ROW80 – Sailing Along And Blog Better and Faster

Welcome back for another ROW80 update. Since I’m moving right along with all my goals, this will be a shortROW80 update.

Make sure you scroll down, though. I don’t want you to miss the tips for blogging faster and better, that I promised you.

Updates are in pink:

  1. Continue with my 13-month Health Challenge. Read about that Here. We’ve come nearly to the end of the Treadmill challenge for me and Gene Lempp. We have two more days to go. I have 1 walk left to do to reach my32 walks in 60 days–that will be done tomorrow morning. Yesterday I posted new goals for the next 60 days in #Hotwriterbods Health Challenge. I met some goals but not all.
  2. Write on my projects – 4-5 days per week for a weekly total of 2,500 words. Again, I have not written that many days on my short stories, but I have completed my word count goal!
  3. Streamline my social media and support efforts so that I visit all my blogger friends and ROW80 friends over the course of each week. Tweeting, also, for my friends to help promote their work. Between my editorial plan for blogging, the tips I’m sharing below and adding Triberr to my plan, I have the streamlining nailed! I’ve also paid a little more attention on conversational tweeting and will continue to work on that.

Another successful week under my belt and I’m all smiles! Thanks for all your support! I hope your week went well. Please share with us in the comments.

If you haven’t tried a writing challenge before, ROW80 is not intimidating or full of pressure. It’s the challenge that knows you have a life. Set reasonable goals and work at meeting them each week. So many ROW80 veterans will tell you that they’ve learned a lot about themselves and the best methods they’ve found to get the job done.

Please check out ROW80 for yourself! Creator, Kait Nolan, offers a flexible, supportive atmosphere for meeting your writing goals. There are sooo many awesome people involved and they make it so much fun! Meet the Sponsors, too. They are the best cheerleaders you could ever hope to have.

Blog

image source: Google

Last week I promised you tips for writing blogs better and faster and here they are:

The Set Up:

1. Know the theme you’ll use each day you post. Don’t choose 5 topics that each require a lot of research. Balance is key. Choose 1 that reflects your writing, or at least relates to it. Choose 1 that is all you–your voice, your interests. Choose 1 that is easy and/or fun…links, videos, photos, music. See the sample calendar below.

2. Brainstorm daily topics for those themes. Use key words as prompts to come up with ideas then form a question for the keyword. For example–Keyword: showing love; Question: how many ways do you show you love someone? Pull together a month’s worth of topics from your keyword/question exercise.

3. Write them on a large calendar (desk calendar, or choose one online to use) assigning each one to a posting date. Try to stick to that schedule. Sometimes something else comes up and you have to make a change, but don’t let that throw you off.  Adjust the schedule. When you’ve written a post complete with photos and links and scheduled it for the correct calendar date, check it off and mark it DONE.

4. If you’re a romance writer and you’re participating in ROW80, for example, your schedule could look like this. Sunday’s ROW80 post should take no more than half an hour to write. Monday’s post requires some research and may take several hours depending on the depth of the subject. Wednesday’s post is just for fun and will take only 30-45 minutes. Friday’s post is all you-your thoughts, a topic you know well and should only take you 60-90 minutes to write.

Sun

ROW80       1

Mon

Book review      2

Tues

3

Wed

Inspiring quotes   4

Thurs

5

Fri

Romantic gestures  6

Sat

7

ROW80       8 Writing tips       9 10 Funny videos      11 12 Love & marriage    13 14
ROW80     15 Novel Excerpt  16 17 Favorite music    18 19 How to findMr. Right                20 21
ROW80     22 Book review    23 24 Photo gallery      25 26 The perfect date     27 28
ROW80     29 Self-pub tips   30

Blog Faster:

1. If you’re writing 5 or more posts a week now, consider cutting back to 3-4, or less. When I was writing a minimum of 5 posts a week, my closest girlfriend-the only one who would be totally honest with me- said she couldn’t keep up with reading all of them. If some of my posts are just being skimmed or not read at all, why am I stressing out about writing so often. Consistency is more important than frequency.

2. Create a short outline for your longer posts  so you don’t get stuck and waste time. Even a blog post has a beginning, a middle and an end.

3. Write the first draft of your longer posts fast…10-15 minutes, tops. Free writing helps you get your voice in the post. It will be easy to go back and revise later. If you find you just can’t get going on a particular topic, dump it. Don’t waste time trying to put together something that you just don’t care about.

4. Write efficiently. (Based on posting 3 times a week) 1 week before the new month begins, write all the posts for the 1st week. During week #1, create all the easy posts and one more for the coming week. This means you only have one post left to writer for week 2. It pumps you up because you can see all those dates checked off. feel proud. In week #2 write the remaining 1 post for that week and 2 for week #3.

Three weeks of posts DONE. In week #3, write the remaining 2 posts for week #4. The month is complete and you have week #4 free to get ahead on the coming month.

Blog Better:

1. Most importantly, make sure your post content either informs, educates or entertains your readers. Obviously you want to write what will interest your readers. Write in your natural voice as if you are having a conversation with your reader. Readers want to get to know the writer and feel as though there is a connection. When they feel that, they come back over and over again.

2. Be a Link Queen…add links to your previously published posts that relate in some way to the new one. Try to incorporate a link to another bloggers post that relates to yours.

3. Headlines are the first important part of your post. They should be SEO friendly, as well as, make a reader feel they can’t resist reading your post. Lists, how-tos, shocking news, ‘do this before this happens’ are some of the most powerful. Take a lesson from the brilliant Chuck Wendig. He has a list of 25 things on several different topics and a huge readership.

4. Make sure your tags are also SEO friendly and that you use them carefully. They should tell the story of your post. Read this post at BlogSuccessJournal for a great explanation of tags–what to do and what not to do.

What blogging tips do you have to share? What part of blogging is tough for you? Don’t forget to share how your ROW80 goals are shaping up!

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35 thoughts on “ROW80 – Sailing Along And Blog Better and Faster

  1. Hi Marcia, saw your guest post on Uni-Verse-City and wanted to check out your blog – very nice! Great post on blogging tips. I’ll need to get down to business and become the link queen on my own blog. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  2. great post on blogging tips – hhave begun to write a list of topics it’s getting ahead I find the most difficult but am keeping up so that’s a start:) – have a fancy to try tibbre been following cowbell on that – anyway all the best

    • Thanks, Alberta. Sounds like you’re off to a great start! Triberr is going through some growing pains right now, but I think it will be an excellent way to streamline some of your social media obligations an gain new followers. Good luck with it all and thanks for coming by!

  3. Pingback: Sunday Summary & #ROW80 « Raelyn Barclay

  4. Great job Marcia. You’re kicking some serious butt. I love it! Thank you, thank you for an inside look at your blogging schedule and all the terrific tips. I can use all the help I can get to be more efficient and to write better, faster. Inspiring post all the way around 🙂

  5. Love the blogging schedule sample. I also started doing this this year and I just bought myself a calendar, the old fashioned paper type because I like them better. 🙂 great week and thanks for the blogging tips!

    • Been working on my blogging skills for about 7 years now…whether you like it or not, after all that time you do end up being more organized than not. Haha. I hope the ideas help, Karen. Thanks!

  6. You are amazing, Marcia and a great inspiration to all of us at Row.

    I love the blogging tips. I’m overwhelmed with all the social media thing and feel like slowly pulling out. I know I need my platform but even cutting down to one post a week plus one Row80 update takes way too much time from my writing schedule. Having young school-age children at home doesn’t help either. But I will try to incorporate some of your tips 🙂 Thank you for sharing them.

    Have a fabulous week.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Angela. I’m sorry you’re feeling so overwhelmed. Social media can be a curse on your schedule. I would eliminate ROW80 and anything else that’s getting in the way. Blog once a week, or every other week, on a topic that’s easy for your to write and your readers will enjoy. It should reflect you and your writing. Maybe post excerpts of your story. Take care of your social media obligations once a week (commenting, conversational tweets, etc.) and hit Triberr for 10 minutes every morning.
      Your blog and the consistency of it is important to hang onto. Best-selling author John Locke only posts once a month and it’s a meaningful post relating to the them of his writing. Here’s a link to is ebook on how he does it: http://amzn.to/xpJeSo
      Keep working at it!

  7. Whoohooo! Congrats on the great week, Marcia! Your blogging tips are awesome. I just started keeping a calendar and it takes so much of the stress away. I look at a week, know what I’m going to post and get to it. No more worrying over what to blog about. And, I’ve got posts scheduled out to March. Who knew! I love your idea of writing two posts the week before. I usually write all my posts for the week on Sunday, but I think I like the flexibility of the week before, that way if something comes up, I’m covered.

    • I love being ahead of schedule. Who doesn’t have crazy things pop into their well-planned schedule nearly every week? With the LLC I can’t afford to get behind or caught unprepared. Glad it’s working so well for you! And planned til March is awesome! Way to go!

  8. Great work with your goals Marcia! I love your blogging break down. I try to blog ahead but haven’t really created a plan like this…definitely going to give it a go 🙂

    And thank you for your amazing support the last couple weeks. I really appreciate it.

    • We all have those weeks, Raelyn. If we don’t support each other, who will? 🙂 You’ve been very supportive of me and I do appreciate that, too. Good luck with planning your blogging. It really does take the pressure off.

  9. Girl you are rocking the ROW80! I love how you put your summary in pink – I may have to borrow that – it’s fahhhbulous!
    LOVE the blog tips and sample editorial calendar. GREAT stuff and I’m definitely going to put it to use. This week especially I started talking to different bloggers about guest posting etc and I was JUST thinking I need a large desktop calendar to keep track of important dates and deadlines. Thank you!
    Shaking pompoms wildly!

    • Oh cool, guest posts are fun and make your day easier. Plus they can bring new folks to your blog. Good luck with it. The calendar is just the ticket to keep it all straight.
      Thanks for the encouragement on the goals!

  10. Marcia you’re blogging tips are so helpful. I agree with you about consistency being more important than frequency, but consistency remains a problem for me. 🙂 I’m really mining a lot of gold out of your tips. Thanks for taking the time to share your process.

    And. . . . congrats on a fantastic Row80 week! Your energy is contagious.

    • Glad they help, Bridgette. The key to consistency is always being ahead. if you can get yourself 4-5 blogs written ahead, then all you have to do is write a couple each week. You’ll have your posts scheduled ahead of time and never miss one.
      🙂

  11. I am blown away by your efficiency. You wouldn’t think one blog a week would be tough to do, but, for me anyway, it can be. Thanks for your suggestions. I’m trying out the calendar.

    • Thanks for the nice thoughts, Diana. All of us have different levels of chaos in our lives, so don’t be too hard on yourself. I’ll bet you’re getting more writing done than I. The calendar may help. I like being able to see my progress on getting ahead, so I’m never stuck for a post. That takes a lot of pressure off. Good luck with it!

  12. Way to go with your Health Challenge, Marcia. You must be tickled pink with your progress. Thanks for the blogging tips. I only write one regular post a week. I find it so difficult to write that second post…haven’t managed to do that consistently yet, but I’ll keep trying. 🙂

    • We all have to do what works for us, Jolyse. You consistently write every week and your readers know to expect your post on that day. Consistency is more important than frequency, in my opinion.
      I am happy with my progress, but ecstatic about the fact that I have the right mindset now. For me, the mindset comes when it’s ready and not before–like it has a life of its own. 🙂

  13. Congrats on your goals! That’s amazing! You sound so energized!

    Thanks for the blogging tips. I’ve been struggling to get my proverbial sh** together instead of being so hit or miss so I will definitely be trying some of these out. I like the calendar, I don’t know why I never thought about making a chart with some notes. *face palm* Forest for the trees, I guess!

    • No worries, Callene. There is always someone ‘out there’ who has a simple idea that hadn’t crossed our minds. The good thing is that we all are willing to share our ‘secrets’ to help each other.
      Thanks for the encouragement!

  14. Awesome job on your goals, Marcia. I’m right behind you, two walks to go and three days (including today), it’s in the bag, so to speak.

    Awesome tips for blogging. I do the majority of those but haven’t paid much attention to SEO. Something I’ll be taking a deeper look at now, thanks.

    Have a super week, friend 🙂

    • I’m so proud of both of us, Gene! I couldn’t have done without you…getting it kicked off is the toughest part, but now I’m ready to keep it up alone or with partners! If you’re willing to give it another go, maybe choosing a different goal this time, I’m all in!

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