I am a blogger. Yup. I have a blog. Actually, I’m about to have two blogs: One based around my book, The Alchemy of Loss and the other based around me as an author. In the next day or so, I’ll be pushing a button to separate my twins, since right now, both URLs go to the Alchemy blog (NB: If both links go to the same place, I haven’t pushed the button yet). But that’s another story.
I used to be a much better blogger than I am these days. Right now, I’m lucky if I blog on Alchemy once every two weeks, which everyone knows is not enough. It helps that I have an established blog, but it doesn’t solve the issue that I’m not blogging enough.
Yeah, always the excuses: I’m a parent, I’m trying to write my next book, I’m running a start-up full time. I have to write here at least once a week. Blah, blah, blah. We get it. You have no time to blog.
OK, so this post is as much for me as it is for you. How the heck do I manage my time?
1. Divide your day into manageable pieces.
Sounds easy enough. Kelsye has an entire spreadsheet for doing this. All of her daily tasks (including exercise and making dinner) are listed down the first column and then she allots a certain amount of time for each task. 1 hour for email each morning. 30 minutes for Facebook. When the time is up, she moves to the next task on the list. If she finds herself doing something that’s not on the list, she stops. Me? I’d spend too much time trying to figure out how to make the dang Excel spreadsheet work that updating it would have to be a task in itself. I’m a little more organic. Mornings are spent getting the email out of the way so I can move on to the hard brain stuff like… yeah… writing blog posts.
2. Get off Facebook
It’s an addiction. We all know this. Shut the window down so it doesn’t ping at you everytime someone clicks on your cute doggie picture.
3. Plan/write posts ahead of time
I’m going to come out right now and tell you I have never once planned a post. I sort of get an idea for a post perhaps, but more often than not, when I sit down to write, something entirely different comes out. I’ve learned just to go with it. Truly, even as I write this, I am making it all up as I go along. Can you tell?
4. Give yourself breaks.
I have Chloe who makes me get up from time to time to let her out. And then in. And then out. And then she curls herself on my lap and I remain where I am for hours sometimes. But really, I should be taking her for a walk. Even fifteen minutes would be great. Kids help. I mostly remember to pick up my son from school. But if you don’t have these lovely distractions, find some. Set an egg timer. Do chair yoga. Whatever it takes.
5. Keep your posts short.
When you’re not overwhelmed and feel like you can bang out a quick post in 30 minutes, then the task doesn’t seem as daunting. People like reading shorter posts anyway.
6. Write about stuff you love
If you are writing to support a book, this will hopefully be easy since you probably didn’t write about something you don’t love. Whether it’s the latest Goblin fashions or gratitude over a butterfly you saw this morning, make it something fun.
7. Write authentically
Fans of authors love to know all kinds of things that we as authors don’t think are particularly interesting. Photos of our workspaces, for instance are extremely popular. As are photos of our pets. Our writing process. How we came up with an idea. To write authentically can be a challenge (unless you are a memoirist like me), but to be authentic gives other people the permission to be authentic and breaking down barriers is what life’s all about. Doing this will challenge you as a writer, which will make it much more fun and easy to do.
8. Do an interview
Find someone you admire, who relates in some way to your subject matter and send them interview questions. Get their bio and a photo and with a little cut and paste, Voila! You have a post.
9. Have someone “Guest Post” for you
Similar to #8, find someone who wants to write a post for you. Usually you will find someone whose post would be beneficial to both of you – You both have similar audiences who would be interested in the subject matter or one of you gains a new group of followers while the other gets a post written for them. Everybody wins!
10. Think about your posts while doing other things
I’ve been known to come up and even half-write in my head a blog post in the shower, doing laundry, shuttling kids and walking the dog. You’re a writer. You do it too. Use it to your advantage. Just make sure you jot it down, even very briefly so you don’t forget it later.
I should probably disclose that although I MAY do some of these things, I’m mostly doing it by the seat of my pants and thus I clearly don’t adhere to #5 very well.
Abigail Carter is the Seattle-based author of The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow’s Transformation and Co-Founder of Writer.ly, an online marketplace where writers can find the people they need to publish successfully. She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter (@abigailcarter) and on her blog, abigailcarter.com