Kickstart Your Blog: Blog Like
a Journalist and Get ‘Er Done!
Whether it’s finding topics to write about, or finding the time to write about it, new bloggers often find themselves stuck when writing their first blog posts. One reason why is, I believe, is that newbie bloggers look at blogging as a hobby, and treat it as such.
But as I mentioned in yesterday’s Kickstart post, “Blog Your Life,” blogging is writing for a living, on steroids. Not just because you are writing, creating graphics, promoting products, AND sharing your posts on social media, but because YOU ARE YOUR OWN BOSS!
It’s easy to procrastinate when there is no one breathing down your neck. When I founded “The Biz”, the music business column for VIBE Magazine, I had an editor who gave direction and deadlines. Because my writing had to fit into 500 words, it was her job to make my 500 words as meaningful as possible. If she wanted me to interview a particular celebrity (or NOT interview a certain celebrity), she told me. If she thought I should ask certain questions, I’d do that. No matter what title I gave my article, she always changed it. Sigh…
Frankly, an editor is still a boss, and I don’t want that either, if I can help it. So if you want to avoid having a boss, you will have to become your own editor. Therefore you have to “act as if” you are a journalist.
A journalist is someone who writes publications on demand for a living. Whether you blog because you sell hula hoops on Etsy, or if you have a plumbing business in Brooklyn, or you have an Amazon romantic gift blog, you are indeed writing for a living. So you must treat blogging that way.
Or you can stay at your job. Or you can go and get one.
This sounds a bit harsh, but my point is, learn the craft of writing on demand, and your blog will make you money.
Blog Like a Journalist and Get ‘Er Done!
Ahhhh! So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest. Here are some of my favorite JOURNALIST WRITING TIPS that help me “Get ‘er done!”
- Decide on a blogging schedule
Will you blog once a week? Five days a week? Once a month? It’s good to have goals so that your blog publishes regularly, so your readers know when to expect you.
- Schedule regular time to write
If you don’t make time for it, you won’t do it. Get up earlier or stay up later. Develop a “No Matter What!” Policy when it comes to meeting your blog goal for the day. The goal can be small, but be sure to meet it.
- Have a daily routine
Since I like writing first thing in the morning, I’ll make some tea, look at my work journal, and start typing. The Pajama Affiliates group has a daily check-in board on Facebook, so I’ll post what I did that day – usually (but not always) after I’ve completed my first draft. Another colleague likes to review his vision board, to remind himself of his goals, and why he does what he does.
- Try voice dictation
One day I found myself with 9 pages of long-handed notes for my blog, and the thought of having to type it all kinda made me mad. I was inspired to write everything, but I didn’t want to go back and type it. I then accidentally discovered that my Evernote app has voice-to-text dictation! So I was able to read my notes to my phone, and then import the text into MS Word and edit it. You can also use voice dictation software like Dragon’s Naturally Speaking if you prefer speaking to writing.
- Get a journal
Once you get the hang of blogging, ideas will come at you all the time. You’ll be watching TV, at the laundromat, eavesdropping on conversations, etc. You will not have time to follow them all, but you can at least capture them for another day. If you like high tech stuff, you can use a app like Evernote to capture your ideas on your smartphone without needing a pen!
- Get a blogging buddy
Blogging can be a lonely life, I know, so it’s good to have a one-on-one friend to keep you accountable. Thanks to the internet, they don’t even have to live in your town. Email, phone, Skype, are some of the ways that you can brainstorm together and stay on track.
- Organize your time with your loved ones
If this is your first time working at home, your significant other(s) may not like having to share you. You will need to let them know that this time is important to you. And you will also need to make sure that you give them quality time when you are with them.
- Stay off social media til first draft is done
Ahh, Facebook, you’re the Devil! It’s amazing how much interesting stuff is on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc, etc! So for that reason, I try not to go to Facebook before I’m finished with the first draft of the day’s blog post. Yes, I said try! 🙂
- One blog post at a time
Once you’ve decided on a blog post, WRITE THE DAMN THING. Write it, and let it go. Don’t be overly precious with it. It’s a blog post. You can always edit it later, and tomorrow is a new post. For that matter, don’t multitask blog posts. Stay with your original thought, and get it done. Take too long to overanalyze it, and you’ll never be satisfied. Just write the post, and let it go already.
- Decide on day’s blog the night before
It’s good to know what you’re going to write about the night before. For me, it gives my brain some extra time to work on the topic. I will also say that some mornings, I will want to write about something ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT but I believe that my brain worked on it while I was sleeping, discarded that idea, and came up with something better. So I like to percolate the night before.
- Create offline options
Stuff happens. All the time. And suddenly you find yourself without wifi or electricity. Unless you are in crisis, this is NOT an excuse to not blog. Remember, this is your living! You can write longhand in your work journal, and dictate it later. You can take your laptop to libraries and other places that offer free wifi. No excuses. Blog like a JOURNALIST and get ‘er done!