Saturday, December 27, 2008

Keeping the Fire Alive

This blog began on August 30, 2004. The primary reason for starting the it was to serve as a follow-up for people who attend my workshops. More than 4 years and over 300 posts later, that primary focus remains unchanged. At the same time, I realize there are many who visit who has never met me, yet are enjoying what they are finding.

Starting a blog is easy. Keeping it up, for many people, is the tough part. The newness wears off. We get busy. We run out of things to say. Pretty soon, the blog has gone the way of most of our New Years resolutions.

What has kept this blog going at a fairly regular pace for over four years? What has kept it fresh and fun to write? In this post, I am going to share what has made a difference for me in hopes that it will help other bloggers.

Compose posts now. Post them in the future.
The post you are ready today was not composed today. I wrote it on December 14, the day the thought occurred to me. Blogger allows me to schedule a date for the post to appear. I can write the post when the thought is hot, schedule a date, and let Blogger handle the rest.

Lately, a new post has been appearing roughly every other day. It's not that I have been writing at that interval. Sometimes I will write three or four posts in a single day. Sometimes I will go a week without writing anything. We all get busy and at other times, we all have "down time." I use some of that down time to compose material that will automatically appear during the busier times.

Starting soon, you will see a series of posts on using Excel. The posts on that topic will appear one per week extending into February. I composed the whole set at one sitting and simply scheduled them so that they will be spread out over almost two months. Another evening, I stumbled upon quite a few motivational videos on YouTube. I composed posts on the whole set that evening and have been sharing those periodically.

Remind yourself to post.
Anyone who knows me well knows how important my "Repeating Task List" is to me. I wish I had a nickel for every time I hear someone say, "I do it when I think about it." The same holds true for me. The only difference is that I set up a system that causes me to think about it when I need to be thinking about it.

I have a repeating task in Outlook and my BlackBerry to compose a post to this blog as well as the two blogs for my school system (TeachTalladega.blogspot.com and TalladegaCitySchools.blogspot.com). Once a week, a task stares me in the face reminding me to post. Usually, I can simply check it off the task because I have already posted something in just the last few days. If not, that little reminder ensures that posting to those blogs never drops off the map.

Read.
Material does not have to come exclusively out of our heads. Responding to the thoughts of others and putting a different twist on those thoughts makes for interesting material. We can also take current topics and combine the viewpoints from different sources into something that is fresh and interesting.

Take notes on the fly.
Good ideas occur at unlikely times. They come to us in the middle of meetings, sitting at a traffic light, during conversations, and reading the works of others, just to name a few. My BlackBerry is never more than an arm's length from me. A memo pad (that also holds my drivers license and credit cards) is always in my shirt pocket. I realized back in high school that good ideas, like opportunity, sometimes knock only once. Getting it from the brain to paper (or in recent years, digitized) is one of the best habits I ever acquired.

Make it matter to you.
I enjoy going back and reading my own blog. I hope that does not come across as egotistical. If I don't enjoy it, I shouldn't think that you will enjoy it. What I write has to matter to me, and if it matters to me, maybe it will somehow touch you as well.

Comments matter.
For those who comment from time to time, thanks! From my end, I can never be sure what resonates with others or where I need to go into more detail. Your comments help steer the ship. They also remind me that my time putting this blog together does make a difference.
Post a Comment