The 3rd annual WordCount Blogathon is only days away.
Are you ready?
You may have ideas for blog posts lined up. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
If you’re going to devote extra time to blogging that means you’re taking time away from other things, either from other work or your non-work life.
To minimize the extra pain that comes with blogging every day – and a lot of people entering this year’s blogathon have indicated they want to blog more than they are now – here are some suggestions for doing it all, at least for the next 31 days.
1. Schedule blogging time – I could spend hours on a blog post if I let myself – and sometimes I do. But since I’m running this thing, blogging too and have work commitments I can’t ignore, I need to make every writing moment count. I’m devoting the first hour of my work day to the blogathon – what can I say, I’m a morning person – and when time’s up, I’ll move on to other things.
2. Schedule blog posts – I’m actually writing this post on April 24 to get a jump on things. Before the weekend’s over, I expect to have a plan mapped out for what I’m going to post every day of the blogathon. That way I won’t be faced with sitting down at the computer one morning with no idea what I’m going to write about.
3. Write fast – There are times to linger over a post. This is not one of them. Sometimes good enough is good enough, and this is one of those times. I’m not going to skip adding links or images. I’m just minimizing the time I spend finding just the right word or phrase. Part of writing fast is jotting ideas down when you get them – especially if “jotting ideas down” means going to the computer, laptop, iPhone or whatever you use and roughly out an outline, getting the lede or cutting and pasting some links so you can come back later and finish.
4. Keep it short – Blog posts don’t have to be long to be good. Sometimes a bite-size nugget of truth is all you need. A blog post doesn’t have to be one set thing. It could be a couple thoughts on something in the news, a list of links, a recipe, photograph, poem, snippet of overheard conversation, or a quick review of a clip you saw on YouTube (with the link or video included of course). Here are some more tips for writing short.
5. Pre-publish – The blogathon might be about blogging every day during the month of May, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to write every day. I’ll be using the pre-publish feature on WordPress to pre-write posts for weekends – because really, who wants to work on weekends?
6. Clear the decks – Right now my non-work to-do list includes a couple things I want to accomplish before the blogathon takes over my life. That includes registering my youngest for summer camps and finalizing details of our family’s summer vacation – activities I’d know would get pushed to the back burner if I tried to do them in May because of the extra blogging I’ll be doing.
7. Makes plans – This is sort of related to clearning the decks. Plan dinners, plan errands (all the better to do a bunch during the same trip), plan outings, plan free time (you’ll need it).
8. Ask for help – In my house I’m in charge of breakfast, lunch and dinner, but this month, I’m alerting the troops they’ll be doing some of the heavy lifting when it comes to meal times. Ditto for laundry and other household chores.
9. Let things go – Some tasks I’m attacking ahead of the blogathon (see above). Others I’m letting go until after May. I really want to get flowers planted in pots I put on the back deck during summer. But if it doesn’t happen until June, oh well; it probably won’t be sunny here until then anyway. And no one will notice but me.
10. Stick to healthy routines – When the stress is on, it’s easy to drink too much coffee, work too late, drop going to the gym and go out to eat or pick up fast food. I know – I’ve done all of that. Not this time. The more stress you’re under, the more important it is to stick to healthy habits – it’ll show in your energy level and your work. I learned that last year when I interviewed a management consultant who’s trained world-class athletes, CEOs and other top performers for this CBSMarketWatch.com story. OK, I may still drink too much coffee. But there’s no way I’m missing workouts or yoga – they’re my treats to myself for a job well done.