Just do it-blog edition
August 12, 2012 1:10 PM   Subscribe

How do I get into the mindset of blogging?

I have a blog, for the choir I conduct. While facebook and a friend's blog are the primary ways in which the choir gets the word out to people about concerts and upcoming activities, I'd like the blog to become sort of a website for the choir.

So, when it's time to announce a concert, it's easy to do and life is good. But in the inbetween times, I feel I should also be posting to the blog to keep it fresh.

My problem? The minute I go to create a post, I go tongue tied. I overthink and self-edit to the point where I basically have nothing to say (this happens to me on Metafilter too, btw). The complication is that life is crazy busy, and I don't often have hours to spend crafting and perfecting a post.

Mefites, do any of you experience this? What tips or tricks can you suggest to get myself out of my own brain and just do it?
posted by LN to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Write whenever you think of something, and not (necessarily) as a draft on the blog itself, but scribble it on a piece of paper or write an email to yourself. Then you'll have some ideas, phrases, etc in place when you go to write an actual post.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:13 PM on August 12, 2012

For the ideas: I have Evernote on all my computers, where I keep a collection of thoughts, news articles I wanted to think about or save for reference later, and other bits and bobs that I'd want to elaborate on some day. Evernote syncs everything, so it's always current on whatever machine I'm working on.

For the posting: Give yourself a limited number of revision passes. I do, roughly speaking: Rough draft, rewrite, small revisions like spelling and grammar, final pass for any last things, and then it's done. I push the button and it goes out. Period, end of story, no sense thinking about it anymore, it's done.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:16 PM on August 12, 2012

Do you hold/attend regular rehearsals? Just say how they went. Talk about the songs you're singing, what the conductor has to say about a piece, what it's like to be a soprano on a really difficult song, etc.

If you can't think of something, Skype one of the choir members and interview them. How did you join the choir? What's your favorite song? Etc.
posted by xingcat at 1:17 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and also, if you have a regular posting schedule, then you HAVE to write something, it can't just be up to getting inspired or whatever. If you plan out the next few weeks of what you're going to post about on which day, then you give yourself both time to think of what to write and a deadline for when you have to do it.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:18 PM on August 12, 2012

Blogging isn't for everyone. Blogspot is littered with blogs which have two or three posts and then went dormant, started by people who wanted to get involved, and who discovered it wasn't for them.

If you really can't do this, maybe you should get someone else in the choir to do it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:32 PM on August 12, 2012

Every time I have an idea for a post, I start it. I use the idea as the title and then add any URLs or whatever made me think of that idea for a post, and save it as a DRAFT until I have time to come back and flesh it out.

I also book time in my weekly calendar to write posts. Having the ideas already set up is great for me; during the time I've blocked out for writing, I just choose the 1 or 2 drafts that look most interesting at the moment and bang them out.
posted by deliciae at 2:02 PM on August 12, 2012

This is a common problem in the fields of creativity and innovation: you are trying to do creative work without any structure, planning or boundaries. You would think this would allow you to freely create great stuff but you end up being stressed, working randomly and creating stuff of uneven quality.

Begin by structuring your creative output. Decide what stuff you want to create and how often you should create it on a weekly/monthly basis. For example, you might decide that regardless of how often you write a concert announcement post, you should post a choir related photo or video per week. This allows you to structure your work because if you must publish the posts on Friday - and you like the weekend of - you have five days to research, create, edit and publish your work. Now you have a structure and schedule to stick to.

When creating content, try to find a balance between high and low maintenance work. Your high maintenance posts could be published once a month while your low maintenance could be published on a weekly or daily basis. This setup allows you to keep things fun and fast and create a space where you have time and resources to create more demanding work.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:27 PM on August 12, 2012 [11 favorites]

Stop being so worried about being perfect with what you say. Often the best blogs are the ones which are the most conversational rather than the most formal. Establish a tone for your blog which is chatty and informative and you'll find it's less of a burden to make the perfect post.

I agree that establishing a schedule for posting and sticking to it is a good way to motivate yourself toward actually making a post. I also think that deliciae has the perfect approach for what you want to do -- making some form of notes for yourself and then setting aside time to go through those notes and flesh them out into actual posts is a great idea.

Overall, I think what's important to realize is that, where this choir is concerned, you are truly on the inside crowd. You need to view the audience for the blog as being interested outsiders. If you know something interesting about what you're singing, or venues you're performing in, or individual members, or whatever, use the blog to share those things. Don't ever think a tidbit is too small to share. Someone somewhere reading that blog won't have encountered that information before.

Personally, I prefer blogs which refer to source materials, so even if all you're posting is a "hey, this link is interesting" kind of thing, that will serve to keep the blog fresh for the time being. Not everything you put there has to be original to you -- sometimes blogging is as simple as the equivalent of retweeting (or for that matter, a single link MeFi FPP.)
posted by hippybear at 2:45 PM on August 12, 2012

Photos, photos, photos! Posts don't have to be long or dense (short is better, 150-300 words is great.

For this kind of thing, a photo of a rehearsal with a few lines on how it's going I think would be entirely appropriate.
posted by kylej at 3:08 PM on August 12, 2012

Topics! Think about all sorts of different topics about your choir, the music, the place where your choir performs. Anything related to the choir can be fodder for excellent blog posts. Think about whatever someone who likes the choir might be interested in or curious about.

I'll echo what Foci for Analysis said above: Structure can really help. Let's say you post once a week every week (regularly scheduled updates are a great way to keep people's interest): Post trivia about the venue on the first week of each month. Post a choir member spotlight on the second week. Post info about one of the songs you're working on for your next performance in the third week. Post a behind-the-scenes type article on the 4th week. And if there's a fifth week that month, post something random.

Structure helps you, the writer, but it also helps readers.
posted by 2oh1 at 3:56 PM on August 12, 2012

Farm it out. You have how many people in the choir? Get each of them to contribute one entry. So once a week, you have the thoughts and experience of performer in your choir up on your blog, maybe with pictures, maybe not. Each member has to do one.

Each of these people will undoubtedly tell their own social media contacts about the post when it goes up. Yay, exposure!

From their input, you will be able to discern ongoing topics or interests that you can then follow up on in your own posts.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:10 PM on August 12, 2012

Make a list of 7 - 10 things to blog about. Write a draft, and edit it down to a short post, ideally with a picture or a link to another site of interest. I think you have "trouble getting started" and practice is the way to overcome it.
posted by theora55 at 4:38 PM on August 12, 2012

When I was starting my blog, a good friend of mine, who'd been doing it for some time, said, "The secret to blogging is to have low standards," and he was right. A blog with imperfect posts is a lot better than a blog with no posts.
posted by escabeche at 6:44 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your responses, everyone. Xingcat's post about songs we're singing got me off my duff and blogging. (with the permission of the mods) Here's proof.
posted by LN at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2012

« Older What's wrong with my grape vine?   |   If you speak Icelandic, please read! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.