without going crazy or giving up
by brittany taylor | December 28, 2017
If you want to see how nuts you can get, try to blog every day. Go on. Try it. But can I give you some advice first?
The thing about blogging every day is that it either sounds insurmountable to those who already have a lot on their plates (or who find weekly or biweekly or monthly blogging a tough enough task) or a cinch to those who create a lot of content already. You’re either overestimating it or underestimating.
So, what is it really like to blog every day?
Hard. Blogging every day is hard.
But this is a crazy thing you are capable of. I’ve got 7 tips to help you put your best foot forward—and make it through your month-long daily blogging challenge without going insane, hating yourself, publishing awful content, or failing.
My best tips for tackling a blog-every-day challenge
It doesn’t matter how much content you create right now, pre-challenge. Blogging every day is different. Blogging every day forces you to write a lot of specific, focused, goal-oriented content. And it needs to be long to gain some Google goodwill. Thirty days of 1,000-word blog posts is 30,000 words, which is also the length of a short book.
Yeah. You’re signing up to write a book in 30 days. Nuts.
Writing anywhere from 28 to 31 pieces of content in a single month is a lot of work when you don’t have other things to do with your time.
When you do have other tasks competing for your attention, whether that happens to be client projects, other work, family or community responsibilities, or something else entirely, posting a blog post every day is strenuous and, at times, impossible.
That’s why it pays off to have a backlog. Sometimes, you can’t string together a coherent sentence. Sometimes, you just don’t have time. Sometimes, you need to pull out a couple hundred words you scratched out awhile ago, give it a polish, and publish it.
One more piece of advice: Know what these posts are and where you have them saved. Going through every file and folder on your hard drive is inefficient.
When I hit day 15 of my first daily blogging challenge in November 2017, I was so proud of myself—and so relieved that I was halfway to the finish line. Knowing that I’d hit the 50-percent mark made me feel like I could make it to the end. It could be 9 o’clock, I could have 0 words written, and I’d still be optimistic about reaching my goal.
But if I tried to blog every day and see how long I could do it? I would have given in on the first bad day. With nothing to look forward to, nothing to celebrate but the long slog ahead, I would have been setting myself up for failure.
One more piece of advice: You can still give yourself start- and end-dates even if you want to make daily blogging an on-going challenge. Go week-to-week or month-to-month, and evaluate your performance after each period ends. I highly recommend allowing yourself some down-time, whether it’s a week or a month.
Of the 30 blog posts I published that first challenge, there are a handful that I don’t love and three that will probably be deleted or heavily revised in the coming year. I’m OK with that now, but when I first hit “publish” on them, I fretted over it. Some aren’t terribly original or spectacular while others are fine stand-alone pieces, but I don’t see them meshing will with my content strategy.
If you’re a perfectionist, challenging yourself to produce something every day and share it is with the masses is a great way to learn to be gentler with yourself. Seeing the value of the works-in-progress is an important trait.
One more piece of advice: Use your feelings about certain pieces of content to guide your creation and shape your overall strategy. Did you realize halfway through a post that you need an explainer post (like a how-to tutorial) to support it? Make a note of that. Did you think you wanted to write a listicle but now that it’s published, you’re not really feeling it? Squirrel that bit of information away.
I wrote at least one blog post every weekend except for one. And you guys? That one weekend off was the best weekend ever.
I am a procrastinator by nature; I always have been. I like to work right up to my deadlines. I like writing at night and I don’t mind working on the weekends. But when you’re cranking away at an activity like blogging, which requires you to use both sides of your brain at once, it drains you. Taking a day or two off to recover, mentally, is a coup.
One more piece of advice: “Working ahead” doesn’t have to mean getting it all done. For me, having a blog post written and waiting in a Word Document made it easy for me to go in the next day, create my graphics, load it into WordPress, design it, and hit publish. Your workflow might vary.
My most perplexing moments as a creative person stem from self-doubt and change. When I’m not sure of my direction, I freeze. And in my first daily blogging challenge, I did freeze. About a week in, I felt like I was treading water. I’d created some content I loved and some I wasn’t sure about and some I knew I didn’t want to move forward with. What came next?
That was when I sat down and came up with four themes I wanted to focus on—work + life, storytelling, marketing, and branding—and three types of content I wanted to create—epic lists, how-tos, and “why”-type explanations. The weeks that followed were difficult, but I was never paralyzed over the question of what to do next.
One more piece of advice: Know what you want to get out of this challenge before you start. Do you want to increase your pageviews? Create foundational content? See how many words you can write in a month? Whatever it is, write that goal down and keep it in mind every single day.
I got this one halfway-right. I had my graphics templates down, but my blog post landing page was a mess and needed a redesign a few days into my challenge. And I had my blog post visual design down, but because I didn’t create a style guide, my headings were inconsistent.
Do yourself a solid and get all of those details worked out before you try to blog every day. If you do, you won’t have to go back to those 30-odd posts and make changes after the fact, which is what I had to do.
One more piece of advice: If you know you’re going to have to go back and tweak something later, make a note of exactly which post needs TLC and exactly how you want to change it as you write or publish it. After a month of posting daily content, you will forget that one little thing.
It’s OK to not knock this out of the park. It’s OK to be less than perfect. It’s OK to miss a day. When you give yourself grace, you’re giving yourself permission to be a person who messes up. Grace is about forgiving yourself today and using that forgiveness to overcome adversity tomorrow.
To make grace useful rather than indulgent, though, you have to get up and try again.
One more piece of advice: How you leave the challenge will depend on how you entered it. It’s all about attitude. If you go in looking to see what you can push yourself to achieve, you’ll be proud, no matter what. If you go in looking for perfection, you’ll be disappointed.