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One Blogging Command and Seven Sacred Tips to Beat Burnout and Avoid the Lazysphere

By Tiffany Monhollon

If you’re going to blog, here’s one piece of advice you should follow: write great stuff.

There are a zillion blogging tips out there, but this is the most important one. For a lot of reasons: It makes your ideas more relevant, and thus more popular, especially to the power bloggers. It works better than linkbaiting. It helps you form better relationships. It sets your content apart.

And as blogging advice goes, it sounds simple enough. But in reality, it’s a challenge for even the best bloggers in the world. Let’s be honest: creating really great content takes a lot of time, effort, thought research, and creativity. And doing all of this consistently often ushers in writing burnout, especially if blogging isn’t your full time job, and actually, even if it is.

Add to this already challenging equation your workload outside of blogging and finding time for a personal life, and you can see why so many bloggers end up lumping themselves into what Steve Rubel’s dubbed the “lazysphere.”

So how can you balance the need to create relevant, insightful content but at the same time keep a consistent, frequent blogging schedule? Here are a few tips to help you avoid lazy blogging and beat writing burnout.

1. Keep track of ideas. Whenever they hit. Whether during rush hour, at work, during dinner, at a movie, or while watching a political debate. If you’re a deep thinking blogger, you’ll already be making the connections between your subject matter and the things going on around you. So keep track of your ideas to aid your writing process. You can tag things you read online at the office, e-mail yourself reminders, or keep a handy notebook nearby. Whatever works for you, make sure you’re keeping track of your ideas and making connections.

2. Plan your writing week. Take time to plan your writing each week. Exactly what you plan can differ each week. For example, some weeks I select specific topics and specific days to post them. Other times I just commit to set aside time to write on certain days. When all else fails, I have a default plan of posting at least once a week. Just make a weekly commitment to yourself that works with your schedule, and you’ll find that your blogging improves. You’ll feel like you have more time and approach the process with a better, more creative mindset.

3. Have accountability. Since plans fail, often, it’s really important to have other ways to hold yourself accountable for how often and even what you write. When I first started blogging, I had unofficial standards of keeping my posting schedule consistent with some of my favorite blogs that I followed. This works, but you may develop your own patterns and frequencies. So just make sure you have good relationships with other bloggers in your niche who will cheer you on when you’re hitting homeruns or call you out when you’re teetering on the brink of the lazysphere.

4. Find creative ways to multitask. Whenever I do an interview or guest post, I multitask by either re-working my responses into a blog post or creating a post on a similar topic on my blog. Since I’ve already taken the time to research or formulate complex ideas about the subject, this speeds up the writing process and has the added value of serving as related content for new visitors to enjoy. You can also build posts off of responses or comments to other bloggers’ posts. Remember, if you write them, you words and ideas are your own (unless you’ve made another agreement), so feel free to find creative ways to use them on your blog.

5. Create a series or feature. Using weekly features or topical series is a great way to keep your blogging consistent. By having a go-to topic or idea that you can easily add on to, you can infuse establish a cadence to your blogging, which helps beat burnout when other ideas aren’t flowing.

6. Delegate your content. Invite other bloggers you know to guest post at your site. Or, consider asking your readers to ask or answer questions you can use in creating content. When you know you’re going to have a busy week, schedule interviews with other bloggers and let them do the writing for you.  

7. Let go of perfection. While deep thinking, effort and attention to detail have are critical in making your writing stand out online, too much of a good thing can keep you from writing often and keeping a consistently engaged audience satisfied. One of my biggest stumbling blocks in blogging is my continual desire for perfection, in content, in strategy, in everything I do to portray myself online. So when you find yourself struggling to find just the right thing to say or the perfect way to say it, start by just saying something. Great ideas aren’t always wrapped inside perfect metaphors or decorated with just the right sparkling vocabulary choices. Focus on the quality of your thoughts first, and the rest will come.

By Tiffany Monhollon | February 1, 2008

Topics: Authenticity, Personal PR, Relationships, Writing |

24 Responses to “One Blogging Command and Seven Sacred Tips to Beat Burnout and Avoid the Lazysphere”

  1. Kosta Kontos Says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 2:20 am

    “Keep track of ideas.” and “Let go of perfection.” - these two tips have done it for me.

    I enjoy thinking up blog ideas in the shower (inbetween all that singing), and make sure to leave my pedantic side at the door when I sit down to write.

  2. RB Says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    The point that I know I can work on here is actually planning out the writing week. I sort of engage in planning it out but I know that I can do a better job here.

    It would certainly create a better balance for things. Especially when as we all know, time flies!

  3. Pages tagged "writing" Says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 5:42 pm

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  4. Viqi French Says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Right on, each and every point!

    My greatest blogging challenge is the “letting go of perfection” you mentioned. Every post needn’t qualify for the NYT Best-Sellers List. And I can certainly blend in more of the shorter ilk.

    What do I do right? REPURPOSE THESE PUPPIES! A tweak here and there to most blog posts, and I have wonderful article marketing and e-newletter fodder.

    I’ll link to this, for sure.

    http://fiercelystrategic.blogspot.com

  5. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 4:53 am

    @Kosta - I always find I have really creative post ideas early in the morning too, when my mind’s been making those connections all night in my dreams, perhaps? But it’s a challenge to keep track. Love the idea of keeping a notebook close by.

    @RB - Planning is always a challenge, because it takes time. But it’s rewarding, because it makes time. I just try to focus on that!

    @Viqi - Glad to know my struggles with perfecting are shared. Sometimes you just have to realize your mindset first, that way you can address it!

  6. The ‘Lazysphere’. « Crisis in Conversation Says:
    February 3rd, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    [...] describes in a recent post how to beat blogger burnout and fight the lazysphere. Among her seven tips, Monhollon advises tracking ideas, setting aside time to plan out your writing each week, and using [...]

  7. Lisa Poplawski Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Wonderful tips for a new blogger like myself. To add: if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short blogging experience-one week, yes, very short-it’s that sometimes you must just stop your post, erase it and start anew. I really enjoyed your comment on letting go of perfection and I am sometimes so concerned with whether I am really contributing something new and worthy to the conversation, that I find myself backspacing every word and the sentence flow just won’t come. Letting go of perfection means to me, taking a break and waiting for the groove. Only blog when you are in the moment and when you have something to say, not when it’s forced or uncomfortable.

  8. 27 Secrets to Linking Like a Master Networker at Personal PR Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 5:08 am

    [...] One Blogging Command and Seven Sacred Tips to Beat Burnout and Avoid the Lazysphere | [...]

  9. BillinDetroit Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 6:19 am

    @Lisa - If you write from your heart, you WILL add to the conversation. No one on the planet thinks just as you do. But enough of us think ’sort of’ how you think that you WILL strike a chord and you WILL find an audience IF you persevere.

    I apply this same principle in my own writing.

    Editing and composing are two different things. Get your complete thought down before editing. Then, use editing to dispose of the excess baggage. After you’ve edited the thoughts, edit the grammar. Publish … you’re done with that one.

    I can’t think of anything I’ve ever done so well the first time that it was beyond improvement forever. Not cooking, not kissing, not expressing myself in writing. Nothing. If you can not improve on your earlier work, it could mean that you did it perfectly the first time. Jesus seems to have handled the whole crucifiction thing pretty well, all things considered. More likely it means that you haven’t learned anything new since then.

    That means that, as long as you continue to learn new things, no post will ever be complete. Don’t worry about that. Write us a new and improved one so we won’t notice how gory-awful the earlier ones were.

    signed: the guy with the glasses in third hour.

  10. Damyanti Says:
    February 8th, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Good tips…I myself try and write short, pithy posts…recently just writing my posts have been difficult due to personal reasons, but I agree with most of what you have said here…I only wish I could find people willing to do guest-blogging for me!

  11. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 8th, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    @ Damyanti - Finding guest bloggers is a great thing, but before you can, you have to have built solid relationships with other bloggers (or have an insanely high profile blog).

  12. Kelly Wissink Says:
    February 10th, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Thanks for a wonderful post, Tiffany.

    Savy readers expect the best we can offer them. Mistakes will be made as your blog evolves over time, that is a given. Our readers are forgiving if we’re honest with them and not writing with a thesaurus in hand.

    There is so much new techie stuff for bloggers: mobile, widgets, twitter…. What will blogging look like in five years? Be authentic and keep it simple.

    Any thoughts?

    God Bless,

    Kelly and Curt Wissink

  13. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 4:51 am

    @Kelly - Being authentic and simple are critical, especially with all the new communication tools coming into play. Will we even be blogging in the platform as we know it now in five years? Who knows, but it seems to be the trend that the more personal online communication is, the better the relationships that are built, so transparency is also starting to play a more central role.

  14. Lukas Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 12:49 am

    It sounds like it’s sleeting, but every time I turn on the outside light & look, nothings happening.

  15. Ask the PRos: Take One « Crisis in Conversation Says:
    February 17th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    [...] Blogging, Client Relations   A few posts back, I lovingly linked to Tiffany Monhollan’s tips for beating blogger burnout and avoiding the lazysphere. Of these tips, I’ve taken a particular interest in number five, [...]

  16. Utah Tech Jobs » Blogging Tips? Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    [...] Its very smart to borrow from other posts. If someone inspires you, link to them. Its not only nice, but creates a threaded conversation that is time/location insensitive. Its amazing, actually, but this is what the web is about.  For example, relative to this post, I might share some of the posts I’ve found to speak around this same topic, like 12 tips to get from Blogger to Influencer by DailyBlogTips (my valemtine post violates their tip #4, btw.), Shally Steckerl’s Quick List of Blogging Resources, Robin Good’s Microblogging and LifeStreaming beginner’s guide, Penelope Trunk’s Why NOT to write for traffic (and Tiffany Monhollon’s continuation of that thread with the seven sacred tips to beat blog writing burnout). [...]

  17. 5 Blogging Secrets in an iPod : Brazen Careerist Says:
    March 2nd, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    [...] illustration of what it can be like to run a successful blog, especially if you’re aiming to avoid the lazysphere. When you have no time, when life and work and relationships in your real life take priority, you [...]

  18. Blogs & Blogging - All 2009 Nominees » SEMMYS.org Says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    [...] One Blogging Command and Seven Sacred Tips to Beat Burnout and Avoid the Lazysphere Tiffany Monhollon, Personal PR | 2/1/08 [...]

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