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You’ve been rushing around all day – shopping for groceries, stopping to get gas, moving laundry from the washer to the dryer, finally letting the dog out, maybe chauffeuring some kids around – and now it’s time to prepare dinner.
Maybe you’re preparing a romantic meal for two. Perhaps it’s a meal for the whole family. Or it could even be a simple stir fry for one.
Regardless, you’re tired, a little frazzled, and ready to get the whole thing over with. That’s not at all like you, right? After all, you love to cook! You write a blog all about it!
But right now, preparing one meal feels like a Herculean task. As you gather ingredients and begin to get it together, you realize that you haven’t begun to boil the rice or that you forgot that one necessary ingredient at the store. Dinner quickly turns into a disaster in progress.
Being able to enjoy cooking requires a certain amount of preparation and a somewhat leisurely pace. Let’s face it, rushing can suck the joy out of just about anything. You need time to plan out the dishes, to gather together the ingredients, to clear a space for mixing and kneading, and to pour some love into the meal.
Blogging isn’t so different.
Many talented bloggers with a wealth of insight to share give up on blogging simply because they approach blog posts in the way we sometimes approach last minute meals. While this impromptu approach may work for some people, for most of us it makes blogging tedious and stressful. Like that last minute meal, blog posts written at the last minute are often lacking in flavor and look thrown together.
So how can we joyfully create blog posts that are rich and rewarding every time? You got it: planning ahead.
Posting regularly and consistently is critical to gaining a loyal following and to search engine optimization, so set a schedule that you’ll be able to maintain. If that’s once each week, choose the day and put it on your schedule with an alert set to remind you. Whatever you decide, be completely honest with yourself about how much you can (or will) write.
Sit down and brainstorm six months of topics. You don’t have to be too specific at this point. Thinking seasonally will help you select appropriate topics. You might also review past website analytics to identify topics that have performed well in the past or research popular topics by month on Google Trends for fresh ideas.
Examples of general topics for January might be: traditional New Year’s meals, foods that’ll warm you up, or diet-friendly foods.
A general topic is usually rather large, but it can be broken into dozens of bite-sized sub-topics. That’s what you’re looking for. These sub-topics will become your titles. Remember to keep titles under 60 characters so that it will fit onto a search engine results page.
For example, the January topics above may result in the following titles:
- A new twist on traditional New Year’s Day recipes
- Five diet-friendly snacks for your next Netflix binge
- A spicy Thai dish to heat up your romantic night in
Take a deep breath. The hard part is just over. Despite the name, writer’s block rarely has anything to do with writing and everything to do with gathering together a bushel of good ideas.
You’ve got six months of topics, three months of titles, no you need to carve out a block of time to sit and write. Why? Because once you’ve written one post, you’re already in the right mindset. Keep going. Each time you stop only to return a couple of days later, you’re having to prime the pump again, whereas writing several posts at once will keep the thoughts flowing smoothly.
Ideally, you’ll have all of January’s posts written and ready to go by mid-December, February’s by mid-January, and so on. Should you get sick, decide to go on an impromptu vacation, or otherwise live the exciting life you were meant to live, your blog will go on without you!
We’re always interested in other bloggers’ techniques. How do you stay on top of your blog schedule?