How to write consistently for your blog

I’ve written a series of articles for Immerse Journal describing a digital ministry philosophy for youth workers. The first article, called “Be Consistent” brought a lot of questions because I spent all 800 words talking about “why” to be consistent and it left many struggling readers with a burning question, “How can I be more consistent in this area?”

Here’s my process for daily blogging

  1. I’ve made it a daily habit. To put it in Christian terms I’ve added it to my daily devotions. I consider writing a major discipline of my spiritual life. It’s a daily exercise for my brain. I belive it’s one of the ways the Gospel works its way both into my life and into the lives of the people around me. Since its part of my daily routine I don’t find the time to blog. The time to blog has found me.
  2. I constantly capture ideas for blog posts. I have two distinctly different methods for doing that. Everywhere I go I have a journal and my iPhone. If something comes to mind, a sentence or thought or paragraph, I capture it. (If you spend time with me you may have seen me do it, though you may have thought I was just checking my email.) Sometimes its a visual sketch that I draw out or write out. But typically, its any idea that pops into my head or flows from a conversation and I capture it. (I use Evernote for that. Synchs from my phone to the cloud to my laptop.)
  3. I have a list of blog posts for future writing. Periods of inspiration come and go. So I maintain a list on Evernote called “blog posts” — Just a raw list of things I want to blog about at some point. Right now, that list has 11 posts titles/concepts. Sometimes it has as many as 30 and sometimes it has as few as 5. Each morning, as I sit down to write, I open up Evernote and decide if I want to write about one of the things on my list or something else that just came to mind. (It’s about 50/50)
  4. I write on a timer. Since I ride public transportation to work I have a firm departure time from my house. If you could see  the time stamp of most of my blog entries you’d see it is right around 8:00 am Pacific. DING! That’s when I have to leave for work. So my blog post has to be done even if it’s not perfect. I start at around 7:00 am and I have to press “publish” by 8:00 am. That means I have to write, edit, do artwork, publish, and push the links out to Facebook & Twitter in that hour.
  5. I process concepts in outline form. That may sound weird but it is how my brain is trained to work. If you were to look the concepts I capture on Evernote you’d see a formula: Concept; list of supporting items. That’s why so many posts are often lists or bullet points. I’m starting with that and wrapping an intro and a conclusion. If I have more time each supporting item may be a paragraph. But typically, like this post, those supporting items are bullet points or numbered points.
  6. I allow myself to slip in other posts. Each day I have my “main blog post.” This is the one I get up and write in the morning. But if something pops up and I want to post it later in the day, I do it. Typically, that drop-in post takes me a few minutes instead of an hour. It’s a thought or image or video or life nugget or reaction to something I read. But I’ve found allowing that to flow allows me to have still have that consistency of one thing I’m writing each day.
  7. I don’t punish myself for days off. I don’t have a scheduled day off from the blog. But sometimes, typically a weekend, I just don’t post and I don’t worry about it or force myself to write two on one day to catch up. Or sometimes I’ll skip the morning ritual to take the dog for a walk and in the process of walking him I will generate 3 new ideas. It’s also typical on weekends that I don’t have a “main post” but I’ll just push out two drop-in posts of quick thoughts, videos, family updates, etc.
  8. Blogging isn’t really always on my mind. I’m not sitting there, having coffee with a friend, and thinking… I’m so blogging this. This process actually allows me to NOT do that. It frees my writers mind to be fully present in my daily life. That’s hard to explain– but I think I’m just wired to write and writing in the morning kind of gets it out of my system so I can be productive in my day without thinking about things to write.

So, that’s how I do it right now.

My process is one-part analytical, one part self-discipline, and a pinch of artistic desire. You could even call it a little bit manic.

And if I’m really honest with myself. Part of the reason this process works for me is that it brings order, control, and discipline to my scattered mind– writing a blog is more for my benefit than yours.

Published by Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

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42 Comments

  1. This is something I need to be better about – it’s been driving me nuts that I’ve been quiet on the blogging front lately because the rest of life has gotten too crazy. Especially since it’s one of the ways that helps me unwind and process things!

  2. “All that work” for my two readers….

    I do know that if I write more consistently (what, you mean nothing in the last 9 months isn’t consistent enough for you?!) I’ll build an audience. And I have had days where I’ve gotten more legitimate hits than random google searches.

    Definitely something I’m considering going back to. Thanks again for the encouragement Adam!

  3. Adam – Thanks so much for letting the rest of us in on your creative process. Love that “the time to blog has found me”. That’s so beautiful and true. And while this process will look differently for everyone, you’ve given me some new ideas and techniques to implement quickly and easily. Thank you!

  4. Bullet points. Bullet points are sure to help me write better. I like your technique and I am going to try to utilize it myself.  So often I find that there are things that I want to write about, but once I start I begin to lose focus.  From what you are saying I am remembering the structure is highly important.  I need to utilize the building blocks in order to be successful.  It’s the manic panic that leads me to not wanting to post because sometimes I feel like I am to broad and not specific enough.

    Thanks!

  5. As a new blogger, I find this post very insightful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge

  6. I’m also new to blogging, i run a fitness blog in Ireland and i am already using some of the things you have discussed. Oh and it’s a good ideas to keep my iphone handy everytime i have an idea. 🙂

  7. Well written Adam. It changes your life once you realise what it takes to make a habit and how much habits shape the outcomes of your life. If you make yourself to do (or not do) something everyday, eventually you’re so used to it, it just comes naturally. Whether it’s a daily run, flossing, blogging or not drinking. Thanks for the tips. Willem

  8. Hi Adam,

    I just stumbled upon you after searching for ways to increase blog traffic and I found you via a post written by Jeff Goins, and he referred to this post in regards to consistency. Upon reading this. I felt a personal connection, because I, like you have to hit that “publish” button by 8am so I can be BISAW (butt in seat at work) I love writing and blogging, but I’ve got lofty (and at times unrealistic) goals I wish to achieve each morning before 8am. I’m not quite sure why I think my time is so finite 🙂

    At any rate, thanks for putting a little fire under me, Reading this post made me remember why I started blogging– to write for the sake of writing, and I hit publish by 5am. What a great way to start the morning.

    Thank you!

  9. Hi Adam! Your ideas are so good, especially for a new blogger like me (I must say I’ve found your blog by accident, as I googled some tips about increasing traffic). I have a blog about motherhood and babies, and I’m not sure the niche is a good one. I ‘ll appreciate some advices, if you want to, of course. This is my blog: http://loveandrise.blogspot.ro/
    Thank you!!!

    Joanna S

  10. This is a very good strategy I have been applying it and it has been working for me.
    Hey writers, bloggers try this it will help you a lot

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  12. This post is incredibly helpful. You are so right about blogging finding time for you, instead of vice versa. I typically do a lot of writing late at night, so when I get home from a long day of mothering and teaching I pour my scattered thoughts into order in my blog. But I love the idea of writing first thing in the morning as a way of clearing your head for the day. Maybe I could push out, like you said, an image, a quote, a quick thought for the day to get my writer’s juices flowing, then sit down for the long haul at night. Good food for thought. Thanks.

  13. Great Post! I’ve seen many people making blogging a daily ritual. But some days are really hard to write and I think no matter how much hard we try but if it is not coming on keyboard then we must leave it there inside our mind to develop. Blogging should be fun, right?

  14. Great post! I’m just getting into the habit of writing every morning, but I haven’t had the courage to post every day. Crossing my fingers that I’ll get there someday, but once a week is enough of a challenge for now! Thanks for the tips!

  15. I loved this! Useful tips but natural, engaging tone. I totally agree with what you said about how writing helps you organize your thoughts and collect them in a disciplined way. I would love to increase the number of posts I write each month. I too have a notes section where I write down my post ideas – it certainly takes care of half of the work!

    https://www.roliedema.com/

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