How To Prevent Your Blog from Strangling You

‘Strangulation’ is a threat to all bloggers, especially newish ones.

Scene: My house, this morning. Easter Monday.

Husband: (Brightly…)  ‘There’s an antique fair on!  Fancy going?’

Me: (Forlornly…)  ‘ If only…’

Husband: ‘But you love antique fairs, sweetie!’ (Trying to persuade…)

Me: (Even more forlornly…) ‘I know, but I have to write my post for Kiesha.’

Before I have you all reaching for the tissues, let me tell you, dear readers, that I gave in.

I didn’t allow my blog to strangle me.

We went to the antique fair and now I’m writing this after a morning of bargain hunting.

So… how do you stop your blog strangling you?

1.   Get your priorities right.

Picture the scene -

Friends call round unexpectedly.

They’re clearly set to stay for the whole evening.

What do you do?

a.   Welcome them with a drink and don’t even mention your blog. It’ll have to wait.

b.   After a few minutes, make your excuses, leave your OH to cope, and say you have to go and write a post.

Who’s in charge? You or your blog? Is the sky going to fall in if you don’t sit in front of that screen for the rest of the evening?

2.   Be strong and delete all but the best of your How To sites. (Not this one, obviously…)

Picture the scene -

You open your Inbox.

It’s overflowing with email updates from all those amazingly helpful sites.

You know that as soon as you open even one of them you’ll be following links, making notes (that’s me) and before you know it hours will have passed.

What do you do?

a.  Stop writing, and read as many as you can, because there’s bound to be just the one incredible blogging secret you’re looking for.

b.  Be firm. Delete all but the very best, the most useful, the most user friendly. Focus on the few, to leave as much time as possible for writing posts.

Who’s in charge? You or your blog?

Start deleting.

3.   Set yourself a writing time limit.

The key word here is limit.

When I sat down this afternoon to write this, I decided on a one hour time limit. Less if possible. (I’ll let you know at the end how long this post took.)

It’s a gorgoeus day outside and I want to sort out some gardening stuff.

I decided to write, from the heart, but without a complicated plan. I sketched out my ideas, made a list of points but apart from that I simply got on with it.

What would you do?

a.   Spend ages making a plan, editing and re-editing, searching for the ‘right’ image and then look up to find that the sun has gone in.

b.   Simply write while the ideas are fresh but leave all the twiddly bits till the evening as you don’t want to waste the sunshine.

I know it’s easy for me to say and not so easy for you to do, but hey! It makes sense.

There have been a lot of posts around these last weeks about ‘Blog Strangulation.’

Bloggers have been worried because their ‘hobby, full time interest or money maker, whatever, is strangling their lives in so many ways.

It’s so easy to get carried away, especially at the start, with all the ‘ought’s’ and ‘shoulds’.

I tell myself this -

1.   I love blogging.  I love my readers. But I love the sunshine, antique fairs and my garden more.

2.   Do I really believe that my readers will be filled with horror if a blog post from me doesn’t plop into their Inbox on exactly the right day?

Of course not. After all, variety is the spice of life. And, believe it or not, my readers have other things to do, apart from reading my posts from their overflowing Inboxes.

We all have to devise strategies to  prevent our blogs strangling us.

Let’s see what you do.

In the comments, do share your strategies and help us all to have a life beyond our blogs!

(BTW, this post took me 40 minutes to write but I still have to find the right image for you. I’ll do that later. Right now I’m off to sit in my garden with a glass of chilled white wine… Cheers!)

Image by Adam Foster, on Flickr.

Comments

  1. You could replace ‘blog’ with just about any other profession and your post would be just as spot on.

    There is a lot to be said for balance in life. Sometime that means ignore the phone, delete the email, set limits and take time to step away.

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      I’ve certainly stepped away over this w. end of the Royal Wedding – no writing has been done at all! EEEEK!

  2. In other words, never let the blog take our life. Let’s blog while enjoying our life instead. :D

    • Yep, you got it in one. It’s a holiday here on Fri for the Royal Wedding so there’s a day when I won’t be writing! Well… only some notes and ideas sparked off by the event perhaps…
      Thanks Dana.

  3. I also love blogging Linda.I am inspired from your article and I really feel different. Thanks for providing the information.

  4. Great advice – you can’t give your all to something you resent. Also, real life is much better at providing inspiration for blog posts :)

  5. This is a great post because as someone who blogs a lot I often loose hours upon hours, just blogging! The best thing that I can do is simply set a time limit in how long I read blogs and how much I write them.

    • Yes, Nina, it’s all about ‘time’ and how we use it. Not easy but essential if you’re going to have a life!
      Thanks for starting the conversation.

  6. A useful tip is to create a pile of blog posts. I am sure there are times when you are so fired up by inspiration that you are able to come up and write more than usual. Keep these extras, and use them if you really need to post something but you lack the time because you have to attend to other things.

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      I wish I could do thst , Amelie, but I never quite do it. I’ll have to try a bit harder! Thanks for commenting today.

  7. Great post, Linda. Absolutely hilarious, but informative too. :) My blog is definitely strangling me.

    One thing I discovered that works for me (and I just discovered it today!) when I’m staring at a blank document and the words won’t come no matter how hard I bash my head is to ask myself WHAT I’m trying to say. I write down the question, then write down the answer as simply as I can. Then I write what I’m trying to write, even if it’s extremely basic and sounds stupid. I can add detail and “unstupidify” it later.

    Short breaks also help. In fact, I need a break right now! :)

    • Thanks Sarah. I like your strategy. Will use it today and see how it goes. I agree about the short breaks – the post always improves afterwards.

  8. I think too many ppl put too much pressure on their blogging. They think every post has to be a masterpiece. You should just relax and write from the heart

    • I agree, Henway. The trouble is the ‘stars’ of blogging give the impression that we must write a masterpost every time. Can’t do it, sorry. (Must keep trying…)
      Thanks for dropping by today.

  9. Linda,

    I enjoyed this and you know, you are right. Sometimes we have to get our priorities straight and enjoy the things in life we’d rather not let pass us by.

    Congrats on sticking to your hour limit (with time to spare) that’s taking action!

    Jon

    • Thanks Jon. I have to make myself keep typing for no longer than the ‘hour’, then have a break and edit later. We all have our own ways that work for us, and so far that works for me.

      Ok, so what’s the time? I have one hour…

  10. Dennis Edell says:

    My writing is one thing I can’t time. Unless there is exceptional research to do, or more then usual out linking, and what not, I do not like to break a post in half.

    This just reminds me again of why I keep and advise others to keep, a “post arsenal”…articles written ahead of time, ready to go at a moments notice.

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      You’re right but it’s hard to do. Must devote a whole day to it very soon. Thakns for this, Dennis.

  11. I’m just curious as to what you were initially planning to blog about before your husband tempted you and this issue of “Strangulation” came up…

  12. Hi Linda!

    Glad to see I’m not the only fan of antique shows. =)

    This post was extremely useful for me. I tend to be a workaholic, and stress out something awful if I leave something unfinished. It’s not a matter of “Just set your priorities and walk away when you need a break,” because I just can’t relax; I have to drop it entirely or the stress I put on myself gets to be unbearable.

    Yay for Type A personality! =)

    But that’s what it is: it’s all about priorities, and being true to myself when I set them in the first place.

    Delena

    • Hi Delena,
      As I wrote below, we all have our own strategies. I’ve certainly learnt to walk away from this ******* machine a lot more and it does help. After all, it’s only a ‘blogging’ blog!

      Good to see you here today.

  13. Hi, Linda.

    You are quite right about knowing your limits, priorities and scheduling your time right so that you can take in other things in life that matters. Even if I work for myself now, I still observe the normal 40-hour work week because I make sure I eat dinner with the wife and the kids. Sometimes that can even be less because if the kids have activities in school, I always want to be there or I need to take a walk to relieve stress.

    Our work or our blogs should never control our life. Because if we allow it to, we might miss out on the finer things in life and live to regret it. :)

    Cheers to you for penning an enlightening piece in 40 mins! ;)

    • Thanks Wes,
      Well, I was showing off, but it was really only 40 mins. Problem is, now I have to try to keep it up!

      • You have a right to show off, Linda. Not everyone can write such a piece in such short a time. :) And, don’t be pressured with keeping up with that record 40 minutes…who knows you might write something equally or more enlightening in less time. ;)

        • Linda/Positive Spin says:

          Well, Wes, I guess I could try…!

          But it is amazing what we can do when we have to…

  14. Its tricky to find the right balance because I think it varies according to the person. Ultimately it is about enjoying what you do and you will be the first to know when it becomes a burden.

    • So true, Nishadha. Balance is the key word here and our instincts will soon warn us when it’s all too much.
      Thanks for commenting today.

  15. As a beginner blogger, with so much to learn, I am at the point were I am feeling strangled by the writing just a bit. All the guest posts I need to complete, the research that needs to be done and the commenting I want to make after reading good posts is taking up my time. Like you, when the weather is good I need to work in the gardens, the housework is building up and if I don’t get me shopping done we will all starve here.

    setting time limits, goals and priorities.. that is something I need to work on. Thank you.

    • Hi bodynsoil,
      At the beginning it’s very difficult to know when enough is enough. We want to ‘do it right’, follow expert advice and not miss any hidden secrets of building a great blog. I’ve realsied that balnce is key, but it’s still hard to get it right.
      Thanks for taking valuable writing time to comment today.

  16. Let me first just say that, had I been in your shoes, I would totally have gone to that antique fair and left my blog post at home. Without hesitation :) If you let your blogging (or anything, for that matter) take over your life like that, there’s going to come a point where you just get so sick of it that you quit all together. Or at least that’s what I imagine would normally happen.

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      Hello ascentive, I’ve been ‘sick of it’ at times but have to remind myself what fun it is and then I’m fine.
      Thanks for this.

  17. Glynis Jolly says:

    Linda, as always, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    I recently cut down my time at the computer. I did it because I was beginning to have that feeling of burn-out. I don’t want to dump my blog so I cut some time out. At first, I thought it would a forever move but this morning I woke up refreshed for a change and had ideas for future posts. What I’m thinking of doing is making what I do now my core schedule and add posts and whatever in between as I feel the motivation.

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      It takes a while to come to some sort of schedule doesn’t it, Glynis, and I’m constantly changing mine as I move forward with my blog. But I know that for me, less is often more.
      Thanks for joining in.

  18. I really like this post! I have not done a whole lot of blogging, just a few posts here and there for friends. But I feel that like many other types of work or passions, if you let it get to you, the quality and content will suffer. I would imagine that with those who blog professionally there is likely an eb and flow to writing. When you have the flow, run with it, when you dont either write about that or dont write at all. Anyway, thanks for the good read, I look forward to more!

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      Thanks for that, Finally Fast. Ebb and flow describes it so well. I’m in ‘ebb mode’ at the moment, the Royal Wedding was a huge distraction!

  19. I agree. Nice tips that can be used aside from blogging. You need to have time management in order for you to have a bit of everything in life and I guess that going to the antique fair and enjoying your friend’s company is priceless. Very nice article, I will keep this in mind if a situation calls for me to have a tug-o-war with my priorities.

  20. Yes, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, you have blogger who can barely summon up the mood to write in their blogs. A little strangulation would be welcome. :)

    I think going overboard in either direction is not going to benefit either you or the blog. Moderation is key. :)

  21. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by this whole blogging process, isn’t it, Linda? I’ve had to come the realization that I’ll never be able to visit as many blogs as I’d like. There will be many good, and some great, blogs that I have to cross off my list; otherwise, they will (and may literally) leave me gasping for breath. Your advice is sound, as always. Focus on the best, the most important, the most critical – and say no to the rest.

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      Hello Brad,
      Soglad you find my advice sound. Always good to know I’m on the right path!
      I’ve had a computer free 2 days as the Royal Wedding took priority.

      Back to ‘normal’ tomorrow…

  22. Thanks for share blooging tips.I agree , tips number 1 (set priority) and number 3 (writing time limit) can support the bloggers remain relaxed in blogging activities

    • Linda/Positive Spin says:

      I agree. I’ve just written a post for my ‘other blog’ in 45 mins. I have to take my own advice!
      Thanks for this today.

  23. Very impressive. Thanks for sharing the tips on how to prevent my blog from strangling. I really loved the read from the first up to last. Thanks for the share.

  24. Carolyn says:

    Hi Linda, Great post! I think we are especially susceptible as bloggers to pouring ourselves into our work and postponing our other lives. We self-impose deadlines and then feel guilty if we don’t meet them.

    Thank you for your scenarios we could all relate to. Having a life doesn’t mean we’re slacking off. I needed to be reminded of that.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Once I decided to delete some of my ‘blog-life’ and stick to mornings only,I have felt much better. I want to enjoy my blogging, not resent the time it takes. After all, it’s up to me how much time I spend…
      Thanks for joining in today.

      • Carolyn says:

        Good point, I am really the boss of my blog, aren’t I? But I’m a pretty tough boss, lol! I think it’s especially difficult as a new blogger to know how much effort to put into the blog and to avoid it consuming you. Great guidance!

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