This post has been in draft form for a long minute! Now that I've been blogging for three years (three years last week actually!), I finally feel like I'm ready to post it. A frequent question I get from readers and friends is how I find time to blog AND work a demanding full time job that is totally unrelated to blogging. I always have an answer and a comment in response to that question. My answer is that I really love blogging. My comment is that while I love it, it can be really hard.
They say that if you find something that you really love to do, doing it doesn't really feel like work. But that doesn't mean that doing the work isn't challenging or time-consuming. Blogging is a lot like that for me. It doesn't feel like work at all, but my goals for blogging make it time-consuming for me sometimes. I am always trying to improve my photography skills, I'm STILL trying to learn Photoshop and I'm always researching other sites for inspiration and ways to improve my blog. All of that is done outside of 8 - 12 hour workdays for me. Over the years, I have found a few ways to make it slightly easier, so I thought I would share them with you today. If any of you are considering starting your own blog or if you already have a blog and are struggling to keep it up because you have to spend the majority of your day doing something totally different outside of blogging, then I hope these quick tips help!
1. SET SOME GOALS AND DO SOME RESEARCH. Every time I start something new, I always make a list of goals that will help me get to where I want to be. That is what I did when I first started this blog. I made a list of new things I wanted to learn and how I would incorporate them into a blog. I wanted to learn photography, developing my cooking and writing skills, learn about new fashion and interior design concepts and meet new people. In turn, my hope was that I along with my blog would grow. Then I researched other bloggers that had already achieved some of the things I was hoping to learn. Making the list and doing the research gave me a good idea of how much time it would take to get to where I wanted to be. It also let me know that this was not going to be an overnight sensation. And that is ok! If it is one thing I have learned, growing a blog takes time. Lots of it - especially when you don't blog full time. So if you are thinking about starting a blog or have started one and it's not quite feeling right, set some goals and do your research. Once you do that, it will be much easier to make decisions about how to incorporate blogging into your schedule.
2. IF IT INSPIRES YOU, WRITE IT DOWN! I keep little notebooks everywhere - in my car, in my purse, on my nightstand. I even have a notebook in one of my kitchen cabinets! When I am inspired by something, I write it down thinking that it could be inspiration for an upcoming blog post. I have so many things to remember in my daily routine and writing things down helps me retain my thoughts. So whenever I need an idea for a blog post, I refer to my little notebooks.
3. SET A BLOG POST SCHEDULE. If you have followed my blog for a while, you have probably noticed that I have a blog post schedule. On Monday's, I post photos from the weekend. On Tuesday's, I post recipes. Links from the week go up on Friday's. Sometimes I like to mix things up, so I don't always adhere to that schedule. But having the schedule takes some of the work and time out of figuring out what to post each week. Readers also have some idea of what you are going to post and actually look forward to it!
4. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO- WHEN YOU CAN DO IT. So this is a big one. When I first starting blogging, I felt like I had to post every day. I would work all day at my day job and come home and do blog work all night. I was totally exhausted. So I had to scale back and re-prioritize. Now I only post 3 to 4 days a week. The posts are started and/or completed on weekends. I work all day on a computer, so the last thing I want to do is look at a computer screen all night. So during the week, I mostly edit or complete posts that are already in draft form. That way, I don't stay up all night on weeknights starting, editing and finishing a post. Also, there are always one or two nights during the work week when I don't do anything blog related at all. I just need that down time to keep my energy up. Having more energy actually makes me feel more creative, which in turn allows me to create better content for the blog.
My point is that you have to do what works for your schedule and your energy levels. If you don't take the time to figure that out, then it's hard to get the best out of blogging and it won't be fun! If you only have time to post once or twice a week, that is OK as long as you are having fun. Also, as your blog grows, this concept becomes even more important. Other bloggers might ask you to do a guest post or other brands or websites might reach out to you for content. It's great when that happens, BUT be honest with yourself about the extra time it will take to do the work. If your schedule doesn't allow for you to participate in an opportunity, don't fret! Another opportunity will come along!
5. SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION, BUT DON'T COMPARE! That might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but I can't stress how important this is. I've found that not comparing myself to other bloggers is hard to do. Sometimes as I am searching for inspiration, I find myself comparing myself to bloggers who blog for a living and/or have a staff or group of contributors generating amazing content. At the end of the day, I know that comparison is a total waste of time. Being your authentic self to your readers is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your blog. If your authentic self is someone who does what you can do - when you can do it - and is having fun with what you do, then that is all that matters. Instead of comparing yourself to others, expend that energy on your own blog and creativity. I promise it will pay off!
I hope this was helpful!!