Does this sound familiar?
Yesterday, you promised yourself you’d write that blog post. You even allocated time to fit blog writing into your busy schedule. But it didn’t happen.
If this does sound familiar then join the club, because it happens to us all. We get super focused on a different task, or something unexpected pops up and before we know it, another day has gone by.
The fact is that writing a good blog post takes a lot of time. And time is something in short supply, particularly when you’re running your business as well as doing the marketing.
However, if you want to get serious about publishing your blog more often— to reap the benefits, then you may need a blog writing schedule—one that doesn’t interfere too much with your day-to-day.
Now, I’m not waving any magic wand here (nope, no fairy dust on this page). You still have to do the work, but a schedule will make your life a whole lot easier, and you’ll be hitting that publish button more consistently.
The impact of Not Posting Consistently
If you want to be known as a go-to in your industry, it’s essential to be top-of-mind with your audience. With millions of content pieces published every day, it’s easy to be forgotten if you don’t post consistently.
You will also be forgotten by Google. Neglecting to add fresh content regularly to your website means that Google will stop sending their website bots to scan and update your content as often.
It can be difficult to fit blog writing into a busy schedule. Doing so depends on what kind of writer you are.
So what ‘kind’ of blog writer are you?
How you approach writing a blog post is dependent on what type of writer you are. Typically, you may fall into one of these categories:
Do you start writing only stopping when finished?
Sitting down and writing it in one hit can have its drawbacks.
With this approach, it’s challenging to maintain momentum over a long period of time. Do you get tired, lose your focus and become easily distracted? I’m guessing you may be nodding here, because this approach is hard work!
Are you a perfectionist writer?
Do you edit when you write? Do endless rewrites? Obsess over spelling mistakes and grammatical errors? No doubt, you dislike the process immensely, because it takes up so much of your time.
Are you a distracted writer?
You like writing, but it’s challenging to get started and stay in the zone. You’re easily distracted. Even starting involves a great deal of procrastination. But once you get into it, the words begin to flow. But eventually, you get there.
Creating a Schedule helps make writing less of a chore and more of a delight
Blog writing is a creative activity with benefits— an outlet for your opinions and thoughts— the perfect opportunity to educate your client prospects and draw them into your world.
When you think about all the benefits a blog gives your business, you know it’s worth the effort. Plus, there’s the bonus that you have a supply of content to share on social media when you repurpose the post. (Download the ebook ’10 Ways to repurpose one blog post’ on how to do this—The link is in the sidebar next to this post.)
Have you every wondered how the world’s greatest authors write so prolifically?
There’s no real secret, only real dedication. And a routine. Every successful writer sets aside time to write—every day—until it’s done.
I’m not suggesting that you have to write every day, nor am I suggesting that you write a tome, after all this is about writing blog posts, but they do have a point. If you publish your business blog haphazardly, because you struggle to find the time to write it, then setting up a blog writing routine may be your answer.
“Routine, in an intelligent man*, is a sign of ambition.”
~ W.H. Auden, Pulitzer prize winning poet
* quoted in 1958
Transform your haphazard blog writing routine into a passion
This isn’t going to be a long process, honestly. The concept behind fitting blog writing into your busy schedule is to break the tasks up into segments over a couple of days.
How to put a Blog Writing Routine into Practice
Have you read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear? If not, I highly recommend it. He writes about setting up routines and practices to achieve goals.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals.
You fall to the level of your systems.”
~ James Clear
James suggests deciding on a goal and implementing regular daily habits that progress you towards that goal.
By fitting those habits into your lifestyle, they become, by their nature, so ingrained, they come to be a part of your lifestyle.
Habits, that because of the action, result in self improvement and become motivation.
The 3R’s of Habit Formation, James Clear
If your goal is to be regularly publishing content, the best, most positive way to achieve this, is to incorporate a blog writing routine into your monthly schedule and make it a habit.
How to Fit Blog Writing into your busy Schedule
Choose your time.
Time may be a four-letter word around that can involve a lot of emotion—but we all have the same 24 hours. Ask Beyonce. Ask Stephen King.
The majority of writers find writing first thing in the morning to be the best time. I tend to agree. Even though I’m not a morning person, I find that if I don’t do it first thing, the day gets away from me and it doesn’t get done. (Bit like going to the gym).
I’m not suggesting getting up at 5 AM and forfeiting your morning walk or gym session, but how about scheduling time when you get back home, after dropping the kids off at school or when you first arrive in the office (before checking your emails!) Which brings me to dealing with distractions…
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
~ E.B. White
Author Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little + more
Turn off anything that goes beep, has a ring tone or knocks on the door. If you’re in a boss-office tell someone near you that you don’t want to be disturbed. So they can dive tackle them before their knuckles hit the door. (In my previous life I an Exec Assistant – I did a lot of dive tackling).
Day 1 : Plan and Outline the Blog Post
Planning your blog post keeps you focused and will prevent you from from going off on tangents and getting distracted.
- First up, set a deadline for the date you’ll publish your blog post— a deadline keeps you accountable.
- Second, plan the content. Planning involves researching the topic for information that will support and strengthen your content—things like quotes from experts, statistics and visuals. It also involves doing keyword research.
- If your post is quite in-depth you may like to take the research phase a bit further by reading and analysing 3-5 other published posts on your topic. This can help you discover what you can improve on or how you can add to the conversation— a different perspective perhaps?
To make the process easier, download the blog post planner template to start planning your post.
Outline your Blog Post
This task is an extension of the planning phase and involves drafting your:
- blog title*
- opening sentences
- subheadings, and
- wrap up: conclusion, CTA and links.
As this is still a draft stage, it’s easiest to use bullet points.
Download the Outline template to start outlining your post.
*A Note about the Blog Title (Headline)
It’s not necessary to have a blog title written in this stage. Just use a draft ‘working’ title that contains your keywords. This will keep your writing focused.
If you prefer, you can start working on your headline during this stage, but please don’t get stuck on it for hours. Sometimes headline inspiration doesn’t come when you’re tired. Sometimes they come to you when you’re doing something else – like walking the dog.
That’s it for day 1. Your job is done. Now you can get on with the rest of your day.
Never underestimate the importance of taking a break
Taking a break gives your mind time to re-energise and engage in passive thinking. Inspiration can strike when you’re doing the dishes, but not when you’re tired and trying to force it. After taking a break, you may return to your writing with a different perspective.
Even a brisk walk can make all the difference.
The goal for today is to write the first draft
A big old brain dump.
Using your outline as a guide, begin expanding on those bullet points.
Try not to edit as you go and ignore word count. You’ll get to that later.
The goal today is to get it down on the page. A big ugly first draft.
Approach the First Draft with a Content Sprint
Writing a first draft is hard. Some days it can feel like you’re on a mission to conquer a steep hill— you can feel the burn in the back of your legs and all you want to do is lie down.
The only way to face it is head-on. As the Nike slogan goes – Just Do It! I tackle my first drafts first thing in the morning —it’s the time of least resistance. I may read it back and recoil in horror, but it’s usually something I can work with.
Setting a time limit helps. Even going so far as using an actual timer. Poise pen, start writing, end when beep goes off. First draft done.
Leave it and get on with your day.
Avoid the temptation to edit
The perfectionist in some of you will be itching to edit the work. Please don’t. Not at this stage. You’ll increase the possibility of getting bogged down in rewrites and spend more time on it than you need. Besides editing requires fresh eyes and a clear mind. Best leave it until the next day.
If you are close to your deadline, leave it for a few hours otherwise, return to it tomorrow.
No one ever publishes a first draft.
When Issues with Writing become Excuses
There are many excuses for not writing.
It’s too hard.
I’m not in the mood.
I don’t know what to write about.
But really, these are just excuses. The reality is that excuses are the result of a lack of preparation.
Here are some ways famous authors face these excuses head-on.
Got Writer’s Block?
“I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it — when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands. If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.
You can’t edit a blank page.”
Author of 24 novels (8 NYT best sellers)
Not in the mood for Writing?
“I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it
that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.”
~Peter De Vries, author of 26 novels
“A lot of people feel like they lack motivation, when what they really lack is clarity.”
~James Clear, Author, Atomic Habits
Don’t know what to write about?
“I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.”
~ Seth Godin, Marketing Guru
Author 19 books & 1 hugely successful blog
The Goal for today is to Proofread, Edit and Format your Post
Read your post. Read it out aloud. Check for the following:
- Does your writing flow, does it have rhythm? Or do you stumble on words or phrasing?
- Does it make sense, is it easy to understand?
- Do you get your point across clearly?
Tidy up where necessary.
Format Your Post
This step is about making sure your content is easy to read and scan.
- Break up long sentences and paragraphs into short sentences and paragraphs. This will give your post its rhythm.
- Ensure everything on the page stands out by surrounding text and visuals with plenty of whitespace.
- Help readers scan your post using bold text or italics.
- Put items into bulleted lists.
- Indent quotes or important points.
- Ensure that you have included alt tags on your images.
- Upload the post to your website.
Resist the urge to obsess over perfectionism…
“Done is better than perfect.”
~Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
The Goal for today is to Promote Your Post
The hard work’s done. Now it’s time to get it out into the world.
Promote your post on social media by lifting pieces of content from your blog post and turning them into quote posts, 30-second videos or information snippets – infographics, statistics, interesting facts etc.
(Download the ebook ’10 Ways to repurpose one blog post’ on how to do this—The link is in the sidebar next to this post.)
Will this blog writing schedule work for you?
Don’t stress it if the 4 days spread out to 5. Some days we have more time than others. After all, this routine is a guide only— to get you into a routine.
“[There is] evidence that environments, schedules, and rituals restructure the writing process and amplify performance… These practices encourage a state of flow rather than one of anxiety or boredom. Like strategies, these other aspects of a writer’s method may alleviate the difficulty of attentional overload.”
~Ronald T. Kellogg, cognitive psychologist
Work that isn’t scheduled doesn’t get done
Try to approach blogging with the mindset of— write like a writer and act like a publisher. A publisher publishes consistently.
Even though it’s hard to find the time to fit content writing into a hectic business schedule, breaking it up into chunks makes it more manageable and less overwhelming.
Don’t let blogging fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Keep focused on why you’re doing it.
Each blog post is an opportunity to grow your audience. To strengthen your profile. To get more website traffic. To win more business.
Publish…and be proud of your work.
“Never, never, never, never—give up.”
Author of 43 books. Including the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1953