How to manage a job and a blog
I know a lot of people who have blogs and have a full-time job too. It’s possible, but keeping up a blog is also hard work at times. There can be simple ways to help keep your blog ticking over with regular fresh content going up, without losing your mind over it. I’ve being balancing a full-time job and a blog for about six years now, so I thought I’d take the time to share what I’ve learned, and how I personally make time for this blog (because I bloody LOVE writing on this blog) while also get all my other shit done too.
P.S. this is just stuff I do, so I’m not saying that these are the golden rules or anything. It’s simply some things I do that really help me balance a lot of stuff and make sure I’m happy and fulfilled.
1. Be kind to yourself
This is rule number one, for me. Do not tell yourself off, or beat yourself up if you are too tired or stressed. Don’t scare the magic off. Your blog is your fun creative space to do as you please. Only blog when you want to. The more you do, however, the more you’ll want to do. So try and make time, but don’t force it. Sometimes you will have NO ideas. Sometimes you won’t want to even look at it. Other times, you might be in the zone.
2. Bulk write
On the days when I’m in the mood to blog, I write about four posts in one go and schedule them throughout the week. Most of the time that will happen when I’m in “the zone” so I will bash out lots at once. My advice would be if you have an idea just scribble it down there and then. It’s only a blog post – it doesn’t have to be Great Literature.
3. Have a mini editorial calendar.
I have a Google doc for planning my blog with dates and ideas in it. It’s nothing fancy – it just reminds me what I’ve got going up, or any ideas for the upcoming weeks. For example I wanted to write a blog post on Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book that came out on 22nd Sept. So I wrote it weeks back and scheduled it for it’s release date, like a mini magazine.
4. Don’t make blogging into a big deal.
This is just personally how I manage to get a lot done on this blog, that’s because I don’t expect it to be a work of art. Mainly because it’s not my main source of income or anything like that. It’s still just a play pen. I just think “it’s only a blog post”. Of course I want to make it good, but I believe perfectionism is a killer of art. I type my posts out in front of the telly, or finish something off if I’m waiting for a friend to come over, or my boyfriend’s cooking dinner or something. I treat it as a casual thing. I never think of it as “work”.
5. iPhone notes.
I write on my iPhone notes or iPhone Pages app if I get a random idea. For example my bus from Oxford Street to Hackney can take ages sometimes in the traffic. Sometimes I’ll write a blog post on the bus easy peasy. See point 4. Don’t wait for the “perfect setting” to write a blog post. I once wrote 500 words of a blog post in the rain, under an umbrella, waiting for a friend who was running late.
6. Use helpful apps to save ideas and inspiration.
I use Pocket to save articles that inspire me so I always have multiple ideas on the go. I dip into my Pocket page and pick an idea to write about. Keep your eye out of ideas during the week, or a conversation with a friend that sparked an idea, and save it somewhere for later.
7. Ask friends to proof read.
I don’t do this enough really, but instead of straining your brain over something you’ve written and freaking yourself out about publishing it, just ask a mate to give it a quick read. It normally speeds up the process a bit for me.
8. Have a small dedicated space in the week.
On Sunday nights if I’m not out I’ll do blog stuff for half an hour. I love Sundays and normally write a blog post then because it’s when I’m feeling most relaxed and full of reflections. I work full-time every day except Wednesdays. Wednesday afternoons are my blog and blog day. Decide how much you want to prioritise your blog and stick to it. For me, my blog and book felt like they needed dedicated time so I made that happen. Sacrifices might need to be made.
9. Schedule tweets to your blog.
If you’re working in the week then schedule some links to your blog on Tweetdeck. So that even if you don’t look at your blog or Twitter all day, something has gone out and someone might click onto your blog. I don’t think it works to schedule any other type of tweet though.
10. Set yourself realistic deadlines or goals.
This is important! Don’t say to yourself you’re going to blog 4 times a week when you just don’t physically have the time. Don’t allow yourself to feel like a failure before you’ve started. Go easy on yourself. 1 blog post every 2 weeks? 1 blog post a week? Factor in your small dedicated space (point 8). Get your ideas on the table (point 6) and then don’t take it too seriously (point 4). Do whatever you can do. Whatever is achievable. Then onwards and upwards from there.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic