what blogging means to me and how it is going to work for me. Along with these goals, I think a means of planning is going to be very important. I’ve experimented with a few different ideas, ranging from a notebook, to an actual planner, to a calendar, to lists, and I’m still not sure what is going to work best for me. It might be a combination of all the above. I know that a regular notebook will not be sufficient for me, and while a calendar is useful, I know I need so much more. A planner is just too rigid for me. I’m not trying to make money from by blog or run a business, so that’s just going a bit too far. I need a place to keep all of my ideas, my drafts and any other materials blog-related. I’m thinking I may try a 2-subject notebook with a storage pocket next. Using a notebook like this, I can store loose ideas in the pocket, keep track of ideas in one half of the notebook, and write out my drafts in the other half. I’m going to give that a shot and see how it goes. I think it might be what will end up working best for me. I blog at my best when I have everything at my fingertips. I hope to find the method that will allow this to happen for me.
This months-long process has allowed me to grow and better understand myself as a blogger. I’ve learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and I know now the kinds of practices that will keep me motivated to continually be better than before. I have come a long way and I hope it never stops.