Guest Post By Drew Klebine: Content Marketer, Tech Writer, Philosopher, Musician
When it comes to making money through blogging, there are a lot of things on the backend that can distract you and stress you out.
Let’s be honest, the reason you decided to start a blog is so you can spend a majority of your time doing what you love… writing… and making a difference in the world because of it.
But little did you know ahead of time, you’re spending more time answering emails and dealing with problems as they arise than you are actually writing.
Use these top 6 hacks to turn your writing career into the one you’ve always dreamed of.
1 ) Automate What You Can
As a blogger, you’re going to be building relationships with your writers, guest writers, advertisers, and designers. I can already picture your email inbox getting overfilled and causing a lot of stress for you.
Use GMass as an easy chrome extension to help ease the stress. It is a great tool for sending out mass mail merge campaigns, and it’s free. It links to your gmail, and you can send out hundreds of personalised emails at once. So the next time you’re looking for that awesome editor to make your blog look pristine, email 100 potential editors at once to make sure you hire the best one. And yes, you can even set up the follow-ups automatically so you can set it and forget it.
If you write a lot, you probably type so fast that your first draft is full of grammar and spelling errors. Grammarly is one of the best error detection tools that works for the most platforms. Sometimes those little red squiggly lines won’t tell you if you’re using “there”, “their”, and “they’re” correctly because they’re just looking for incorrect spelling. Grammarly corrects spelling, grammar, and even suggests better ways to structure sentences with a compiled list of synonyms.
Interested in discovering more tools to make your writing easier and save you time? Check these out.
2 ) Take Effective Breaks
In her free Coursera course on “learning how to learn”, Barbara Oakley talks about the importance of utilising both what she calls the focused and diffuse mode of the brain. The focused mode is when we are intently concentrating on a particular task or studying something new. The diffuse mode is when we relax, take a break from the work, and do other mindless tasks.
As you can see in the image, the focused mode is great for learning new concepts that require specific neural pathways to be created, like learning math. The diffuse mode lets the brain relax so different neural pathways can be created naturally. This is the birthplace of all creativity and idea generation.
The brain requires a balance of both modes to perform at optimum levels and learn new, difficult subjects. The focused mode is us consciously programming our brain with new information, and the diffuse mode is the subconscious, background processing that happens without us knowing. A great example of diffuse learning is whenever you’re trying to remember the name of that artist whose song is stuck in your head, and you KNOW you know the name. You just can’t remember, so you give up, and an hour or so later you get one of those “Oh yeah!” realizations. That’s the diffuse mode of the brain in action.
Taking a 10 minute break after every hour of work is a great way to avoid fatigue, stress, and writer’s block. And if you’re going to be sitting behind a computer for a while, make sure you get up and take a walk during your breaks since physical activity promotes brain health.
3 ) Use Discipline Over Motivation
We are creatures of habit. The best way to leverage this fact to your advantage as a writer is to create a schedule of the exact time every day when you will sit behind the keyboard and type. And then, here’s the hard part, stick to the schedule no matter what. The hardest part is getting the habit started, but once the momentum is rolling, you’ll never have to worry about not being motivated ever again.
Steven Pressfield talks about this in his best-seller, The War of Art, when describing his daily writing routine. He says the most important part is to not judge the quality of your writing, just make sure that you get it done so the habit can build. Establish the quantity through discipline first, then the quality will follow.
Building a daily writing habit is crucial for success because you no longer rely on being motivated to get to work. The hardest part is pushing yourself on your bad days, but on those days where you do feel motivated to write, your work is simply going to be more awesome!
4 ) Outsourcing
I understand that your blog is your baby and you want to do everything yourself, but sometimes that’s just not practical. All that’s going to do for you is create more stress and keep your writing average at best.
Upwork is a great place to look for freelancers who can do just about anything you need. You can hire editors, marketers, or even other writers to help you build your blog to where it needs to be. I know it may be hard for you to outsource some of your writing to someone else, but if your workload is affecting your life in a negative way, it’s something you should at least consider.
5 ) Eliminate Distractions
This is a tough one. We live in a world full of constant distraction, notifications, and alerts. Technology can be our best friend at times, but can be our worst enemy at other times.
Make sure when you do sit down to write every day and build the habit that you actually are writing and getting into a flow state. Have a desk in your home or wherever you write that is designated for work only with nothing else in the room or on the desk to distract you. Set a timer to keep the pressure on you, and make sure your phone is turned off and in the other room. Clutter around you can cause clutter in your mind, so make sure the room is clean and organised as well.
Music can help with focus in many ways, but be careful which music you decide to listen to when writing. Everyone is different with musical preference, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t scientific facts behind music and concentration.
6 ) Define Clear Goals
You started a blog with the dream of writing to make money and not having to commute to an office every day.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this goal is not good enough to sustain long term growth and profitability for your blog. It is great for getting started in the short term, but you will eventually lose motivation and burn yourself out since humans have a finite amount of willpower.
The distinction lies in what Tony Robbins calls “push” vs “pull” motivation. Push motivation is using finite willpower to push away from the things we don’t want in our lives. For example, “I hate my job now, so I want to start a blog that will generate passive income through ads so I never have to work again” is push motivation.
Pull motivation, on the other hand, is when you have a calling, vision, or purpose so enticing and fulfilling that you are pulled towards it. The best way to cultivate this motivation is by starting with the end in mind. Why are you REALLY starting this blog? Why do you want to write a book? What impact do you want to have on the world? What’s the unique message that nobody else can create and communicate because they are not you? What problems do you see constantly that you know you can solve?
When you start answering questions like these and reminding yourself of the answers daily, you start generating pull motivation that is effortless and doesn’t require willpower, and you’ll be amazed by how much more work you can get done in a day.
The Writer’s Life
Use these tips to turn your hectic blog management job into a writing job, so you can spend more time doing the thing you love.
You decided to start a blog, now be more productive so that you can maximize your time living the writer’s life instead of answering emails and struggling to catch up.
Drew Klebine is a Content Marketer, Tech Writer, Philosopher, and Musician from Pittsburgh, PA. His writings focus on modern marketing practices, software reviews, upcoming technologies, brand and product promotion, health, self-actualization, religion, and existential philosophy.
Lead writer and co-owner of uxax.org, where we help you understand the integration of user experience and analytics to power an amazing product.
Thank you Drew for this great insight to productivity and focus! I’ll be putting some of these into practice.
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