Blogging requires a lot of self motivation. There are a lot of things to stay on top of from writing content, promoting content, taking and editing photos, email lists, social media channels, managing reader discussions, managing your inbox and brand partnerships, auditing and revising old content, staying on top of SEO, and so much more! So one reader asked me: how do I stay motivated and on top of all the things in blogging? How do I create my content and keep my mindset together?
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Original reader Q:
Do you have a team that helps you create your content? …I'm sure you hear this often, but I've been wanting to start my own blog but my procrastination (and fear of being judged) continue to get in my way. How do you organize your day so side projects you're passionate about get completed? And how do you get in the right mindset to put yourself out there online with the content you create?
Thank you so much for reaching out! Blogging is definitely the category I get the most questions in! Just as a reminder to all the readers, I do offer blog audits, one-on-one coaching, and so much more on my services page! As a millennial, and a millennial blog no less, staying motivated and on top of all the things can feel impossible as times. I hope my answers about how to get it all done while maintaining passion help!
Currently, I don't have anyone on my team helping me with content creation. I do accept guest posts (sponsored and non-sponsored) which alleviates some pressure. I go through phases where I'll except 0-3 guest posts per month.
In the past, I worked with an awesome graphic designer who helped with a few projects. I've had interns and independent contractors who helped with social media promotion (though my channels never grew as fast with them versus when I do it myself). I've also had content writing teams that did my newsletter and copy writing. And when I launched my podcast, I had a podcast producer.
Over the years, people have sort of come in and out. I really haven't found like “my person.” And I think that's hard. My business is my first baby. I love it; and it's felt impossible to find someone who gets that and can support it. So for me, at this stage, it's easier to just do it all myself and hire support temporarily when I need to step away for a bit and can only focus on writing posts (because again, SO much goes into running a blog than just writing posts).
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Fear Of Judgment & Mindset
First off, it's awesome that you have the insight to distinguish where your procrastination is coming from! Fear is typically the biggest culprit when it comes to procrastination. Otherwise, it's not really procrastination, but a matter of not enough hours in the day. When starting out, or evolving, I think fear of judgment is something we ALL struggle with. I've written about how to overcome that fear when starting out a couple of times:
Many bloggers I know experienced bullying or harmful judgment in some way prior to starting their blog. I think this is why telling our truth to a broader audience is so important to many of us. Reflect on how you've overcome criticism in the past. I've realized there is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of. People's judgements say more about them than they do about you.
It's also really important to get clear on your “why,” as in “why” are you starting a blog.
Once you get clear on that, it becomes easier to move through all the “noise” (re: negative self talk, doubts, fears, etc.).
Getting in the right mindset for me has a lot to do with knowing my “why” and what the big picture I am working towards is. I know what it's like to feel totally alone and lost (after so many years of being an overachiever). That isolation and fear of failure isn't a fun place to be, which is why I hope to help other confused millennials out there. I hope to be that big sister that is a few steps ahead in life, and tells it like it is, but you can still have fun with.
The Big Picture
My big picture goal is long term (like 10 years away) and requires a large and engaged audience. Whenever I feel like quitting or question a vulnerable post, I remember those things. Wanting this type of community is a priority in my life, and no other side project or career distraction is going to get in my way at this point. For me, blogging and coaching are do or die (not to be dramatic, but I legit can't work for other people, haha!). There are no other options.
If you can start thinking that blogging isn't just A road but THE road for you, things fall into place. That's not to say you should be all desperate and and shortcut things. However, in my experience, if you don't have the fire to truly BUILD something, then don't waste your time, energy, and money because blogging isn't for the faint of heart. It's for the passionate.
Smaller why I blog
With that said, that vision I just outlined has waned at times. And I've had to rely on a much smaller “why” as in: I simply love to create content. I don't care how big I get or who sees it. I just have a deep desire to create and know my creations are worth people's time and money.
I think overcoming fear of judgement, make motivation and finding the time to do all the things a lot easier. Also, when you let go of fear, the motivation to create content becomes a lot easier. Obviously writer's block can happen, but in my experience it's usually traced back to fear or energy leaks. For example, you have something big going on in your life, emotionally draining you, making it impossible to think (or produce content) that's “on brand.” I know I've produced nothing during those times because I couldn't find a way to spin it as “helpful” or “actionable advice” (on brand for me).
Daily Organization & Scheduling
I believe I touched on this in my post on “how to create the perfect planner for you,” but essentially I try to give myself an “out.” I have certain tedious routine maintenance tasks I do every single day. Beyond that, I keep a running to-do list and a daily to-do list of my top three priorities. These are my “must dos.”
I've identified my most “productive” or “focused” times of day and schedule my must dos during those times. During high energy times, I schedule tasks that require my best effort. Sometimes I get more done earlier in the day, but if I've completed my three main tasks, I give myself permission to go to do whatever the rest of the day. I'll hit the beach or watch tv in bed, even if is 1 o'clock in the afternoon. As an entrepreneur and blogger, the to-do lists are endless. There will always be more tasks to do and if you keep trying to force yourself through them all, then you will reach burn out.
My day during my second year of blogging basically looked like:
7-10: social media and emails (I am usually a zombie at this time, so I schedule my low attention items here)
10-1: must do tasks of the day
1-2: lunch and a tv break
2-3: finish any must do tasks – if those are done I either call it a day or do some of my weekly smaller tasks
3-5: Watch ELLEN! *Yes, I watch the same episode back to back every single day (unless I have a client call, in which case I will watch 1 episode
5-6: Prep/cook dinner, check emails, social media
6-8: Evening walk and dinner with the hubs with the occasional social media management and email check
8: phone is away & tv time!
My day during my fourth year of blogging looks like (as a mom):
7-8:30: Wake up/family time
9-11:30 – work
11:30-2: family time
2-2:30: me time
4:30-5:00 family time
7:00 baby goes to bed and I work for another hour
So pre-baby I would work about 9 hours a day, and now I work about 5 hours a day. It's a significant cut back, and I do work for a few hours most weekend days too to compensate for the loss. But if there is a will there's a way. I'm also grateful to have my husband around to help watch the baby so I can get even 5 hours of work done each day.
Originally published 06/22/2018; Updated 04/23/2020