This week at our Meetup (come join us here) we’ll be talking about blogging. Since my WordCamp US wrap-up post on December 4, I’ve been publishing an entry pretty much every weekday since then. In the last few weeks, my wife has been blogging most every day as well. What changed?
I saw it coming
I knew I wanted to get blogging again, I had a few ideas, and I was hoping that WordCamp would help inspire me to get going again. Between the talks from Chris Lema and Sal Ferrarello and other hallway discussions, I got the motivation I needed and dug in.
While our reasons will vary later in this post, I think a big key to both my wife and myself has been the focus of our blogs. For a while I was only writing on the GreenMellen blog (and I still will from time to time), but I felt somewhat constrained on there. Posts on that blog need to have a marketing angle to them to be appropriate for that venue; posts on here can be about anything I find interesting — my hope is that you’ll find these topics interesting as well.
For Kelly, a change in her blog title made the difference. Her blog is now titled “Coffee With Kel” and she posts through the lens of talking to a friend over coffee. She talks about Amazon Prime, and snow days, and recipes for Chicken & Dumplings. Getting things framed properly makes a huge difference.
In a word, WordPress. Whatever you do, it needs to be easy to execute. While it can take some time to get set up properly, find the right themes, etc, blogging on WordPress is very easy and that makes it more likely you’ll be consistent.
Always be looking for ideas
For both of us, we’re becoming more aware of always looking for things to write about. I save my ideas in Google Keep and Kel uses the notepad in her iPhone. Always jotting down ideas throughout the week will help when you sit down to write.
I get a lot of my ideas from Feedly and from other news I read, but many of my posts simply come from tools I use and ideas that I have.
I tend to write my posts in batch, and typically keep 4-8 of them already written and ready to go. They get shuffled around a lot, but each morning it only takes me about 10 minutes to publish a post:
- Look at the list to see what I had previously scheduled for today, and decide if that’s still the best one.
- Preview it and proofread it again.
- Publish it.
- Share it on social media.
That’s it. It makes the morning routine pretty simple. I write the majority of the posts on the weekends or when I find a few spare minutes, to save myself time during the week when I tend to be more busy.
Kel does it a bit different, since her schedule allows. Once the house has cleared out, she writes about what’s on her mind or she references her phone for a few ideas.
Google Earth Blog
From 2009 to 2014, I wrote daily for the (unofficial) Google Earth Blog. I published a post every weekday, writing a total of 1431 posts on there, and I’m using some of those same techniques now. I stepped away from there in 2014 to focus more of my time on GreenMellen, but the routines I developed there (batching, notes, etc) are serving me well now.
A little thing that helps me write a bit more quickly is the use of Markdown, explained in this post from a few years ago. It’s a way to add bold, italic, links, headlines, etc, with shortcodes to keep you focused on writing and not worried about having to highlight text to modify it. It’s not for everyone, but I find it to be quite useful.
Ultimately, it’s not hard to get started with a blog. If you’re not sure how all of this stuff works, go sign up on WordPress.com for a free site and get started. You can literally be from zero to working on your first blog post in a matter of minutes.
Have you posted a blog entry lately? If so, leave a comment and share it with us! If not, what’s stopping you?