The Benefits Of Blog Week

At the beginning of December I held the very first Blog Week. Blog Week is an intensive taste of Blog Club; a chance to try it out, and reap the benefits of Blog Club for a week, for free. When you run something like that for the first time, you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out. I had a vision of how I thought the online community could work, and what I thought the benefits of that community would be for all of the Blog Week Bloggers. So you can imagine my relief when that vision came true, when people got stuck in: posting their intentions, chatting about blogging in the Blogging Parties, and sharing their blog posts. Everyone was very supportive and encouraging of each other, and people used the energy of others’ blogging to spur them on to blog. They all benefitted from having a community that answered their questions and gave them the help they asked for. They got to see people’s different approaches to blogging, and learn from them, and they had a supportive group of people to read their blog posts. And most important of all, they blogged their socks off! There were many realisations and revelations, individual and collective, throughout the week, and the three that stand out for me are: Blog Posts Don’t Have To Be About Something Brand New You don’t have to look for a brand new idea for every post that you write. In fact, you help people to choose you by writing about the same things, just in different ways. It’s rare that someone who comes across your...

The Thirty Minute Blog Post

Write a blog post in thirty minutes. Impossible right? Wrong! It’s actually quite easy when you get down to it. Last week in Blog Week I posed this challenge to the Blog Week bloggers and they took it up in spectacular style. Many of them didn’t believe they could do it, but as one after the other proved to themselves and everyone else that it could be done, more and more proved it possible too. There are three key components for a successful thirty minute post: a timer set for 3o minutes time; a simple framework on which to hang your post; and some focus. A buddy can also be helpful: you can encourage and time each other, and keep each other accountable. Timing yourself is probably the easiest part! Set the timer on your phone, or the cooker, or download one of those timer apps for your computer. Having a simple framework makes lighter work of all your posts, whether you’re writing them in 30 minutes or not. Resolve to write about one thing, and then sketch out the three key things you have to say about that one thing. Top and tail with an intro and a call to action, and there’s your framework. Focus is easier for some than others. I get distracted easily, so I close my Facebook Window, and if I’m in my office I switch on Coffitivity or Brain.fm, both of which help me focus. The fact that I’m timing myself also helps me to focus on the task in hand! There are certain types of post that particularly lend themselves to the...

How To Cheat At Blogging

It’s Blog Week this week, and earlier in the week somebody, let’s call her Geraldine (not her real name), shared her blog post with an apology for cheating. Cheating! How do you cheat at blogging? Well in this case, Geraldine had written a follow on from her post of the previous day. It had occurred to her as she went to bed that there was another angle, and so she got up the next morning and wrote a short post, from this new angle. Her thinking was that because it had been so easy, and was quite short, that it was cheating. Why should something that’s easy and quick and short be considered cheating? Why do we assume that for something to be worth it, it has to be arduous? When you think of all the phrases you hear around the concepts of work, ‘good, hard, honest work’, ‘work hard, play hard’, ‘all that hard work has paid off’, ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ in conjunction with worthwhile results from working at something: is it any wonder that we associate ‘work’ with difficulty and struggle. Luckily, when it comes to blogging there’s no such thing as cheating, because blogging can be easy. And quick. And fun. Yesterday I set a challenge in Blog Week: set a timer and write a blog post in 30 minutes. Everyone who took up the challenge managed it. They all wrote and published a post in 30 minutes. Some of us went back after it was published and corrected a few spelling or grammar errors, but the point was that we’d written a post in 30 minutes. Quick, short, easy, and fun....

Make Hay Even When It Rains

I know I shouldn’t complain. I mean I know it’s December. And it used to be that I barely noticed. But since we got Kimber, the weather has become a major part of my life. Every day I take a look out of the window and work out what today’s walks will look like. Will they be a quick walk around the block before retreating home to play with a ball? Or will they be long walks in the countryside to take advantage of that winter rarity: a beautifully crisp sunny day? Even when the weather’s shocking we still have to make at least a brief sojourn; but when the weather’s fine we always make up for any lack of exercise the previous day. And it occurs to me that I’ve learned to apply this practice to my blogging too. Even though I love to write, there are days when the words don’t flow for my own blogs. I blog most days in one shape or another: for clients, for Sunday Sunshine, or for Blog Club’s Weekly Shot; and those are words that have to come, whether I like it or not. But for this blog and my blog at samdounis, I don’t commit to blogging daily or on any particular day, so I can afford to wait until the words come more easily. But what I’ve learned is that even on those days where I’m not blogging for myself, the trick is to make at least a short sojourn into that world. Whether it’s taking photographs of Kimber, or the landscape to use as a blog or social...

My Top Three Ways To Beat Blogging Procrastination

You know how it is.  You sit down with every intention of writing a blog post, when it suddenly strikes you that what you really need, is a cup of tea.  Or a piece of chocolate.  Or five pieces of chocolate.  Or you metaphorically hit yourself over the head as it occurs to you that you haven’t put any dishes or clothes on to wash recently: best not have that hanging over your head!  And perhaps you should walk the dog in case it needs walking while you’re mid-flow.  And when was the last time you checked your emails or Facebook? Who knows what might have happened in the world that you need to know about?! We’ve all practiced procrastination at some point or other, and while analysing and addressing the underlying reasons will help us in the long term, when you need to write that blog post, all that does is give you another way to procrastinate! So here are three ways I’ve used to beat blogging procrastination. One: Start by writing something unrelated.  It can be a commentary of your day so far, drawing a page full of doodles, or using a story prompt tool, such as oneword.com.  I love ‘The Art Of Getting Started’ by Lee Crutchley: it’s full of short exercises you can do to just get started. Two: Play something in the background to help you focus.  In the past I’ve listened to classical music, but these days I’m more likely to tune into coffitivity.com or brain.fm.  Both are great at helping me focus. Three: Blog with a buddy.  We do this every couple...