Some financial bloggers find themselves working on anything but their blogs, even when they’re facing a blog deadline. If this includes you, try one of the techniques I’ve listed below.
1. Make an appointment with yourself to blog. Put it in your calendar, turn your phone off, close your email, and eliminate any other distractions. Sit down to write until you’re done.
2. Create a ritual. Make blogging something you look forward to. Warm up with something that puts you in the mood: a few yoga stretches, a strong espresso, your weekly chocolate truffle, or a free-writing exercise. Then, dive into your post.
3. Write for 15 minutes. You can survive just about anything for only 15 minutes. That’s why I sometimes set my kitchen timer for 15 minutes when I’ve been putting off an unpleasant task.
Of course, the beauty of this trick is that I often develop momentum during those 15 minutes. Before I know it, I’ve accomplished way more than I expected.
You don’t need to put down your pen when the timer sounds. On the other hand, you may find that taking breaks between timed stints can help. Your breaks could be as short as five minutes.
4. Lower your standards. If you’re a perfectionist, you may feel paralyzed by the possibility of failure. I suggest that you give yourself permission to write a bad first draft as part of your process for creating a polished post. After all, you can’t fix your writing until you write it.
As one wise person said, “Perfect is the enemy of done.” This is a variant of “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” which is attributed to Voltaire.
5. Write in small spurts. Try working on your blog while you’re waiting in a line or waiting for a computer operation to complete itself. It’s easier to take advantage of these small spurts if you have an idea of where your blog post is going. Consulting a mind map or a piece of free-writing you did earlier may help in this situation.
6. Find a blogging buddy. In “How a blogging buddy can help your financial planning or investment blog,” I wrote about how to work with a blogging buddy. If you like to be held accountable, this could work well for you.
7. Blog in response to triggers. People can develop new habits in small steps by using triggers, says BJ Fogg of Stanford University. In “How to succeed with your New Year’s resolution to blog more,” I explained how you might apply Fogg’s methods to your blogging.
8. Abandon weekly writing. You can abandon a weekly writing routine, but still publish weekly or more frequently. The trick is to write ahead about topics that aren’t time-sensitive. I explained how to do this in “Six tips for slogging through blogging: Lessons from the Blogathon.”
If none of these techniques work…
If you try and fail at techniques 1-8, perhaps writing blog posts isn’t for you. You can try hiring a ghost-blogger or getting other members of your firm to support your blog. You might also substitute podcasts, screencasts, or video for the written word.
If you’ve found a solution that I haven’t listed above, please share!
Susan Weiner, CFA, is the author of Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients, which is tailored to financial planners, wealth managers, investment managers, and the marketing and communications staff that supports them. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter, Google+ or the Investment Writing Facebook page.