It's a gloomy Saturday here in Boston; 43 and raining, which makes it the perfect day for laundry, heading over to Porter Square for a bowl of ramen, or writing a blog post.
If you’re like me, I already know what you’re thinking: that spicy delicious ramen is a no-brainer, but writing? That sounds like work. And on a Saturday? Forget it!
We all know blogging is important, but it’s often a struggle just to get started. Lucky for you, I’ve fought the fight and learned to come out on top. So today I’d like to share the techniques that not only help me write blog posts consistently, but make the process enjoyable, as well.
Go ahead and grab yourself a nice cup of tea, and let’s get started!
Keep a Notebook
There’s something about physically writing things down that just makes them seem official. I keep a notebook — a yellow Mead, one-subject notebook, in fact — that I use only for writing blog ideas down. I like yellow because it’s easier to find when I lose it, and by color coding it, I know this notebook is for blog ideas and nothing else; it becomes sort of sacred in that way.
I’ve also found one-subject notebooks are the perfect size for sketching out ideas and lists whenever inspiration hits me. Too many filled pages are a turnoff and are hard to go back through when I want to revisit past ideas.
Master the Pomodoro Technique
This summer was an especially good year for tomatoes here in Boston, and I was fortunate to have a huge bounty growing out on my back porch, so I went online looking for new good recipes. What I found instead was this world renowned productivity method, and I was super excited to read that it works especially well for creative, marketing minded individuals like us.
I was naturally skeptical of it at first, not wanting to fall prey to a get-rich-quick, change-your-life-overnight, go-to-the-gym every day scheme, but I have to admit, I’m quickly becoming a convert.
Here’s a great breakdown from Wikipedia on how it works:
There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:
- Decide on the task to be done
- Set the pomodoro timer ton minutes (traditionally 25)
- Work on the task until the timer rings; record with anx
- Take a short break (3–5 minutes)
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes)
The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing are fundamental to the technique. In the planning phase tasks are prioritized by recording them in a "To Do Today" list. This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require. As pomodoros are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.
This ultra-simple technique has worked for millions since it was created almost 30 years ago, and works just as well today as it did then. Give this one an honest shot for a week and I think you’ll quickly become a convert, too!
Find the Time That Works for You, Then Just Do It
Science tells us that there are two types of people. Some are natural morning risers (God bless ‘em), and some are night owls, like me. After years of starting my college essays after most sane people had already gone to sleep, I found out that I have natural times when my body and mind are tuned to being extra creative, and extra productive. I bet you’ve noticed these times yourself, but chances are you fail to use them efficiently.
Say to yourself, “Wasting these precious moments ends now.” Stand up, and say it out loud. In fact, if no one’s around go ahead and shout it out – it feels pretty good!
You’ve got to train yourself get off the couch, grab those moments, and wrestle every last bit of productivity you possibly can out of them. A big part of this is making sure you have the tools you need to do great work sitting nearby, be it a laptop, a notebook, or your iPhone.
Find an Editor
Here at Innovative Marketing Resources, I’m fortunate to have access to a full-time editor, Matt Cook. Matt draws on years of newsroom and online content experience to whip our landing pages, emails, white papers, and blog posts into shape.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I can be especially wordy. It seems all of us were taught to overwrite in school, when in the business world, succinct is best. It really helps to have someone else take a look at your writing. If you don’t have access to a professional editor, try your spouse, coworker, or grandma. They’ll tell you where the fat can be cut, when your ideas do (and do not) make sense, and they’ll make sure your thoughts are presented in a direct, easy-to-read, and coherent fashion.
Now it’s Your Turn
I hope these tips will help you go from struggling to write blog posts to writing with ease and consistency. Any of these tips can make a huge difference in your output, and when you put them all together, you have a powerful set of tools that can help you crank out content with ease. If you have any comments or tips you’d like to share yourself, don’t be shy – go ahead and post them in the section below.
And of course, if you have any motivational tips to help me get around to that pile of laundry; please let me know!