blogcrastination (blŏg-kras-tuh-ney-shuhn) — the deferment of writing a blog post to a later time; often a mechanism for coping with anxiety.
If you’ve been a blogger for long, you know how ugly blogcrastination can be.
It disrupts your goals, stifles your spirit, and makes you second guess your decisions. It can take you from writing a post every day to letting days, weeks, or even months go by without writing.
It can even make you question whether you’re really cut out for blogging.
I know because I’ve been there, and the good news is that there is a way through it.
But first, you’ll need to accept that you are a blogcrastinator (this can be difficult and requires strength of character) and begin to develop an awareness of its telltale signs.
See if you can recognize them in yourself:
1. You keep postponing
If this is you, you sound a bit like Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . .”
The thing is, you honestly do intend to get writing. This afternoon or tomorrow morning or this weekend . . .
Just not right now. First, you have to finish six loads of laundry, choose the décor for your new home office, and get to inbox zero.
After that, blogging is definitely at the top of your priority list.
Or so you keep telling yourself.
Treatment Plan: Give yourself a series of very short time slots in which to write, interspersed with other activities. Do not make a big deal of this. Convince yourself it’s not in the least important, and you can do it in small chunks. Remember, you’re just jotting down a few sentences here and there. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)
2. You push so hard it hurts
Your method of writing is to power on through, pounding your brain against the paragraphs over and over until you’re done with the piece, no matter what.
In fact, you probably don’t call yourself a blogcrastinator at all, because you do finish posts . . . when you can bring yourself to sit down and write. The problem is, writing is so painful that you can’t bring yourself to do it very often.
Treatment Plan: The prescription for this is simple: take a break for a few minutes! Pay attention to how you feel, and when the writing starts to feel like dragging a boulder uphill, stop.
Preferably do something physical, like taking a brisk walk or putting away the dishes, anything to get out of your mind and into your body. This will let your creative faculties relax and breathe. If you make this approach a habit, you may be surprised at how darn enjoyable writing can be.
3. You are easily distracted
This symptom wears two cunning disguises.
The first lets you distract yourself with other ways of “working on” your blog, such as checking your site stats, tweaking your theme, spending four hours in Flickr Creative Commons looking for a killer post image, or (the most insidious distraction of all) doing research for your posts.
The second disguise appears when things other than your blog or website or home life distract you. Because God only knows what will happen if you don’t get that roof reshingled today.
Treatment Plan: You’re probably seeing blog posts as something you “have to” write. Try reframing them as an “I want to” or, even better, an “I get to.”
Think about it. How many pursuits require such low overhead and so little equipment (hmm, computer, brain, and fingers — and the fingers are optional), and let you share so much with the entire world? Pretty cool when you stop to consider it.
4. You’re constantly generating ideas for posts
Blogcrastination of this type can be a result of either fear or fun.
If it’s the former, you’re perpetually jotting down ideas for future posts because this allows you to avoid the scary process of actually writing any.
If the latter, you simply get off on brainstorming — it’s play to you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get those posts written.
Treatment Plan: Use your idea-generating ability to outline your next blog post as if it was a series of mini-posts. Pick a topic from your list of ideas, and then jot down bullet points or subheads for what it needs to include. Eventually you’ll have the skeleton of the post, and all you’ll need to do is go through and insert some connecting words and phrases.
5. You’re a chatter, not a writer
You put the “social” in media.
In your world, “twit” is not an insult and is always followed by “-er,” and you like nothing more than posting in forums and commenting on other people’s blogs. After all, it’s the way to make friends and organically grow your own following, right?
And you truly do get a lot from the conversation. In fact, sometimes you think you do your best writing in those other places. Sadly, sometimes it’s your only writing.
Treatment Plan: Turn those detailed comments, forum posts, and twitter conversation into blog posts. Use the same energy, building off the ideas of others; just funnel it into your blog instead. That way, you’re still getting to talk, and you’re building your blog at the same time.
Now, was that so bad?
Remember, blogcrastination can be overcome, and the pain it causes can be a thing of the past. The first step is to rediscover how much you can enjoy writing. We are all here with you.
Okay, everyone, time for a group hug.
About the Author: Michelle Russell publishes the blog Practice Makes Imperfect, where she blogcrastinates regularly, as well as spending plenty of quality time on Twitter. With superninja Wendy Cholbi, she also helps brand-new bloggers get their WordPress blogs up and running.