The last few weeks has been a vacation of sorts. For the first time in years I have broken away from work and spent much needed time with my family, long time best friend, and away from the Internet. There were several things that I’ve learned from my time away from work and the web and I hope to share a few of those things in the coming days.
The first thing has to do with time and its power to give the freedom to write. In this use case scenario, it’s writing blog posts, but it also has me thinking about finding the time to spend on a novel idea of mine I’ve wanted to write for years.
Let me explain.
Blogging Schedule = Strategy
If you’re serious about blogging regularly, you need a strategy. I don’t mean number of words, catching titles or social media sharing strategy. I am talking about the fundamental and essential strategy that every blogger should have: Creating a schedule!
This is a really simple idea and is great for personal blogs, multiple author blogs, and even your own church’s blog. First, decide how often you want to post. Four times per day? Once a day? Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Monday through Friday? Only the weekend? There’s obviously a lot of options, but please keep this core concept in mind:
Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
This is where most bloggers screw up. They think they can keep a demanding posting schedule, and while they do great at first, they burn out or run out of inspiration in a few short weeks or months. If you understand from the start that blogging is a marathon, you’ll be a lot more disciplined to pace yourself, even if you are brimming with blog post ideas right now. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually hit a lull in your ideas.
Once you’ve decided on a posting schedule, it’s time to put your schedule into action.
Schedule Your Blog Posts
With your schedule figured out, it’s time to schedule your blog posts. Hopefully you’re using WordPress or some other platform that enables you to schedule your blog posts ahead of time. If you’re worried about sharing your new blog posts via social media, there are numerous ways you can automate it and something that would require another blog post.
ChurchMag schedules posts one week ahead. So, when I am writing for next Wednesday, for instance, I am writing on Wednesday. It helps keep everything straight for me. There’s nothing magical about a week, it’s what I’ve found to be a good balance of working ahead without being too far ahead and feeling irrelevent. Besides, I can always reschedule posts when there’s something more time sensative that pops up.
With a week worth of blog posts scheduled, it allows me to have a busy day or if I don’t have time to work on ChurchMag, I have the freedom to fall a day behind, but there’s no stress. I can catch-up the next day, instead of worrying about not posting a blog post or hurriedly writing a bunch of junk only for the sake of publishing a blog post.
The Freedom to Write
Like I said, I started doing this a few years ago, but as I sit and write this today — not a week ago, but just a few hours before this posts — I am reminded of the effect that time has on the freedom to write. While today’s time limitation has helped me write this blog post, this is not the kind of long term dynamic that lends well to good blogging.
Having the freedom to write, requires time.
Having the freedom to abandon a post for another day, writing extra posts in a day because you feel particularly inspired, or writing nothing because you’re just ‘not feeling it,’ all requires time.
If you want to increase the quality and overall awesomeness of your blog, give yourself some margin in your time and start writing and scheduling your blog posts ahead of time.
Writing Requires Time
Scheduling your blog posts may take pressure off of you and gives you some margin for the ebbs and flows of writing inspiration, but don’t forget that writing anything — both blog posts and novels — requires time. You have to be intentional and make the time for writing! This is a concept I plan to enforce in my own life as I approach writing a novel of mine and not just ChurchMag blog posts and ChurchMag Press ebooks.
If you are serious about writing and blogging, get serious about setting aside time to do it. Some days will be more productive than others, but your net gain will always yield results you will be happy with. I’ve found this to be true as a professional blogger these past several years, so I am sure this same principle holds true to writing a novel.
Now, it’s time for me to hit “Publish” and post this blog post and start working towards getting my week worth of blog posts scheduled ahead of time. Later tonight, I also plan on spending at least 30-minutes on my novel.