Being a full-time professional blogger is no easy task.
Most of the people around us do not understand what we do.
It’s hard for my Dad to explain what I do to his friends.
Most of my uncle’s sons and daughters are employed in “real” jobs.
For them, I am still someone who is dabbling with something new.
I don’t think I have a solution for that, and it’s OK.
They don’t need to know exactly what I do and how my business operates.
Apart from making others understand what we do for a living, we need to constantly fight to create an environment where we can thrive as a blogger.
Friends and family do not always understand the needs of a blogger to support us in our blogging journey.
So here are some tips from my experience on how to support and fuel yourself as a full time blogger.
1. Get into a Writing Routine
Habits make or break us.
We need to have a habit of writing regularly.
Writing is the primary, core income generating work that a blogger does.
There are a 1000 other things that determines blogging success, but the one common denominator of all bloggers is that – they write a lot.
They write regularly.
They put their writing into a routine.
Different routines work for different people.
If you are a morning person, wake up early everyday and write.
If you are a night owl, write after everyone has gone to bed.
Try to maintain a writing streak of writing 1,000 words a day, everyday.
It might look like a lot in the beginning, but over time it becomes very easy.
Once you find your unique voice and writing style, you will be able to keep the words flowing.
I usually write around 8-9 am on weekdays before my team members arrive at the office.
On weekends, I write during late afternoon or early in the evening.
You don’t always need an inspiration to write.
Just sit in front of a blank word doc and think about what to write.
You will just start writing.
Today I had no idea that I was about to write this article.
And then I thought, why not write about how to write.
And I just started writing.
This is a magical place of creativity.
Many authors, musicians and creative people agree that you just need to be the channel through which creativity flows.
I don’t know where the creativity comes from.
Some even claim that it comes from the “Universe” and from outside our bodies.
May be. Or Maybe not.
Maybe it’s just the power of the subconscious mind.
I honestly don’t know. But I feel it doesn’t matter.
Instead of trying to understand how it works, we just need to know and experience that it works and let it work for us.
So have a blogging routine works.
Every successful blogger can agree to that, and I can vouch for that.
Make a time for writing everyday, and write.
It’s OK if you make mistakes.
It’s OK if you don’t publish what you have written.
Write 1,000 words a day, everyday.
Experiment with different timings and see what works best for you.
Apart from having a regular writing routine, we also need to make sure that we have a good environment to write, which leads us to the next point…
2. Create Your Writing Cave
Create a cave for yourself where your writing can flourish.
Distractions are the No.1 killer of deep creative work.
I found out what works for me, and I write in my own cave.
You need to make your own cave based on what you have and what works for you.
For me, I need my room, where no one else can enter for a few hours.
I have my own room at my office, and that’s where I am writing now.
I like to write with amber lights on. I use white lights during meetings.
I like to write on Google Docs, so that I am sure that I have a real-time cloud back up.
I put my phone on flight mode when I am writing. I hate messages or calls when I am writing. I can’t afford to have that distraction.
And the timings of my routine makes sure that I don’t have any visitors at the door.
I like to hear music while I write. I have the “writing playlist”.
It has music without lyrics. That’s what works best for me.
I like to have a glass of water while I write. And I keep sipping it once in a while.
My pet dog Max is usually sleeping near me in the room somewhere.
That takes the loneliness away and he barks if someone is at the door, even before the ring the bell.
That calms down my lizard brain. Makes it feel safe.
There is a study that talks about children being in their best creative self when they feel safe at their home. When parents fight in front of a kid, the kid feels unsafe, and the kid’s mental resources are channeled towards staying safe than being creative.
Feeling safe in your physical environment is of the utmost importance if your creativity has to flow.
So your place needs to feel safe for you. And do anything that makes you feel safe. Even if it means keeping a pepper spray near your desk!
You need to find out what works for you, given your current circumstances.
If taking the laptop to the terrace works for you, do that. Some people feel safer in new environments. Some people feel safe in familiar environments.
If late night study room writing works for you, do that.
If writing notes on a notebook in a park works for you, do that.
If recording notes in an audio recording during your morning work works for you, do that. Then translate the writing.
The core of blogging lies in getting the ideas out of your brain, not the writing itself.
Just understand that different people thrive in different conditions and you need to figure out your fertile ground for creative work. It takes time and an openness to experiment.
3. Keep Feeding Your Brain
One of the most important needs of a professional blogger is a constant input of thoughts and ideas.
Ideas that are worth writing about is NOT going to come from your workplace, friends or family.
Friends and family is for unwinding after work. And take some pleasure in gossip and bitching about people and life! (Yes, it’s fine to do it once in a while).
New inputs will come from thought leaders. And to get input from thought leaders, there are certain sources, the usual suspects: books, audiobooks, courses, blogs and meetups.
Without inputs, there will not be any output.
Just like a chef needs ingredients to make a dish, bloggers need a constant input of ideas.
Many bloggers think that they need to come up with brand new ideas or they will just be rehashing what they have read in other places.
That’s not true.
If we keep reading, the way we perceive the content will be unique to us, based on our knowledge and life experience.
If I read something, then I write about it, it will always be mixed with my knowledge and experience – and my output is a unique value that I create for the world.
So find out what kind of input works for you.
I will tell you about what works for me…
Audio-books: I have an Audible subscription from Amazon and I keep hearing to new books while I am driving. Many times, one cannot enjoy music in a car because of the background noise from the road. Esp. in Bangalore traffic.
So listening to my favorite songs from the playlist or listening to radio is not my thing when I am driving. Instead, I listen to books.
Books: I have always been a voracious reader. I keep reading. And I found out that buying print versions of the books helps me read more than Kindle versions.
Print books have a unique feel to it and I will have one book visible to me all the time around me. It is easier to pick it up and start reading. There is less friction than reading a book from Kindle.
Interactions with People: I learn a lot from meeting and discussing with like minded people. I attend workshops, meetings, and use every opportunity to meet like minded people to get fresh ideas that can help me in my writing.
Online Courses & Workshop Recordings: I do not hesitate to invest in buying courses relevant to my industry and workshop recordings. Seminar and workshop recordings are one my best sources of learning because it gives me a feel of having attended the workshop in person than going through text or slide driven videos.
Specific Blogs: I read specific blogs in my industry. And I have a zero-tolerance policy for hyped up content. I DO NOT browse my twitter feed or Facebook feed. I feel that most of the posts that appear there are snacking type content that is popular with the masses but it doesn’t apply for me. Reading from specific sources help me get input on the latest ideas while books help me with more foundational knowledge and frameworks of thinking.
The type of input that you might need as a blogger will not be very different from my list. I like to make use of all the channels. Choose what works best for you.
All the best for being a better blogger!