Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

How to Beat Blogger’s Block: Part 5 – How to Finish Every Blog Post Every Time

Today’s episode is about how to get into the habit of finishing what you start. It’s part 5 in a mini-series of podcasts that looks at how to be more productive with your blog and beat common blocks. In today’s episode, I’m sharing how I managed to switch from regularly starting but not finishing blog posts, to finishing and publishing them most times. I share my strategy, tools and process so that you can finish every blog post every time. 

winner by Marcus Hennen on

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • 4 common reasons why you might be struggling to complete a blog post
  • Why scheduling time to finish blog posts will help you complete and publish more blog posts!
  • How to improve the quality and consistency of your blog posts
  • How to build a system, checklist and schedule that you can follow to streamline your blog post process
  • 9 questions you can use as your blog post completion checklist
  • How involving others can help you improve your blog post completion rate and quality, and ways to do it

Further Reading and Resources for How to Finish Every Blog Post Every Time

9 questions you can use as your blog post completion checklist:

  1. Does the post ‘matter’? Is it meaningful? Will it be valuable to readers?
  2. Is the title good?
  3. Have I got a good opening line?
  4. Have I clearly explained my main points/teaching/opinion?
  5. Have I added an appropriate conclusion and call to action?
  6. Could I add more depth? (further reading, quotes, examples)?
  7. Have I invited my readers to interact/respond/share?
  8. Have I proofread it?
  9. Could I add more visual appeal through images, multi media or better formatting?

Other episodes in this series about beating blogger’s block:

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Darren: Good morning and welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast episode 87. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m here in Melbourne, it’s cold, well not too cold, it’s a rainy day and the kids have just left the house, so I’ve jumped on straight away as I tend to do in the mornings. 

Today, I want to finish out a little series on blogger’s block. We started the series back in episode 83 where I talked about three different types of blogger’s block. We talked about that blockage that you have in coming up with ideas. We talked about the block that you have sometimes when you’re creating content, and also completing content. Actually hitting publish and this is something a lot of bloggers actually struggle with, they end up with a whole heap of drafts or they sit on posts for a long time before they publish them for a variety of reasons. 

You can go back and listen to the previous episodes in episode 83, 84 and 86. There was an 85, it was Pat Flynn’s interview to catch up on the series. Today, I want to talk about this idea of completing content. I want to talk about some of the reasons why people don’t complete that content. I want to give you three quite practical tips on how to get through that block if that’s something that you struggle with. Either you complete stuff poorly, or you don’t complete stuff at all. That’s what we’re focusing on today. You can find today’s show notes and I do have some further reading for you today at

As I said, today I want to turn our attention to the third type of bloggers block, that of completing and publishing your content. When I speak at conferences to bloggers, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “How many posts do you have in your WordPress or your blogging platform that are marked as drafts? How many half-written pieces of content have you written?” I’d actually love to get your feedback on that. You can tweet me at @ProBlogger and just say, “I’ve got this many drafts.” It’d be kind of interesting to see that. 

I’m always amazed how many bloggers have a lot of half-written posts. I probably shouldn’t be too amazed at this because as I said back in episode 83, my own record for the amount of drafts that I’ve got in a single installation on WordPress is 93. That was in the early days of ProBlogger. Some of those drafts were just titles with maybe a couple of points. Some of them had maybe introductions and not much else. Others were almost fully written but needed conclusions or an image added or some for the reading, or maybe were complete but I just didn’t feel they we’re ready to go live for some reason or another. 

I obviously had a problem at that time with completing posts and if I’m honest, it’s something that I continue to struggle with at different times today. There are a variety of problems I think that bloggers can have that lead to these completion blockages. I think I called it completion constipation back in episode 83 and had a couple of people giggle at that one.

Some of the reasons why people struggle with completion, one, it could be, like me, back at that time, I had so many ideas that I wanted to write about that I couldn’t really complete the post because I was already thinking about the next post, and I was getting distracted by all the ideas. I remember one day sitting down to write a post, it was quite a long post and as I wrote it, I had so many tangents that I wanted to take that I started writing seven other posts before I completed that first one. Everything I was writing stimulated new ideas. That’s kind of a good problem to have because it gets you through that other type of bloggers block we’ve already talked about, that of coming up with ideas, but it can mean that you come up with so many starts and posts that you don’t actually finish any of them.

When I’ve shared this in the past, I’ve come across plenty of other bloggers who share this affliction if you like. There are other bloggers who struggled to complete posts for different reasons and that is perfectionism. Some of you struggle to publish posts because you don’t think they’re good enough yet. Perfection paralysis is something that I find a whole group of bloggers struggle with. Other bloggers don’t finish posts because they lose interest in the post they’re writing halfway through them and this is something I struggle with at times. Particularly with some of the longer posts that I’m writing, I occasionally will sit down and try to write a mega post, a complete guide to a topic.

Whilst this post can do really well, they do take several days, if not weeks, to write and simply by taking so long, I sometimes find myself getting a bit disinterested or sometimes you’ll write yourself into a corner with the post that you’re writing as well, you kind of write and explore tangent, and then you don’t know how to finish it and you become a little bit disillusioned with it. That could be another reason that some bloggers don’t complete their posts.

The other type of problem that I do want to address in this podcast is still around completion but it’s almost the opposite problem. Some bloggers hit publish before the posts are ready, and this is a problem with how they complete their posts too. I want to talk about that today. These are bloggers who push publish on pieces before they’ve been proofread, or maybe they don’t have enough depth, or maybe they’re just not valuable enough yet and they could be more valuable, maybe they haven’t felt through the title, or their opening, or their conclusion. This is something that I think most bloggers do struggle with at times as well, is hitting publish on posts that really haven’t been completed yet at all.

The problem with that, I guess, is that it does have an impact upon your brand. When your publishing stuff is not really polished so that’s not really good enough, people are going to—that’s going to impact the way they see you. There’s a whole heap of things that I’ve just talked about there. They all really relate to either not completing posts or not completing posts well enough. Today, I want to talk about, I’ll just give you three practical things that you can do to ensure that you complete your posts and you complete them well. 

The solution to this problem partly just comes down to your mindset and being disciplined. I almost hesitated to say that today, because it’s so simple and so obvious, but really for me, when I have those 93 posts, I just had to get my act into gear. I just had to sit down and complete those posts.

The first thing I want to say today is you need to dedicate time to this. We’ve previously talked in the last two podcasts on the series about being intentional about putting aside time to brainstorm and plan your topics, being intentional in putting aside time to create content, it doesn’t just happen. 

I think the same is true here, we need to put aside time and effort into completing our content. In my mind, this completing of content is just as important as any other part in the process. The way you complete your post is just as important as the ideas you come up with and the writing itself, because if you don’t complete your posts, nothing ever goes live and that has no impact upon anyone. If you complete your posts poorly, that can really hurt your reputation and your brand and can destroy all the work you do in coming up with great ideas and writing some of the content, so you’ve just got to really put the effort into this particular area.

For me, that really means dedicating time every week to completing. I’ve shared and I think it was back in episode 40, I showed you my schedule, I showed you my calendar and I have a template for my week. In that template, there is a time for brainstorming and coming up with ideas. There’s a time for creating content. In fact, there’s a number of times every week, usually in the mornings. In the afternoon, you’ll see in episode 40 that I dedicate time, three afternoons a week to complete. I actually am very intentional about that because I know if I don’t put that time aside, it won’t get done. This is a problem for me and so I dedicate time to it. In those times, I complete a number of things. I dedicate that time every week to completing blog posts and I’ll almost always have a post that I’m working on, that I really should spend some more time on and get ready to publish.

The focus here is often on finding a good image, or adding some further reading, or adding depth, or adding another point, or editing and proofreading. For me, editing and proofreading is like pulling teeth. I hate it, I don’t enjoy it at all, but it’s so important. Completion time for me is completing the blog posts, but it’s also completing other projects as well. For me, it might be completing podcasts, it might be completing an eBook, or a presentation that I’m working on, or an article I’m working on for some of the sites. 

Dedicate time to completing. I think it’s really important for creators of all types, whether you’re a blogger or whether you’re something else. Dedicate time to prepare, create, and complete. They’re the three things that I’m dedicating every time to every week. Number one, dedicate time to it. It is a bit of a logical one, it’s a bit of a no brainer, but it’s amazing how many people do not dedicate time to completing.

Number two tip is build a workflow, build a system, build some sort of a checklist that’s going to help you to complete well. Some of you might actually find it helpful to build a completion checklist. This is going to be particularly helpful for those of you struggling with publishing things before they’re really ready, not publishing things that aren’t really good enough yet. To have a checklist is going to help you to improve your posts. It’s also I think helpful for those of you who are struggling with perfectionism, to actually have a checklist and to be able to say, “I have done everything that I need to do to have these posts ready, it is good enough.” That can sometimes help you to push past your perfectionism.

I want to give you right now nine questions that I would be asking if I use this checklist. I don’t actually have a checklist. I don’t tick these things off, but these are the things that, I guess, I’ve trained myself to ask myself before I hit publish. I’m going to publish these in the show notes today for those of you who do need a checklist that you do want to work through. Number one, does the post matter? Is it meaningful? Is it valuable to readers? I think that’s the ultimate question that you have to ask before you hit publish. If the answer to that question is that it’s not meaningful, it doesn’t matter, it’s not valuable in some way to someone then it probably shouldn’t go live. If the answer is no to that, you probably now need to go back to that post and make it valuable, make it meaningful, make it matter to your readers.

If you’re just publishing stuff just for the sake of publishing it, it’s not really worth publishing. There’s probably some exceptions to that if it’s meaningful to you. If it’s not meaningful to anyone else, maybe it’s just self-expression or maybe that’s about it. I think ultimately, most of your posts need to be meaningful. They need to be valuable to your readers, so that’s number one.

Number two, is your title good enough, could you do more work on that? Number three, have you got a good opening line? Does your post open well and does it intrigue people? Does it make them want to read on? Number four, have you clearly explained your main point, so your teaching, or your opinion, that’s going to depend a little on the type of article that you’re writing, but really, have you got some depth there, have you got some meat there, is it valuable to that content?

Number five, have you added an appropriate conclusion and/or call to action? This is really not just about have you opened your posts, but you also need to end them well as well. Did it just die, did it just stop, or does it actually lead your readers to do something, does it actually sum it up well with your conclusion? The next question is, could you add more depth in some way? Could you add some further reading, could you add a quote, could you add an example, could you actually take your content to the next level and provide more value, I guess, ultimately there.

The next question is have you invited your readers to interact, respond, and/or share? Have you made your posts not just information, but have you invited interaction. The next question is have you proofread it, have you edited it? Are there grammatical mistakes out there, spelling mistakes? And the last question, could you add more visual appeal to your posts through images, through maybe embedding some video, or embedding an Instagram or a tweet, or could you improve it in terms of the formatting? Could you make it more visually appealing by adding some headings, or lists, or adding some bold in certain parts.

These are questions that I think I’ve kind of asked myself naturally now. I’ve been blogging for 13 years. I’m asking myself these questions almost as I’m writing the content, but particularly before I hit publish, but these are things that if you are struggling with completion, I think it might be helpful to develop a checklist, to actually tick these things off, and others that you might have in your mind that will help you to move past perfectionism. If you get to the end of that list, and you’ve answered yes to all of those questions, then your post is probably good enough, and you need to hit publish on them.

If you go through that list and there are some no’s, if you say no, the title is not good enough, or no, I haven’t done a conclusion well enough, that’s going to help you improve your blog post as well. Now, on today’s show notes, I’m going to give you some further reading on a series of articles that I wrote a few years ago on crafting blog posts that really touch on some of the questions that I’ve just asked. There’s a post there on adding more depth to your content, there’s a post there on polishing your content to make it look better. There are I think 10 posts there that touch on some of those different things; titles, opening lines, those types of things there. We’ll have a link to that series. I think it’s called 10 Crucial Points to Pause as you’re crafting a blog post, or something like that.

I think it’s a really good series to help you to really work through those questions. I’d encourage you, if you are struggling with perfectionism, if you’re struggling with publishing posts that aren’t quite ready yet, come up with a checklist to work through.

The last thing that I want to talk about is involving others in the completion of your content. Getting some help is the third tip. There are parts of this that you do need to do yourself. I can’t outsource my voice, I can’t outsource the majority of my writing, but I can outsource the completion or parts of the completion. I can outsource editing, and proofreading, and scheduling of posts, and some of those types of things. That’s something that I have done over the last 2-3 years really on both of my blogs.

I have part time editors on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. They both work a couple of days a week not only helping me complete my posts, but also for those of our writers. They also help with some editorial strategy and planning as well. Now obviously, I’m in a position today to be able to afford to pay people for those roles, but it wasn’t always that way for me. Even in the early days when I didn’t have money to dedicate to that, I did find some creative ways to involve others in the completion of my content. Let me give you a couple of examples of that. 

At one point, I did a deal with another blogger in my niche where we agreed to read each other’s posts before they went live. We each agreed that we would put aside 10 minutes every day to read through and give feedback on the post from the other person that they were going to publish the next day. It was relatively quick. All it really took was for me to read through their post and to give them feedback on that. It included spelling mistakes that I found, I didn’t usually find too many of those. Grammatical, things that didn’t quite read well. I give them feedback on titles. I give them feedback on, “Maybe you need an image here, maybe you should add a sub heading there. Maybe you can add this point. Maybe there’s some further reading that you could add,” and I was just giving a little bit of feedback. I was giving a fresh perspective on that post. It only took us 10 minutes each per day. They did the same thing for me. You’ve got to find the right person to be able to do this type of thing, but if you can find a blogging buddy to work on that type of thing with, that can be gold. I would say that my post significantly improved during that period. 

There was another point where I had a small group of guest writers on Digital Photography School who did pretty much the same thing. We had a little email group. We didn’t send each other every single post that we wrote, but if we were struggling to finish a post, whether we didn’t know what to give it as a title, or we didn’t know how to conclude it, or we were looking for an image that would help to make the post better, we would send each other an email around that.

I actually know of a group of four bloggers here in Australia who have a Facebook group that does pretty much exactly the same thing. They each have agreed that they can share two posts a week that they’re working on and that they want feedback on. The group helps them with ideas, proofreading, and again, helps them to improve those posts. These things only work if you find the right person. If you find people who are willing to dedicate time to put into critiquing, and improving your content, and if you are willing to help them as well.

If you can find that right group of people, blogging buddies, writing partners, it can be an incredibly powerful thing. I would encourage you that if you are looking for that type of person, do a bit of a hunt and ask another blogger if they’d be willing to do that. Even if it’s just one post a week that you swap and allow each other to read. That can significantly improve your content. I’m sure there’s a whole heap more that could be said about completing blog posts and I would invite you to do so in the comments of today’s show notes at

Now again, in my opinion, the way you complete your posts is as important as any other part of the creation of content that you come up with. It’s as important as coming up with ideas. It’s as important as the way you actually write your posts, because if you’re not completing your post well, it has a massive impact upon the way people perceive you. Dedicate time to it, be disciplined about working through some sort of a workflow, or a system, or a checklist to help ensure that your content is as good as it can be, and where possible, look for the help and support of all the people in that process.

I want to thank you for listening to this podcast. Not only this one today, episode 87, but all previous ones. I actually got an email today from a little service that I use, it sends me all the reviews that I get around the world, on all the different iTunes around the world, and Stitcher, and a couple of really great reviews came in. 

This one came in from John Patterson from the US back earlier in January. He gave a 5-star review. Thank you so much John. He said, “I listen to more than a dozen podcasts. Of those, I can count on one hand those that qualify as can’t miss for me, but the ProBlogger podcast is the only one I’m taking notes on. Incredibly practical and extremely useful as I launch my own platform at” Thanks so much, John. I do appreciate that feedback and I love the image of you sitting there with your notepad or whatever it is that you take your notes on.

This one came in from Tony just a week ago now. “Here in the US, we often hear people calling in on talk radio who say a long time listener, first caller. Well, that describes me. I’ve been listening to Darren Rowse’s solid advice on ProBlogger for a while. It finally occurred to me that I’ve never bothered to write a review. I have no idea why I waited so long. Darren adds massive value in my life with his podcast. He helps me from end-to-end to be better at my craft. Listen and you’ll understand why I say that.” Thank you so much, Tony. That just lightened my day when I got that email today and I really appreciate that, and for you John as well, and for all the others who are leaving reviews, and are sharing this podcast. It really energizes me, I have to say. I hope you can hear that in my voice today.

I look forward to chatting with you in episode 88 of the ProBlogger podcast. Please do subscribe to the ProBlogger plus newsletter which is also linked to on today’s show notes. It is how we let people know about new episodes of this podcast as well as new blog posts on the blog. The last thing I’ll say is in the coming weeks, you’re going to see some real changes over at where we are moving all of the content that was on the Bear with us a little bit as we make those changes.

As many of you know, when you make changes like that, things do tend to break and there are bugs, but also I would invite you to come over and check that out in the coming weeks as well. I really would value your feedback as we release that. I’m both excited and nervous as it always comes, those mixed emotions when you’re launching something new. Anyway, thanks so much for listening today. I look forward to chatting with you in episode 88 of the ProBlogger podcast.

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics, or subscribe to the series, find us at, tweet us @ProBlogger, find us at, or search ProBlogger on iTunes.

How did you go with today’s episode?

Have you suffered from not being able to complete your blog posts? How many unfinished draft blog posts do you have? Have you got a strategy that helps you finish and press ‘publish’? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts below.