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How not to write a blog – self motivation and business

Thank you all for coming. I have a confession to make. It's been three years since I last sat down to write a blog post for my own business.

Stock image of man laughing awkwardly because he failed to write a blog
"Ahhaha haha ha. Yeah. I should have found time for this before now."

Now, you might say, that's pretty stupid isn't it? Don't you provide actual, honest-to-goodness freelance copywriting services professionally? Shouldn't you know better?


Okay, yes alright. You got me. I should. I do.


Three years between blog posts is inexcusable. But, would you believe it, I've been busy. Too busy to want to write an extra blog article each week. At least, one that I won't get paid for.

If that sounds like how you feel about blogging for your own business, here's how I'm going to convince myself to start blogging again. Maybe it'll work for you too.


Right then! Let's get started.

Stock image of a person in a whirlwind of string, anologous to how often you should blog
Just how long is that piece of string?

How often should you blog?

Before we start, let's talk about targets. How often should you blog?


Any serious content writing agency will tell you to blog once or twice per month. Minimum. Maybe once or twice per week if you really want it to work – and even more if you can.


Does that sound like a lot of blog posts?


Because let me tell you, sitting here off the back of a full working week of – you guessed it – writing blog posts, it sure sounds like a lot of blog posts to me.


Tell you what, let's not think about it too much.

What is the best way to self motivate?

Okay, we have our target. We've mentally hidden it from view. Let's talk finding the self motivation we need to get these blogs done on a regular basis:


1) Don't create a big scary goal

Nothing is more off-putting to me than looking up at a big hill I've got to climb and thinking about every footstep needed to get me to the top.


(I mean this purely in work terms. I actually really like walking up hills.)


A work hill is terrible though. Aiming to write two long-form blog posts every week or to arbitrarily double the amount you publish across your social media channels sounds exhausting.


Speaking for myself, I know I just won't do it. Then I'll feel bad for not hitting my goal.


A much better plan is to think small and be realistic. Then, when we hit that target out of the park, we'll feel reaaaaal good about it. For me, I'm aiming for one blog post per month to get back into the swing of things.


2) Put it in the calendar and make it a habit

I've just added my one blog per month target to my calendar. I like Trello as a scheduling tool, but your mileage may vary.


I feel pretty good about it being in there. Relieved, I'd say. I've been putting this off for far too long.


It looks very manageable too. As a friend of mine recently said after we finally booked accommodation for a group trip away, “It's actually much easier to do it than not to do it”.


Yeah. Great! It's in the calendar now. It's getting done.

Stock image of calendar showing it's hard to find time to blog for your business
When every day is full of work already, adding "do more work" doesn't always feel great

3) Plan to accept occasional failure

Okay, so there's a serious risk it's not getting done. At least, not every time.


Obstacles are bound to crop up. I'm going to accept this and not feel bad about it when it happens. Well, I'm going to try not to feel bad about it when it happens.


If you run your own business, writing a blog feels like one more job on top of the hundred other things you need to do. Now I want you to imagine being a freelance copywriter.


Admittedly, the 'ole day job is not all blog posts. There's plenty of web copy, marketing brochures, and sales emails in there. But it still feels like doing more of the same, but this time for no money.


So, I'm going to accept that being busy enough that you can't bring yourself to put fingers to keyboard once in a while is a good thing. I am going to accept that occasionally I will fail.


4) Change your environment

As a freelance content writer, I'm not tied to my desk. Sometimes I head out to a cafe and become one of those irritating types supping a coffee, staring at a screen, and taking up valuable table space.

Stock image of a man writing a blog in a cafe for the free energy
"My colleagues and I particularly like the coffee - and the free electricity of course."

(Sidebar: this reminds me of a brilliant satirical news piece written from the point of view of a put-upon cafe owner. The owner laments about the remote workers in his cafe. They only buy single teas. They take up huge tables solo. The punchline? “Oh my god. He's plugging it in.”)


That tickles me. But even with the variety of my desk at home or any of the many wonderful cafes Bristol offers freelance copywriters in search of free Wi-Fi, I still felt the need to change environment before I could start writing this blog post.


The change? Just writing on my desktop instead of my work laptop. It's at the same exact desk. Yet it still feels different enough to not feel like work.


I highly recommend changing up your environment to boost self motivation. Hey, if it's not something you do regularly, why not try being one of those laptop weirdos in your local coffee shop? Just... try not to plug it in.


5) Reward yourself

Yeah, this is what I'm talking about. Time to celebrate completing a small necessary task!


I'm not sure what I'm going to do to celebrate yet, but rewarding yourself for small wins is just as important as rewarding yourself for big ones.


The problem with something like blogging is that you don't see an immediate return on the effort investment you put in. There's no visible reward – at least until you start getting enquiries and work through your business website.


Even if it wasn't really a big hill to climb, it sure felt that way going in. In many ways, taking the first step is more important than taking the thousandth.


That's worth a bar of chocolate. Or a glass of wine. Either way, I'm treating myself. You should too.


How not to write a blog – self motivation and business

That big gap in between publishing blog posts is making me feel foolish now. It wasn't such an insurmountable task after all.


But if working out when and how to write a blog feels like one too many things in your working week, why not let me do the hard work for you?


Fire me an email at benjamindmaiden@gmail.com or fill in the form below to tell me what you need or set up a chat over Zoom. Or maybe we can meet in person in one of those coffee shops I've been hearing so much about.

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