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*
it seems that you always write posts for what i need to hear right now. you’re amazing like that (selma is amazing too!). i just posted today about how this monthly gig i have been doing feels a bit oppressive and you come here and say “if it’s miserable, don’t do it”. so that’s decided then!
thanks thanks thanks
There are people who dust behind the refrigerator? I mean… that’s just sick. *g*
Hi, Havi! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months and really enjoying it. Your blogging therapy posts have been a big help to me; this month I signed up for NaBloPoMo (www.nablopomo.com), National Blog Posting Month, and have been writing every day. It’s been great fun.
Love to you and your duck from me and my rhinocera, Cornelia!
Mam Adars last blog post..Evolution of a dish
LOVE your blog. I mean, seriously, it’s the only one I read any more.
And … maybe this is just me being resistant, but I have a question.
Do you think that blogs take the place of newsletters for every target market? (Obviously, I’m asking this ’cause I don’t think so.)
My clientele are businesspeople – corporate folk – and I am, frankly, having a hard time finding them online. I don’t *think* they’re on Twitter much, and I don’t really see them doing the blog-reading thing.
And if they *do* do the blog-reading thing, I’m not sure where or how to let them know (aside from my newsletter) that I’ve got one. (Which I don’t, yet, but I’m seriously thinking about it, *especially* after having so much fun reading your blog for the last few months.)
When I do a talk or presentation, or teach a class, I can tell people about my newsletter and get their permission to sign them up. Now they’re on my list. Is there a blog equivalent to this?
Sorry. I know I’m asking a bunch of what are probably dumb questions, but maybe you can incorporate the answers into a future post on blogging!
And just for the record, I do dust behind my refrigerator, because otherwise the cat fur clogs everything up and my refrigerator motor starts choking. 🙂
Hi there dear one,
Of course this series is weirdly ( although I would say wildly ) popular!
It’s one of the best tutorials on blogging that I have ever seen because it doesn’t just deal with the technical issues about blogging but the emotional issues…. which is really where people get hung up. That’s the hard stuff. That’s what paralyzes people and keeps blogging from happening. So kudos to you for making the blogosphere safe for feelings. Yeah feelings!!
It’s also really fun to watch you bring new meaning to the term Mommy Blogger as I witness you nurturing and midwifing the birth of new baby bloggers into the world!
Just love you to pieces (*colorful painting of a big red heart*)…..
chris zydels last blog post..WHEN I WRITE…. my creative process in seven ( very short) acts
Hi Havi, I followed you over from Twitter. You offer a lot of great advice and motivation here and I think that is wonderful. I personally keep a folder of ideas on my computer and I am a madwoman when it comes to post-it-notes. Whenever something blogworthy strikes me I jot it down and sometimes I (and my husband) feel like we swim in a sea of the little yellow suckers but it works. When I need something to draw from I sift through the ideas and notes until something jumps out at me that I am ready to elaborate on.
Keep up the great work, people are listening (er, reading)
bens last blog post..drag strip
How ironic that I’m currently rushing to write an entry before the end of the day…
Johnny Truants last blog post..Unfortunately, pants
Now, I know this isn’t exactly on topic and I know he’s married and all (me too) but gosh darnit isn’t Charlie just to die for!
Annie Binnss last blog post..I’d Rather Gnaw Off A Limb…
And I didn’t even have time to comment. Terrible.
@ben – ohmygod, the post-it solution that is its own problem that is its own solution. I totally do that. Experimenting now with note cards so that I can actually read them.
@Chris – ha! The only way anyone is ever going to call *me* a mommy blogger is metaphorically. Hmmm. The mother of all newbie bloggers. No, that sounds not-so-good also.
Still, you made me laugh.
And glad to have started a dusting-behind-refrigerator debate.
@Grace – hmm. Big questions. I don’t think the medium is as important as “do you get what your people need and can you help them?”
There are noozletter people and blog people. Not a ton of people who are both. If you’re people are noozletter people you might want to stick to that and then work on building a new community of blog people so that you have both.
Then you can link to blog posts from your noozletter articles.
As blogs become more mainstream, more of your people will make the jump.
For me, I dumped my nooz because I got sick of writing articles (I know, it’s weird but I did) but loved writing posts. And the people who hang out here are just kind of more fun.
See what your people are like and see what will not drive you crazy and then experiment a little!
Hope that helps …
And yes, I know, I asked unfairly large questions. 🙂
Your notion of having newsletter folks and blog folks is really, really good – *duh*. I’m a little bit thinking I may explode if I have to write any more than I already do. But blogging would be a whole different beast…
Food for thought. Thank you very much!
It’s funny, I didn’t get around to reading this until today. And I’ve spent a big chunk of today writing a stack of “posts” in Word in a topic that might fit on my pretty-eclectic-but-really-diary-based blog but that might also be something that could convert into a business opportunity. Problem is it would be a whole new client group… Still thinking but was talking to myself in the shower about this topic and thought it best to just put it on paper (or in a Word document) and get it out of my head.
Also, for my main business thing, I have a similar issue as Grace. I’m going to go with the blog but I have no idea if anyone will read it. There may be a generational difference there. But then I suggested to a client that she could pay using PayPal recently and she didn’t even know what that was and wasn’t even prepared to click through on links in an invoice I sent using PayPal to figure it out. Now, I know some folks are very anti-PayPal but this woman hadn’t even heard of it. So clearly some of my people are living under rocks when it comes to the internet.
But I used the old-fashioned go-for-coffee networking thing yesterday which means I now have someone to submit a workshop proposal to for an event that should reach a whole bunch of my right people. So life is good.
JoVEs last blog post..Depriving our children of common experience
I have just discovered your blog through great respected freind/mentor Rick and I LOVE it…you are sooo right. I am just learning and know I will be back for more. This is the “new” world and I think it is one of great opportunity for creativity and celebrating what makes each one unique and totally amazing. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.