Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Weekend!


 
Celebrating Blogtastic weekend here, which is a periodic event hosted by my publisher, Helping Hands Press. If you'd like to check out the other Blogtastic posts, stop by the HHP Facebook page.

In keeping with the "What Makes a Good Blog" theme this month, I'm sharing a post from the archives. Happy weekend! :)


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 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 several 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.

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'm now posting once a week so I can focus on writing projects.

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.

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

Happy writing,

Karen

Photo Credit: Stock Exchange

22 comments :

  1. Karen, these points are so important and yes, I can see the resemblance with Blogs and Babies! I started by making myself a promise I just couldn't keep. I wanted a record of every day of my 60th year, preceding my 60th birthday. Yeah right! Impossible. I told myself I needed to finally 'give it my all and be true to myself'. Another myth.

    Recently I had cause to re-read my earliest posts. Wasn't a pretty read. Unlike re-doing rearing of children I do have the opportunity to right some wrongs in my prime time Blogging, which I am presently doing.

    There are days when I take time, make time and snatch time. All dependent on the topic, my urge to write and my 'need' to write. And when I don't get to write - well, so be it!

    Thanks for your topic. Most enlightening and comforting to know I am not alone facing these same dilemmas.

    Have a blessed, great, relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

    Anita

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  2. I agree with these. I most definitely agree with keeping it short. All my posts are succinct for that very reason. And regular schedule helps as well.

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  3. Excellent analogy. It does require daily care.
    Right now I'm at two posts a week and it's worked much better than three.
    Giving ourselves permission not to keep up. Yes, sometimes I do that. Especially on a Saturday. I need time for the real world.

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  4. Anita,
    It takes some trial and error to figure this all out, doesn't it? And then of course we may hop around trying to figure out what our niche is too. So many things to keep us on our toes! :) You are surely not alone in taking care of your blog and all the other writing pursuits. It does help me to know this as well. :)

    Keith,
    I wonder, if a blog is considered a baby, we could get a tax deduction for it? That would be great, right? LOL :)

    Alex,
    Like you, I need to give myself permission to not keep up. Real life is just that - real life. As much as I like this online life, there are other things that are important too. :)

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  5. Permission NOT to keep up? *gulp* I'm ALMOST to the point where I've got my feet back below me, and you're telling me I don't HAVE to keep up? But, but, but...

    Great thoughts on posting. Can I add, have fun? If you're not having fun, you're readers probably aren't having fun. Speaking of which, I need to go eat some cheese. =)

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  6. I've taken breaks several times in the past eight years. I about burned myself out after going at it hard for two years straight.

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  7. Karen, I agree with all your points. I am posting just once a week now, it leaves me free to catch up with other writing related activities. And I also enjoy my blog breaks.

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  8. Great points to bear in mind. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

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  9. Hi Karen....Great post! Loved it.

    Oh yes oh yes, my blog is my beloved baby. Quite time-consuming but worth every second.

    For me, posting is something to do regularly, just like brushing teeth or eating breakfast. My days would be very incomplete without it. It is, after all, my daily spurt of pure joy.

    I do have to manage time carefully because I love going to other blogs, of course, plus have two part-time jobs (one of them that involves writing) and care for a grandbaby three days a week! Time management is imperative.

    Thanks for your posts. Susan

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  10. Hi Karen! I think your point about blogging five days a week is really well taken. I remember researching blogging before I started, and all the sources said to be sure to blog every day. What?? I don't have that much to say, or the time to say it. Thinking back, I wondered if this was business advice?

    I also agree with length. We all visit our favorite blogspots, and if I'm faced with mega-scrolling, chances are I'll move along.

    You have a very successful blog here, and it's great of you to share your ideas about it. To me, the blog is like another house. I like there a lot, and I'm there a lot, but it needs a lot of upkeep!
    Have a good weekend!
    Ceil

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  11. Such good reminders, Karen. I've enjoyed the last few years of blogging and plan to continue, but I've taken your #4 to heart and will post regularly but less often. Gives one a bit more space yet able to stay connected, a good combination to keep from burning out, I think :-) Have a great 2014!

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  12. Crystal,
    I know, I struggle with the not keeping up thing. I don't know how you are - but sometimes I feel like if I slack up, then it all goes south. :) But this isn't true. As for fun - yes, you are right! And the fun just gets better with cheese! :)

    Diane,
    I hear you. Been through a few rounds of burn out myself. Still not always sure how to keep it all balanced. Feel free to toss tips this way! :)

    Rachna,
    It seems more people are posting once a week now, you know? I think we all need to find the right fit so we can write and have a real life too! :)

    Joy,
    You are welcome. :) So glad you could stop by today!

    Susan,
    I wondered if you were watching that sweet grandbaby! You are one busy writer, that's for sure. I can tell that you love to write and love your followers - it shines through on your blog. :)

    Ceil,
    Thanks for your kind words. :) I think certain ones are okay with a five day schedule depending on what their niche is, but that's so not me. Sounds like you aren't one of those either! I like the analogy about the house - that's a good one!

    Kenda,
    Thank you. It is a great ride, isn't it? I like the way you put that - space yet stay connected. Wishing you all the best this year!:)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  13. Karen: I like this comparison of a blog to a baby. I have to feed it (write and post). I have to burp it (post the comments and answer them). I have to find 'play dates' for it (Search out some to read and align with.) I have to clean it up (refresh it by redoing the background ). Just writing this makes me tired :)

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  14. Great post, Karen. I often say I need to 'feed the blog' so... yes, it's very much like a baby.
    I'm down to 2 posts per week. Works better for me this way in this season of life.
    Have a great weekend,
    Dotti :)

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  15. Cecelia,
    Exactly! I like how you took it even further! :) Sorry, didn't mean to make you tired.

    Dotti,
    I like that -feed the blog! That pretty much sums it up, I'm thinking. :) Glad you found the right balance for you.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  16. At this point - 2 years - my blog is kind of a snarly adolescent. =0) I try to keep a grip on things nonetheless. Thanks for the excellent tips, Karen.

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  17. Hi Karen -

    Thanks for the shout-out. :)

    I've been blogging almost six years. Posting 3 times per week became overwhelming after I signed a book contract, so I cut back to 2 times per week. One thing I have to remind myself: I'm the one who determines how often I'll post, when I take a break, and how far in advance I schedule. This is an area I have full control over unlike some other aspects of my life.

    Your points are all excellent. Scheduling posts has averted major stress more than once. At this point, I'm starting to schedule March posts.

    Have a great weekend!

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  18. Susan S.,
    Thank you. I like that comparison! Although I do find your blog quite friendly when I stop by! :)

    Susan R.,
    This is a good point - we can dictate what happens on our blogs, especially in this respect. Thanks a bunch!

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  19. I agree with your analogy that my blog is like a baby. Definitely it takes time and efforts to keep it going. The tips you brought up are key- we definitely don't want to get to overwhelmed by having to post more than is comfortable and I like to keep my posts short, too. I am lucky because my co-author and I run our blog together- so it has two parents to keep it happy. :) In the last year we cut back our posts by a day and it has made a world of difference. We post 5 days now instead of 6, but because we divide it up, it isn't overwhelming. We have also been learning to take breaks during times that other bloggers take a break because it is important to take vacations when you need to do so!

    Great post!
    ~Jess

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  20. Jess,
    Thank you! I agree - we learn a lot from maintaining a blog, don't we? And they translate into useful skills - even parenting! LOL :) Sounds like you have a great thing going with your co-blogger. It's nice when we find that balance.
    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  21. Interesting thoughts. My blog does need a lot of attention. I post three times a week (once or twice when I'm super busy) and I have many posts promoting other authors. For A to Z, I write my posts in advance.

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  22. Medeia,
    Advance posting is such a great feature, isn't it? As far as the A to Z, I think you are wise to write them ahead of time. One of these years I am going to participate!
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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