Most of you know that I do career coaching, mostly for technical and marketing executives. I had an interesting conversation recently during one such coaching session, when my client expressed a deep need to publicize her expertise but lamented her inability to maintain her blog. She gave me an entirely believable and reasonable reason for her lack of recent posts: “I am too busy with my clients to post.” But while believable and reasonable, my client wasn’t thinking clearly about her choices. First off, nobody actually has any more time than anyone else. We each get 24 hours in the day and we all get to choose how to use them. So, if a blog post is really more important in the long run than spending an extra hour on client work, you should be able to make that happen.
But, as a consultant myself, I totally understand the calculation that billable time is almost always more important than non-billable time, so I can sympathize with always prioritizing client work over blogging. What my client needed was a way to blog more efficiently.
So, I started by asking her a question about how much time blogging takes: “Which takes more time, the actual writing or the process of coming up with the idea?” She thought a minute, concluding that coming up with the idea was the tough part. She said she could write post in 30 minutes or less once she had a solid idea, but she had writer’s block when she had to write a post with no idea.
What she needed was a new process for coming up with ideas. So, I gave her one suggestion for a new process, that she write down every good question a client asks her. Answering each question is a potential blog post. In fact, when she is spending the most time with clients is when she should be surrounded with ideas for posts. The problem isn’t the lack of ideas, but rather that she hasn’t organized herself to write down those ideas when they are most plentiful.
Once you have a system for capturing ideas, the blog posts are far easier to do. It usually isn’t lack of time that prevents blogging, but our understandable avoidance of that excruciating pain of trying to come up with an idea from nothing. Most people don’t generate ideas on demand, while they sit and contemplate.
If you’ve been struggling to maintain your blog, perhaps this system might work for you. It works for me. That’s how I got this post. I wrote down my client’s question when she asked it, weeks ago. Then today, when I needed to write, I went through my list of ideas and this one seemed the one I could knock out most comfortably.