For some reason I stopped blogging recently. Almost a month passed by without a new post. That bothers me a lot, and I need to change it. So in this article I’m going to describe my plan for blogging consistently from now on.
The reason I stopped blogging
Actually, I don’t have a good reason. Yes, I was busy doing other things. Like, for instance, I was learning the basics of Android development. Also, I was reading a lot about freelancing because I’m thinking of becoming a freelancer one day. I was doing some stuff, that I considered important, and I stopped prioritising blogging. So, I just stopped. I lost momentum.
Fighting YouTube addiction
And then I started watching YouTube. At first I was watching important stuff. Then I started watching less important stuff. Then I transitioned to watching just plain stupid entertaining videos. I even subscribed to PewDiePie. Each day I spent several hours on YouTube and went to bed very late.
I did it until I no longer remembered what my goals in life were. I stopped learning, I stopped programming my own apps. And I stopped blogging.
Couple of days ago I decided to end this madness and stopped watching YouTube altogether. And that sums up the YouTube cycle I go through over and over again throughout my life:
- I don’t watch YouTube at all and am being super productive
- I decide to watch it a little bit, just to get some useful information
- I start watching stupid entertaining videos and my productivity drops to zero
- I stop watching YouTube and become super productive again
So, right now I’m back in the productive stage of the cycle, and that’s good.
My old content strategy
When I started this blog I didn’t have a content strategy at all. I just wrote a bunch of posts about myself, how I became an iOS developer, what technique I used to be productive, how I make money on the AppStore. I also wrote about the stuff I was learning at that time. And then I ran out of ideas and almost stopped blogging.
Luckily, I noticed that when I need to do some task that I have already figured out how to do in the past, it’s nice to have a blog post about it. That way you don’t need to Google the same stuff over and over again. So, I decided instead of quitting blogging to blog for myself. I even wrote a post about this decision.
The decision to write small articles just for my own use allowed me to blog more or less consistently for months. This decision had its pros, but it also had its cons.
- You don’t quit blogging because of lack of ideas. As long as you learn something you can write about it.
- You don’t spend much time blogging. Sometimes it only takes several minutes to create a post (from idea to publishing). Most of the time you just copy and paste someone else’s code without much thinking.
- Your blog is your learning journal. Even if nobody reads it, it is useful at least for one person, which is you.
- Your blog becomes a collection of code snippets and is not very useful for other people.
- You don’t develop your writing skills because you don’t spend enough time writing, and when you do write, most of the time it’s just a copy-paste, not real writing.
- You don’t learn as effectively as you could have. You learn best when you try to teach others, what you’ve just learned. That way you immediately start to see the gaps in your own knowledge. Teaching forces you to do a more thorough research and fill those gaps. But when you just copy and paste someone else’s code on your blog, it’s not teaching. It’s just a copy-paste. And by doing it you miss out on real learning.
My new content strategy
First of all, I’m not giving up on writing short posts. They are still useful for me and they don’t take much time to write. I will continue to post some code snippets in an irregular fashion. But on top of that I must do some real blogging, meaning I will be writing some big and well researched posts, that will hopefully be useful not just for me, but also for other people.
Committing to a schedule
What I lacked up until now is a blogging schedule. Now I decided to have one. For starters I will create a ‘real’ blog post once a week. I will be posting every Monday. Later I may change the schedule so I will post more frequently. For now let’s see if I’m able to post at least once a week.
Let’s go into the details of my schedule.
Monday. I pick a topic for my next blog post. If I don’t have ideas, I will just sit and generate dozens of ideas in one go.
Tuesday – Wednesday. I start doing my research and begin to make the first draft of my blog post.
Thursday – Friday. I do the actual writing.
Saturday. I pick pictures for my blog post.
Sunday. I reread my post, and check that everything is OK.
Monday. I publish my post, and pick the topic for my next post.
Creating blog posts in advance
I plan to have 2-3 blog posts ready for publishing at any time. To have this 2-3 blog posts I will need to work harder on my blog for some period of time. I don’t even plan to do it right of the bat. At first I’ll just try to stick to my schedule of releasing one post a week. Then, when I get used to my new schedule, I will try to work on two blog posts during one week. That way I will do the same work on the same days of the week, and I will not have to change the schedule itself. For 2-3 weeks I will produce 2 blog posts per week, and that’s how I will accumulate the necessary number of posts ready for publishing.
Using pictures in my blog posts
Up until now, I have been using images from Google search. It’s not a good practice, though. And I’m not even concerned with possible copy rights issues. I just don’t want my blog to look unprofessional. So, I started buying stock photos. You can see couple of them in this post. With time I will also replace the photos on my older posts.
I want to gradually turn my blog from my personal learning journal into something that will be of use to other people. For that reason at some point I will start writing tutorials. Right now I don’t even know what those tutorials are going to be about. I guess I’ll have to sit and generate some ideas.
This post was designed to be a reminder for me. I will come back to it from time to time to see if I’m doing everything I planned to be doing. I also hope this post was of some use to you too.