How to Write a Weekly Blog During Your Coffee Break
Writing a weekly blog is a worthwhile process--one that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite our best efforts, Andy Ruth and I don't always get around to it every week. The hardest part is finding time. Through the successes and failures, I have come to realize the key is discovering the gaps of downtime between daily tasks and then learning how to utilize those breaks. For example, look for time between meetings and during breaks for coffee or lunch. You can also mentally prepare in the car (or public transit) and when you are getting ready in the morning (in the shower). About 10-15 minutes a day is all you really need, but remember: don’t limit yourself to 15 minutes if you are on a roll.
Below, I have written about the three areas where most people get tripped up in writing their blogs. I hope this gives you the push you need.
Coming Up With a Topic
Having a hard time coming up with ideas? Here are some prompts to get you started:
- You have 300-500 words to tell this week’s most important story about your industry. Go!
- What changes need to be made in your industry. Your topic is the “who;” now think about what, where, why, and how.
- What happened this week (or last week) that will change how you do business?
- What articles or blogs have you read recently that you could write better? Rewrite a better version.
- What predictions do you have for the future of business and technology, and how will this affect your company or people with your job description?
Weekly Blog Writing Schedule
If you are like most people, you don’t have the time (or energy) to sit down in a coffee shop to hack away at the next best novel or business strategy book. And that’s okay. Benjamin Franklin famously said: If you want something done, ask a busy person. Being busy may be exactly what you need in order to write a blog, so finding the time to write is important. Personally, I think it is easier to get into a habit of sitting down to write a little bit each day. As I mentioned in the introduction, this could be between meetings, during a coffee break, or wherever you find 15 minutes of quiet throughout your day. Brewing my morning tea signals my “blog” writing time. Here is the schedule I like to follow:
Day 1: Start by brainstorming a list of ideas and topics you feel comfortable writing about. The format is up to you. You can make it formal, in a text document or excel spreadsheet, or informal, in a notebook or on the back of napkin. The point of this exercise is to give you some options to think about throughout the day.
Day 2: Pick the most appealing idea from the list you made in day 1 and write why it is the most attractive.
Day 3: Write an outline: introduce the idea, explain provide some context, and tell us (the reader) why we should care about it.
Day 4: Fill in the missing pieces to your outline. Connect your ideas in your outline with transition paragraphs or sentences so there is a consistent flow to your piece. As you do this, you will be turning your outline into your first rough draft.
Day 5: Reread your post, correcting and expanding on what you already have written. When you finish, send it to a friend, colleague, or editing service to look it over for mistakes.
Day 6: Reread your editor’s version and fix any mistakes. Make sure this draft is what you want to publish.
Day 7: Post your blog to your personal or company website/blog/LinkedIn/Medium/etc., and share a link on your social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Overcoming the Blank Page
My creative writing friends call writer's block “writer's constipation”. If you sit down and the words are not coming, don’t try to force it out. Knowing when to keep writing and when to take a break is important. If putting words on paper is a struggle, set what you are working on aside instead of trying to force it. You should still shoot for trying to write for 10-15 minutes a day, but if you can not think of anything in the first five minutes, chances are it won’t come in the next 10. Try again later in the day. If nothing comes, try again tomorrow. If after a few days you are still having a hard time getting into the groove, refer to my post 33 Ways to Get Started When You Are Stuck for ideas that will help spark your creativity.
Remember: you only need 10-15 minutes a day. Breaking a blog into small, workable segments makes it less intimidating and easier to work with. If you do a little bit each day, writing will become a routine and you will be joining your peers in contributing to the global conversation.
Let today be Day 1 and start with brainstorming your topic ideas. I look forward to reading your blog.
Andrew J. Wilt
More blog tips can be found here, in my blog titled: 11 Lessons I Learned During my First Year of Blogging.