Archive for May, 2006

Discipline in the Writer’s (or Bloggers) Life

Duncan Riley has a simple plan to be an effective blogger. In his article “Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers” he states that discipline is the key to effectiveness.

The key of course to being a highly effective blogger is discipline, and discipline required structure. Structure of course leads to habit, and habit is a natural tool that can make anyone more effective if its focused in the right direction.

He goes on to list three steps to his idea of becoming an effective blogger:

1. Have a Daily Plan

2. Repeat it daily

3. Don’t be afraid to change your plan.

Of course, he elaborates on these three steps in his article, but this is the bare bones of what he is saying. And it makes a lot of sense. In my writing and blogging I find that I get so easily distracted and jump from one task to another without giving anything top priority. Another good article on this can be found on my son’s blog where he uses the picture of trying to juggle too many balls at the same time.

Not only am I trying to establish myself as a blogger – and I have three blogs I try to post to daily – I am also trying to break into the print publishing world of children’s books and magazines. All that takes discipline and a solid plan.

I am developing the discipline but the plan is not yet solid – more of a blob of jelly at present.

10 Principles of Highly Effective Blogging – and writing?

Darren McLaughlin responded to Darren Rowse’s group writing project on ProBlogger with an interesting article where he listed his 10 Principles of Highly Effective Blogging. This is a very interesting and thought provoking article and well worth reading.

His #1 point is very relevant to both bloggers and to writers.

1. Have patience and be systematic in your approach to blogging. Bloggers don’t generally rocket to the top based on one post. Many bloggers who are extremely successful have been posting for 3, 5, or even 10 years! You better believe their current status is hard earned and you won’t get a free ticket to the top. Be patient, but never back down.

Successful bloggers – and successful writers – know that they in it for the long haul. Sure, there have been a handful highly successful bloggers – and writers – who seem to rocket into the number one position or the top of the Best Seller Charts overnight. A look behind the glitz and glamour and magazine cover articles and you will discover a hard worker, someone who has worked at their craft for many hours over many days throughout many years.

The old cliche is so true: Success only comes before work in the dictionary.

To reach the top in any endeavour takes some talent, plenty of practice, much training and a mountain of patience, no matter what field you talk about. Why should writing – or blogging – be any different?

7 Habits of Highly Effective Blogs

Over fifteen years ago I read Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Subsequently I read his follow-up books “First Things First” and “Principle Centred Leadership.” To say that these books transformed my life is perhaps a little melodramatic, but they did have an enormous impact upon me, the way I see myself and my approach to life.

In the spirit of the original “7 Habits” book, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger recently challenged his readers to submit their list of the “Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers.” This concept also applies to writers. What are the habits characteristic of a good, effective blogger, writer or whatever?

One of the first to respond was Kami Huyse and American communicator who works in public relations. She lifted her habits straight from Covey’s book, elaborating on each on as she saw its relevance to her work, including blogging. Her seventh point is most relevant to me.

7. Renew yourself. You don’t have much to offer if all you do is sit in front of a computer. We all need to renew in the areas of physical health, social networks, spiritual renewal and mental improvement. When you do this you have something new and interesting to bring to the conversation.

My main blog (one of three) is about birding (see Trevor’s Birding). I could sit in front of the computer all day and have nothing relevant to write about in my blog. I must get out there in the field and actually go watching real, live birds in order to have something relevant, interesting and hopefully readable to write about. This has the added benefit of getting out in the beautiful Australian bush, a sure way to blow out all those cob webs in the brain. I can then come back refreshed, renewed and inspired to write.

Good Blogging Habits

Here is another blogger who has responded to Darren Rowse’s challenge on ProBlogger to list the habits of highly effective bloggers. This writer has made two lists, one called “What Works for Me” and the other (surprise, surprise) “What doesn’t work for me.”

Goal Setting
The author lists at #6 the setting of goals to keep one on track with blogging. I find this is crucial in all aspects of my writing, whether it is for publication in the traditional print world or whether it is for the blogosphere. (I currently write on three blogs – see the links section for Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels.)

Daily Goals

I try to keep daily goals of a minimum number of words written and hours spent writing, or reading about and researching my topics. These I chart and graph – it keeps a firm picture in front of me as to how I am going. I also try to post on each of my blogs daily, as well as keep up with other writing projects.

Weekly, Monthly and Annual Goals

I also have weekly, monthly and annual goals to keep me on track achieving what I have set out to in the world of writing. This keeps me honest with myself because I do not have a boss hovering over me seeing that I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing!

I know that goal setting is not for everyone, but it works for me. That’s the key – find something that works for you – and use it for all it’s worth.

Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers (and Writers)

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger had a group writing project going recently. He challenged the readers of his regular newsletter on Blogging to submit their top habits of highly effective bloggers. The resulting posts show some common threads amongst his readers, but also an amazing variety of approaches and perspectives. If you are at all serious about blogging, to the point of committing to becoming a “ProBlogger” (professional blogger), then you need to read Darren’s article at the very least. There are now dozens of other bloggers who have contributed their lists and comments on effective blogging (read their articles here).

Daunting Challenge
I came to the challenge feeling that I did not have much to contribute. This blog about books, writing and the writer’s life has only been going for about three months. Despite that, it is generating pleasing traffic on a daily basis. In comparison, my other blogs, Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels are generating a wide readership with many hits every day – and growing rapidly.

Effective Blogging Habits
On that basis, and because my birding blog has been up and running now for about nine months, I decided to contribute. On reflection, the article I have written is applicable to many writing situations. I hope that the habits I have highlighted will help other writers in developing highly effective writing habits.

To read my article called “Some Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers” click here.