Warning Signs You Might be a
Blogcrastinator

image of woman napping on keyboard

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.

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Comments

  1. Well yes I am. :( but not because of those mentioned in this post. I love blogging in English but it is not my native language and i don’t have a perfect environment to practice English either. Even there’s none to help with that. So, :-(

  2. Hey Michelle,

    This is great! Not only are you talking about the most common problems for bloggers. But you are providing a quick solution for them.

    Thanks for these awesome tips!
    Josh

  3. Aminul, do you think it’s worth exploring blogging in your native language? You might be able to cultivate a terrific following that way. Even for readers who are comfortable reading in English, it might be more enjoyable to read in their own language.

  4. Hello, my name is Todd… and I’m a blogcrastinator. Thank you for this 5-step system.

  5. Little known fact: Michelle originally wanted to make it a 12-step system, but she never got around to the other 7 steps.

    OK, I made that up.

  6. Sorry to nitpick, but the Macbeth quote is inappropriate in this context. It has nothing to do with procrastination, here is the full verse:

    “She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing.”

    This is Macbeth lamenting the futility and emptiness of the rest of his life, contemplating the death of his wife and the ruin of his plans…

    Of course, for some people, their blogs are like that, but for most of us blogcranstination is not quite an existential crisis issue :D

    That said, I blogcranstinate a lot… been working on one post for months now… I guess my cause is that I am a bit of a perfectionist (not copy-level, but idea-level… in my longish 2000 words post/1 per week, I hate to make truly bad argumentation errors).

    Venkat

  7. This is a great post to get past the blogger block. I find myself sending more tweets for sure than blogging because its easier and takes less time, but blogging is really where my passion is.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas.

  8. This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you!

  9. Kill Blogcrastination in one fell swoop:

    Get a full time corporate job, then you’ll do whatever it takes to get out of it and blog your bleep off. ;)

    Nice write.

  10. Number 4 is me to a t!

    Mostly I start good blogs but get scared of myself and dont’ finish them! Then Sunday night rolls around and I panic!

  11. How did she do it?
    Here am I — unique and unrepeatable — finding my self portrait in a stranger’s post!

    New to the blogging world, I found it actually easier to write than ever before. Now, finding it easy, I worry about the quality.

    Treatment plan: all of the above. apply as needed.

  12. If the physical act of “writing” a blog is the main fear/problem, then maybe one can consider blogging in another medium, such as video blogs. Some people are naturally better speakers than writers and can experiment with different mediums to see which suits their personality more. More fun for all when the blogger and medium are a good match :)

  13. OH yes, At first you think everything to think of is great, but then you read and reread, and read other people blogs, and question if you have anything worth saying!

    And yes, I need to work on all of them!

  14. Blograstination… guilty as charged, ha ha.

  15. 4 out of 5. Well at least I’m not 5 for 5, right?

  16. I really think the 5 signs are a good benchmark for blog writers. I’ve been a lifelong writer since way before blogging, and procrastination is THE biggest problem we have. Sometimes I’ll find myself cleaning the bathtub rather than writing. The solution I use now? I procrastinate by writing something else. Then when I want to procrastinate on that, I get back to the original post and it gets finished. I do this with several online and print projects, plus my own creative work all at the same time, documents open everywhere. But it all comes together and they do get finished!

  17. As a beginning blogger I find myself suffering from a majority of the symptoms. I’ll try the cure.

  18. @Todd B. and Sonia – LOL! I’m right there with you. “My name is Michelle, and …” Sonia was joking about the 12 steps, but maybe we really do need a meeting!

    @Venkat – Thanks for that clarification. I suspected I was taking it out of context (it’s been a while since I’ve read Macbeth). But if you’ve been bitten by the perfectionism bug, you might want to check out my own blog, because I have, too, and it’s what I write about.

    @Shane – Thanks! And that’s actually my current plan. ;o)

    @Salma Jafri – Great idea on alternate blogging methods. You mention video blogs, which work well for some people. Another tactic is to speak your post into a recorder, then have it transcribed or run it through software like Dragon Naturally Speaking (which I haven’t used but have heard good things about).

  19. It is kind of nice to know I am not the only one!

    I am going to write a blog about it, but I keep putting it off!

  20. I don’t procrastinate on my blog, but rather on my fiction writing. I find I put so much time into my blog because it’s “easy” writing and then I turn to the manuscript and its big old chunks of problems and I say, “Oooh, but what if I write a blog about problems in manuscripts?”

    Yeah. I need the program, too.

  21. I am definitely a blogcrastinator! I write about decorating and home staging. So I asked my friends for their questions and I tell them on Facebook that I will answer (insert name)’s question the next day. I have to do it then!

  22. I’ll admit I sometimes procrastinate blogging. Other things come up and I push it back. I have a long list of ideas written down. Sometimes its hard to choose what I want to write about. Thanks for the list of treatments I will start to follow them to help :)

  23. @Christina – That’s a courageous technique! Go, you!

  24. Blogcrastination is a fine art. As a blogger, I hope this creative urge can be kept at bay. Now, I must add this word to my dictionary.

  25. Thank you very much for these ideas and the encouragement!

  26. Hmmmm Seems I’m not blogcrastinating yet, since I’m so busy webcrastinating with an online business, I haven’t launched my blog. All the clever diversions still apply, however. And I thought it was only me… Thanks for the dose of reality.

  27. I run into some of these issues constantly. At one point I have more drafts on my blog than actual posts. Then I go to finish the draft and I forgot what it was about.

    I decided that when I have what I think is a good adea for a post. I write it down “at that very moment”! I always carry a digital recorder, notepad or some other device where I can collect my thoughts and post them as soon as I can.

    This seems to help me a lot with my posts. We all have ideas everyday, but what is becoming of them?

    Thanks for the post.

  28. “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.” Have you been in my office watching me? Amazing and inspirational!

  29. THANK YOU for posting this…You did inspire me to get with it. I am definitely 3 & 4…but I also think part of the procrastination is because one needs a vision as to the purpose in the first place. It may be that’s a dumb thought but the distraction comes at times because the vision becomes blurry. When the blur goes away, we can always accomplish what we say we are gonna do…sometimes we just need to wipe off the lens. You inspired me today and I am grateful!

  30. Wow, I thought you were writing about me… apparently there are others in the same boat.

    The day I found out I was a procrastinator was when I bought a book called “how to stop procrastinating.” I got halfway through it and 9 years later it is still sitting on my shelf waiting for me to “get around to it.” True story.

    The best way that I overcome it is to make sure I put one toy away before I play with the next one… or, I finish my post before I get to go do fun stuff, like obsessively check email every 5 minutes.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  31. You might be a blogcrastinator if:

    No 6. Reading copyblogger and commenting on it.

  32. Thanks for this! I, too am a confessed blogcrastinator! But who am I kidding? I am just a procrastinator when it comes to the one thing I love the most – writing. It’s really too bad because I know that when I write, I am one with myself and nothing can stop me. That is, until I put the pen down or turn off the computer or start playing Solitaire. But there is some comfort knowing I am not alone in the struggle – maybe we should start a self-help group for procrastinating writers – oh yea, I guess that’s what writer’s groups are for (ho hum).
    Okay, now back to work (er…Solitaire)!

  33. wow, you certainly nailed me. Okay, I am admitting it here for the world to see. Hi. my name is Kristina and I am a Blogcrastinator. :)

    Thanks for the tips, great post. I will definitely work on using your advice and trying to get back to the reasons I started blogging in the first place – 1) I really like to write and 2) I think I have something to offer.

  34. I use my Blogging Editorial Calendar to help overcome procrastination. It’s not a perfect system but it does provide me with an outline of subjects and specific topics to consider.

  35. @Mark Young – I’m glad you recognize that blogcrastination is a fine art. After all, many of us have been practicing it for a long time—we’d better be good at it by now!

    @Marge P – Ah, yes, webcrastination. A close cousin. :)

    @Mike Kirkeberg – Why yes, as a matter of fact, I have! (Kidding. They wouldn’t let me into your office with the webcam.)

    @Joshua Black – Okay, I laughed out loud at that one!

    @Jose and Steinar – yep, I’m always looking for the “perfect” system, and haven’t found it yet. But corralling those percolating ideas (per Jose) and calendaring your posts (per Steinar) are both good ways to at least keep something of a handle on what is an intrinsically slippery process. (To me, if it’s creative, it’s slippery—resists compartmentalization and doesn’t cohere when you want it to.)

    Oooh, I just had a realization just sparked by the above! The hardest part for me about surrendering myself to the creative process (whether it’s writing or anything else) is the discomfort of not having closure. I *crave* closure, and the creative process is pretty much the antithesis of that, until you’re done with a project. If you can ever decide that you are. ;)

  36. @Jessica – A self-help group for procrastinating writers? We’d probably never get around to it. :)

  37. What about #6: It’s blogging, not article writing. What starts out as a small blog sometimes mushrooms into this self-indulgent manifesto that looses it punch after the 1,000th word. Sheesh. Millions of blogs out there, who wants to read 1,000 words on *anything* anymore? Not me, and I wrote the blasted thing. Lesson learned. Keep it short (which can actually take longer).

  38. I need to try that “tiny chunks” one. If I work for 10 minutes, I forget the time and before I know it 90 minutes have gone by and I’ve finished the piece. Just need to start more of those 10 minutes.

  39. I’d be busy writing my own blog that is long overdue, if it weren’t for reading your great suggestions. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

  40. Amanda Martin :

    Hi Josh

    Reading this post I laughed so hard I think I hurt myself. It’s fabulous! And I’m pretty sure I fit in all of the categories.

    Re the short chunk of time idea – it fits with what the cognitive neuroscientists are saying about our ability to focus – 10 minutes is the best amount of time (I can’t remember the reference because I’m reading a few of these books at the moment but if you’re interested look at David Rock).

    I also use this time with people I coach when they’re putting off a difficult decision/meeting etc – it’s a great tactic.

    Amanda

  41. Hi,
    Thank you for this wonderful post. I have been blogprocrastinating for a while now and apparantly didn’t do anything worthwhile to get over and out of it.

    This post helps me identify what I am lacking and puts in the right direction.

    Regards,
    Parimala Shankaraiah

  42. You should trademark it. Then we can have a support group for blogcrastinators!

  43. I often work in 1 hour chunks with a stopwatch. That helps a lot with blogcrastination. Although I give myself permission to stop after 1 hour, what usually happens is that I get in the ‘zone’ and just keep on writing.

  44. Michelle, very good points.

    I am suffering from having too many ideas.

    I have decided to write a series of posts, collect thoughts and use it all towards an eBook.

    That has helped me with motivation. I have a goal to shoot for now.

    It is helping so far.

    Thanks,

    -Deven

  45. OMG! I fit in with TOO many of these! :) this post hit the proverbial nail on the head! Seriously, blogging can become a bit overwhelming – IF you allow it to. Fortunately, we have great resources like Michelle and Copyblogger to keep us on track. Thanks!

  46. I must admit that I am guilty of being a blogcrastinator. I have an editorial calendar and a great list of post ideas, but I need to set aside a specific time to sit & write.

    These are some really great tips for people like me. Especially the Treatment Plan for #3 &4. I will put those into action right away.

  47. Very insightful strategies for especially new bloggers. Most new blooggers procrastinate with the acual writing and wasting time doing other things instead of the actual writing.

  48. I have to say I go through stays of blogcrastinating . I have a massive list of articles I need to write, but find it hard to get them done sometimes. Luckily I have some time of to sit down and sort myself out!

  49. Question:

    What is calendaring?

  50. My biggest inhibitor is “paralysis by analysis”, so I really appreciate your treatment plan for #2 – it’s a simple technique I know (and yet I rarely practice), but I’m glad you reminded me of it.

    But I do feel good about doing something right – writing down ideas for posts.

  51. @ Sonia,

    I feel comfortable to explore through and read blogs on my native language, which is Bangla. But I don’t think it’s worth it, since I plan to move abroad and without English I cannot reach a global audience. Plus, I just love English.

    For example, it doesn’t take me much time to complete writing a post in Bangla about something important I recently discovered or something memorable happened that day. However, when I try to write the same thing in English, I just feel like I’m pressurizing my brain and don’t feel comfortable to write. Still, I try to write and somehow end up with a post having no life (written in a robotic tone, you know).

    In fact, my problem has no solution. As long as I don’t live in a complete English environment, I cannot be fluent in English speaking. But being fluent in English writing is possible when someone is constantly helping. I haven’t found anyone willing to help me in my English learning journey ever since I started blogging in English (about two years).

    CopyBlogger is the best source I can learn how to write effective and amazing content that works. However, when my language skill is insufficient, I cannot apply the tips I learn from here. I feel terrible for that.

    And by the way, thanks for replying my comment. These days it is forbidden to expect a reply from the authors of a-class blogs like this. You get my point, don’t you? :)

  52. Putting my hand up.

  53. Wow, this is a great post…and yes I’m guilty of all of these at one time or another, but your suggestions are really helpful. Thanks!

  54. Cute post, Michelle! I should be blogging right now! DH is gone with the older two and the baby is asleep. I have a totally silent house… perfect time for blogging. What am I doing? Cleaning out my feed reader. LOL!

  55. Other than not being a twit – er you described my notwritenow blogging style to a Tee. Thanks for this post & all the rest. I consistently find useful & pertinent information at Copyblogger.

  56. Hi guys,

    I like idea #5 “your a chatter, not a writer.” Now that’s me.
    I think I need to go take a nap. LOL!!!

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

  57. @Daniel Bartel – I’m often guilty of that—I tend to write longer on my own blog, where I can ramble. I like writing for Copyblogger, which helps me stay short and punchy. :)

    And your point about “short” taking longer is absolutely true. Who was it? . . . (pause to Google) . . . ah, yes, Pascal, who wrote, “I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.”

    @Susan Tschantz – By “calendaring” I meant scheduling certain posts for certain dates. It can help inspire you to actually write them (if you’ve got a date, you’ve set yourself a deadline), and it can also help make sure that, from a larger perspective, you have a nice mix of posts on different topics. Or maybe you want to plan a series of posts on one topic, etc.

    (Can I mention someone else here? Charlie Gilkey over at wwwDOTProductiveFlourishingDOTcom has some great free and premium planners, including a blog post planner and calendar. I’ve used ‘em and like ‘em a lot.)

    @Susan – Hah! Know any good intellectual property attorneys? :)

  58. Thats called a killer post. Very interesting and comprehensive article of the time. Like everyone, i also suffer from delaying post. I tried to write pillar article each time. Now i learned to write a mix of articles.

  59. Oh, thanks, yes, that is something I am learning I have to do. I am new to blogging, but not scheduling, being the event co-ordinator for an art gallery!

    So I have to take my ideas, and set deadlines for them and hope they group up on time!

  60. Sigh I guess i fit the category here….Pushing too hard, ironically, was my problem – Making every post as perfect and flawless and inspiring (and etc etc) as possible – to the point that you can only publish so often and are quite sick of thinking about writing thereafter for a good while. Balance between perfection and a good enough post…although I still lean toward perfection. Great articulation of the situation, thank you!

  61. Here’s what I do to get over any of that…

    I walk into the other room and look at my amazing baby girl of 6 months. I look at her mom. I look at this house. I look at our vehicles. I look at our computers. I look at our expenses per month. I think about where I want to be in 1 year. Five. I think about the rest of my life – which will be maybe 25-30 more years… I say to myself, “You better get your ass on that chair in front of the computer and write your ass numb!”

    And so I do.

  62. i really like this 5 step system. i hope i can use that for me. keep going!

  63. Aww, man! You got me! I’m definitely a blogcrastinator, but I was hoping no one would notice…

    Now I better stop leaving comments, and start writing my OWN blog ;-)

  64. I am a new blogger and keen to blog but already I am seeing the early onset symptoms of blogcrastination. However, at this stage of the blogging game I fear I may be a blogaholic looking for my next posting fix.

  65. I’m updating a travel magazine once a week – do you experts think I should be doing post more frequently – people seem to like it – how about you guys?

  66. Since reading this the other day (sure I commented then as well), I’ve been less of a blogcrastinator. I have more blog posts I could do, always do but, I’ve managed to do one a day each day, except for Sunday and am about to find one for today as well, once I’ve finished up on Twitter :).

  67. Bex! Good for you, and congratulations! Well done! :)

  68. Guilty of being a blog-crasher ..err. the same thing you are talking about. Getting back on track though. Nice to know its a common blogging disease.. :D Misery loves company :P

  69. I can completely relate, i put off writing my forst post for two months! and when i finally wrote it, it was about procrastination lol.

  70. this is so great!
    i’m definitely guilty of blogcrastination,
    it’s way too easy to become distracted by other aspects of the site rather than creating content…
    thanks for the tips in overcoming it :)

  71. @emily – You’re welcome! And yes, it’s so easy to get caught up in the whole “But doing this OTHER thing means I’m working on my site, too!” trap. ;)

    @random ranter – OK, now *that’s* funny! (But congratulations!)

  72. Thank you for the encouragement. Yes I am guilty of procrastination. I have to get to doing and helping others. Putting of till tomorrow want should be done today. Then we all wonder why the system fails. It is very easy for many of to bounce from one thing to the other.

  73. Great post! It looks like I am far from a blogcrastinator. Thanks for sharing.

  74. I totally agree with you. Some blogger’s are naturally better speakers than writers and can experiment with different mediums to see which suits their personality.

  75. After reading this post i think i am also a blogcrastinator.

  76. I’m also a techno-procrastinator and I place blogs along with video and other social media in that crastinator category:) I was reading each paragraph, guilty…guilty…. Just today I was thinking, this is crazy. People complain about not having enough content. I’m inundated with ideas and even have them neatly organized in folders for each writing project. Right now I need to be finishing up on my PRODUCTIVITY ebook LOL

    And oh, don’t even get me started on the other “P” distractor, perfectionism! My new mantra, “Don’t let an obsession with perfection become an obstacle to progress.” Now I celebrate imperfection and being a promoter of the everyday! This is kind of like one of those meetings where it’s nice to find out you’re not alone. Thanks so much Michelle for knowing what to say and the support and to everyone that’s spoken up here, I appreciated the candor and camaraderie :)

    Jennifer

    • Jennifer,

      Hah! Your productivity e-book. :o)

      And i assume you saw the name of my blog in my bio at the end of this post? Because yeah, that “other ‘P’ distractor” plays a large part in my life, too. I like your mantra very much! I often use the one attributed to Voltaire–”The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

      Whoo, imperfection! I’m celebrating right along with you, sister! :o)