For the beginner, the blog learning curve can be steep. As well as all the technical and blog visibility issues, there are questions about focus, content types and research, and of course reaching readers.
You’re plugging away, day after day, and getting little in the way of recognisable success. How can you stay motivated during what can be a very trying time? Here are the techniques I use.
1. Do what you love.
Staying motivated is a whole lot easier when you’re constantly thinking about, and dealing with, the topic you blog about. If you love your topic, you’ll find it easier to think up content ideas, engage with readers, and establish a warm and welcoming voice that encourages rapport and develops readership.
2. Take it one step at a time.
When you start a blog, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the things you feel you should be doing to help it grow. Realise up front that your blog isn’t likely to be an overnight super-success and pace yourself. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t done yet, spend time each week assessing the things you have done, and considering ways to build on those results.
If you’re going to avoid burnout, you need to be kind to yourself. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to tell yourself it’s too hard, you don’t have time, and to give up.
3. Plan, plan, plan.
If you haven’t already, develop a flexible, but clear plan of attack for building up your blog’s content and reach. A focused plan will help you to keep your expectations of yourself in check, and to test and assess the results of what you do.
This kind of periodic review will give you information that you can feed back into your efforts to make each new promotional approach more successful, and helps you avoid the must-do-everything-now, scattergun approach that quickly exhausts even the most motivated blogger.
As you plan, you’ll likely identify some easy wins — things that you expect will be fulfilling or gratifying on some level. Perhaps these are tasks that will pull in a lot of readers, or maybe you just know you’ll really enjoy doing them. Try to space these jobs so that when the going gets tough, you know you have a favourite task just around the corner. This can make a big difference to your motivation over time.
4. Allow for downtime.
Once you’ve got a plan, fit some downtime into it. Make sure you’re not always operating at breakneck speed, or that if you are, it’s only for a short, manageable period. Be sure to build in time out for family and friends, and to be flexible about your schedule.
Above all, let yourself really enjoy that time off — don’t spend it guiltily obsessing about all the things you should be doing to build your blog.
5. Realise that everyone has bad days.
It’s true. Some of us even have bad weeks! And months. It doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel or that you don’t have what it takes. Of course you have it — the thing is, you need to manage it to get the most out of it. If you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up. Accept that this is part of life.
If you feel like giving up, let yourself feel it. Stare your discomfort in the face and see if there isn’t some way you can overcome it, or work around it, and make your blog better in the process. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes, it’s the thin end of the wedge that gives us the impetus to innovate solutions that make our blogs — and our work on them — infinitely more enjoyable.
These are the main ways I keep motivated about blogging. What kinds of techniques do you use?