This is a guest post by David Sumner from twago.
Except for the lucky few, most bloggers have to fit their passion for writing in and around their 9-5 jobs.
Unless you’re a professional freelance blogger earning good money from your blogging (which let’s be frank most of us aren’t), and the only time you can dedicate to your blog is in your free-time, then you’ll need to hone your writing skills and blog to the world without becoming a social outcast and gluing yourself to your laptop all weekend.
However, blogging on the weekends or at other times brings with it a whole host of distractions and issues that are designed to make it more difficult than ever to focus on your writing.
Let’s take a look at some of the unique challenges of blogging in your spare time;
Getting Into The Blogging Mood
While the attraction to sit on the sofa in front of the TV with your laptop is hard to resist at weekends, this half-way house between blogging and relaxing will make the quality of your writing suffer. You will be distracted by your family or flat-mates, and the urge to do housework and answer phone calls will overwhelm you.
In order to increase your productivity at weekends try to find a quiet place in the house, or (when it’s sunny) sit outside. Even going to the park can give you time outside of the house and give you the freedom to concentrate on your blog post and get your thoughts in order without any distractions.
However, whilst I’m not suggesting that you cut off all social contacts and retreat into the woods to ensure that you can blog in peace, by visiting friends and attending parties or family arrangements you are killing your blogging time.
The best way to maintain a balance (without letting either your social life or blogging suffer) is to either create a strict window in your weekend dedicated to your blog, or to set aside a particular night of the week. After all, writing in the week can also be a great way to switch off from the hassles of the workday.
Using Apps To Brainstorm Your Writing Ideas
There are some great apps out there that can help you jot down your creativity at all times, thus cutting down on the need for extensive research time at the weekend.
The best thing about apps is that they allow you to balance work and play with absolute ease and flexibility. If you’re struck by a creative bolt of lightning in the middle of the night or on the train journey home from work, then apps such as evernote allow you to keep a track of your creative thoughts and inspiration on the go.
The app allows you to store notes, create timetables, create a virtual brainstorm and even doodle. The app itself is free (for the standard version) and can really aid your weekend writing skills by allowing you to brainstorm in the week while you’re stuck traveling to work.
Maintain Writing Regularity
One of the fundamentals of blogging is the necessity to create a constant supply of content for your readers. In order to grow the reputation of your blog and acquire more readers, you must be creating fresh and unique content on a regular basis. This means that whilst the option to go travelling on the weekend with friends sounds great, if you neglect your writing because of this then you’ll find out pretty quickly that your readers will stop coming back to your blog.
Therefore, if you’ve got some big plans for the weekend then make sure to devote some more writing time beforehand and automatically set your post to be published at the usual time of publishing. This way you can enjoy your trip to the beach or the mountains without taking a guilty conscience with you.
Give Your Posts A More Personal Edge
Experiment with combining your personal life with your writings. If you’re busy moving house, or planning a holiday, or even panic buying for Christmas presents then incorporate your “crises” into your posts.
These articles allow you to present a more down-to-earth side to your writing that will enable you to really connect with your readers. Plus it cuts down the research time for your posts and you’ll have an endless wealth of content ready to flow from your latest adventure. Also, it’ll make the task of writing for your blog much more fun and make it less of a chore.
This “human” content can provoke your readers into leaving more comments and thus increase the social interaction on your blog as well. But if your blog has a reputation for quality, authoritative posts then still maintain the balance between on-topic content and off-topic content. Moreover, remember the old adage about the balance between personal and public. Whatever you write should be 100% personal but not 100% private.
These are just some of the tips that I try to live by in order to maximize the efficiency of the writing I do in my free time, what are yours?