So, as I was putzing around the kitchen cleaning up our little New Year’s pizza take-out and hot chocolate cups from last night, (we had a very quiet and lovely night-in watching several Pirates of the Caribbean) I wondered what I should be posting about on New Year’s Day.
After one final wipe and buff of a once again clean kitchen counter, I grabbed a fresh coffee and browsed online to see what everyone else was up to.
That in itself led me to shooting in all kinds of directions. I started no less than 3 different kinds of posts, not finishing anything… until I stopped myself.
I realized then I needed to establish better blogging habits for a start!
Guys, I fail daily. I get in the zone, go off course, and end up all over the map.
BUT… I do know better, and it was just time to get it all down in a post… so you can see what I do on a good day…
I’ve been blogging now for nearly 10 years, and felt it was time to share a few tips and tricks that have helped me along the way.
Not sure what to post about?
Struggle with time management?
Overthink what opportunities to accept?
So, below are my 15 successful survival tips every blogger needs… or at the very least? If even ONE of those tips helps, beware… I may be coming for advice from you next…
Scrap wood mirror tutorial
1. Beat to your own drum
I’m often tempted to do what others do. Staying on top of the newest and greatest is good! Trying it once is even better! But I also need to heed what does and doesn’t work for me personally.
Do I really love what I’m creating?
Is the effort made going to give me enough return?
After reading another’s idea, no matter what it is, I get offline. I reach for my own list of goals, then allow that to influence my decision.
For example, my most successful projects derive out of need. If I need something, I go dig through my stash to see if I can not only make it, but make it super original.
The hottest trend out there may be hot, however if I don’t need it or it’s not me, the project never does as well because my heart wasn’t in it. LOVE LOVE LOVE what you make.
A little self inflicted mantra – “Become the one to be pinned, not just the pinner.”
View ALL my projects HERE
2. Did I really just say that?
Sometimes I’ll post a reply somewhere stating my opinion on something. But once I leave the computer, if I begin questioning myself, I know something is amiss. Ever do that?
So then the overthinking begins…
Did my ‘opinion’ truly make a difference? Was it helpful? Needed? Asked for? Or did I talk just to be heard?
What WAS my reason for saying what I did?
Did it make me feel good afterwards? Or is my stomach churning?
Isn’t stomach churning the worst? Yeah… it is.
If you disagree with something out there, give it a little time before responding. And ALWAYS give it 24 hours if something raised your blood pressure! 🙂 The outcome is almost always better after thinking something through.
Here’s a little trick I do… if I wish to reply to someone, I will in a private document first. Then I wait 24 hours. The next day I revisit it, and nearly always edit before publishing. If at all.
A very wise friend once told me he heard someone rant on Facebook, and he’d never do biz with someone ‘like that’. That stuck with me.
My Clipboard Check List
3. Be more intentional with productivity
“I’m just going online to check something in my email.
Oh… but maybe I’ll just check my Facebook feed while I’m here.
Haha, what’s that video all about? *Click*.
This reply is interesting, I think I’ll add something…”
And on it goes.
I’ll have one reason to hop on the computer, but then wander off to other unplanned territories. Fun for the short term, it can be a huge time eater.
Do your business, then leave.
Get online, do what ya gotta do, then click off. Go back on a few times throughout the day if need be, but then LEAVE. An iPhone alarm or kitchen timer is a most wonderful nag.
Working off a list works wonders for staying on task too. HERE is a checklist I print out for a clipboard. It really works!
4. Keep up with email
I often open emails, read something I need to respond to, place a star by it, then keep scrolling.
Then that star email gets buried under other star emails, and soon it’s become too overwhelming and time consuming to address them all. So I leave it for another day.
Then I create a page 2. Then 3. 4 5 6… and on it goes. Not productive one bit really.
You know the saying about paperwork, right? Touch it only once. Pay the bill on the spot, then file the paperwork in its final resting spot. For if you open a letter and plunk it in a pile, you’re forced to deal with it again.
Email is like that too. Open, answer, delete or file, then move on.
Even a wishy washy answer (if it’s something you have to mull over) is better than none. At least you’ve started up a conversation and you’ll get a reply to continue at the very least.
And delete a few extra emails a day to keep the inbox from being buried alive. I’m currently trying to keep mine down to 1500. What’s your current count at?
I love posting about junk projects. Quick and easy, to the point, done!
But… I use to post something inspiring about once a week. The writer in me just seeks out sharing things that have no bearing on junk at times. Therapeutic, perhaps?
Thing is, these posts don’t get shared by others nearly as much, but they rank the most comments. What that says to me is that heartfelt posts are hitting other hearts, so there appears to be a need for them.
One single thought can become a post. Instead of blurting out prompts on social media, apply them to a blog post instead. THEN blurt it out your new post on social media! 🙂
Speaking from the heart connects your readers to the real you. It’s nice to hear about your latest project, however it’s also really nice to hear about what makes that creator tick.
A little trick I do: if I think of a topic, I’ll fire up a blog draft right away. Most times the draft stays unfinished, however I’ve been known to add a few pictures and complete it.
The most satisfying of all is when I get a, “This is just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!”
That makes it all worth it!
My last truck – when I left my day job to go after my dream job
Therapy 101 posts – tips I’ve learned from courses and a therapist
6. Segment your day
I sit down for a good writing session due to a brain storm. But suddenly, outside grows dark, I forgot about lunch, and my boy just got home from school, and I’m still in my pjs. How did that happen?!
‘The zone’ took over once again. Good for the blog, but bad for other areas in my life.
I now do something called segmenting my day. If I run amuck, I’ll snap out of it, mindfully check the time, then resort to where I need to be at that current time. Miss a step? Oh well, hopefully tomorrow will be better! Gotta keep moving on.
AM – 12 / computer
12 – 4 / DIY tutorials as it’s the best time to take photos.
4 – 6 / Dinner.
6 – 8 / Bike ride.
8 – 10 / Blog post building, leisure, then bed.
7. Define what kinds of posts your readers enjoy the most
I often just post what I want. Then wonder why it didn’t go over quite as well as I had hoped. Ah well, next time, right?
Blogging isn’t always about hits of course, but if there’s a pattern of interest, that can be a very telling thing.
What got the most comments?
What continues to get pinned heavily?
Then pick it apart…
Did you teach something?
Was it easy for everyone to do?
Was it unique?
Take note over your biggest hits and note any similarities. Focus on adding more of those kinds of posts to your list.
My bigger hits tend to be when I focus on reclaimed wood projects. So if I’m ever stuck on what to post, by default I haul out the wood and get to work.
Some of my project hits:
8. Say yes to opportunities that are a good fit
When a new opportunity comes my way, I’ll mull over its potential. At times I may take it on, but then wonder why I did after the fact if I’m not enjoying the process.
I mean, a pay check is great, however if I keep taking just anything on, this may flip into yet another hohum day job…
So, what’s the answer if you wish for this to remain your DREAM job?
Think about what you enjoy blogging about. If this opportunity blends in with your personal goals or brand and offers you an experience you’d do for absolutely free, that’s the stuff you want to accept.
NEVER do it just for the money. You’ll always regret it.
I was sent a new modern vanity to work with as well as compensation. I really wanted a new vanity anyway, and was enticed by the challenge to marry it to my style.
The Salvaged Farmhouse Bathroom became one of my biggest room hits! Plus I learned a TON.
I was creating loads of vintage looking signs for my home when my readers desired to make the same.
After several years, I launched my own line of Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils.
Not only did this solve a problem, I was already making those types of projects anyway!
9. Challenge yourself with a unique twist
Most of what I blog about are easy, junk projects anyone can do.
Fun, but it can make it a little boring if I know the end result before it’s done. At times, that alone makes me want to not finish. Can you relate?
I have a little challenge I host against myself… if my project didn’t surprise me, I’ll change it up just enough so it does at the eleventh hour. The change can be small, but it needs to be unexpected. That helps keep adrenaline high, and pushes me to create one-of-a-kind content.
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Some projects with surprise twists:
I’ll often dive into a project, post what I did, and that’s it.
But then I mull over what I just wrote.
Did I just take my reader through a show and tell or actually teach them something of lasting value?
I now go back into each post and ensure it has a teaching slant. Learning a new technique are among the most valuable posts you can offer. Everyone loves to learn.
However, I’ve found there’s a delicate balance. I attempt to share a little back story of why I am making a project, then go into the full tutorial in point form, then bring it around and ‘chatter’ once again at the end to further personalize it.
I find this does 2 things… it provides the reader a tutorial with heart, plus the tutorial is easy to spot in the middle of all the ramble for those that wish to get to the point.
11. Learn new things. Constantly!
We’ve all done it. We pump out an easy project that barely needs a tutorial. Easy is nice!
But is easy always the way to go? Perhaps it’s time to learn something new…
I personally post about things I already know how to do, but when it comes to something I’ve never done, I stall. I may even avoid going there. But ultimately, it drives me crazy if I want something I don’t know how to make, and there’s only one way to fix that…
Define what you’d like to create. Then google how, or call on a friend. Do what it takes! But do it.
These posts indeed take more time, but if you space them out in between non-tutorial types, and allow several days to build, you’ll find them do-able.
And the lesson learned will push you yourself into a new level!
When I took on that bathroom vanity project, I knew I wouldn’t love the rest of the room. Yet I had never done things like plank a popcorn ceiling before or make farmhouse window moulding. Yet THAT is what I really wanted.
So I went for it. Not only did it become one of my biggest projects, well… see for yourself where this ended up HERE.
There will no doubt be more time investment in new things. But think of the things you’ll be able to do moving forward!
12. Spread it out
I remember the day well. I was doing a project that I wanted completed all in one day so I could post it that night. As a blogger, you know what that all demands, right?
- come up with the idea
- gather your supplies
- make it, praying it turns out (because it doesn’t always!)
- photograph it during daylight hours
- edit the photos
- write the post
- publish it at prime time
- then social media it
Read that over 5 times. That’s a lot to accomplish in a day, along with all else that needs you. And what I typically end up doing is saturating an entire day with this one thing. Dinner is late, my boy gets ignored once coming home from school, and on it goes. All for a blog post…
Break things up in chunks.
Gather your supplies one day, then create on another. Take pics on yet another. And save the editing and writing for night time. My most successful posts have taken many days to implement because I’ve given them the time needed ‘to bake!’
You can even try batch production. Want to make a DIY sign? Perhaps coat several blanks at once instead of just one.
But this doesn’t help if you need blog content now, does it? #13 will save your blog…
13. Take pictures daily
You’re in the middle of a project. But it isn’t complete, so guess what… no blog post tonight! And what if that project takes days?
Then it dawned on me. If I took at least one new picture a day, I’d always have something to write about.
Most often, that one picture leads into so much more = welcome new instant blog post… or more.
Another trick is to create more blog posts from a single project. During Christmas, I was working on the beverage station from a cart. Once I started prepping some of the metal for the post, I took pictures of the steps and spun that into how to treat rusty old metal. It was very well received!
14. Preview your post. In preview mode. It’s different.
You’ve written a crazy long post like this, and now it’s finally time to hit post! Or is it?
Um… no, it isn’t. Boo. And here’s why.
Try reading your entire post again. Did you change even one word? Or add a sentence? Good! That’s part of the process.
Now start at the beginning and read it through again. Better yet, visit the draft at a different time of day. Did you edit anything?
As long as you continue to edit, you aren’t done. But there’s one more step to do.
View your post in preview mode. It seems to show differently with mistakes easier caught. Don’t ask me how but it works.
15. Try and keep your blog posts at 1000 words maximum on the average.
Did you just laugh? Me too! This post is now at 2945 words. Good grief! But….
Sometimes you just need the odd super long one to tell the entire story. I’ve actually read that long ones can be good for sharing and traffic. But I wouldn’t do this every day.
And if you find your helpful posts getting too long, you can also do a part 2.
But for a normal post, I attempt to keep it at around 1000 words or under so it doesn’t require so much effort to get through. Just remember to team up lots of words with lots of photos to balance it out.
And use paragraphs! LOTS and lots of paragraph breaks.
See? It’s better if you do.
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Obviously, I could go on and on with these kinds of tips. But these have proven to be the most helpful for me. Here’s hoping you can find something buried in here that’ll help you overcome what you’re attempting to fix.
Which of these do you struggle with the most?
Do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear!