Too busy, uninspired or distracted to blog? Join a blogging challenge — yes, really!
I know that many of you dream of being able to blog with more ideas, more courage or more time… or whatever that ‘more’ might be for you.
But I also know that good intentions can leave us all too quickly when something gets in the way. Perhaps your confidence takes a knock or you get distracted by more pressing stuff.
If you work from home like me, you already spend hours alone at your PC, laptop or tablet. And sometimes the temptation to do something else just gets too strong. Whenever I feel like that, even the phone ringing can be a welcome distraction.
Blogging can be a bit lonely, especially when you don't feel like you are a born writer. It was one of the reasons why I signed up for a six-week writing course several years ago.
It hadn’t dawned on me at the time that I had accepted a blogging challenge – with an expectation to write (almost) every day. The speed at which everyone else was spurting out content suddenly added to the pressure I felt – I am a slow writer!
That’s not to mention the amount of free time the other participants seemed to have at their disposal. I, for one, found running a busy business AND writing most days a lot more challenging than I had anticipated.
You'll find your pace – and overcome potential obstacles too
Within a week or two, I realised that it was only my own perceptions and assumptions holding me back. I needn’t have worried.
Here was a group of friendly people who (mostly) were in the same place as me.
I had allowed myself to feel intimidated by a few participants who already seemed accomplished and apparently had a lot of time on their hands.
But once I took my eyes off them and started to relax, I found a pace of writing that worked for me. Although I didn’t actually publish that much during the course, I felt a great sense of achievement.
I realised something in my writing – and my approach to writing – had changed. It was becoming both easier and more natural.
I wouldn’t have experienced all this learning if I hadn’t challenged myself in the first place!
You'll feel inspired and motivated – and less lonely too!
What I also realised was how enjoyable it can be to read and tune in to what other people write about. I learnt a lot from just reading new blog posts every day. It was so inspiring to get a glimpse of everyone else’s life or business. I even made friends with some of the other participants and we are still in touch.
I’d never expected an online writing group (or blogging challenge) to be this motivating. And since then I've been regularly reading other people’s blogs and get a lot of inspiration that way.
I wouldn’t have felt that level of connection or motivation if I hadn’t challenged myself in the first place.
A blogging challenge gives you the discipline that helps you write more
I got into new writing habits during the course, which helped me to publish more regularly. I learnt which time of day works best for me, and that sometimes I also have to be flexible with my schedule.
Now I am prepared to drop everything (apart from important appointments) when an idea strikes. It's my way to make sure that I don’t forget a specific point I’d like to make in case it becomes the article’s ‘unique selling point’.
I also have a cloud-based home for my ideas and articles (Dropbox works for me). This helps me to read and mull over work in progress whilst waiting for an appointment or sitting on the train.
I reckon I wouldn’t have developed new habits and more discipline if I hadn’t challenged myself on that course a few years ago!
So join a blogging challenge – give your blog a boost!
Details of our next blogging challenge on 7 & 8 March 2019 for International Women’s Day can be found here. It’s not a huge commitment. It’s for charity too and a good taster of the camaraderie, inspiration and motivation that I describe above.