A frequently updated blog can keep visitors coming back time and again, while one that stagnates will start slipping in the search engine rankings. It’s never a question of “more is better”, but if your content isn’t expanding by at least a thousand words per week, it is probably time to either drop the blog project, read some ideas on help with writing, or start paying for extra posts.
It is, however, possible to write more efficiently without sacrificing interest or quality. Ideas and words don’t require raw materials to produce, only time and dedication. A number of ways exist to keep that copy flowing day after day.
Drop the Topic
One possible cause of writer’s block is that your feelings about some aspect of it are unresolved, or you just haven’t quite decided which direction a certain post should take. This kind of internal tension absolutely kills productivity, as well as resulting in dithering, unfocused copy. If this seems to be the case, then, tabling the post for a week or two will most likely allow you to see it with fresh eyes later on, preventing you from trying to bash something out when the words just won’t come.
Keep a Notebook with You
Chances are that the topic of your blog is important to you, so you probably spend quite a bit of time thinking about it. It often happens that a concept for a new post, or an idea on improving your blog will hit you in the middle of lunch, while getting your hair cut or when you’re driving. Everybody thinks that they’ll remember it when they next sit down in front of the keyboard, but guess what, you probably won’t. Therefore, immediately write down a few words to remind you of your inspiration and expand that into a sentence or three when you have the time. The latter step is important: if you finally have a moment to review your notebook after a week’s time, you might find scribbles such as “dogs like cheese” without having any idea of what you were thinking of.
Don’t Be too much of a Perfectionist
It should go without saying that the quality of writing and the relevance of the topic are non-negotiable. Putting up a poorly thought-out post with grammatical errors, or one that doesn’t contribute to the blog’s main focus, will likely do more damage than not writing anything at all that week.
On the other hand, it is possible to become bogged down in searching for the phrase that is exactly right instead of just using one that’s perfectly adequate, or re-reading what you’ve written ten times without finding anything wrong with it. If you catch yourself doing so, then, chances are that you’re worried about what others will think of your work rather than just aiming for the best you’re capable of. Especially for a first draft, endlessly worrying about quality will drain your time and energy when you could have been writing three other posts.
Try out Different Techniques
As far as the writing itself goes, it’s always going to be about typing one word after another. Generating ideas, though, is a different matter.
Creating a mind map with a pencil or using software can help you firm up your planning for a blog post, while looking for writing prompts online is one way to come up with a post topic when you’ve run dry. Many writers find the Pomodoro technique to be very helpful: divide a task into segments that can be done in 30 minutes, then set a timer and do nothing but that task until the buzzer sounds.
One aspect of productivity that’s overlooked too often is the ergonomics of your working space. Try to make sure that your posture is comfortable, clutter is kept to a minimum and you have access to all the notepads, reference books and liquid caffeine supplements you need without interrupting your workflow. In particular, having two monitors is extremely helpful.
Learn Your Natural Rhythms
Some very good writers get up at 5 a.m. and immediately get to work. Before they’ve had breakfast or even spoken a word to anyone, they’ve completed the equivalent of two or three blog posts without hurry or strain. Others first get all of the “maintenance” stuff out of the way: feeding kids, answering emails and so forth. Once this is done, they can relax in the knowledge that all that has been taken care of. Some people find that they’re most productive after going to the gym, while others when they work in ten-minute intervals between other tasks. A lucky few can write on subways, in bars and during minor earthquakes without any apparent loss in productivity.
Logging how much time it takes you to do a certain amount of work under different circumstances is an important aspect of making the most of your time, instead of simply spending more time working more slowly. Blogging may be a large part of your life, but even in this case, it is only a part. It’s far better to spend two hours writing when you’re at your best and spend the rest of the day on other tasks, than to squander half a day on writing at a time when you’re less focused and creative.