This fortnight’s #CommsSchool homework is to share your blogging habits with the community. As well addressed by Stephen and Marcel in their Webinar on Tuesday, it’s vital to keep on writing, and to populate your blog regularly. Otherwise, what’s the point?
But, how do you find the time to work a full-time job, go to the gym, eat 3 square meals a day, keep up on your reading, maintain a blog and try to have some form of social life – all while getting your 8 hours a night? Well, when you put it on paper it sounds near impossible but actually, it can be done. And the reason I know is because this is my life.
Where Do I Find My Ideas?
Honestly, from my experience, if you sit around waiting for creativity to come to you it won’t. From blog topics, to campaign ideas at work – all my best stuff comes to me when I’m not thinking too hard about it. Whether I’m in the shower, in bed, driving… Or anywhere, I always find that my inspiration comes through to me when I’m least expecting it to. If you’re the same, cash in on it.
Traditionally I used to keep a notebook of ideas, from interesting campaigns that I could potentially write about, right through to solidified blog titles. However, for obvious reasons, it’s not always easy to carry around and write in a notebook. So I succumbed to technology in the end and started a dedicated ‘notes’ section on my iPhone for all things blogging. From titles to improvements, everything goes in there and it keeps my flow of content steady and engaging (I hope).
I find this method really handy and the best way to record my thoughts. Because let’s face it, when are we ever without our phones? I can even use Siri to add ideas to my notes when I’m driving along a flat on the motorway.
FYI, I’ve blocked out my ideas that haven’t fabricated into blog posts just in case I don’t get round to doing them. Which is kind of hypocritical I know but, you know.
As for ideas, well it’s not always easy to think of those. Writer’s block is real and you mustn’t give yourself a hard time if you’re struggling to write anything new. I sometimes take weeks, up to months of hiatus’ on this blog and I’ve never regretted it once. If I’m not feeling particularly creative, then I’d rather wait until I am than produce any half-arsed content that isn’t worth its weight on paper. However, that being said, I’m rarely short on ideas now I’ve turned to blogging almost primarily about PR and communications. Like I mentioned in last week’s #PowerAndInfluence chat, write about what you love and you’ll never run out of things to say.
Every blogger – whether you’re a PR blogger or belong to a different niche – is different. That’s what makes our content worth reading. However, for the purpose of detailing how I find my ideas and inspirations to write, I have a few favourite themes which I try to replicate on my blog as these are the kinds of areas I could talk about and cover all day long.
- Creative Campaigns – from new stunts to roundups of my favourites
- Other PR Professionals – I love interviewing people, or having them comment in my articles
- Journalism Relations – with the most part of my job revolving around media relations, the relationship between journalists and PRs is something that continues to fascinate me
- Personal Development – and I also love talking about my development as a working individual. I went from being completely adamant that PR wasn’t me, to a successful executive in just 3 years, and it’s something I’m really proud of.
How Do I Find The Time To Write?
Now, on to finding the time to write. Because, as mentioned earlier, I often have a lot going on and not enough hours in the day. (Don’t we all, eh?)
To be fair to myself, I’m pretty good at time management. I always have been. I’m lucky in the sense that I actually only need around 6 hours sleep to function (otherwise I get overtired) and I manage to balance everything else within the hours I’m awake in the day. I’m one of those people that likes to be kept busy, so I’ll never complain about having a jam-packed week. In fact, I’d much rather it be this way.
If I was to illustrate what a day in the life of me looks like, it would look something quite like this.
I always make sure that I find the time to write, largely because it’s what I love to do. You’ll notice the writing emojii pops up three times in the above depiction of my daily routine, and that’s because it’s very important to me and is something I like to spend a lot of my time doing.
If you’re not passionate about blogging, then it’s not worth your while. If there’s one piece of advice I’d give to PR students (or anyone else working in the comms remit and thinking about creating a blog) it would be: don’t start a site because you feel you have to, create one because you want to. If the passion and the drive are there, then you’ll always find time to write somehow – trust me.
How Do I Stay Motivated?
I stay motivated for the aforementioned reasons. Because having this blog isn’t something I feel as though I have to do (especially not now I’m a graduate and am out in the big wide world), it’s something that I want to do and therefore being passionate about it is something that comes very naturally to me.
However, like with all things, it’s not uncommon to have periods of procrastination and times where you lack all motivation to proceed. You’re only human and it’s completely normal to feel this way sometimes. We all do, myself included.
I find when demotivation strikes that the thing that keeps me going is the ongoing support from the PR community. From being featured in PR Place‘s ‘This Week In PR’ round up, to people sharing my articles on LinkedIn, even just to kind messages from other PR professionals and students – it all helps to keep me on track and stops me from losing focus.
When you put the work in, you’ll reap the rewards.
What are your writing habits, how do you think of ideas and stay motivated? Let me know in the comments below, on Twitter, or why not post in the Comms School group on Facebook?
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