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