People often ask me how I’m able to keep my sites moving forward and updated with (hopefully) good content as often as I do. I’ve actually talked about this several times over at my “flagship” site, Asterisk and I’m thinking about a book/site dedicated to the idea of successful content creation.
The thing is, I go to great lengths to keep my sites up-to-date, interesting and moving forward. My off-the-cuff answer is that I “write fast”, and that’s true, but there is a bit more to it than that. To be a productive content provider (blogger) you need to be organized, do your best to hold on to good ideas and know when to work and when to wait.
h2. Here are a few quick tips that might help:
* Set aside time for writing (or podcasting, etc.) and stick to it. Sounds simple, but life (and work) has a way of intruding on these times. You need to hold on to your creative times at all costs!
* Create (and stick to) a publishing schedule. I used to do this quite a bit when I was first getting started. It really helped keep me on track and motivated. Now I’ve got a loose schedule I use, but there are times when I try and plan out something more solid to help make sure I don’t fall too far behind.
* Keep an Idea Journal. I’ve taken to having one by my bed, one on my person and if all that fails, I’ve got idea pages set up in Backpack. You never know when you’ll need a good idea!
* Take advantage of creative highs. This is huge. There are times when I’m literally flooded with ideas, when this happens I drop what I’m doing, if possible, and write, write, write. During these times I can build up a surplus of good content to use when I need some time off. Which brings me to…
* Take some time off. There is little better for fueling your creative engine than a few well timed days off. As much as I create, there are many times when I just relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I need this time to keep me going.
* Read. A key to being productive is having things to talk about. Spend some time each day reading. And I mean reading, not skimming! This will often times give you small ideas that can lead to big things.
* Start with a title. Sometimes just coming up with that initial idea and writing down the title for your post will get the words flowing.
* Adopt a conversational tone and style. This helps your words flow more freely. It might not be the “best” way to write, but it’s served me well and it saves me time.
* Connect and motivate. I’ve found that community is a great way to keep your energy level high. Talk to people, create content centered around discussion. This leads to more energy and more ideas. As well, it’s very motivating to know that people are into the same things as you and dealing with the same issues.
* Don’t fear failure. Through failure comes some of the most profound learning. Fear can really put a damper on being productive. I’ve found that it’s best just to keep moving forward and tackle the mistakes as they come. And they’ll come, regardless of how much time you spend worrying about them.
* Don’t get too hung up on grammar (or pronunciation if you’re a podcaster). People aren’t perfect and while I’ve high respect for editors and hold great value in editing, you need to realize you’re going to let a few (or if you’re like me more than a a few) typos and spelling errors though. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s the message that matters most.
* Stay positive. ’nuff said.
* Try something new. If you’re finding that you’re falling into a rut, or talking about the same-old, same-old, get out there and try something new. This is exactly what I’m doing with To-Done and it’s not only opened up a whole new world for me with new friends and new things to discuss, it’s also got the creative juices flowing on other fronts. Write for a different audience, take up a new hobby or learn a new technology. These things all come with ideas and things to write about and they’ll keep your mind sharp, creative and ready as well.
I’d love to hear some of your tips on being a productive blogger (or writer, or podcaster) so, please, share them here if you’ve got any.