What comes to mind for you when you see the words?
Chores. The very word conjures up memories of Saturday mornings spent dusting, vacuuming, doing laundry, weeding and many other unpleasant tasks BEFORE I could play with friends and have fun.
Blogging. The other name for writing short pieces or longer articles that are timely, relevant, contribute to marketing efforts, and has the POTENTIAL to attract more ideal business inquiries.
SEO. Search Engine Optimization or as a gifted translator of a person I know put it to a newbie in the Weekly Writers Support Circle on Tuesday, “How your site and its content get found by people.”
Are you among the many who jumped on the WordPress/Blogging Bandwagon? Did you start excited, promise yourself you’d blog weekly or more and lose steam over time? Are you growing self-conscious that your last post was from February of 2012 or worse, in 2011? (Please read on and be gentle with yourself.)
Are you of the belief you must write according to a proven “form” or “system” or “with such intense regularity”?
How long was it before you lost your zest for writing a pithy bi- or tri-weekly post because you:
- Ran out of “great ideas”?
- Tired of how long it took to write a post worth publishing?
- Got discouraged when no one commented (presuming commenting was turned on)?
- Simply were forcing yourself to write in the first place?
Writing a blog is a wise activity when you naturally enjoy writing or can learn to love writing about your business, your process, your experiences, as yourself in a voice and tone that reflects you. It serves to let your site visitors (and potential clients) meet you even before they call or reach out via email. And who doesn’t want a warm inquiry as a business be you solo, small, medium or large in scope?
The new and exciting opportunity that blogging platforms offered was a “boon” (a gift) to those who were already prolific writers. And where once upon a time it was more difficult to get regular writing out in the world, if you weren’t also technically proficient with Website Software Programs that were Content Management Systems as well, the current era offers many CMS options. Options that are very plug and play too.
It is Do It Yourself heaven. My first blog (that still exists) was a Blogger blog I started for myself alone in 2005. I chose a design of the 23 offered and started posting personal pieces. I actually still love that blog and its design and always mean to post to it more than I do these days. (Note to self: start next week!)
Then I met “WordPress.” It was love at first site.
Oh, WordPress! How much more I can do for myself than before and from anywhere and anytime and with relative ease. I am part of the choir that will forever love writing. I appreciate technology that lets me help myself and helps me get found that much easier. WordPress does that easily and while the Dashboard may be intimidating at first, once understood, it is LIBERATING to compose on the fly and in the cloud.
What do I say to clients who feel like they are running out of gas where writing “intelligently” and “consistently” gets in the way of writing “with creativity and enthusiasm?”
Stop trying so hard and give yourself permission to take a break.
Try crafting an editorial outline that reflects your new business goals (a professional bucket list)
Write some stories about your life and business lessons and then decide do you want to publish them or no?
Take some time to determine your ideal client and profile that person in rich detail and imagine that you are blogging to them.
If all else fails, take yourself or your dog for a walk! Get outside and get some fresh air at the very least.
Once when I was really stuck and in an unhealthy thought loop while I was on a writing deadline, I called a friend who was a professional coach for support. What did she advise me to do?
“Go outside for a walk for a minimum of 15 minutes and look for all the white and purple flowers.”
“Why?” I asked in complete confusion.
“Just do as I say please. Will you? And call me when you get back.”
So I did. And guess what happened!!! I took the walk. I saw some white and purple flowers and noticed other garden beauties too. I got home and called my friend. She asked me if I was ready to get back to it. And in truth, I was.
My Creative Block was GONE! And writing came with more ease and I liked the results.
If you aren’t a naturally obsessive writer like some of us, but see the value of blogging for business (or pure self-expression) know that becoming committed to it and enthusiastic about writing can be learned–provided you are willing. And use some tools to support you such as:
A community of like-minded people (I can recommend a great writing support group and facilitator!)
A calendar with dates you keep with yourself to write for writing sake (and take the best ideas farther!)
Practice. Practice. Practice. (You needn’t publish what you don’t want)
Read. Read. Read. (At least an hour a week the blogs of others you admire and consider…)
Commenting in a constructive and pay it forward style. (This has been known to inspire people to reciprocate!)
Use “the canvas” that inspires ease: maybe you compose emails well or write differently directly in the WordPress Post Window? Who said you have to write in a Word Doc first? (Do though save your piece to your hard drive and not just on the cloud)
Set the scene. Establish the environment. Dress the part. One client of mind laughed they might start wearing dress clothes to write for their business blog, even though they worked at home.
Try anything once to see if it frees your writing voice and stick with what works for you.
Writing and Reading and Interacting with other Writers is bound to affect your opinion of writing for business and pleasure, as well as develop a skill and an artistry in you and your own writing. Over time your skill and confidence will shift so notice and celebrate the breakthroughs.
Think of it as the equivalent of teaching yourself how to walk (fall down and get up again) or tie your shoes (bunny ears worked eventually) or learning how to print then write “cursive.”
Many talents aren’t second nature but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them so. WordPress makes blogging possible on your schedule be it planned out or in the moment.
So let’s reframe what we started with:
Chores. Serve to keep our creative energy and productivity flowing well and mastered can save us time and set us free to play that much sooner.
Blogging. It is at its most basic an opportunity to express yourself: casually, candidly, professionally, playfully, and virtually from wherever you may be wanting to capture a relevant moment.
SEO. Think of it like being on a scavenger hunt or geo-caching with a GPS device that makes it easier to find the prize. The prize being a happy client and a happy service provider or product “sold.” What are the magic words that used well get you found faster?
So knowing you have the platform, the best of motives, and the means, how about saying yes to the writer within?