Managing a Blog When It's Not Your Full-Time Job
HerStory is not my full-time job. I work for a public relations agency that I absolutely love, and I manage HerStory before and after work, as well as on the weekends. After staring at a screen all day long, most days the last thing I want to do is work on a computer well into the night. But I do it. Why? Because I LOVE this blog, y'all.
While I love HerStory and the fact that I've created this by myself (#womentrepreneur), I think my husband would be slightly annoyed if I forgot he existed, so I need time with him. And then I need girl time. And me time. And puppy time (as I'm typing this my baby girl is paw-ing at me). Many bloggers who have other full-time jobs struggle with this. It's hard. Running a blog alone is a lot of work to begin with, but when it's not your only job it can be difficult to stick with it. I've started two different blogs and burned out in both situations, but I vowed I wouldn't let it happen again. What's different this time? Simply put: I have a vision.
I have a vision for where I want my blog to be, and it's extremely difficult for me to shy away from a vision when my heart is set on it. I think that's the biggest motivator in keeping your blog going. I constantly remind myself that I have so many plans for HerStory and I want to continue to provide interesting content for my readers; that helps me to keep writing or designing or working on spreadsheets when all I want to do is sit on the couch sans computer.
I decided to share my routine for those of you who engage in this battle, as well. You're not alone. No one blames you for wanting to step away when you've had a long day, and by all means, do it! You can't do something well when your heart isn't in it, so if you're out of it one day, step aside and clear your mind. That is crucial.
Get going early.
I start my day at 5:30. Sure, sometimes I start by hitting snooze, but I at least wake up for the first time at 5:30. I trained myself a long time ago to be a morning person, and that has seriously paid off as I've launched myself into blogging outside of working hours. My morning is a mix of getting ready for work, working on HerStory, and walking my dog. I hate feeling rushed in the morning, and I love getting to work knowing I've already accomplished something. That sets me up to have a productive day. By the time 8:30 rolls around, I've walked my dog, done some work for HerStory, walked to work, drank a full cup of coffee, and set up at my desk ready to tackle the day.
Schedule your social posts.
Some people ask me how I manage to post on social media throughout the day while I'm busy at work, and the simple answer is this: I schedule my posts. Facebook and Twitter allow you to schedule social media posts (I use Tweetdeck for scheduling tweets), so I get those in the queue in the morning, along with my subscriber email. (Ahem, you can subscribe to the right of this post!) I haven't found a tool for scheduling Instagram posts that I love, so I write up my post and save it in my notes on my phone and get the photo ready before work, and most days I post that as I'm walking to get lunch or while I'm getting lunch ready in the kitchen.
Use your time wisely.
In the evenings I want to work on aspects of my blog that don't require a lot of brainpower, so I save big things like planning, content strategy and finances for the weekend (surprise--in the mornings). Additionally, my husband and I use the weekends for photo shoots since we work during the day and miss optimal daylight time, and that turns into fun outings for the two of us to enjoy and explore the city together. I use weeknight time for catching up on correspondence and reaching out to bloggers and businesses who may want to collaborate, as well as making tweaks to my page and adding new content throughout the site.
Plan, plan, plan.
I think the biggest takeaway here (a.k.a. TL;DR) is that you have to plan. If you don't plan ahead and have a strategy for how you're going to tackle your blog, things will fall apart very quickly. You can't decide at 8 p.m. on Wednesday that you're going to write about such-and-such for a Thursday post. You need to take the time to write well, and what about photo assets? Solid posts take time, effort and a whole lot of re-reading and editing, and when you've been churning all day, 8 p.m. isn't always an ideal time for creating a masterpiece.
It's not easy to run a blog as a one-person show, but it's possible. However, don't forget to take care of yourself. If you're not taking care of yourself, you can't be authentic with your readers. For example, I just really needed to read the other night, so I put off a blog post because I felt that I had been neglecting a very important aspect of my life. I finished my book, and I was extremely happy about it.
If you're a blogger, I'd love to hear how you manage it all. I'd also love to help if you have any questions about my routine, or if you just want to talk to someone who can relate. I also have tons of resources I've created that I'd be more than happy to share if you need help getting organized.
Keep up the hard work; you're amazing.