June 8, 2011

my tried & true forumla for organization and motivation. side effects may cause success.

It's not unusual for someone to ask me how I manage to do everything I do.  How can I find the time to be a stay at home mom, a loving and engaged partner, a craft maker, a vintage shop owner, a daily blogger and more?  

Truthfully, I can lay claim to all those titles because that is the girl I want to be.  (Yes, I have an amazing, supportive partner who wants nothing more than my success, but you bet your butt that he ain't ever going to make me get off the couch to write a blog post.)  Any successes I have achieved are because I wanted them and I wanted them bad.

So while the question "how do you do all the things you do" can be rather vague, I often find myself talking about three key points...

We all have very busy "in-real-life" lives that don't allow a lot of time for blogging, tweeting, etc.  I think that statement even holds true for those of us who blog for a living.  There has to be something more than sitting behind a screen to our lives - otherwise our content would be pretty damn boring.

Here's the thing, if you're blogging you're probably the kind of person that has something to say.  Maybe you're not writing grandiose essays daily, but you have something to share that you think others might find interesting.  If you are this kind of person it's also pretty likely that you have brilliant ideas flitting about your head all day long.  You're writing those down, right?  Cause they're amazing, of course you're writing those down.  You're not?!?!  Are you crazy?  Start writing down those ideas!  Keep a pen in your pocket or bag.  If you can't find paper then write it on your arm.  I will always risk ink poisoning over the loss of a blog post idea.

Okay, so it's been a while and you've been collecting your ideas in a journal (or something more Memento like).  Give yourself 30 minutes one day and just write all those ideas in one list.  You can have subheadings if you want to get all fancy like.  Look at that list will ya?  Bet you had no clue you're such an idea genius.

Later on that day find yourself a calendar.  I found this beauty on clearance in January and honestly, I'll be buying it year after year.

Start mapping out your blog posts for the next month.  Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you  write them all at once; you're just making a simple plan.  (Psst...Having a regular weekly or bi-weekly feature can not only making post planning easier but it also gives your readers something to look forward to.)

When I started planning my posts in advance it changed my outlook on blogging in a huge way!  Nowadays, post planning is my number one priority when it comes to getting things organized.  When I lag behind on this exercise is shows in a big way.  I get stressed out and my writing definitely gets soft around the edges.  This little exercise also brings me to my second point...motivation!

I sit at my desk.  I look at my calendar.  It tells me what I'm writing about today.  I write.  

Even though I've been doing this exercise for months and months I still get excited about it.  I already know what I'm there to do and I just do it.  I used to sit and stare at my computer for hours just waiting for an idea to come to me.  And ideas aren't easy to come by when you're heavily invested in cute kitten videos on YouTube.

The other thing that keeps me motivated?  A sense of determination that is so hardheaded and unbending that it Hulk smashes through all those silly little road blocks along the way.  Obviously obvious - you have to want success in order to achieve it.  But I can't tell you the number of bloggers I've met who want success but also expect it to fall into their lap.  Hey friends, I don't know if you know but it's not probably not going to happen.

If you spend a great deal of time complaining about your 'follower' numbers, the lack of comments on your blog, the undeserved accomplishments of others, etc. - you are not that heavily invested in your own success.  It's a harsh reality, but it is reality.  (I've been through it myself.)  But you can get over that crap and just start being awesome.  You can care about your content more.  You can care about making healthy and happy connections with others.  You can actually care about your own achievements and stop comparing yourself to others.  

If you have a genuine desire to be successful in the blog community (or anywhere else) I have absolutely no doubt of your ability.  If you have the drive then it's time to get yourself prepared to start walking the long road to something bigger.