For someone who’s been blogging for fifteen years (wait, what?!), I’m rubbish at the whole “actually blogging regularly, for real” thing. I started off this year really well, and as usual, life snowballed. Since bad blogging habits have been on my mind a lot lately, I thought maybe getting them down in words would help me improve. So, it’s confession time!
01. Not blogging regularly
Top of the list is my biggest crime – the previously mentioned not blogging regularly. Regular, consistent blogging is the best way to maintain momentum and grow a steady audience, so clearly I need to (re)start practising what I preach! I feel like I’ve written about being busy a million times, so I’m not going to cover that here again.
I know a lot of people have writer’s block, but that’s not really something I struggle with (if you do, here’s a list of blog post ideas). My problem is too many ideas; I’m always playing catch-up (to myself) and giving myself a hard time about not getting X or Y done. Sometimes I want a break from writing anyway – I love that I get to write several hours a day every day for my job, don’t get me wrong – but sometimes I want to do stuff away from my computer. Or stuff at my computer that isn’t writing. Which is pretty much the same thing, right?
What I’m going to do to improve on this: I’ve already tried so many things to fix this, including using a calendar plugin, physically writing in a diary, adding recurring tasks to ToDoist, planning out my evenings, etc. My typical view on time is that if you really want to do something, you’ll make time to do it. I have less time in my day since starting a job with a long commute (I carshare and the mobile internet isn’t great on the journey so writing on the way there/back isn’t really a viable option for the moment). So my first step is going to be to dust the cobwebs off all the old, half-finished posts and get my trip photos finally finished so I can write about that, and then look at my backlog of ideas.
02. Letting posts slide when I’m busy
This is closely related to point one, and is definitely my biggest blogging crime. Yes I do get really busy, but I’ve also been finding time to walk 10,000 steps every day so far this year, so I can definitely squeeze in some writing time if I can squeeze in time for that. Mainly, I need to block my evenings out better and use the desk space I’ve created upstairs to avoid distractions.
What I’m going to do to improve on this: What I need to focus on is actual achievable goals and deadlines, and turning the TV and my phone off for an hour to get some writing done. I’m writing about fun stuff! Real life needs to stop getting in the way!
03. Starting posts and never finishing them
Last year I realised that there were some draft posts I was never going to publish. But I still wanted to keep them anyway, diary-style. So I did a bit of research and got Joe to hack a plugin a bit, and ended up with different categories for my draft posts. This was a relatively simple to do, but made a big difference. While I love lists, I hate long-term uncompleted things, and organising my drafts instantly made my list shorter and more relevant. But I still started this post eight months ago, and it’s only just published now. Seriously.
What I’m going to do to improve on this: I need to clear my backlog of posts and then I should be okay with this. I think the only thing left to change here is making sure I’m not leaving posts purely because I haven’t made an image for them. I also got a bit more organised last year (see 5 organisational tips for WordPress bloggers), but there are still posts left unfinished for months and months.
04. Not taking good care of my website
If you think this blog is bad, you should see my plants. Not even joking. But seriously, my plan for this year is a brand new theme, change of host, SSL certificate, all that fun stuff. It’s something I intend to do every year, but never seem to get round to. It’s crazy to think there was a time when I designed and coded a new theme (‘layout’) every single month.
What I’m going to do to improve on this: Start by doing a proper project breakdown and work out what tasks need to be completed and when. It’s totally doable, right?
05. Not sharing enough
I love reading other bloggers’ posts, but I lurk way too much and only share and comemnt on things occasionally. This is definitely something that is quick and easy to do, so I should be doing more of it – no excuses!
What I’m going to do to improve on this: Create a Twitter list purely consisting of bloggers so I can easily retweet links to interesting posts. (And make a ToDoist item to check said list. Overplanning, my speciality). I also need to work to getting my own posts out there – I never put any effort into marketing this site because marketing is my day job. Seriously, I do enough marketing. Maybe it’s time to outsource some of my own promotional stuff this year. Or maybe I’ll just work on doing it for ten or fifteen minutes a day. We’ll see.
Okay, your turn! What are your worst blogging habits?