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Essential Elements of Blogging : Diligence | Bethany Suckrow

Essential Elements of Blogging : Diligence

I am not a how-to blogger.

You know the kind. They tell you how to instantly improve your blog in 3, 5, 10, 30 easy steps. They talk about platform and SEO and influence. All of those things are important and I do read some of the good how-to bloggers out there, but I don’t count myself among them because I’m a writer; I find more challenge and value in poetic, reflective, personal writing than I do in building my particular brand of advice-giving. Everyone wants to give advice, but no one wants to take it.

Yet I do think it’s important to take time, in light of launching my new and improved blog, to share some things I’ve learned in the last three years since starting She Writes and Rights. So over this week I’ll share one key element of blogging every day, three in all, one for each year that I’ve blogged. The list could go on forever, but when we boil it down and strip away all the specifics, the things I’m sharing are the most essential parts and they can be implemented in a lot of different ways.

Because it’s not just about what to do, but why and how to do it effectively.

So here’s my thought for today :

Be diligent, even if no one is paying attention to you.

Even if your stats tell you that you only have three readers, and you know for a fact that one of them is your mom and the other two are you and some stranger that lives in Romania, be diligent.

Diligence is about consistency, habit, and building your voice.

I lose my diligence easily. My habits ebb with my mood, and for a long time my writing suffered because of it.

The thing that helped me break my habit of non-diligence was creating a weekly series, or blogging about the same general topic on the same day each week. I don’t always follow the series rule, but generally, you can expect me to share a post in my bookish series on Mondays, poetry posts on Tuesday or Wednesday, short, freeform essays/poems on Wednesday or Thursday, and my Inspired By posts full of lovelinks every Friday.

This strategy has helped me face the blank page without fear. It has taken away the “what should I write about?!” anxiety that comes with blogging, or writing in general, for that matter. In effect, I’ve given myself a weekly assignment, or prompt, to help me focus my thoughts.

And that’s the other thing, if you create a structure of consistency, cranking out 500-700 words suddenly doesn’t seem like a big, scary deal anymore. Or, in my case, editing it down to 500-700 words doesn’t seem so hard. Miracle of miracles, I’m learning to write more efficiently. My English profs would be so proud!

What are the ways that you’ve learned to be diligent in your blogging? Or if you don’t blog, how have you learned to be diligent in your work?

  • http://www.eloranicole.com eloranicole

    Oh I get this. I’ve done much of the same this past year. The 31 Day Blogging Challenge helps tremendously with discipline – finding a topic and writing about it every.single.day. really forces you to think about what it is you want to convey. I’ve done the same in keeping with certain themes as well. Mondays are {usually} a gratitude post, Wednesdays are spiritual life/imperfect prose and Fridays are my word-of-the-year updates. Periodically I’ll write something on Tuesdays or Thursdays if the wind blows a certain direction. :)

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com Bethany

      Isn’t it SO much easier to tackle that way? Thanks for your comment, Eloranicole!

  • Sally Nash Boyd

    I love reading your posts and learning from them. Keep up the good work. I’m exceptionally proud of you.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com Bethany

      Aww thanks, Sally!

  • TGL

    Ah you busted me. I’m your Romanian stalker, nice to meet you ;)

    I can never manage to make it through blogging prompts and challenges. I’m not much of a writer but blogging for me has been more of a form of therapy for me.

    And then I sort of got attached to the blogs I read and the people who read mine.

    I am not diligent about blogging. I used to have a 6-7 posts a month goal, mostly because it became a chore when I began looking for things to write about each day. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate!

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com Bethany

      Oh, I’m on to you! And you’re not in Romania, you’re in India! So there. ;)

      Whatever you do, just don’t stop blogging completely. I love to read your words (and heart) my friend. <3

  • http://colebradburn.com Cole Bradburn

    I set expectations for my readers on my “about” page on post frequency, and I don’t want to let them down. It’s easy to get caught up in life, work, family and forget to take time to put words together. The irony is, by doing just that, it seems to improve life, work, and family.

    A huge help has been using evernote to sync everything and capture ideas on the fly. Before that, I had so many post ideas that got lost. Now, when I can’t think of one, I go to my vault in evernote and find something that strikes a chord.

  • http://colebradburn.com Cole Bradburn

    Oh, and I wanted to say that it is more about inspired obedience than discipline for me. I feel like I have a finite amount of discipline to exert in a given day or week, but if I am inspired to follow through then it is so much easier.

    Discipline is doing what I don’t want to do anyway. Inspired obedience is finding a way to do what I already want to.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com Bethany

      I love that idea, Cole – “inspired obedience.” I, too, find “discipline” kind of a dirty word that evokes memories of being grounded as a grumpy, rebellious teenager.

      “Diligence,” though… there’s something about that word that I find motivating in a positive way. Not sure why, but it reminds me of how I felt in high school and college when I was in a really good study rhythm, and how it felt to be rewarded with a good grade. (Can you tell how nerdy I was? :) )

      As for your Evernote vault, I do the same thing! I love jotting stuff in my journal throughout the day, or if I’m on the go, I use a voice memo or my Awesome Note app. I’ve written whole poems that way. Kind of fun to go back and find something I’ve forgotten about and have a “eureka!” moment.

      • http://colebradburn.com Cole Bradburn

        I am completely with you on diligence, and that word is what sucked me in to read your post. It has a ring of nobility to it, of someone called to a higher purpose and finishes well.

  • http://cajoh.blogspot.com CaJoh

    “I lose my diligence easily. My habits ebb with my mood, and for a long time my writing suffered because of it.”

    I agree that my habits too ebb with my mood. I used to have my own meme on Fridays, but found that not enough people participated. I think I will have to find a weekly theme that is mine alone and give it my due diligence.

    Thanks for your inspirational words,

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com Bethany

      You’re welcome, CaJoh! I’ll be honest, I don’t always get a lot of response on my Friday round-ups, but I still think they’re important if for no other reason than it keeps me honest about where my inspiration comes from… but more on that later this week. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://inhisloveministries.blogspot Pilar Arsenec

    This post is so helpful and encouraging. Thankd.

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  • http://sophienovak.com Sophie Novak

    I guess I’m closest to that stranger from Romania you mentioned. But hey, isn’t that encouraging: knowing that someone on the other side of the globe has found you and loves your writing. :)

    Diligence is something we all need and everyone has their own ways of pushing themselves to do what they love to do on blue, lazy and uninspired days. Thank you for sharing yours.

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  • DarcyWiley

    Same here. I’m writing more efficiently as I make it a routine. I don’t have to pry out the words as much as I used to (though I know I’ll always fight with my thoroughness/perfectionism). And the blog is good accountability, especially when people are reading. :)

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  • michele

    hey i like your speech cool