“That’s it! I’m starting a blog!”
We all had that fire, that passion when we first started a blog. The excitement of creating content and putting it out into the world was tangible… that feeling (and motivation) to publish a few posts and see what everybody thinks.
Fast forward a few months: what happened? Where did all that motivation go!? Now that excitement somehow turned into: “I just have a blog that nobody reads, I’m tired of updating, and I’m wondering if it’s even still worth it.”
We’ve all been there.
Life gets in the way, our kids get sick and keep us from working on our blog that ONE day we had free, or we come home from work dead-tired and fail to write even the first sentence of a new post.
I certainly know I have. I first started my blog Nerd Fitness fourteen years ago, and I can probably count on my fingers and toes how many times I sat down to write simply because I was motivated to do so. More often than not, writing was the last thing on my mind. And yet, here I am: now a pro-blogger (750 published posts, most of which are 2000+ words), and a published author!
I’m not saying this to brag, but to prove a point: I didn’t rely on motivation, but instead put a superhero system in place to make sure I stayed on target.
After all, we all know how awesome superheroes are, and influential they can be in our lives. Just ask Darren!
Today, I’m going to share with you a 4-step system that will help you finally crack the code and consistently improve at your efforts to become a superhero blogger. It’ll help you stop relying on motivation and instead use rock-solid strategies to take over the world…or save it.
BATMAN: Hack Your Batcave to Win.
One of the most important ways I’ve learned to manufacture discipline in life (instead of relying on willpower and inspiration) was through hacking my Batcave.
Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman, is unique in the superhero world in that he doesn’t have any special powers. He can’t fly, he can’t teleport, he can’t regenerate or shoot lightning out of his fingers. Instead, he’s a regular guy that uses his gadgets, gizmos, and a normal mortal body to fight crime.
Since we’re also mere mortals, it’s time to start thinking about your own bat cave (your surroundings) to help you effortlessly stay disciplined like Bruce Wayne.
Your Batcave will probably be your apartment or home office, your kitchen table, or wherever you set up shop to work on your blog. Ask yourself: is this Batcave designed in a way to help me get closer to crushing it as a blogger, or farther away?
Because we are products of our environment, everything around us is subtly pulling us in one direction or another. That TV in your living room is saying “watch me! I have reruns on my DVR!”
While at your computer, Facebook is saying “check me! quick! You might have more likes on that cat video you posted!” Your phone might be next to you might have a notification about a new comment on Instagram, or an email about a sale at JCrew.
If you are going to succeed as a superhero blogger, it’s time to get serious about putting systems in place that work for you. Willpower (aka the power to say “I will write and I will not do all of the other amazing distracting things around me) is a finite resource, which means the more you have to rely on it, the more likely you’ll be to fail.
So stop relying on willpower. Create a lifestyle that sets you up to blog consistently.
I start by adding steps between me and the bad habits that keep me from writing:
- Cancel your cable. Those shows are useless anyways.
- Put your TV in your closet. Or at the very least, far away from where you write.
- Install Freedom.to on your computer and block time wasting websites until you’ve written your 500 words for the day.
- Uninstall all social media apps from your phone (life will go on), and turn off all notifications.
- Find other creative ways to limit the powers of distractions in your life.
I then decrease the number of steps between me and the writing habit I’m going to build:
- I write first thing in the morning, before I check email (don’t even keep the gmail tab open!)
- I have a blank document open on my computer before I go to bed so as soon as I sit down, it’s the first thing I see.
- I set a daily goal of 500 words. It doesn’t matter if it’s good content, or if I want to write, I have to write 500 words.
You need to cultivate discipline, and your environment needs to work for your writing, not against it.
SUPERMAN: Recognize and understand your kryptonite.
Next, we turn to one of the most powerful superhero ever created: Superman!
This dude is faster than a speeding bullet, can leap over tall buildings in a single bound, and shoot freaking lasers out of his eyes! There’s a reason many on earth consider him a god.
However, for all of his powers and abilities that are unlike anything else in existence, he can still be undone by a substance: KRYPTONITE! This glowing green mineral can be used by bad guys to keep Superman at bay.
We all have kryptonite in our lives too that can keep us from becoming Superhero Bloggers if we’re not careful. Not only do we need to recognize our kryptonite, but we need to prepare for it too.
Again, we’re not relying on willpower here, but rather we’re going to kryptonite-proof our lives so we can work daily on our blog.
Let’s start by identifying what your Kryptonite is: this is something that you have almost no chance at withstanding. For me, it was video games: I had purchased NerdFitness.com and did nothing with it for two years because I was too busy playing video games online with my friends and never “found time” to write.
FORTUNATELY, my computer broke, and I couldn’t afford to fix it, so I told myself I couldn’t play another video game AT ALL until I made my first dollar through my website. For the next 18 months I came home work and wrote articles for Nerd Fitness, eventually making money through ebooks with the site. Only then did I allow myself to play games, as I was better equipped to handle them properly.
What is your kryptonite, and how can you fight it?
- Do you come home from work exhausted and all you want to do is plop down on the couch and watch TV? That’s okay! Recognize that writing after work isn’t an option for you, and build the habit of writing BEFORE you go to work.
- Are your kids your kryptonite? I don’t mean they’re glowing and green, but I bet it’s quite tough to focus on blogging and building a side business if you have kids and a family to take care of. So wake up before they do. Yup, it might mean waking up at 5AM to be able to write for 90 minutes uninterrupted before they come jump on your bed.
- Is it TV? Video Games? Negative people in your life? Get rid of them. Life goes on without TV, Netflix, or Fallout.
Maybe your kryptonite is self-doubt. You’re afraid to hit publish because things aren’t perfect, or you are afraid of what people will say, or what if nobody reads it. Seth Godin said it best: “Be judged or be ignored.” People will say anything and everything, so might as well get them talking about you and your work!
If you know where your energy is going to get zapped from, you can prepare for it ahead of time and make sure you get the important stuff done before that kicks in.
WONDER WOMAN: Fight with Passion and Strength
After the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader, we turn to a female badass: Diana Prince, better known as her alter-ego, Wonder Woman!
This Amazonian goddess has gone through many iteration over there years, but a few things have stayed tried and true throughout her comic book career: her inner and outer strength (I mean, come on…she’s WONDER WOMAN!), determination, passion, and compassion.
It starts by being honest with yourself: are you in this for the right reasons? I think a lot of people like the idea of running their own business, buy a course on blogging, and then try to go into a niche they have no idea about because they’ve told “this is a profitable part of the internet!” These are the people that give up after a few months when they realize money doesn’t just magically start shooting out of their computers once they publish a few blog posts.
The truth is this: becoming a professional writer, running an online business, or being a problogger is a lot of freaking work. I love The Four Hour Workweek as much as the next guy (I bought NerdFitness.com after reading it!), but many people took it the wrong way in assuming they were simply a few weeks away from making a living online with a tiny bit of work. If you are blogging about something that you don’t care about, eager to make money immediately by creating a product before you even have a site worth reading, you’re setting yourself up for a short (and quick) trip back to reality.
Instead, pick a subject you are passionate about. I hate to use the word “passion,” as it gets thrown around by Internet Marketers looking to get you to buy their course on hopes and dreams and unicorns (apologies to any unicorn bloggers), but there’s an element of truth to it. You have to LOVE the topic you’re writing about and the community you hope to build, because you might be writing on that subject with no audience and no money for a long long long time.
Help people. Wonder Woman is known for her humanity: feeling compassion and giving love without discrimination. If you’re struggling to figure out what to write about, solve a problem. When in doubt, help people. Sure, it would be great if you could get paid to eat pudding and watch Netflix, but who will pay you for it? Start creating an insane amount of uniquely helpful content that solves a specific problem for people, and answer every email without discrimination: whether or not that person every pays you a dime, improve their lives in some way.
For the first 5 years of Nerd Fitness’s lifespan, I answered every email that came into the inbox, and the autoresponder people got when they signed up asks “what’s your biggest struggle when it comes to getting fit?” Everybody got a response, and today we have 750 free blog posts, free message boards, in addition paid courses and events. We still answer each email and help each person regardless of who they are or where they came from.
Help people. Write about things that you are fired up about. And expect to do it, thanklessly, for a long time.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: Surround yourself with powerful allies to keep you accountable.
These days, bands of superheroes are everywhere, from the Avengers Movies to the upcoming depiction of the origins Justice League in Batman vs Superman.
Real life allies can be incredibly powerful – the difference between success and failure.
Think of it this way, if you skip your blog writing today to watch TV, nobody would know, and who does it hurt, right? But now imagine you’re in this with a friend who is also writing, and they notice you didn’t have your blog post up and give you a call. This is the beginning of introducing some accountability to your system.
I got a bit extreme with this, and gave a coworker $500 of my dollars, and for every day a blog post was late, she would donate $50 to a cause I HATED. Of course, I couldn’t possibly live with myself knowing my money funded something I disliked so much, so I had to get my blog posts done on time. Sometimes it was at 4AM, other times it was seconds before I had to hit post… but I got them done.
So form your own Justice League!
- Follw the Problogger Facebook Page: It’s a community of people who are struggling with the same things you are!
- Build your own mastermind group. Online or in person, group up with others who share your excitement about building a business and holding each other accountable.
- Find an accountability buddy…aka accountabilibuddy. A single person that will call you on your excuses can an incredibly long way in holding you accountable when you need to get shit done.
I’m not quite sure if Batman gives Wonder Woman homework, or if Superman makes sure Bruce Wayne gets to his workouts on time, but I like to think they do!
The world needs more heroes. Will you heed the call? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below with:
- 1 environmental hack you can use to stay on target with your blogging
- Your blogging kryptonite and how you will fight it off.
- One way you can be more helpful and serve your audience better.
- 1 friend you can recruit to your Justice League