It’s happens more than I care to admit. It’s Sunday afternoon and in-between laundry, getting something together for dinner and possible relaxing for a little bit, I realize I don’t have anything ready to post on my blog for the coming week. Cue the march up to my office to sit down, stare at my computer and think, “Now what?”
I have been blogging since 2005, save for that one time I threw a hissy fit and canceled my Typepad account for two months in late 2006. Nearly every week since I have posted three times (or more) a week. I’m going to be completely honest with you: sometimes I have no idea how I have kept this up.
I would like to come out publicly and tell you all about my editorial calendar and about how I plan my posts out weeks in advance. I’d like to show you all the notes I have that keep me on track and guide my writing and posting process week in and week out. I’d really like to do this, but I can’t make shit up that doesn’t exist.
So here it is: I am winging this, people.
Okay, maybe that’s not altogether true. I have developed a series of different types of repeating blog posts over the years, most popular among them has been my Make a Page Monday series. Designed to be both inspirational and educational, this series has helped me to come up with content in a way that doesn’t take too much thought or planning. I just need some shots of a layout and I can write about the story and design stuff for paragraphs. Why? Because I know scrapbooking and I know design.
This leads me to my first tip for successful blogging and that is: write about what you know best.
I think this approach drove a lot of content in my early blog years. I wrote about scrapbooking (duh). I wrote about my family. And I wrote about design and how to do stuff.
There are many things I do not write about. For example: fashion, books, pet care, math, html coding—you get the idea. I don’t write about stuff I don’t know. Makes sense, right?
But back to the idea of a blog series, my second tip, while not new or groundbreaking, is to come up with a few topics you visit time and again and create your own blog series. In the past year, some of my regular series have been:
A Few Things I Bought (Okay, I’ve only done this one time but you get the idea.)
Each one of these topics gives me something to write about when I’m thinking to myself, “Hmmm… what can I write about this week?” They help to guide my content.
But my third tip for successful blogging is probably the most important one of them all: practice writing.
Good blogging requires good writing. Last week, I was working on some posts and was noticing just how many revisions my Word Press dashboard had logged on each one. 17 on this one. 22 on this one. (Who knew writing about an egg cooker was so involved?) I tell you this because I care about good writing that communicates clearly. I care about your experience in reading the words I write. Sometimes a sentence can take a hella long time to get just right. Successful blogging requires the blogger to fall in love with and truly care about the process of writing. And that includes editing.
I also tell you this because I work at it. I don’t just sit down and make perfectly written blog posts. I wish that were the case.
One of my goals for 2015 is to have an editorial calendar. To truly have it all mapped out, one month at a time, so when it’s time to create blog content, I am ready to roll. Other than shooting for a column about scrapbooking every Monday, I’m not quite there yet.
But there’s always February.
Finally, when I said earlier that I have no idea how I’ve kept this thing going for so long? That’s not true. And that leads me to my final tip: you have to love doing it. If you don’t, it’ll show in your writing.
I love this kind of writing. You never know when your next post will be the greatest thing you’ve ever written. I love playing those kinds of odds.
This blog post went through 13 revisions.* Talk about efficiency.
To read the story of how my life in this business—including starting a blog—began, click here.
*I also edited it two more time after I hit the publish button. Sometimes it takes publishing it to really see the poor sentence constructions.