Incredibly, this is number eight in what has turned out to be a weirdly popular weekly series on how to take some of the scary out of blogging.
(If you don’t blog and don’t plan to, you can totally apply this stuff to anything else that scares you, yes?)
And if you’d like to catch up (not required at all), the rest of the posts are right here:
Part 1. What if people are mean to me?
Part 2. What if I throw a party and no one shows up?
Part 3. Why even bother when there are already other people doing it better?
Part 4. What do I saaaaaaaaaaaaaaay?
Part 5. Help! Perfectionism! Gaaaaak!
Part 6. But I’m not an EXPERT!
Part 7. Don’t make me be vulnerable!
Okay, so one of the most intimidating things about blogging is finding the time for it.
I can’t even type that without hearing my mother’s voice in my head saying “All this writing! I don’t know where you have the time for it! It can’t be good for business!”
Well, let’s talk about this. And anyway, if it’s not blogging you’re having trouble finding time for, it’s probably something else — so maybe some of these suggestions/thoughts will help with that too.
Gak! There is no time! I can’t do this. Overwhelm!!!
Oh honey. I know.
Sometimes (most of the time?) I feel like this. And not just about the blog. About all sorts of things.
Honestly, before I started the blog, my biggest worry was how time-consuming it would be. Actually, I was worried that it would take over my life. (And it kind of has, but in a really good way!).
This feeling-constricted-because-of-time thing is normal.
And of course, I have a some thoughts and suggestions about what you might do about this, or how to start thinking about it slightly differently. So maybe we can shift some stuff, and at the very least give you some food for thought.
Blogging frees you up from other stuff.
No one tells you this, but once you’re blogging regularly, you can pretty much dump most or all your other “marketing” activities.
Stuff I’ve been able to let go of because of this blog:
Oh, let’s see … pretty much every single thing I used to do to grow my business.
I don’t go to networking events anymore, which is good because my duck never liked them anyway. I also used to try and lead a live event or workshop with Selma about once a month. Now we only do that a couple times a year.
Not just that. I dumped my noozletter and the monthly teleclasses, and have pretty much entirely quit spending time doing business-ey things like writing copy, coming up with strategies, and planning campaigns.
I’ve also stopped “not doing that stuff but feeling guilty because I think I should“.
All that stuff has become pretty much unnecessary because the people who hang out here think I’m awesome. They buy my stuff just because it’s mine.
So — the countless hours and days I used to spend figuring out ways to convince people that my ideas were good or to explain how things worked? Not really necessary anymore. Ta-da!
This possibly isn’t the best example, but Suzanne Falter Barnes who is recently back from her blogging hiatus has a thing (or used to) where she does kind of a blogging day.
She goes and sits in a cafe — on Friday afternoons, if I remember correctly — and drinks something girly and writes up three posts for the week. Three posts and then she’s done.
The downside to the Suzanne approach, of course, is that it treats blogging like a chore, which you have to sweeten by going to a cafe.
If that approach works for you, then yay! Ignore what I’m about to say.
Here’s the thing. Blogging is not a chore. Blogging is … (say it with me) therapy that you don’t have to pay for.
On the other hand, pre-posting is a genius solution to all sorts of problems. During the move to Hoppy House last week, most of what you read here was pre-posted.
Because Charlie made me promise. And it did big things for my sanity.
So if that makes sense for you, try taking a chunk of time to yourself and then writing a couple of posts at a time. That way you can publish them in advance and spread them out to buy yourself some more time. Some more time to write, of course!
And of course, hanging out in a cafe — whether for people-watching, reading or pre-posting — is good for the soul and we should all do it more often. I write that and then Selma gives me this total accusatory “take your own damn advice” look. Whoops.
Newsflash: your posts don’t need to be all that long.
In fact, they don’t need to be long at all. I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t be me.
Seriously. I don’t write long posts to impress you. I write long posts because I can’t write short posts to save my life.
But if you can? Do it. Please.
A sentence. A paragraph. Knock yourself (and us!) out.
Seriously, brevity won’t give me the time of day. But if you do not suffer from this bizarre curse of verbosity, keep them short. Apparently a lot of people like them better that way!
(Not the ones who hang out here though. You guys are gluttons for punishment. Or speed-readers.)
Again, blogging is therapy.
I know I’ve made this point so many times that we’re all sick of it, but it’s important.
It’s not like you’re having to carve out time to dust behind the refrigerator. This is time for you. Designated guilt-free time to do some journaling with yourself and let yourself creatively self-express.
Which happens to be just about the most healing thing there is. Yes, I said the h-word. I don’t care — it’s true.
Maybe you’ll come up with something that’s just for your own eyes. But who knows? Maybe part of it or most of it or even all of it will be something that you can massage into a post. Maybe there’s stuff in there that’s going to be useful for other people to read.
Your words don’t have to be inspiring. It’s the fact that you are modeling this process that is inspiring.
This is your time. For you. It’s a gift. Would you kvetch about having to spend a week on a beautiful beach? (Okay, fine, I would too).
Yes, it takes time. Time that you are investing in yourself, your business, your general well-being. And as we already know, it takes time to make time.
Investing in yourself? In a conscious, intentional self-aware sort of way? Always worthwhile.
Start small. Build up. Keep a store of “extras” for when you aren’t in the zone.
What?! There’s a zone? You can get out of it? I mean, into it?
Uh … okay, I guess we’re talking about that next time then.
My point for right now is: having a small pile of posts-in-progress is a good thing.
My friends and clients and readers who keep secret blogs or “pre-blogs” (word docs) are stockpiling posts like crazy. That’s something we all should do.
If it’s miserable, don’t do it.
Seriously. Don’t let blogging (or whatever your other creative work-on-your-stuff processes are) become about proving something to yourself or mastering yourself or — tfu tfu tfu — anything else that’s mean and depressing.
Where you are right now is where you are. If you’re not finding the time right now because thinking about it is freaking you out, give yourself a little kindness.
And if you can’t, meet yourself there.
Tomorrow: the goofiness I promised you last week and didn’t come through with because of the move. Next Tuesday: how to get in the zone.
That’s it for now. *blows kiss and waves duck*