Perhaps the most common blogging complaint I hear is simply: “I don’t have time to write a blog for my business.”
The reason is always the same, and it’s easy to sympathize: It’s hard enough just running the business — client work, networking, admin tasks, etc. — that they don’t have time to write. Or they do, but they’re exhausted by the time it comes around.
Finding time to write can be challenging enough for professional writers. But when blogging is just one part of your business, the challenge increases because there’s always some business task that’s more urgent, critical, profitable, etc.
And then there’s family responsibilities and all the rest of, well, life that just gets in the way.
And yet, you keep telling yourself that you really want to have a blog to get your message out. You resolve to do better, make time for it, and possibly you crank out a post or two and maybe even a newsletter to announce them.
It’s relatively easy to publish once or twice. Starting a blog is the second hardest part; the hardest part is keeping it going.
But you can’t do that unless you find or make time to write it consistently.
This post will show you how.
In this post I’m going to give you lots of tips, tricks, techniques, mindsets, and more to help you actually sit and write your business blog.
I’ve also created a worksheet to help you apply them. Fill out the form below and I’ll send it to you right now.
You could start by scheduling writing time in your Google (or whatever) calendar along with your other appointments, errands, and so on. It actually can be that simple.
Don’t wait for the ideal time to write. It will never come. One way or another, you will have to find or make the time. But before you can begin that process, there is …
One hard truth you absolutely must face first
… and it’s this:
You’ll never ever find time to write your blog until you decide you really want to write it.
You need to be brutally honest with yourself. A blog is not just a commitment, it’s a long-term relationship. You have to want to be in it.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of asking: How committed are you willing to be?” advises SelfPublishing.com.
If you don’t want it, that’s perfectly okay. Really. You may think your business needs a blog because everyone tells you it does. That’s a bad reason to do it. There are many good reasons, but not that one. Maybe you don’t need a blog after all (a topic for another post).
If, however, you do want to blog, I can ply you with tips and tricks until the cows come home, but none of them will work or matter unless you show determination, desire, and discipline. Tips and tricks can only support those things.
The short of it is:
Remember your purpose.
I’ll be frank: I struggled at first with starting this blog-book. But then I remembered why I want to do it, and it’s the same “why” I’m in business at all.
Remembering my “why” is my single biggest motivation for making time to write. My sense of purpose is what gets and keeps me writing.
Remembering your “why” is a great motivator for making time to blog.Tweet This Gem!
Once I remind myself, it’s almost like a spell or magic trick. Something changes inside me. Suddenly I really want to do it, and so I make the time, dammit, like anything else I want to do badly enough.
You already have time to write your blog.
Life will never stop throwing obstacles at you, and many of them are totally legitimate. If all your kids are sick, you really may not have time to write your blog for a while. That’s okay. It’s okay for blogging not to be a priority sometimes. When the crisis passes, you get back on track.
The key is that after the warm rush of motivation, your writing practice needs to be coldly practical. It needs to fit your schedule and priorities, not change them. You’ll resist that internally, no matter your good intentions.
So with that, we turn now to practical ways to fit blogging into your life and business.
It’s time to write!
Don’t try to do all of these, or even think you have to. This is a menu from which to sample. Try out one or two methods at a time; keep doing what works, discard what doesn’t, then try the next until you’re writing every day, twice a week, or whatever gets you blogging on a sustainable schedule.
Write every day.
Like your quads and biceps, nothing builds strength and ability like a regular workout schedule. If you only do one thing from this list, do this one. The rest will follow.
Set a time or word count quota.
Almost every professional writer does some version of this. Hold yourself accountable to show up at the page. A quota of 100 words a day, Monday through Friday, produces a 500-word blog post every week. That’s perfect. Half an hour daily can do the same.
Use an outline or bullet points.
Few things help you blast through a piece of writing like knowing what you’re going to say. I’ve seen it suggested to spend five minutes outlining for every 500 words you intend to write. Sounds good to me. Start there and see how it works.
Create a space for writing.
I mean an actual physical place to go. It doesn’t have to be your desk: a favorite chair, a café table (when that’s possible again), or the front seat of your car parked a block away if that’s the only place you can be alone. The point is that having a place, like a daily practice, makes it easier to actually sit and write, which is the goal here.
Write first, edit and research later.
Just getting through a draft will give you a great sense of accomplishment and motivation to return and write more. Then you can go back to fill in the missing pieces and fix whatever needs it. Professional writers use TK (yes, just those two letters) as a placeholder; it stands (phonetically) for “to come” and it’s easy to search and find in a document because almost no English words contain that combination of letters.
Leave yourself hanging.
End each session by not finishing your last writing thought. That sounds wrong but at your next writing session you’ll hit the writing ground running and just keep going. That’s the idea. An advanced technique that’s worth a try no matter your level.
Have a conversion goal.
Know what you want your readers to do after reading your post. That will be your call to action at the end. Now write what they need to know so they do it. Knowing how you want your reader to act is like a goal post that makes the writing easier because you see where you want to go.
Don’t go it alone.
Writing is lonely, but not when you do with others. Writing sprints and focused writing times let you join others in the same boat as you: trying to get some writing done. It’s mutual support, and you get to meet new people. I do sprints and write-ins during National Novel Writing Month; it’s fun and it works.
The Shut Up & Write!(R) community exists for precisely this purpose. It’s free, and their website explains everything. They recently started a virtual chapter, but online sprints were popular before the pandemic too. Join their word sprints by following #wordsprints on their Twitter account @shutupwrite.
Some people hate to write but they’re naturals in front of a camera or microphone. Many writing platforms — including the free Google Docs and most note-taking apps — translate your spoken words into letters on a page as you talk. Then all you have to do is polish.
Set a task for each writing session.
Know what you want to accomplish. If you know (for example) that Monday and Tuesday you write, Wednesday you edit, and Thursday you publish, it becomes much easier to sit down on those days and do it, regardless of any time or word count quota you set.
Which brings us back to the first tip.
Success feeds itself. Nothing will get you writing more, and with less effort, than simple routine and consistency. All of these tactics are meant to develop these two things.
The time to write is all in your head.
Finally, challenge yourself. You’re trying to learn a new practice, and by definition that means pushing beyond what you can do now.
“You do have time to write, but you’re telling yourself, “I don’t have time to write’,” says Cory Nott, a business growth coach and specialist in MindSonar(R), a way of understanding how people think. (Disclosure: Cory and his wife Gail are my business coaches.)
“Right now you may not believe blogging will be effective. You tell yourself, ‘If I write this and no one reads it, then it was a waste of time.”
“In fact you’re simply choosing to do things other than write with the time you have,” he explains. “If you want to write a blog for your business, the question is how do you motivate yourself to choose to do it. Once you decide to have control over it, then you can choose it.”
Ultimately, Cory says, “You need to feel confident that what you have to say is important — and important to say.”
Now apply the tactics in this post to your own blogging. Complete the form below and I’ll send you my worksheet right away.
What gets you sitting down to write? Add your own tips in the Comments below.