Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Blog Baby?



My husband listened patiently while I reviewed my to-do list out loud. When I mentioned having to write a blog post a thought hit me, and I said,

"My blog is just like a baby. It requires regular attention and care."

The significance was lost on dear hubby, supportive as he is, for who truly knows what it takes to maintain a blog unless you actually have one? The idea stuck with me. A baby. Yes, that's about right, it is...this roamed about in my head for about a week or so.

And now the thought is a blog post. Who knew? (Most of you, right? We're writers, after all.)

Don't get me wrong. I love blogging. But the fact remains that blogs require a lot of care if we want them to succeed. They need to be fed, changed, and maintained by us blogging mommies and daddies.

So what's a parent to do? Here are a few things I've discovered after two years of blogging.

1) Keep it short.

Great posts don't have to be long. Knowing that they don't have to be novel length can make the process less daunting. Our visitors' time is usually limited, so this helps them out too.

2) Write and schedule posts in advance.

Blogger allows you to save and schedule posts. This handy feature is helpful when going away or facing a jam-packed bunch of days. It's also great if an idea strikes and you have a bit of time to write but don't want to post it just yet. Lee at Tossing it Out discusses it a little more in Scheduling Posts.

3) Offer regular features.

Friday Roundup is a staple at Susan J. Reinhardt's Christian Writer/Reader Connection. Susan shares a brief commentary and a link or two to close out the work week. This type of post might help structure thoughts and can be easily written and scheduled in advance, too.

4) Post less often.

When I started blogging, I nearly swooned at the thought of posting five days a week. There was no way I could work that into my schedule. Three days a week seemed less daunting, but I knew that would be pushing it too. So I compromised, posting two days a week, and that's worked out pretty well. (So regular bouts of hyperventilating were avoided.) I've even considered posting once a week when things are super busy. It's an option worth keeping open if it reduces stress.

5) Take a break.

I need to take my own advice and do this more often. Some blogger friends take the third week of the month (or similar) off. A little time to regroup, refresh, and catch up on other things can be downright therapeutic. Oh yeah, and don't forget the chocolate.

6) Watch for ways to manage time efficiently.

I like to think that I manage my time well, but this is not always the case. And some weeks produce events that just blow my perfectly planned agenda out of the water, and adjustments are necessary. So I'm always looking for ways to streamline and weed out things from an oft overcommitted schedule.

Jody Hedlund offers time management tips in her post, When Social Media Becomes a Time-Suck.
One point she makes, "Realize the world will go on fine without us," hit home. Really? The blog world will continue to spin if I don't post? Okay, a bit hard to swallow, but true nonetheless.

Another thought she offers, "Give ourselves permission NOT to keep up," is a revelation that I must heed now and then. What's more important, keeping up with everything or preserving our sanity? I'm choosing sanity.

What about you, is your blog a baby? TLC is important, but every parent knows that boundaries are too.

Don't Forget...

Monday's Blogoversary Giveaway featuring Patti Lacy's Rhythm of Secrets; the deadline to enter is Friday 3/11 at midnight. Click here for details.

And...there's a Blogoversary celebration giveaway each week this month! Next week Marja Meijers will be stopping by; she's offered a copy of her book, Grace of Giving, to one of my followers.

A new workshop session begins over at the  Coffeehouse for Writers on Monday 3/14. Hop over and check out what they have to offer!

What steps do you take to care for your blog baby?

Happy weekend!

Karen

Photo Credit: Andrewp001 http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1228128

41 comments :

  1. Good points, I do find having a regular pattern to my blogging has helped. I'm sure having a break from the computer would allow me to get my writing done.

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  2. You nailed it. A blog is like a baby. No wonder I'm exhausted all the time. LOL I usually try to post 3x week, but even that (coupled with getting around to other blogs) takes huge amounts of time from my writing. I like your points and will probably incorporate them in my routine. A break is needed!

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  3. It is - but caring for a blog is way easier! i don't get spit up on or woken in the middle of the night! But I also don't get cute little noises and wet kisses! But yes, we can't ignore it, for sure! Great links!

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  4. Excellent tips. I only post three - four times a week. Although April will be almost daily with the A to Z Challenge!
    And my wife thinks of a blog as a new computer game - I must play for hours on end.

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  5. Great tips, Karen :-) The hardest for me is to write and schedule posts ahead--but then again, when did we ever get our babies on a regular schedule?!

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  6. Such key tips and similar to things I've learned.

    Lately it feels like many posts I read are getting shorter and shorter.
    ~ Wendy

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  7. Loved this! It's nice to know that the world isn't going to fall apart if I don't post!!

    Blessings!

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  8. Excellent tidbits, most of which I try to implement but right now.....

    My baby needs a new set of clothes :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  9. Great tips Karen. Sometimes I schedule posts ahead of time (like my 40 Days of Christmas posts), but too often I'm like a tumbleweed, drifting through my day writing posts as the ideas come along.
    I just set a weekly writing schedule, including writing blog time, and so far so good with sticking to it :)

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  10. Charmaine,
    Thank you. Hope it inspires you to take a break. I need to take more of them for the sake of my writing! :)

    Lisa,
    Thanks! Yes, I suppose it might account for late nights just like a baby does, didn't think about that. :) Go ahead, take a break!

    Laura,
    Yes, this is true. A blog isn't as likely to stay up all night!

    Alex,
    Thank you. Yes, that A-Z Challenge will indeed keep participants busy, but in a good way. I like that - the blog like a computer game. Good comparison!

    Kenda,
    Thank you so much. I hear you, babies cooperate with a schedule only sometimes! lol

    Wendy,
    I've noticed the same trend for some too. I suppose the key is balance and setting good priorities.

    Cheryl,
    Glad you enjoyed this! I know, life does go on if we take a break. Somehow we'll manage...:) lol

    Jules,
    Thanks, friend! A new set of clothes, eh? I'll have to pop over and see how that's coming along! :)

    Susan P.,
    I like the tumbleweed picture, that about sums it up for me sometimes! Wish you the best with your schedule!

    Blessings all,
    Karen

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  11. Right on! As Bloggerville expands, it gets tougher and tougher to engage with others - sort of like living in a metropolis versus the country. The image of a blog baby makes me grin.

    I'm all for brevity - for myself as well as others. Whenever I visit a blog, if there's more than 60 seconds worth of reading, I'm outta there. There are a few excpetions. And certainly I'm working on my own disciplines in this regard.

    This baby could easily be a bawling, spoiled, insistent brat if not gently loved, directed & disciplined :)

    Hugs,
    Kathleen

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  12. Karen,
    What an insight! When I learned I could post ahead it saved my sanity. I tweet ahead, too, now that I'm doing Tip of the Day. However, I don't rule out doing spontaneous communications now and then.
    Blessings to you,
    Carol

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  13. I've begun to give myself permission to not keep up, as Jody advises, helping me to feel excited about blogging instead of feeling like a chore. All great tips Karen. Thanks!

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  14. Great tips Karen! I really appreciate your blogging advice. You know just what to say and how to say it. You take care of your blog baby well, while mine is at times wailing for a bottle, or other times, is overfed and needs a nap.

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  15. That's a very good analogy, Karen. Yes, it is like a baby. And we all know babies would like to rule everything, so you really do have to find a balance.

    Very good post, Karen, with some food for thought today.

    Thanks!

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  16. Kathleen,
    Such good thoughts, appreciate your input. Always learning something, aren't we? )

    Carol,
    Thank you. I'm all about saving the sanity, and would prefer my freinds remain so too! :)

    Lynn,
    Yes, this is a good point. I think that there needs to be enjoyment and encouragement from the process, not drudgery. :)

    Tyrean,
    Thank you. Glad to be useful! :) You are so sweet, and you know, I do love your blog. You never fail to remind me to have a thankful heart.

    Rhonda,
    Thanks so much, friend. And yes they do, so balance is important!

    Blessings all,
    Karen

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  17. Great tips!
    I have found it occasionally stress-inducing to do posts the night before. It always screws up my schedule, so I write and pre-post everything on Sundays now.

    One of these days if it gets too crazy I may go down to twice a week.

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  18. Excellent list Karen, I'll keep it/print it/use it. From the beginning I have posted only once or twice a week, I really desire to bring some tranquility in blogging land :) I cannot keep up with all the blog posts coming out each day, so why should I expect others to visit mine? When blogging becomes a chore, we're missing the point (we do this voluntarily, right?).
    Great thoughts, thank you very much!

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  19. SO true, Karen....

    My blog is certainly my child... I most five sometimes six days a week!

    It has taken up a great deal/time in my life.

    At some point I need to just blog m-f... Then I will cut it down to three days a week. When who knows.

    I enjoyed your post and suggestions.

    Michael

    I'm still building follower/friends. I've only been blogging for five months.

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  20. Lydia,
    Smart girl, you are! I need to get back to that. My schedule got turned upside down a while back.

    Marja,
    You are so sweet, thank you! I like the way you think. Good perspective, for sure.

    Michael,
    You've got a good thing going with your blog after only 5 short months! Congrats on your success!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  21. Hi Karen -

    What a great way to describe a blog! I think mine is in the terrible two's.

    Scheduling has been a lifeline for me. I try to stay a month ahead, but lately it's been two to three weeks.

    You've done a great job bringing up your blog baby. Thanks for the link. I'm honored.

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  22. Hi Karen .. you're right .. but I'll be posting once a week, perhaps twice, per now - but I will adapt for April!!

    Once everyone knows what to expect - then we adapt ..

    If I blogged 5 times a week .. then your idea of taking the third week off makes sense ..

    Cheers - Hilary .. blessings to your husband!!

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  23. That was a great analogy, Karen. I LOVE my baby blog. Love, love, love it. What do I do to take care of it? Well, I do tend to it on a daily basis...seven days a week. I never get sick of it, though, because, like a real "baby," it brings me sooooo much joy.

    Let's see. I WILL have a vacation from it (short) eventually.

    I could definitely give it a "haircut" once in awhile...(make posts shorter, that is. hee hee)

    Thanks for the thoughts. Susan

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  24. Susan R.,
    Well, yours seems pretty well behaved when I visit...lol And you are the one who clued me in to the scheduling thing, thanks so much! :)

    Hilary,
    I think it's all about what fits us, our schedules and whatnot. Perhaps mostly whatnot, eh? :) Thanks for your kind words about hubby - didn't mean to make him sound clueless; he's very supportive!

    Susan W.,
    Your love for your blog shows in every post and the details you attend to and share. It's a lovely stop!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  25. Great tips. I'm writing these down to prove I"m not nuts. I agree that you don't have to over extend yourself and make the whole process unpleasant. Bravo, Karen.

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  26. Love the picture, Karen! And I agree that a blog is a lot like a baby! Must say you are a great Mom!! I still struggle the most with getting around to admire everyone else's 'baby.' Thanks for the tips! Have a blessed weekend!

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  27. Scheduling posts ahead of time is probably the most useful thing I've learned with blogging. Some days you have more time and good ideas than others. :O)

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  28. Joylene,
    Thank you. I'll write you a note and vouch that you're not nuts, would that help? Appreciate your support always. :)

    Maria,
    I thought the pic was cute:) Thanks so much. I struggle to make it around everywhere too. Some weeks are easier than others.

    Diane,
    Yes, I have to agree with you there. It's a great help!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  29. Hahahaa, yes, my blog has tried to be my baby but slowly I'm making him grow (notice the gender, as that particular sex seems to resist adulthood *grin*)
    Wonderful advice here. I miss my blogging buds but posting once a weeks is much less stressful.

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  30. That's all such good advice. I can't let blogging become a stress, so I just post when I feel like it--hopefully once a week or so, and visit others when I can. It seems to work.

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  31. You are right, Karen, a blog is like a baby, a demanding one at that. I post twice a week and at times I am stressed out when I am unable to think of the topic for the post. I need to get more organised.

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  32. Jessica,
    Good point! We need to help them grow. I need to remember that! :)

    Angie,
    Thank you. You are right, it shouldn't be stressful. I'm working on that one! :)

    Rachna,
    I hear you; I stress eometimes too, even just about getting to the posts. Your blog always has good topics! :)

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  33. This is excellent advice! I blog once a week now but I plan to start blogging twice a week when I start the publishing process. I am just waiting on the publishing part. (:

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  34. Excellent tips, Karen! To make blogging fit manageable, I've scaled back my posts to twice a week, maybe three at the most. That way I feel like I actually have something to contribute. Plus I work really hard at not rambling - but that's easier said than done :)

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  35. Lots of good tips here. I started out with 3, sometimes 4 posts a week. Now I seem to be doing 2 at the most. Then I spend some time, of course, commenting on those who come into my blog, and also those I want to keep in touch with.

    One thing I need to do, though, is get more organized with blogging. Set specific times and then stick to them!!

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  36. Alisa,
    Thank you! Know that I am cheering you on for the publishing part:)

    Jennifer,
    Thanks a bunch:) I know what you mean about the rambling part...I lean in that direction too. Tangents are my specialty!

    Ann,
    I wonder if this isn't something we all are challenged with at times. Thanks so much!

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  37. Yeah, I've had to do a better job organizing my posts. I'm still not perfect about it and this week ended up with an unexpected, but necessary post. You do what you can, don't you? Thanks for dropping by!

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  38. Victoria,
    Yes, you do what you can. I think sometimes we expect too much of ourselves. Good to see you:)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  39. I love the idea of 'Friday roundup' what a great idea -a kind of week in review - I want to try this! Thanks!

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  40. This is a great post, Karen!

    My baby wants to be fed more this year, and I'm obliging for now--7 days a week. But Saturday is just a photo day to show off my new hobby/camera and Sunday is usually just a quote. The other days are loosely scheduled topics. I wish I could get ahead. That was the original plan. But I usually write day-to-day. As I spend more time in other writing, I may back off, but for now I love it.

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  41. Lisa,
    I know, it's a great idea! Thanks for coming by! :)

    Sandra,
    Hey girl, thanks! Appreciate your input! Always good to see you. Getting the garden ready yet...? lol

    Blessings,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!