How To Be A Crappy Blogger: Just Jump In

The How To Be A Crappy Blogger series examines the mistakes and missteps that keep blogs like this from succeeding. Enjoy and learn from a look back at three years of unsuccessful blogging.

When you first decide that you want to blog, there’s this immediacy that comes over you. You have something you want to say or land on a topic you want to examine and the excitement just drives you forward. It drives you to register a domain, set-up a site and start writing that very day. You feel great, you feel passionate, but you aren’t ready.

This is pretty much exactly what I did and boy did it set me out on the wrong foot. While my kickoff took a week of pestering Danny Brown rather than a day, I still rushed into it. I was raring to go, had been reading other blogs and just wanted to get moving. That energy was unlike anything I had felt and it worked… for a while. But inevitably reality caught up to me. I hadn’t done my homework. I hadn’t though things through and I wasn’t ready to sustain the site when that initial passion started wearing off.

When your moment comes, when you’re raring to go, get started! Just don’t start blogging. Start planning. Start writing. Start doing everything you need to prepare. Take at least two weeks and get a feeling for how much content you create. If you’re already a practicing writer, you shouldn’t find it all that difficult to determine how many usable words you’ll manage to create in a week. If like me, you hadn’t written consistently in years, you need to take a few weeks to get to know your habits. This will not only help you get ahead on your content, but it should help you determine the frequency with which you should post (and don’t you worry, we will certainly be getting to frequency in this series). Keep in mind that you’re still on that “new blog” high and you’re production is bound to slow down. Over time, as blogging becomes more of a habit, that pace will begin to pick up, but there is often a significant slow down after that initial burst.

Go beyond getting to know your writing habits and make yourself a roadmap. If this is your first blog or if you’ve never quite found traction in your previous attempts, plan out your first three months’ worth of posts. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just take a calendar and start writing your post ideas on it. Rather than wondering what to write, you’ll already have the titles (or at least the general ideas) ready to roll. Looking ahead like this will also force you to see if you can come up with enough topics to keep things interesting.

If you really want to do this, prepare for the long haul. Forgo pouring all of that energy into your site and put it into the planning. Jumping in and putting myself out there showed commitment, but I paid for my impatience by constantly having to scramble for ideas and by attempting to write more than I was ready to produce. I didn’t know myself as a blogger at all and rather than learning my lessons in private, I was quickly frustrating my readers with disjointed and infrequent content. This turned out to not only scare readers away, but it quickly quelled my own passion for the project.

If you want to start, start now; just plan instead of publish. I know you’re anxious to get going, but if your goal is to still be blogging a year from now, realize that it doesn’t matter if you start hitting publish tomorrow.

New to blogging and just getting started? Are you at it a while, but perhaps started out on the wrong foot? Share your stories in the comments below and hopefully we can all learn from each others missteps.

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15 Responses to How To Be A Crappy Blogger: Just Jump In

  1. Hey Michael – you have a bad link in the intro paragraph up top (the “How to Be A Crappy Blogger” one – looks like an extra “t” in “bettermess”).  

    Great post otherwise.

  2. Planning is key for both blogging and whatever writing you plan to do. I set up an editorial calendar of themes to cover for and since doing that the writing has been easier. I’m no longer thinking, “Hmm, what should I write today.” 

    • I take a similar approach with post types. Each week, I want one that focuses in on the self-improvement/creative side of things, one that is a bit more geeky and tactical, two posts that feature the work of others and my weekly quotes roundup. It provides a structure and helps me stay on top of what I hope to deliver. I still ask the hmm, what should I write today, but now it’s in a good way :)

  3. When I started blogging, it almost was in secret. I was using Blogspot, and my goal simply was to write. I felt that my writing skills were getting rusty and that I needed to work on them. For that reason, I didn’t have much of a plan. My blog was an exercise of sorts. Eventually, I moved to the site I currently have (and hope not to have soon) and developed more of a plan in regard to my blog. It still took some time and trial and error before I found topics that seemed relevant to me and my audience. With the new direction I’m headed, I’m much more conscious of the plan. I’ve already started to implement it in some ways on the current site; I rarely write about social media anymore unless it’s in relation to writing.

    • When I started it should have been a secret :)

      While my desire was to learn the fundamentals of blogging, our paths are pretty similar here. For me, it was taking it from an exercise to realizing that if I wanted it to be an exercise I should just keep a journal.

      I don’t know about you, but it’s been a pleasure since I limited the scope of what I write about. I find more topics come to mind since I’ve focused in on writing about less. I’m excited for you and excited for the new site!

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