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How To Force Yourself To Start Blogging

How To Force Yourself To Start Blogging

At this point, most people know the many benefits of blogging. To explain briefly: the process of writing helps you think, the content you create can promote your brand and expertise, a blog is a great way to stay in touch with people and meet new people, and lastly, there are several ways to monetize a blog.

Some of the most common questions I get, and challenges I hear people having, are around simply how to start blogging. Below is my best advice for forcing yourself to start creating content.

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Forming the habit

There are many tactics for forming habits that have been written about previously. Getting into the habit of blogging was very hard for me, but now that it’s a regular practice, blogging has become much easier. Below are some of my favorite habit-forming tactics as they pertain to blogging.

Start Small

Small habits can lead to bigger habits. Starting with shorter, more frequent blog posts can help you get in to the practice of blogging. Writing a small, even just 100 word, post can help you get over the hardest part of blogging: getting started. From there you can build some momentum to start tackling more ambitious posts. Starting with a long post first can be intimidating. Starting small lowers the barrier to getting started.

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Set goals

Setting specific and realistic goals can be motivational and force accountability. If you’ve committed to yourself to write a certain number of blog posts or words within a given period of time you will feel inclined to do so. I like to set goals on a weekly basis. Reaching the goals can bring confidence, and therefore more motivation.

Find the time that’s best for you

Different people feel more able to focus on writing at different times. Experiment to see which times are most conducive to writing for you. Maybe while you’re walking or driving to work you can record yourself talking about a topic that you can later transcribe. I personally like to write on weeknights and weekend afternoons.

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What to write about

Questions

What are the most common questions you get asked? Many people find it easier to write or speak when they’re prompted to do so. Think about questions you’ve been asked in interviews or meetings, and answer them in a blog post. Think about great answers you’ve had to questions, and write it as a blog post. Browse Quora for questions on the topic you want to write about. Answer those questions as blog posts. By starting with a question, you also know there’s demand for that kind of content.

Your expertise

Even if it’s not earth-shatteringly unique content, write about what you know best. While you may take your skills for granted, someone with no experience in the field would probably find it extremely informative. Write How to [whatever you did today]. If you created a prospect list, write How to Create a Prospect List. If you cold-called, write How to Start a Sales Call.

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Your opinion on controversial topics

Most people have topics, stories, or issues that they’re passionate about or have opinions on. Comment on a article you enjoyed reading recently. You could even re-write it in your own words. Read other blogs to get an idea for how others write.

How to actually start writing

Write what comes to mind

There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor. Write down the first thoughts on the topic that come to mind. Write an outline and then fill in the blanks. Remove all filters to help you get started.

Write immediately

When you think of an idea for a post, write it immediately. Previously, when I would think of an idea, I would simply make a note of it on my phone or to-do list. This often resulted in forgetting what I actually wanted to write, or simply losing interest in the topic. Now when I think of an idea for a post, I write as much as I can of the post right away. It helps me to write while it’s top of mind, and reduces filtering.

Write the conclusion first

Write the conclusion, which is everything you want the reader to walk away with, in a short and straightforward way. This will help you determine what you need to include in the post. Sometimes the conclusion becomes my opening paragraph. Sometimes I break up the sentences in the conclusion across the post. Writing the conclusion first is a quick and easy way to get your main points down and focus the rest of the post.

More by this author

Mike Fishbein

Mike is an enterpreneur and digital marketing leader.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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