For me, at least, the most challenging part of blogging is actually writing blog posts. With a full-time job, it’s difficult to find the time and energy to blog (and still read enough to blog about). I’m sure most – if not all – of my fellow bloggers will agree: blogging takes so much more time than you would expect it to. It’s like having a second job, for which you get paid very little to nothing at all. Don’t get me wrong, blogging is a very enjoyable hobby. If it wasn’t, this blog probably wouldn’t exist. I love it, but it’s definitely a lot of work. A LOT of work. And I am the queen of making things extra difficult on myself. I regularly have to remind myself that it’s okay if I don’t have five perfect photos to go with each post because it’ll take me at least an extra hour per post and I just don’t have that kind of time. It’s difficult to find that balance between blogging and burnout, but I’ve learned a few things about actually planning and writing my posts that have saved me a lot of time and stress. I am by no means an expert – I still write most of my posts at the last minute – but when I do succeed, it makes a world of difference.
Write Down Ideas
Keep your ideas in a notebook, or in a word doc on your computer. It might take you a while to actually get around to writing that post, or shaping it into the final product, but it’s nice to have a backlog of ideas, because there will be times when the well runs dry. Try to come up with original ideas for posts, because those are always the most fun to read and write.
Take Inspiration from Others (But Don’t Plagarize)
Never copy someone else’s post. It’s fine to find inspiration from another blog – I do it all the time – but make it your own, and be sure to credit the original blogger, especially if you decide to write the “same” post. Yes, it’s so much easier to look around the blogosphere and find out what’s getting the most hits and just do that. But, trust me, that takes all the fun out of it for you and your readers.
Include Some Sort of Visual
There was a time, not too long ago, when I decided to just write text posts and not worry about pictures or graphics. While it saved me quite a bit of time, I didn’t like the way it looked, and I’m sure you didn’t either. It was boring. People – especially people on the internet – like pretty pictures. And blog posts look that much more professional and thought-out when they include pictures or graphics. This can be anything from a simple, unedited picture you took with your phone to actual graphic art. Make it something that’s easy to update for each new post (unless you have tons of time and want to spend it on taking pictures or making art for your blog – go for it!). Just aim for something that gives your post a bit of visual interest and color without creating a ton of stress for yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid to Let a Post “Marinate” for a While
So many of my posts (including this one) were written over several sittings. If something doesn’t feel right, or I can’t put words down the way they are in my head, I save and come back to it later. There are two reasons this works for me: First, I have a bunch of halfway to mostly finished drafts sitting around in the event I can’t think of a post and need to get something up (which happens a lot). And, second, when I do get around to finishing and publishing said posts, they’re more thought-out and better written because I didn’t half-ass them for the sake of getting something published. More than a few of my posts have sat in the drafts folder for months (like this one) until I was ready to finish them. And it made them better.
Play with Recurring Posts
Some of my most successful blog posts have been recurring series (Book Blogging for Beginners being perhaps the most popular). I love writing them, and people seem to love reading them. And they really help with planning out posts. For example, I try to have one of each series I do (i.e. Book Blogging for Beginners, Recommended Reading, Audiobook of the Month, Book Hauls) published each month. That’s three or four posts right there that I know are coming and can plan out. It also helps to space out similar posts to keep your blog interesting.
Mix it Up
If you want to write a blog that is just book reviews, that is completely up to you. You do you. But, I’ve personally found that my readers and I both have more fun when I write a lot of different kinds of posts. Each week, I publish two book reviews, my weekly wrap-up, and another two miscellaneous posts (reading lists, the occasional book tag, etc.). It helps me from getting bored (because sometimes writing one book review after another feels like torture) and appeals to a wider readership; not everyone is going to like the same posts, so it’s nice to switch it up. I frequent a blog that does mostly lifestyle and fashion posts, but I almost exclusively read their posts about cooking or books and love that they have a little bit of everything. This blog, for example, is a bit more niche, but I try to cover more than one topic.
I hope this post was helpful! It was a nice reminder to me, too, because I haven’t been the best at posting lately. If you have tips or tricks for planning your posts and getting them written, let me know in the comments!