So many bloggers are doing their thing on a part-time basis, perhaps alongside their full- or part-time job, or being a stay-at-home parent. Very few are able to jack in the day job completely and make blogging a full-on career. It can be a bit frustrating at times to have so much to say but be so time-poor that you feel you’re unable to catch up with yourself. And disheartening to know that you’re missing out on opportunities you could really do with because you’re unable to give them the time they need. This post is for all you bloggers out there who can’t quite do the full-time writing thing!
1. Don’t compare yourself to full-time bloggers
There aren’t that many full-timers out there, but the ones that are successful are getting to be household names, and as such you may feel like it’s easier than it is, or ‘why not me?’ Don’t be envious – use them as inspiration and a motivator for your own ambition. Don’t compare where you are with where they are, either. Some have a huge team behind them to fuel the blog with content, drive advertising, etc., while you probably wear all hats – give yourself a huge pat on the back for juggling a million plates. Also, most bloggers, team or no team, have been going for years before getting big, and they’ve worked their butts off and made sacrifices to get there. It might look all roses and rainbows from where you’re standing, but I can guarantee it’s as flipping hard actual work as a traditional job. And the amazing things that they get to do absolutely do live amongst the everyday and the humdrum just as it is for everyone.
2. Use apps and have your systems in place
Because I get limited time at the laptop, I draft posts straight into Evernote on my iPhone. Then I copy across into WordPress later at the computer. I’ve tried blogging apps, but I find they’re woefully inept (crashing, not syncing…). Such a pity, but Evernote is a great workaround. Just remember to have your system in place so you’re not losing things – so, I write into Evernote, then update WordPress, never the other way around. That way I always know Evernote contains the latest draft. Regarding planning posts, I’ve finally given my huge A4 schoolgirl lever arch file the heave-ho in favour of its digital cousin, Wunderlist. This is where I keep a record of where a post is at in terms of photos received, permission granted, etc. All these systems help me to be more efficient with my lack of time and on the one device that’s always with me.
3. Don’t feel the need to do a huge involved blog post
Some of the posts that I’ve done that have attracted the most visits have been little short ones, perhaps just an Instagram picture I’ve liked, or an I Spy post. Remember, no one out there is expecting anything from you that you think they are. Unless you’re posting twice a day, and have publicly declared that standard for your blog, no one is waiting for that, nor will they find it unusual if you don’t post for a while or if you do quick posts (sometimes called ‘filler posts’ – as long as these are genuine, they really can be short and sweet!). Which leads me to my next point…
4. Don’t apologise when you do post
Nobody has minded or noticed that you’ve been quiet. Your readers are just genuinely pleased, as a standalone thing, that you’ve posted something. They don’t think, “well, it’s about time. I was unable to live my life until this post went up.” That’s in your mind. They’re not connecting it to the last time you posted. Ditch the guilt: it is genuinely of no use, and apologies only put you on the back foot for no reason.
You can engage in less time-consuming ways with your readers via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook shares or questions, or a few Pinterest pins. The latter of these may not be as quick as planned. So many times I’ve thought, “Oh, I’ll just nip on Pinterest and pin a couple of things.” About half an hour later, I emerge… Nipping and Pinterest are not things that naturally go together. The point is, these are really easy, enjoyable, and inspirational ways of saying, “I’m still here! I still care!!”
I’m a truly awful one for declaring all the time a new series of posts (Sunday Service, I Spy, as mentioned above), and then just having no time to populate it. I also get all excited about featuring people, and then take ages to get back to them. Big no-nos. It’s really unprofessional, and I’m learning to rein it all in and only make contact when I know I can get something done in a sensible time frame. It really is just enthusiasm mixed with learning how to be less disorganised and how to do time management, but it must be conquered in order to be professional.
9. Put it all in perspective
If you’re a parent who can’t blog all the time, think of the beautiful reason why. Those little faces looking up at you adoringly will soon be at school or nursery, and you’ll miss them like crazy, so enjoy them while they’re still at home. Blogging can honestly wait. So much. You can draft things quickly in an app, or you could email yourself and copy across to your blog later when the little ones are in bed. If you’re still employed full- or part-time elsewhere, be blooming grateful for a steady income and maybe use your commute to draft posts. Smart phones are so smart these days, I’ve drafted and published entire posts on the iPhone! Basically, put all this in perspective: blogging is fab, but there’s a time for everything, and sometimes it just must wait in line.
10. Don’t give up – success takes ages
Enjoy the journey no matter what its pace. These days, we’re all a bit too used to this X Factor-style instant success. People catapulted into fame with no hard work or slog as a foundation. It’s totally unrealistic, unsustainable, and we should turn away from it quick smart. The best way, as with most things, is a slow and steady assent where you build and build your way up. You also build your skill and expertise in an appropriate way – over time. It can seem like it’s all for nothing when you know you’re at the bottom looking longingly at the top, but it’s not. It’s brilliant. Here’s your chance to create something meaningful in the proper time frame, and with each new follower, liker, fan, get a little bit more excited and spurred on. It’s better this than an empty success that can be taken away at any moment. Keep going and enjoy your own blogging story as it unfolds. However long that takes.
Photography by Charis Talbot-Jones