Being a writer is often a thankless job right off the bat. If you’ve got some talent, you will get a bit of attention, some praise and eventually you’ll write a bit more. This encouragement then gives way to the crazy desire of “Starting a blog”.
You’ll never know why you thought of it. Maybe one of your friends said, “Hey, why don’t you start a blog?” Maybe you read the benefits of starting a blog. But you eventually end up starting one, because hey, why not?
So there you are, 3 months down the line having a blog with 20 random posts and very few readers and asking yourself, “Why did I do this?”
New bloggers are often pulled in by the promise of a space on the internet to share their thoughts. But blogging presents a whole bunch of challenges and obstacles.
The challenges of blogging regularly
Lack of self-motivation
Nobody thinks about the days when they’ll have zero motivation to write. But they are there. Writing alone can get monotonous after a while and it’s difficult to summon up the inspiration and motivation to write every single day.
Lack of new readers
The lack of new readers indirectly means lack of new perspectives. Without those, you can’t think up new ideas that could potentially turn into stories or articles.
Setting up a “xyz.wordpress.com” blog is super easy. It doesn’t require any technical skills and you can have a decent blog running in five minutes. The problem with that is, you don’t own it. If you did, you could possibly monetize it and build a strong brand for your community or for yourself online.
It’s easy to put things off for later
With blogging, and with writing in general, there’s a feeling of ‘I can get back to it anytime’. This is true for a lot of other things, from exercising regularly to eating healthy.
School, college, work, projects, family, friends; everything takes up a large amount of time. When is one supposed to find time to sit down and write?
Truth be told, unless you’re serious about blogging and have a vision for where you want to take your blog, you’ll lock yourself up in an ecosystem of your own ideas and thoughts with little room for expansion. Often times, you’ll be writing for no one and that can get lonesome.
Before we dive into how we can overcome the challenges of blogging regularly, I want to discuss a popular statement that many new bloggers tend to make:
The flawed counter-argument
“I don’t care about readers. This blog is just to put my thoughts out there.”
I cringe when I hear this, especially when the person in question is actively looking to become a writer. Let’s get one thing very clear. If it’s a blog, it’s meant to be read by others. Otherwise, it’s just a journal.
This is an excerpt from Stephen King’s book, “On Writing”:
Gould said something else that was interesting on the day I turned in my first two pieces: write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you … but then it goes out.
Of course, we all agree with what our brains have to tell us. But as a writer, if you cannot write so that someone understands, you’re just validating your own beliefs, and that is bad. There’s no challenge or motivation to be better and it will hamper your development as a writer.
During this process, you will also put many articles into the trash because they’re not relevant or ready for the world to see. That is absolutely fine. Your blog post should be your best version of an idea. If it’s not, then you shouldn’t publish it.
Now that we have firmly decided that we’ll be writing because we want relevant readers to read it, let’s get down to solving the challenges of blogging regularly.
Overcoming the challenges of blogging regularly
To be able to tame this monster, you need to start dumping all your ideas, good and bad into an app or a notebook. This article guides you through the process of writing so you don’t run out of ideas when you feel like writing. Using Writing Prompts can be very helpful to get your creative juices flowing too. We have a page on Writing Prompts that you can check out here. We keep adding prompts to it, so you can bookmark it and come back to check new additions every once in a while.
Getting new readers
For a casual blogger, expanding beyond the standard Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter riot is difficult. It can take over 8 hours of weekly marketing to gain even a few new readers. The difficult part isn’t getting people to see your link. The difficult part is getting the right people to do so.
There are content discovery apps like Reddit, Pinterest, Flipboard, StumbleUpon, and Digg. Of these, my personal favorite is Flipboard and you should definitely give it a try. If your content is worth a read, Flipboard will allow readers to discover your blog. If you are a graphic designer, Pinterest will more than help you secure the right readers and give you the scope to expand even further.
List building is another important aspect of getting your new readers to stay on your blog for longer. You can collect email addresses and send the occasional newsletter to keep your readers updated with interesting information about your latest posts. Just make sure you don’t overdo it though.
Getting past technical difficulties
If you have experience with coding or with developing websites, even at a primitive level, you should be able to get past this problem with relative ease. If you don’t, you could consider asking a friend who codes or hire a web developer.
WordPress.org is pretty easy to set up as long as you’re willing to spend some time learning. With some effort, and around a week of work, you can have a decent, self-hosted blog running for as cheap as Rs.300/mo or $5/mo.
The important thing to remember is that getting past technical difficulties is an iterative process. You might feel like something is difficult today, but you’ll find it super easy once you look back upon it. You can check out a guide to starting your own blog here.
Fighting the procrastination bug
There are so many articles on procrastination out there that the world really doesn’t need one more unless it’s the ultimate solution. What I can tell you though, is keeping off social media and writing distraction-free for one hour every day should help you immensely. That’s the simplest and most straightforward way I know to avoid putting off writing.
Swimming against life
You can’t escape your schedule or your responsibilities. How should you write regularly then? You need to remember that ideas come cheap, but good ideas are rare. Every time an idea strikes, you have to write down the major points that come to your mind. Expanding it can come later!
Don’t think of writing as something external to your everyday life. Make it an integral part of your life. Set aside time for it, flow into it, spend entire nights writing whatever comes to your mind, and perhaps, you will fall in love with writing, if you haven’t already.
A better, more robust solution to many of the challenges of blogging is to write as a community. That way, you overcome challenges like getting new readers or dealing with technical issues. The editors and owners take care of all that stuff so you can focus only on the writing part.
That is what we’ve done at the Coffee Writers Blog. With interesting contributions from various authors, it eventually becomes possible to have a regular blog with growing readers. It also provides writers with the much-required motivation to write and helps them evolve faster. Anybody with a story to tell can submit a post on the blog. You can check out the Submit page for guidelines.
Most people fail to live up to the challenges of blogging regularly. There are so many inactive blogs on the internet, just waiting for a spark of inspiration or a community to make it lively again. If you can cheer up another blogger by commenting constructively on their post, or just telling them how you liked their style of writing, you will give them the much-needed motivation to continue writing.
Putting our thoughts out there is great, but adding to someone’s work and helping them improve can feel rewarding too.
Do you have your own blog? Tell us about it in the comments below and feel free to add to the challenges you’ve faced as a blogger!