If you ever struggle with getting your blog posts written for your artist website, I’m here to help with actionable steps that really work!
The first step is the idea. You need a system to capture ideas as they come to you. This can be as simple as a notebook, a stack of index cards on your desk or in your studio, or the Notes app in your phone.
Capture your ideas and any time you need to write a blog post, you won’t be asking yourself what should I write about, but which of these great ideas should I choose today?
Any system can work. Don’t judge, just use what works for you. I use my phone, index cards and project management software. I’ve been known to write notes on my arm as well. Don’t let those ideas get away!
Controlled, distraction free environment
Once you’ve got your idea, you need a controlled, distraction free environment. Start by:
• Using Freedom or Self-Control to block yourself from distracting social media websites.
• Close your email program
• Close your tabs
• Start on paper, away from your computer!
Let’s go over those in a little more detail. I read a book in college called, “How to Study in College,” and it recommends having your desk face a wall, not a window, it’s dull, but it’s good advice. My office faces out into the living room and toward the TV. This is far from ideal. This means I need to write when no one is watching TV, or grab an iPad or a pen and paper, and go work somewhere else.
Start with setting up your work area in whatever way works for you. You like the noise of a coffee shop? Cool, go there, no judgement, it’s all about making it work for you. (There’s also an app that plays… coffee shop noise.)
For general productivity, you should already have all the notifications off for everything, all the time, on your phone and computer. If you don’t yet, plan to spend some time working on that, in order to make it easier to move quickly into focused work time.
Once you’re ready to write, close your email program. Close all those extraneous tabs of things you swear you’re going to go back and read. : ) I’m right there with you…
Use software such as Freedom or Self-Control to temporarily block yourself from distracting websites, such as Facebook, and whatever else troubles you. With Self-Control, which is what I use, you can blacklist certain sites, or you can eliminate all of the web except the sites you white list.
Here’s the great thing about these programs: you can’t override them. With Self-Control, even if you restart your computer, the sites are still blocked.
Whenever I’m giving a speech and I mention these programs, there are audible noises of relief in the audience — gasps, sighs, people saying, “Oh my God, that’s what I need!” Everyone needs them. The internet has grown too distracting, too addictive. Yet, we must use it in order to blog! Self-Control, or a similar program of your choice, will save us!
If none of that is quite enough, spend some time away from your computer, in a different room, with pen and paper, writing out your post. Even if it’s a rough version of the post, it will be easier for you to start from that than from a blank white web page.
Break the blog post into smaller tasks
The steps of blog post creation including having the idea, writing the text and finding and sizing an image or two. These don’t all need to happen at the same work session at your desk. You could have the idea, then find the images, size them, and have them ready. Then when you’re ready to write, the images are there.
Notice where you get stuck. What keeps you from finishing a blog post? Is it the images? Is it gathering the links you want to use? Is it adding the links? Find the friction point. Once you know what it is, you can plan for it and avoid it, or schedule the work into smaller pieces. Instead of “write blog post” in your calendar, you’ll have all the smaller, component parts: Make a List of blog post ideas.
• Find images for blog posts.
• Shoot some images for blog posts.
• Write the first draft of the blog post.
• Edit the blog post (and add the links, upload the images, all of the things.)
Don’t overthink it! Set a timer and go!
Jane Hamill of Fashion Brain Academy (and now JaneHamill.com) was called for a one hour challenge on her blog — she challenged her readers to write a blog post in one hour. I took up the challenge, turn on the timer and off I went! I wrote two blog posts in an hour, as I recall. I was kind of surprised it took me that long. So timing yourself can be useful information, one way or the other.
Jane tells us that “Done is Better than Perfect!” And it’s a blog post, it’s not 10,000 paper copies of a novel! Blog posts can be edited, updated, typos fixed, images swapped out.
Jane Hamill has a terrific podcast out about how to do a content calendar and guys, it actually makes sense. It’s something that will actually help you sell and will make sense with your life! Listen to the episode called “Create Your Content Calendar: It’s Not as Hard as It Seems.”
Find it at janehamill.com/calender
Content Creation Habit
Create a regular work schedule for yourself. For me, over at BeingBold.me my work schedule is to:
• Research one person per week,
• Write one blog post.
• Write one podcast outline.
• Use the photo of the person on Instagram.
• Create one image graphic with branded frames, use on the blog and on social media.
While that certainly is a bunch, I research once, and then use that information for the blog post, the podcast, and social media. I create the image-graphics and gather the photos for the blog post, and then also use those on social media. It’s efficient.
By using time blocking and putting blog post-writing in my calendar, I’m making it work.
To review, to get those blog posts finally written:
• Use an idea capture system.
• Create a controlled, distraction-free environment.
• Close your email program, close extraneous tabs.
• Use blocking software.
• and start on paper when needed.
• Break up the task into smaller parts.
• Create a content calendar the easy way.
And remember, done is better than perfect!
Need more help? You can work with writers or virtual assistants to take on parts of these tasks, or even the whole thing! In my role as a freelance writer, I write blog posts for other business owners as well as for other websites, including the Craft Industry Alliance and Moore Women Artists.
You can find out more about my freelance blog writing services over at FreeFly Marketing. (Bonus, there’s a cartoon version of me over there!)
Have questions about anything about blogging? Feel free to post a question in the comments!
This post was originally published on ElaineLutherArt.com on May 30, 2019.