Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Kelly Thoreson
Despite a life spent writing, I found out the hard way that creating content for a blog is difficult work.
When I first started blogging, I struggled to produce 1 post per month, which will get you a fat lot of nowhere as a blogger.
Through a whole lot of trial and error, I was able to pinpoint and sort out what was holding me back from creating content, the results surprised me and I want to share them with you!
Below we’ll look at the 3 reasons I wasn’t creating content and what I did to CRUSH them and become a blogging MACHINE so you can learn from my mistakes.
Problem #1: You’re Distracted AF
I get distracted easily. Like, ruh-eeeally easily.
I see a squirrel, I chase it, no question.
Solution #1: Prep & Will Power
The solution is so simple it will make you want to puke: preparation and will power.
I know, that seems like a lame copout that your 5th grade teacher tells you after handing in your essay late. Alas, it looks like Mrs. Hobbs was right!
How to Prepare for Creating Content
Before you sit down to write, prepare EVERYTHING you need to ensure you do not get up from that seat until you’re at a logical stopping point.
Here’s a shortlist of the distractions that will cause you to (a little too eagerly) abandon your post:
- You have to go potty (Yes, I said POTTY. Don’t judge me, I’m a mom)
- You’re cold
- You’re hot
- You’re thirsty
- You’re tired and need coffee
- You’re hungry
- Your environment is too loud
- You’re uncomfortable sitting
- You keep getting interrupted by family members
- You just need a damn break from looking at your computer screen
- Your phone is ringing, dinging, and vibrating
Now a not-short list of how to prepare for these distractions:
ALWAYS use the bathroom before you sit down to write.
Bio-breaks are a must, writers! Take care of business before sitting down.
Ask yourself: what’s the temperature in my writing space?
Cold? Wear socks and bring a jacket. Hot? Grab a table fan, turn on the AC. Done.
A bottle of water and a cup of coffee are writing essentials.
Don’t show up to the desk without them.
Eat first or grab a snack for later.
Again with those pesky biological needs! If you get up from your desk to grab a Lara Bar, you’re going to get distracted by 4 tasks on the way to the kitchen and an additional 9 on the way back (if you ever make it back).
Ask yourself: is my writing space noisy?
Always. carry. earplugs. My favorite are Hearos cause they’re cheap, soft, and punny.
Stand up to write.
Too much sitting is bad for you (click to read WebMD article). If you know you get uncomfortable sitting like I do get a laptop desk and place it on top of your regular writing surface so you can stand once it becomes uncomfortable to sit. Observe:
Boom, baby! Instant standing desk for under 25 bucks, can’t beat that!
Note the bottle of water and Hearos that live at my writing space. 🙂
Let your family members know that you’re going to blog and to leave you the F alone.
Now, I know that this is a dangerous thing to say to your children.
My daughter has never needed my attention more than when I’m on the telephone, blogging, or (god forbid) in the bathroom.
To children, the idea of their parent not being completely at their disposal causes some sort of evolutionary-based scarcity reflex that manifests in the form of extreme neediness.
What I have found to be particularly effective here is exercising my right to say no.
If you give in to their demands, the demands will never end.
Here are some requests you can promptly decline:
Can you make me a snack? Nope, you have two hands and a full kitchen. Love ya!
Can you review this app I want to download for appropriateness? Not right this moment, wait until blogging time is over, please!
I’m bored, can you find something for me to do? You’re bright and capable and I believe in your ability to entertain yourself with one of the THOUSAND toys in your room. You complete me!
Same rules go for significant others, who (let’s face it) can be just as needy as the children!
IT’S OKAY TO SAY NO, bloggers! Boundaries are good. You’re busy building a blogging empire, here!
Practice the 20-20-20 rule for eye fatigue.
Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It works! You can set a gentle 20 minute interval timer for yourself.
I use Insight Timer for this, which is actually designed for meditation. However, it does the trick and the alarm noise options are nice instead of annoying. Also – it’s free!
You can read more about the 20-20-20 rule in Medical News Today’s post: Does the 20-20-20 rule prevent eye strain?
Turn your phone on silent.
That’s right, sever the umbilical cord between yourself and your device. Turn the vibration off and place it screen down.
Better yet, leave it in another room (after silencing it)! You won’t die without your phone and the world won’t come crashing down if you are not constantly reachable, I promise.
All smartphones have an option to let certain numbers through (if you’re waiting for an important call) even when your phone is on silent so NO EXCUSES. Sound: off!
How to Exercise Will Power
I struggle with will power in many aspects of my life. I’m a juvenile diabetic who loves to bake (and eat the results), a vegetarian who harbors a predilection for jalapeno cheddar cheese hot dogs, and a professional blogger who is prone to distraction.
In short, if I can buckle down and commit to creating content every day – anyone can.
So, how do we go about cultivating will power?
Firstly, there’s this awesome book called Will Power. I bought it in print AND audiobook because I have that little god-given will power. I needed a double dose of help!
Secondly, there are a couple of tips I have for you on how to cultivate will power and eliminate distraction, they’re up next so keep on read’n!
Don’t Follow the Squirrels
If the Reagan era taught us anything it’s that, “Just say no” is simple in theory and tough to practice. Not giving into the distractions is hard, but you can do it one, “no” at a time!
Ask yourself if the distraction is really something that can’t wait until later.
9 times out of 10, you’ll find that you don’t have to get up from your desk and clean that smudge off the wall, add something to your Amazon shopping cart or any of the 50 bazillion other tasks your monkey mind comes up for you to do instead of writing.
Make a pact with yourself during content creation time: If it’s not writing, it’s not happening.
Just by challenging your impulse to go do something else, you are honing your ability to focus on your writing. You will get better at focusing and it will get easier, I promise!
Try Creating Content In a Word Processor
Setting yourself up for success means eliminating as many distractions as possible during your writing time. Avoid getting distracted by composing your posts in a word processor, not on your blog’s dashboard.
Word Press is an amazing tool, I love it more than I love the first bite of pumpkin pie in November. BUT – your blog’s dashboard is not the most productive word processing tool and comes with LOADS of distractions.
I wrote all my first posts inside the WordPress platform and that was a bad idea. If you’re easily distracted, this will slow you down enormously.
You’ll end up checking your traffic stats, maybe tweaking your homepage for the 7,000th time, updating your plugins and soon these important but not immediately necessary tasks will come before your writing.
When you finally make it to the new post screen, it can be hard to to resist the temptation to add images, YouTube videos, and super pretty formatting in lieu of writing a complete post.
Super inefficient! Again, those are all important tasks but they can wait.
When I have an idea of an image I want to include in my post while I’m in creation mode, I will make a notation of where I want that image to go and keep on writing. Observe:
WRITE FIRST, add it into Word Press second, then go down the image/video/formatting rabbit hole.
Obviously, I completed this post so it looks like my hack worked!
Problem #2: Boredom Sets In
I’m going to let you in on my dirty little secret: I used to get bored with creating content before I was finish with the blog post. GAAAASP!
As bloggers, we’re not, “supposed” to admit that we’re not utterly enthralled with our niche 100% of the time.
Well, that’s total bullshit.
I am always excited about creating content when I start the process, if I weren’t, I wouldn’t bother because if I’m not excited about what I’m writing no one else will be either.
I can’t (and no one should) BS my way through a blog post. I must genuinely be enthusiastic about the topic, or it will be like trying to wrestle an unwieldy toddler into a car seat: nearly impossible and sticky.
Adding to the problem was that I had an all or nothing attitude, I would force myself to, “power through” the fatigue and keep writing.
Of course, this tactic didn’t work, I’d just make myself SICK of the piece.
Often, I would never finish that post I had become tired of writing. What a waste of time and energy!
Thank the gods (old and the new), I changed my mindset and now I write posts every day like a badass and enjoy every minute of it!
Solution #2: Giving Myself Permission to Flex
Confession time: I’m writing this post right now because I got bored while writing a different one!
No one can be excited about their niche non-stop. Our power lies in being willing to admit this and allowing ourselves to flex into a solution.
I had to find a way to work around my writing style so that I could not only FINISH my posts but write them in large quantities on a consistent basis.
Sometimes you have to compromise with yourself to get shit done and there’s no shame in that.
Everyone has their own writing style, don’t try to force yourself to sit down and write a whole post from start to finish if that’s not your gig. You do you, boo.
The solution that worked for me was accepting my natural writing jenesequa and allowing myself to move onto a different project as long as it was another post.
Now, when I find my interest in the current project waning, I move onto writing a different post for the day and come back to the current project the next day. This has been extraordinarily effective!
Problem #3: I Spent My Time on the Wrong Tasks
Like I mentioned above, it wasn’t that I didn’t devote enough time to my blog. I was all over it.
The trouble was, I spent those 30+hours per week performing blogging TASKS (not necessarily writing) in a disorganized manner.
I write best first thing in the morning so I would wake up extra early to get lots of quality writing in before work.
I was WASTING prime writing time on tasks, essential as they were, that can be performed later in the day when my creative writing juice was all used up.
Solution #3: Create a Blogging Schedule & Write Your Ass Off
You’ve got to get organized, the sooner the better!
Create a schedule for the non-writing responsibilities, slot them outside of your prime writing time, and stick to it so they’re not nagging at you while you’re trying to create.
Since I’m a dive-right-in kind of person, creating a schedule and sticking to it was a bit of a challenge. I picked up a copy of CREATE Blog and Editorial Planner by Meera Kothand and it did the trick! Thanks to this planner, I’m now laser-focused!
Next, take a break from everything else. Once I realized the bells and whistles of blogging were keeping me from writing, I took a drastic measure.
I challenged myself to completely step away from the tech/social media side of my blog for a WHOLE WEEK and instead use that time to write posts.
I put everything I could on autopilot and walked away.
Ummm yeah, it was torture. But also, it worked.
Not only did I crank out 7 high-quality blog posts in one week but also, I got myself into the habit of writing a lot of content every single day.
You and I both know that every sentence written is not perfect. In fact, a lot of them are garbage that gets cut from the end product.
One key to writing tons of high-quality content is to write a shit-load of content all the time.
That way, when you’re done trimming the fat off your pieces, you’re still left with a substantial and thoughtful post that is going to benefit your audience (after all, that’s why we’re here!).
This writing challenge worked, I now produce a 1,000 word (minimum) post about twice a week – that is a 800% increase over what I produced before I established a writing routine. Holy cow!
It worked so well that I made it into a free workbook, get your copy by clicking here:
A book that has helped me create a writing routine is called The Artist’s Way.
In this totally badass book, author Julia Cameron covers not only a more spiritual side to writing but also how to create a writing habit in which you’re producing A LOT of words that then get whittled down into quality works.
It’s a must-have for your writing toolkit!
There’s no one-size-fits-all way to blog. Stay flexible but committed in your pursuit of creating a daily writing habit.
Before you sit down to write, set yourself up for success by eliminating distractions and taking care of your biological needs.
If you get bored when you write, give yourself permission to work on more than one post at a time. Compromise with yourself when needed in order to protect your passion for your blog, it’s what will set you apart from your competitors!
Diving right in is great, but the sooner you organize your blogging hours the more successful you will be. Don’t wait to organize your time and definitely don’t waste six months like I did!
You’re a blogger now which also means that you’re a writer. Write every single day in order to ensure your success.
What tricks have you used to create lots of top-notch content? Leave your answer in the comments below!
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