I’ve been there.
I wanted to start this blog while working an incredibly demanding full-time job as a software engineer. I eventually succeeded, but it was not easy. Here are 7 lessons I wish I knew when I got started on that endeavor.
1) Success Can’t Be Measured With Time.
What will make your blog successful is the sheer amount of quality content you can publish per week. Success has to be measured with that yardstick, or you will fail.
Tweaking your blog’s theme, creating an email list, and pinning pins are not the same as publishing quality content. Not that these extracurriculars are bad per se, but there’s an opportunity cost there. You can dump a lot of time into creating a better theme, but it will get you zero results if you haven’t already published a ton of quality content.
All of your time should go into publishing quality content on your blog until you’re no longer working a full-time job.
2) Write 500 Words Per Day
My blog finally took off when I got the hang of this.
500 words per day is achievable even if you’re tired and don’t have very much time to get it done. Some days it’ll feel easy, some days it’ll feel challenging. Either way, it’s not so much content that you can’t find a way to grind it out.
3500 words per week is at least 2 very in-depth blog posts. This adds up to 104 quality posts per year. That’s enough content for you to generate a full-time income within two years.
Maybe you can only get in 250 words per day. Or perhaps you can get in 750 or 1,000 words per day. The exact amount of words doesn’t matter; what matters is that you establish a daily writing habit that won’t overwhelm you.
3) Don’t Edit More Than Once
Those 500 words you write per day shouldn’t be a draft. They should be the final copy or close to it.
A problem I experienced when I first started blogging is that I wanted everything to be perfect. I’d completely rewrite a post 3-5 times, so it came across exactly as I wanted it to.
And frankly, any edits past the initial one didn’t make the article read that much better. I got to a point where I simply run the post through Grammarly as fast as I can before publishing, and that’s it for editing. It saves a ton of time, and the article is 95% as good.
4) Write Faster
Getting those 500 words out is going to be a lot easier if you learn to write faster. When you sit down to write, you need to be writing and not checking Facebook. Here are some simple tips that really helped me.
- Create a distraction-free environment (No notifications, use noise-canceling headphones, Have somebody keep your kids away from you).
- Have topics picked beforehand.
- Create a blog post template that all your posts follow.
- Write about topics that need less research (because intense research takes time)
5) Free Up a Chunk (or chunks) of Time
It takes me several minutes to get into the flow of writing. Anything less than 15 minutes and whatever I manage to write tends to horribly suck.
Paradoxically, if you gave me an 8 hour day to write, I couldn’t maintain writing productively for that long. I’d be productive for 2 hours, then feel tired and go do something else for a while.
For me, what works best is freeing up a couple hours each morning when I tend to be most productive and using that time to jam out my 500 words.
6) Let Go of Blogging When You’re Not Blogging
You can’t be at work all day thinking about what you’re going to do when you get back to blogging. You have to relax and put blogging away when you’re not in your writing time-period.
Otherwise, you’ll start to feel burnt out by blogging even though you’re not actually doing anything. Just having it on your mind all the time is exhausting. You have to let it go until you’ve hit the time in which you’re going to write. Then hit it as hard as you can.
7) Let How Much You Hate Your Job Fuel You While Writing
My job was amazing during the first 6 months of the pandemic. It was so amazing that my blogging speed significantly decreased. If my job was so good, why was I in such a rush to do something else?
Then I got a call. I was going to be working on-site during the height of the pandemic (and there were other crazy issues with this assignment as well). Suddenly, I remembered why I was in such a rush to write so hard every day.
You’ve got to remember why you’re doing this. There will be moments when it feels a little bit silly to be in such a rush to publish content. But, there will be others where you’ll be kicking yourself for not posting more content. Remember those times, and let it fuel you as you give up your time to write each day.
Because it gets better. There’s no better feeling in the world than being your own boss.