By Ryan Healy – For the past six months I have been maintaining my blog, Employee Evolution. At this point I realize that the decision to start a blog is hard, but writing regularly is harder. So here is a list of tactics I’ve used to maintain a full-time, corporate job along side a full-time blog.

Be Realistic
Before I started Employee Evolution, I did a little research and realized four posts was a minimum. I also realized there was no way in hell I could maintain a 45-hour-a-week job and create a successful blog without completely stressing out.

One night during one of many career conversation with my good friend Ryan Paugh, I had one of those “ah ha” moments. I asked if he wanted to create a joint blog, and he immediately agreed. Now I can write four posts a week, but two is sufficient if it’s a busy week at work. Being realistic before starting has allowed my blog to continue growing six months later. And I am stress free, kind of.

Know when you are the most creative
Coming up with ideas for blog posts takes a good amount of creativity. I have my creative moments, but I would never be mistaken for a creative genius. This lack of creativity has caused me to pinpoint the times when, for whatever reason, I am able to tap into my right brain.

I usually have great ideas in the shower. I’m not sure if it’s the water waking me up or the clear head from a good night sleep, but some of the best ideas seem to come in the shower.

The shower is great, but nothing beats a long run to get my creative juices flowing. The time from when I stop running to when I walk into my apartment is like a one-man brainstorming session. I realized this about two months ago, and ever since I have increased the length of my runs so I can stop about a mile from my apartment. Often I forget half of everything by the time I stop sweating and grab a pen and paper, but half of those interesting ideas are always better than none.

Create deadlines
Creating deadlines is crucial to getting blog posts completed. I have been unbelievably lucky that I have a weekly deadline for Brazen Careerist. But if you aren’t accountable to someone else, it can be easy to slack off. Create your own deadlines and hold yourself accountable. Sure it takes some self control, but it’s good for you. I make sure to have at least one post finished before Monday morning roles around. If it’s not done, I skip Entourage and write until it’s done.

Another option is to ask someone to create a deadline for you. Because I know the value of having a weekly deadline imposed by someone else, I am able to push my partner, Ryan Paugh to complete one post by Sunday night as well. This is a self imposed deadline by him, but he also feels accountable to me. And no matter who you are, it’s much easier to get something done when someone else is relying on you.

Don’t forget why you’re blogging
Everyone starts a blog for a different reason. Some start a blog to share their subject matter expertise on a given topic, some start a blog to share all their crazy ideas with the world and others of us blog about a subject because it could lead to new, exciting opportunities. I fall in the latter group, and I constantly remind myself of this.

It’s okay to skip a day
We all have times we simply cannot write well or are to busy with work to write a good post. Don’t put up a bad post. Quantity is good, but quality is king. Chances are your readers won’t even notice a missed day. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a pattern.

Ryan Healy’s blog is Employee Evolution.

19 replies
  1. cindy@staged4more
    cindy@staged4more says:

    I think “why” you are blogging is very important, I think after awhile, I often forgot why I started blogging in the first place and my topics are all over the place. I also have started to write in series, which compels me to post at least once a week. Many pro bloggers have recommended to set a blogging schedule, which I am starting to see why — not only it trains the blogger to write regularly and on point, more importantly we are training our readers to read more consistently as well.

    Thanks for the post, great advices as usual ;)

    Cheers,
    Cindy

    ********

    Cindy,

    You’re right. Why you are blogging is the most important thing. If you lose site of that, it is easy to blog off topic or stop blogging all together. Setting a blogging schedule is a great idea, it’s not easy, but it’s definitely effective.

    -Ryan

  2. Rebecca Thorman
    Rebecca Thorman says:

    It’s a big secret that bloggers have – the amount of time it takes to do a blog. The benefits and rewards make it worth it though.

    The deadline bit is most important to me, and I self-impose deadlines all the time, but could even do more. Good advice.

  3. Tiffany Monhollon
    Tiffany Monhollon says:

    It’s true that you have to remember why you’re writing in the first place. Sometimes, it’s hard not to get so boxed into your topic or niche, etc. But thinking about WHY you’re writing (perhaps a little more than WHAT) can give you some room to move and maybe let you be a little more creative.

  4. +Dj FuNKyGrRL+
    +Dj FuNKyGrRL+ says:

    With the popularity of social networking sites it becomes easier for College kids to blog away.
    Purpose of these site follow the Walmart philosophy …to be one’s all in one everything

  5. Reflective Counsel
    Reflective Counsel says:

    Great advice, Ryan. Though most of us may dream of blogging as a career, unfortunately the necessity of a full-time job creeps in. Before I started my blog, I wrote a personal mission statement and an outline of the first 20 to 30 posts I wanted to write. I also set a realistic goal of how often I wanted to blog. Those steps have helped a ton.

    The mission statement helps me with “why.” The outline helps me with “how.” The goal helps me with “when.”

  6. Nina Smith
    Nina Smith says:

    Ryan,

    You make a great point about the benefits of collaborating with other writers. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger had a good post about the rise of the multi-blogger blog and why it has its advantages:

    – Fresh ideas
    – New styles/voices
    – Less reliance upon you personally to drive the brand
    – Introduce new skills, opinions, experiences and expertise into the mix
    – Potentially increase posting frequency
    – Having people in different time zones to keep things well maintained
    – Gives you a break or allows you to focus on new projects

    Switching over to the group blogging model was the smartest thing I did. It allowed me to build a better brand and improve our rankings while targeting specific readers. I could not have done that without my fellow contributors.

  7. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Another way to handle a blog and a full life is to set a time limit and/or a time committment.

    When I started my blog, I decided that 15-20 minutes a day was all I could afford. Often at the same time everyday I work on a post for 15-20 minutes.

    Sometimes it takes 2-3 days to finish a post. But this still means 2-4 posts per week.

    I found that I loved working on my blog, so this time wasn’t a sacrifice, but a 20 minute treat / retreat from everything else.

  8. Joe Blogger
    Joe Blogger says:

    Here is another idea: use a notepad (electronic or physical).

    Sometimes you have things to say on more than one issue. If you compose 2,3,4 or more posts in one ‘sitting’ you may only want to post one of your compositions, but if you compose and edit those extra posts you can post them in the following days (where you may not be feeling as creative)

  9. LaDawn
    LaDawn says:

    If you don’t write every day (or at least every week day) you have to expect your blog traffic to be erratic. People visit out of habit (unless they’ve got an RSS feed). If you don’t have a new post when they go they will stop coming.

    Agree with the physical notepad idea in the comment above. When I am really creative my brain just flies and I end up with ideas for 10 posts at once. And I’m not always connected to the computer. I’ve got a notebook I carry round and when something happens (especially with my children I just jot it down). It also made it easy to capture our holiday memories and connect it all up to the photos for the blog!

  10. Ben S.
    Ben S. says:

    Maintaining a blog is definitely a hard thing to do and I both applaud the Brazen Careerist and the Employee Evolution for providing quality postings.

    I agree with the point about knowing when you are at you most creative. I tend to come up with my best ideas late at night or when I am making a cup of coffee (for some strange reason).

    An interesting blog I came across recently in the same field is http://www.secretarialblog.co.uk . I found it on stumbleupon but funny and good niche.

  11. Seo Tools
    Seo Tools says:

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  12. rachel
    rachel says:

    Brian, a great post. I have a pad with me at all times and scribble down any ideas I have for posts.

    I never want my blog to become something I feel guilted into!!

    Rach

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