How to Keep Your New Years Blogging Resolution
So, you've resolved to blog 5 times a week this year. Or 3. Or 1. Whatever frequency you've chosen, odds are you'll need something more than just a new years resolution if you're going to succeed.
According to Psychology Today, "The average New Year's resolution is abandoned before the Christmas credit card bills arrive." I've seen statistics claiming that 25% of new years resolutions last less than a week, and only 40% make it beyond 6 months. Other sources claim that the average life-span of a resolution is only 3 days.
Whoever's right, one thing is clear: anybody can make a resolution. Keeping a resolution requires something more.
I once blogged daily for 14 months, missing only a handful of days (most of them around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years). Do I have superhuman content creation skills? No. Before that, I averaged barely over 2 posts a month. (For anyone who may be wondering why I stopped at 14 months, it's because I'm currently focusing on several major projects that consume all of my time. I plan to blog regularly again once things slow down.)
It's not that I hadn't wanted to post more often before that. I just didn't know what to write.
Then one day, the entire picture changed.
Two things: a method and a tool. (I'll tell you right now, the tool is not free. But the method is, and you can apply it without the tool, though it'll be a little more work...and thus a little less harder to keep going.)
The method is called Blog Riffing. In a nutshell, instead of trying to come up with 100% brand-new-to-the-world original ideas to write about on your own every day, you search for inspiration in the things you read. As you read other blogs, the news, tweets, etc., in the back of your mind, you're always thinking, "could I take an idea I see here and build a blog post around it?"
When you find an idea that you have something to add to, you copy a brief quote and "riff" on it.
Just to be clear, Blog Riffing is not article spinning, plagiarising, restating someone else's article in your own words, etc. You borrow the seed of an idea, and grow it into a post of your own by adding your own insights, experiences, etc. Sometimes your post will agree with the one that inspired it, and sometimes you'll disagree. Sometimes you'll extend the original idea, and sometimes you'll take it in a completely different direction. However yo do it, you'll always add value.
Do you ever comment on other people's blogs? If your comments say more than just "great article", then you've got what it takes to Blog Riff on your own blog. You'll probably write more in your Riffs than you would in a comment, but the idea is one and the same.
Two more things before I finish up with the method: first, as a matter of ethics and etiquette, always link back to your source of inspiration. Second, you can learn more about Blog Riffing at BlogRiffers.com (sign up in the sidebar for a 5 part course in High Impact Blog Riffing).
7 1/2 months into my 14-month stint of daily blogging, I checked my stats and found that the Blog Riffing method was responsible for 55.3% of my posts to that point. And of the remaining 44.7%, many would never have been written if Riffing hadn't helped me establish a consistent blogging mindset.
But that's not the whole story. Even when you've got an idea to write about, you'll hit "speed bumps" in the process of turning them into blog posts...unless you've got tools to smooth them over.
For example, if you have to copy a quote, open your blog editor, paste the quote, format it as a quote, go back to the original article, copy a link to it, switch back to your blog editor, paste in the link, and format it as a link...that's a speed bump. Not huge. Not insurmountable. It only takes a few seconds, but it's a nuisance. It's busy work gumming up your creative process. If you're on the fence about whether to turn an idea into a post on your blog, it'll often be big enough to stop you.
And when you've been stopped often enough, your new years resolution ends up in the same pile with everyone else's. Speed bumps don't have to be big to be the proverbial straw the broke the camel's back.
The tool that kept me moving past the speed bumps is a combination RSS feed reader and blog editor. Since I could go straight from reading to writing to publishing all in the same place without any copy-and-paste, there were no speed bumps. I'd just select the text that I wanted to quote with my mouse, click a button, and it'd be there in the editing form, already quoted and linked. I'd add my comments, select a blog to publish to, click another button, and be done for the day.
By the way, the tool is called SEO Content Factory (there's a video on that page showing how it works). I created it myself to solve the problems that were preventing me from blogging as often as I wanted.
I started blogging daily in September 2010 -- not at new years. But whether the goal was set on January 1st or September 14th, the point is that I was able to stick with it consistently while most of the other people in the world who'd made the same goal failed.
I wish you the best of success with your new years resolution.