6 Ways To Improve Your Blogging Lifestyle and Find Inspiration

This post is guest blogged by Steven York of Seopher.com.

One of the things I face on a daily basis is answering why I spend time blogging; and I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s not always someone else asking that question. Sometimes I’ll sit at my desk with my hands behind my head wondering why I dedicate such a large amount of my time to this childish dream of “making it” as a blogger – and I know a lot of you feel the same.

Blogging for success is different than blogging for fun – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. That may seem overly cryptic but it’s true. Because I’m trying to “make it” I feel a self-enforced pressure to post on a daily basis; and this is something I know a lot of others find too. The difference is that if you’re blogging for fun you post an entry whenever you feel like it. When you’re really trying to get somewhere it takes hard work and becomes more of a lifestyle than anything else. Here are my tips for making that lifestyle easier and finding inspiration when you need it.

1 – Write as far in advance as you feel inspired to

This is the best piece of advice I can give to ANY blogger – when you’re in the mood and writing good content – don’t stop. If you feel like you’ve got more to say just keep going because you’ll be thankful of it later. I have an “unpublished” section of Seopher.com where I can throw pieces of content for a rainy day (like drafts on WordPress) which is really useful because we all hit low days where you really don’t want to blog. On those days I cherry pick a piece of content and publish it – meaning the site doesn’t seem inactive but I’ve not really had to do anything.

2 – Schedule posts to go live in the future when you’re busy

If you know you’re going to be busy (or on Holiday, otherwise engaged etc) then I recommend combining the point I made in number one with the ability to schedule posts to go live in the future. This means that if I’m going away for the weekend I can take 1-2 posts out of my drafts and schedule them to go live later. I don’t use WordPress but it’s really easy to do (when writing a post click “post timestamp” on the right hand side and edit the timestamp to be some point in the future). This is a great way to give yourself “time off” from the blog without handing it over to someone else.

3 – Hand it over to someone else with guest posts

Sometimes you don’t have the time or inspiration to maintain a sizable catalogue of draft posts for future use, so what happens if you actually need some? Fortunately it’s not too hard to find people who will write a couple of guest posts for you (taking the strain off yourself). Clearly there are pitfalls with this because people came to your site to read your content but ultimately it’s a great way of keeping blogging enjoyable.

4 – Write a series of articles

This is one I love to use because it can be hard to find inspiration on cold, dark January evenings, so picking a suitably wide topic and turning it into a series of articles can really help things move in the right direction. This means that you already know what your next [however-many] posts are going to be about and you can think about them in advance. This in turn results in higher quality content (due to the extra thought gone into the post) and offers a valuable resource to readers. Eventually you could use the series as the basis for an (e)book.

5 – Post a summary / blast from the past

This may seem like scraping the barrel somewhat but there’s actually a good reason for doing this. How many of your readers have been reading your blog since it first started? Probably not many. Therefore if you have some gems in your back catalogue it can be worthwhile bringing them back to life for your new readers to look over. This is also helpful because content can be re-submitted to Digg when it’s over 365 days old, so older content can be thrown back into the social-news arena for more coverage. This is great because it can result in masses of exposure for seemingly little effort.

6 – Review something

They don’t even have to be paid reviews (shock, horror). Sometimes you can just review something for the sake of something interesting to talk about. If you stumble across something your readers would enjoy and you’ve been struggling to find inspiration, then go beyond just posting a link. There are a few advantages to reviewing stuff randomly: it can prompt people into asking for paid reviews and it can also open communications with the people who are involved with whatever you reviewed… It can be a nice opening to a lot of good things.

There you have it, 6 ways to make your life as a blogger slightly easier; from getting the right mechanisms in place to allow you to take time off, to finding inspiration when you really need it.

I personally find it really hard to spend time researching and writing posts alongside maintaining a relationship, freelancing/contracting as a web developer, holding down a full-time job and marketing my site too. The 6 points I’ve raised are how I manage my time to ensure that both myself and my blog are working at 100% efficiency.


57 thoughts on “6 Ways To Improve Your Blogging Lifestyle and Find Inspiration”

  1. All the above are excellent ways to keep a blog alive.

    But the problem with time stamps is that WordPress seems to ping every post as soon as you publish regardless of the timestamp and non of the plugins I tried worked.

    Any Ideas?

    1. If you edit the time stamp before pushing the publish button I’ve never had an issue with it pinging things too soon. Last night I accidentally hit publish before setting it to go live this morning and it ended up on my feed but that’s the only type of issue I’ve ever had and I ping a few different places.

    2. Gary R. Hess says:

      WordPress is notorious for that. MaxBlogPress has a plugin that fixes all the pinging problems (pinging while editing, future posts, etc).

      1. Maybe WordPress shouldfix that.

        Writing in advance only works with timeless subjects. Many topics become stale too soon!

    3. HostingCow says:

      All of the tips are excellent, but I really like the first and the second one.. It`s sunday, and I`m really in the mood for writing so today I`m probably gonna make few drafts for the next two days.
      I`d like to share my tip with others if that`s ok with Steven!
      When you are away from your laptop and you suddenly get idea for your next post, write it on a piece of paper, or if your cellphone has word, write the idea and a few keywords which will help you write the complete post once when you get home!
      This is pretty usefull for me!

    4. HostingCow says:

      All of the tips are excellent, but I really like the first and the second one.. It`s sunday, and I`m really in the mood for writing so today I`m probably gonna make few drafts for the next two days.
      I`d like to share my tip with others if that`s ok with Steven!
      When you are away from your laptop and you suddenly get idea for your next post, write it on a piece of paper, or if your cellphone has word, write the idea and a few keywords which will help you write the complete post once you get home!
      This is pretty usefull for me!

  2. alanj878 says:

    I have sometimes tried to write in advance but sometimes I release all my post in one day and you should review my blog wink wink

    1. I’d timestamp those posts if I were you πŸ˜‰

    2. or just save them for the future… no need to blow your load all at once, spread it out.

      1. In the spirit of The Office… “that’s what she said” πŸ˜† Man I miss that show…

    1. John Hok says:

      Obviously not, some excellent tips, I’ve always tried to write ahead but has never worked really. Not enough solid time to just sit down and start writing..

  3. Great advice… Keeping some backup posts as drafts on wordpress is a terrific suggestion. Had I done this, it would have been easy to go to another computer and publish a post.

    My computer crashed on the weekend. As a result several of my latest posts sit on the desktop waiting in limbo as I correct the issues… Live and learn.

  4. Ankur K says:

    The NO1 thing that is necessary for keeping up consistent blogging is ‘Passion for that topic’.

    Even John will agree on that!

    1. Seopher says:

      Absolutely – no one would continue such a painfully lucrative obsession unless they derived some enjoyment out of it!

    2. Actually, I would agree that for most people that’s the number one thing but for some, it’s really not all that important. It all depends on your skill set and your goals for a blog. Talented copywriters can crank out copy on almost any given subject no matter whether they are interested in it or not.

      1. Alan Johnson says:

        Sure, there are excellent copywriters out there who can do a great job even if they weren’t exactly interested in that topic at first but in the long run, being passionate about a certain project always helps because, let’s face it, people tend to be far more productive when working on something they are excited about.

        Alan Johnson

        1. Thats very true and well said, when one is passionate about what he/she does it does it pleasure and the results are way much better than someone that does just because he has to do that.

          Aren’t we all looking for that “job that we like” ?

  5. Way to keep it safe this time, Stephen. A solid post, thanks for writing it.

    1. Seopher says:

      After last time, do you have any idea how much I sense checked this post and re-wrote each section? One of the best rules in life is to learn from experience and I think most people who read my last post took something from it…

      1. As you said, chalk it up to experience and know that you got some exposure from it as well. I still argue that there’s no such thing as bad press.

      2. Alan Johnson says:

        Everyone makes mistakes, it’s great to see that you’ve learned from them and this post is a good example, congratulations.

        Best wishes,

        Alan Johnson

  6. Hey Stephen,
    Great post! I especially liked number one – write as far in advance as you feel inspired to. Sometimes I find that my ideas are flowing onto the screen in a steady stream and I think it would be a big mistake to stop writing. It’s also great for days where I have ‘blogger’s block’ although this is rare. Many blogs that don’t post on the weekend write for the next week.

    Keep up the good work at Seopher,
    Hafiz Dhanani

    1. Seopher says:

      Hafiz,
      All too often I’m just getting into the flow of writing content and some other constraints in my life force me to stop – more often than not it’s sleep.

      “Bloggers block” as you put it is an awful affliction and can be very frustrating – especially when you’re pressuring yourself into *needing* to post daily. You sit there scratching your head trying to think of good topics – where had I thought ahead and written some content when I was on a “good day” this wouldn’t be an issue.

      It’s a philosophy to live by! Glad you enjoyed the content.

      1. Yup, when you’re in the groove, just go with it. It’s too valuable to waste it.

        1. Alan Johnson says:

          I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes all of the brainstorming in the world seems to be useless while on other occasions, great ideas keep coming in like there’s no tomorrow. It definitely helps to make the most out of everything when you are inspired, you will thank yourself later πŸ™‚

          Alan Johnson

  7. I completely agree with your opinion and also say thanks for this awareness. Really it opens a new horizon before me in my blogging life. Thanks a lot

  8. Caleb says:

    Thanx for the inspirational post…sometimes we tend to get in a rutt and ideas like these can get us back going.

  9. Reviewing seems to be the easiest way to do a post…no one thinks exactly as you do,so an honest review will do wonders 😎

  10. John, I have been using some of the tips you mentioned for my own blogging and I find it quite useful especially the “schedule post” and “post summary”. Occasionally we might suffer from “blogging constipation” 😳 and we will need some of this tips to give us a break!

    1. My first tip would be to read the beginning of this post where it says that this post was written buy a guest author. John didn’t write this one.

  11. dcr says:

    Good advice.

    For #6, you could also review something for which you’re an affiliate, which is an evil thing I learned from another blogger. Hmmm, who was it? πŸ˜‰

    1. That’s not evil, it’s called affiliate marketing. πŸ™„

      1. Seopher says:

        But do you label your affiliate links as (aff) or mask them? That’s the “evil” decision 😈

  12. Frugal Dad says:

    One suggestion I would add to the idea of writing in a series is not start posting the series to your blog until you have most of the series complete (unless it is time-sensitive). I’ve started a couple series posts from scratch and felt pressure each day to write on the next article in the series, rather than something that floating near the top of my brain that particular day.

    1. Anthony says:

      Good point Frugal Dad. I’m rather new to blogging, but I’ve been on the same place that you’ve been working with an autoresponder series. I started a series of 10-12 letters that should have been delivered every other day, I had only two to start and at a given moment my attention was distracted on other tasks and finally found myself getting people reaching the sixth letter of the series and I did not have the seventh to publish. Not an enjoyable situation indeed.

  13. I enjoy using some free time on the weekend to think of the upcoming week’s posts. It gets the ideas for the future posts fresh in my mind or if I feel like I write the whole post in advance.

    Some great advice, Steven and congrats on the guest post.

  14. bennyong says:

    I totally agree with the if you have a mood to write to prepare stuff in advance. I always find it very useful and helpful. Cheers.

  15. I totally agree with points 1, 2 and 4 because I do them myself. Sometimes when I feel like writing, I can write up to 8 articles in a day. Don’t stop yourself then because you never know when it might come back.

  16. Alan Johnson says:

    Well done Steven, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that there is no need to write articles in advance and will just have to learn about the fact that great ideas don’t always come when you’re under pressure the hard way.

    Best wishes,

    Alan Johnson

    1. Seopher says:

      The counterpoint of this argument is that if you’re out and about and inspiration takes hold of you, should you stop and write?

      More often than not the answer is “no”. My girlfriend wouldn’t appreciate me taking my laptop with me to restaurants in case I am struck by genius while waiting for the wine.

      However, you should absolutely make a note of your genius idea on a napkin and take it home πŸ™‚

      1. Alan Johnson says:

        I’m actually guilty of taking notes whenever I have a great idea (after all, forgetting about it and only remembering the fact that you thought it was great is not exactly a pretty picture πŸ™‚ ) and, as far as the issue of writing articles in advance is concerned: if you are sitting at your desk and feel that you’re in a good writing mood then you should definitely not stop after finishing tomorrow’s article.

        Alan Johnson

  17. Number 1 is a great point. I sometimes sit down and write 5 posts at once, because at other times I can’t think of anything because my head feels like a cave. It’s great to have several posts ready when you are suffering from writer’s block or nothing is wotking.

  18. Doing a series is a great idea too. I did a 4 part series, haven’t finished #4 yet, and I saw my traffic go up each day. Will have another one in the works soon.

  19. Chip says:

    I do 1 and 2 very often, as I have spare time at night. Right now I have 5 post scheduled. I also think about writing an e-book on Corporate Identity, as this is my latest occupation.

  20. Reviews and future published articles are a great idea, I just have never had the time to write more than two at a time and I usually end up publishing them as soon as they are finished. Are there any good ways to delay publishing besides just saving the articles as drafts?

    Is there a plugin for this?

  21. Really useful post! Getting ideas is one of the hardest part. Getting good ideas for posts is the hardest for me. Good post!

  22. Kinda basic/obvious tips, but thanks.

  23. RacerX says:

    Great tips. I am constantly using “Draft” in Blogger to grab any ideas that come up.

  24. Katie says:

    Thanks for those wonderful tips to make blogging easier. Managing time is important and I needed that helpful info. Thanks again! πŸ˜‰

    ~Katie

  25. If I am ever stuck for things to write I go straight to the top blogs in my industry and see what is new on the market. It’s not hard to write a 300 word review on another post. I am a bit skeptical about writing in advance as I think all posts should be bang up to date with what is happening in that sector. If you write in advance you run the risk of just publishing boring out of date info but that said it’s better tan not writing at all πŸ™‚

  26. Michael says:

    Scheduling posts to go live when I’m busy is my best friend in the blogging world. I like to keep a pretty steady schedule when it comes to blogging and scheduling posts is the best way to keep that going without having to move my daily appointments around.

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