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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.

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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