Photo by Mrs. Maze
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Blogging demands seriousness, commitment, passion and of course consistency. These are the four essential ingredients, not only towards a successful blogging career, but a healthy and balanced life as well. However keeping up with the fast paced environment, that bloggers are ever so often subjected to, can be a bit of a impediment, especially for blogging beginners and amateurs. Apparently the biggest problem for most bloggers is consistency.
People tend to burn out really fast, after subsequently they passionately burned the midnight oil, during their first weeks, some just days, of blogging. Enthusiasm can be really swell, but the trouble with it is that it dies off pretty fast, so to keep on blogging consistently you have to asimilate it completely. It has to become a part of what you are and do completely, it has to flow throw your veins so to speak, and the easiest way to do that is to form the habit of blogging.
It’s just a matter of simple psychology. Every time your learn something new, your brain tries to connect dots, to form a pathway for neurological activity. If you repetitively perform an action, your brain will soon make behavior patterns and in term will improve your neurological pathway. This is the efficient way your brain handles routine. This is a habit.
Now habits can be good or bad. Smoking for example is bad (guilty), regular exercising is definitely good; but to ask if blogging falls into the later category, I’d have to say I’m not entitled to answer. What I can definitely tell you, however, is that learning the habit of blogging is not an option, but a necessity for any aspiring blogger.
How To Grow The Habit of Blogging
Photo by TOanaM
A good blogger doesn’t turn out over night. You see no one’s born wise and all-knowing, every individual has to walk his own path and learn the ropes on his own. Of course there’s the issue of talent here, which is highly discussible, but I’d prefer not to stray too far from the topic at hand. The main idea here is that through repetition and constant learning you can easily adopt the habit of blogging. That’s easier said then done, however. I feel you, that’s why I devised a few solid ideas on how to turn blogging from an occasional activity into a habit.
- Read blogs. The easiest way to get in the habit of blogging is to be around them as much as possible. The more you surround yourself with blogs, the more you’ll get used to them and consequently you’ll feel more comfortable around them. Not to mention that readying all those blog posts can provide a lot of inspiration, to fuel your own posts. This way you’ll be able to write blog posts a lot easier, content will seem to come out at its own and thus blogging will soon become a natural thing.
- Make a schedule. A habit requires at least 20-30 days to mildly settle in, so what you need to with blogging is make it a part of your daily life. Making a blogging schedule, thus, seems the best solution. Just reserve a certain amount of time each day, depending on how much time your willing to allocate to your articles. However, that may not be enough. You see habits are sparked by triggers. For example whenever I get out of class, am under stress or after exams I always grab a smoke. Those are just a few triggers that form the habit, so what you need to do is find your own blogging trigger.
When I first started out blogging, I used my current daily routines as blogging triggers. For example, I usually arrived at home from school at around 1 PM and at about 1:30 PM I’d have launch. This way my personal blogging trigger. Right after I had finished launch I would start blogging uninterruptedly, until I finished my posts. You can choose whatever trigger you like, as long as it’s something that happens daily. Sure, blogging is highly flexible; you can do it at any time and any place as long as there’s an internet connection, but when you what to form a habit out of it, it’s important to limit yourself.
- Start out small. Don’t get over ambitious with your writing, not right from the start anyway. Start off small, gradually increasing the quality and workload of your posts, until you reach a suitable pace. Otherwise you might risk getting overburned and inconsistent.
- Track statistics. I don’t necessarily mean blog stats, but rather a form of logging. You can try making a simple spreadsheet, in which you’ll track your daily progress. “Yesterday I wrote a blog post and commented on five blogs, today I wrote two blog posts and commented on ten blogs. Wow, I’m making progress!” Something like that. I’d suggest you print a month’s calendar on a sheet of paper and under each day list how many blog posts and comments you made in the respective day. How will this help? Well keeping track of your habit is highly important for growing the habit of blogging; this way you can both make sure that you both don’t miss a day blogging and also keep an accounting of your progress.
- Look for motivation. You can’t possibly be successful at anything if your not at least remotely passionate or motivated about it. Just ask yourself why do you blog. Whether it’s just for the pleasure of writing or money or being famous, it doesn’t matter, just as long as it fuels your drive for blogging. A nifty little trick is to write down all the things, no matter how small, that make you blog. This way whenever your in a blogging slump or feel unmotivated, you can quickly review the list and remind yourself why your blogging in the first place.
- Set goals. I’ve found that setting goals is a great way to keep people motivated and focused. It’s a lot easier to accomplish a task when you’ve actually got something to finish. Tell a thirsty man in the desert there’s no water for 50 miles and he’ll feel discouraged and probably die. Tell a thirsty man there’s an oasis in 100 miles and he’ll defy all odds and probably save his own life.
- Focus. It’s a lot easier to learn a new habit if you focus and give your complete, unconditional attention to it. Put all other, less important, activities on hold or lighten up the time you dedicate to each, if not possible. Don’t walk in the trap of multitasking. Concentrate on one habit at a time, you’ll need all the energy you can get.
- Remove all other distractions. In close relation to the above point, it’s highly important you don’t get distracted when blogging. Otherwise you’ll divert from your blogging towards something else, leaving it for a later time. However postponements over postponements won’t get you anywhere and won’t certainly get you in the habit of blogging. Win the battle over procrastination and eliminate anything that might get in your way, like TV, e-mail, RSS, IM even the internet (unplug the damn interwebs once and for all, till you finish at least).
- Reward yourself. Rewards are great for keeping you motivated. It’s a lot easier to keep on blogging, under a strict schedule, when you’ve got something to look forward to. It’s a case of simple psychology. Remember when you mom told you to first finish your homework and only then go out and play? Blogging will work much in the same way. After you finish writing your posts, have a blast and reward yourself with anything that makes you happy. Do this for every post in the first week, then two just times in the second week and then a couple of times for the whole month. Your brain will soon associate blogging with rewards and this will help fasten the process of assimilating the habit of blogging. Actually, for me, blogging has been one of the most rewarding activities I have ever undertaken.
- Make it fun. You should never take blogging too serious. In all its essence blogging is one of the most fun activities possible, where your turn your passions and thoughts into material writing by voicing them. It’s true however that if you don’t enjoy blogging, you won’t be able to be successful, nor able to grow the habit of blogging. So if you don’t find anything whatsoever fun about blogging, then you should stop right there, because frankly it’s not for you bud.
[digg-reddit-me]Did you manage to get in the habit of blogging? If yes, how did you do it? I’ll soon post a follow-up with a few essential habits for highly efficient and successful bloggers, so be sure to subscribe to my free RSS feed to get the latest heads up. As always if enjoyed this article please show your appreciating by stumbling or saving it on del.icio.us. Thank you!
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