We often hear bloggers say how fun blogging is.

We also hear them say,”it takes up a lot of time”.

Blogging for some is their passion, whereas for others, it’s their job.

And those with blogging in their blood, feel they could do it forever.

But, will they?

Today’s Lesson

In 2008 I had the pleasure of interviewing a blogger who has been blogging and involved in blogoshpere since 1994. The blogger is Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle On WordPress, and one of the questions I asked was:

New bloggers are often confused as to what’s the “right way” to blog. What do you feel are the most common errors bloggers make with their blogs and posts?

One of her answers was:

Failure to Plan

Too many blog because they think it’s fun, everyone is doing it, they have to, and their friends made them do it. They don’t think the process through. A blog is an investment in time, energy, and creativity. It requires participation – your participation not just by your readers. If you aren’t planning for the long haul, it shows. We know it. We’ll stop showing up. And so will you.

Lorelle raises a good point.

It’s easy to start a blog, and it’s easy to write, especially when we have dozens of ideas bursting to get out.

But…as time passes and the ideas begin to dry up, we begin to struggle with what to post next. We end up with writers block and soon are making excuses why we’re not publishing as often.

Granted, as we begin to get more traffic and comments and spend more time on social networking sites, more of our time is used up. However what may be happening is we didn’t have a long term plan.

I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this.

When I started blogging I didn’t know what to expect, nor did I know what to plan for. I set up a blog and just started publishing. But, as time went by, I began to realize there is a lot more to blogging than just writing and publishing. I also found if I don’t carve out enough time for blogging activities or have a long term plan, the future of my blog will be short.

Although there may not be a “right way” to blog, I do see what Lorelle is speaking of, “blogs where bloggers have stopped showing up”.

Was it because they forgot to plan? Or, is it something else?

Today’s Assignment

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Do you have a long term plan for your blog?

If not, how is what you’re doing working out?

Care to share?

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  1. This is so weird. I just wrote to a friend that today was the VERY FIRST TIME in three years of blogging that I had a post “in the can” for Monday publishing. I have always blogged by the seat of my pants. I like to call it “just in time” blogging.

    It mostly works for me because I feel like I write better when I’ve got an idea in my head that’s very fresh, usually something that I did or just happened to me. This is why I probably can’t get my book off the ground. I don’t have very good planning skills and I like to live on the edge a bit.

    But I do plan to keep blogging as long as my readers will have me and still find my material entertaining.

    p.s. Lorelle’s blog is excellent. I highly recommend it, especially for new bloggers. Extraordinarily helpful to me in the beginning.
    .-= Check out Junk Drawer Kathy´s awesome post: I Heart My Dyson =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kathy,

      I like how you worded that, “just in time” blogging. Although many do say it’s best to postdate posts, etc, I know what you’re saying about writing when ideas are fresh in your mind and it feels like NOW is the time to get it out.

  2. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    “Too many blog because they think it’s fun…”.

    Ummm….YEAH!! Isn’t that how it’s SUPPOSED to work?

    I didn’t’ realize, I was supposed to analyze everything, and make flow-charts, and take it all serious-like. :-)

    I plan nothing. I go with the flow. I have no idea what to I’m going to write about next.

    Of course, that’s probably breaking all the Official Blogging Rules.

    But it seems to be working for me for over 2 years now.

    And if it aint’ broke, I ain’t gonna fix it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      I don’t see anything wrong with blogging for fun. And anyone who has reads your blog can see you truly do enjoy doing what you’re doing. It’s reflected in your posts as well as you cartoons. I say, keep doing what you’re doing. Two years proves you’re on the right path. :)

  3. Sam LiuNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    One thing I have realised is that blogging takes up a lot more time than I thought it would. I can spend hours in the Blogosphere when I only meant to have a quick look at my updates. What with publishing your own content, reading other peoples, networking and all the other things that blogging entails, it can all be very consuming.

    But, I’ve learnt to deal with this and I now know when to say, okay, get off the computer now, Sam, go and have a coffee or something. As for a long term plan? I don’t really have one, I’m a believer in blogging without obligation. So, I’ll always read other’s people’s posts and add my small contribution in the comments section but, when it comes to my own blog, I publish when I feel inspired to publish or if I have something I want to say. I never publish because I feel I have to.

    Blogging, for me, is for fun, for meeting new, interesting people and for learning. So I don’t think a plan is imperative for this sort of blogger, but they should have some idea of where they want their blog to take them. However, for people who want to profit from blogging, a plan is essential. If you’re blogging for money, then blogging is your business and no business succeeds if it doesn’t have a business plan.
    .-= Check out Sam Liu´s awesome post: Bus Journey Reflections – A Poem =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sam,

      That’s true. When we start blogging we often don’t realize the time commitment that is required. Finding a balance between blogging and our personal life is often one of the biggest struggles a blogger encounters. Preparing for that is half the battle.

      I also agree. If we’re blogging for business or to make a profit, than it should be treated like any other business venture.

  4. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Boy if you don’t come up with the greatest blog topics and questions! I do know I’ve been to blogs with such a random posting schedule, highly personal in nature, and boy they didn’t last. When I first started my blog I saw the numbers of blogs out there (millions) – kind of intimidating – but when going thru directories and actually going to them, they hadn’t been active for months, sometimes years. Ashame they just don’t expire away from inactivity and disppear! I’m just sure they are polluting the atomosphere somewhere or other!

    I didnt have a great plan for my blog – just a promise to do it. I kept it eclectic theme wise so I would have complete freedom with topics – and it’s been both fun and at times demanding of my time.

    I am actually thinking long term plan at this point – after 1 1/2 years! While I cannot see me not writing, I can see changes coming. All TBA. Getting thru the summer with my current schedule will be more than a challenge!
    Hugs
    suZen
    .-= Check out suzen´s awesome post: How to handle Telemarketers – Funniest EVER video =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      Yes. There are a lot of blogs which are started, only to quickly become dormant. Even though it’s easy for us to feel intimidated by the number of blogs “out there”, like you said, if we start clicking on them, we soon realize how many aren’t being updated.

  5. Hi Barbara – I think it’s important to differentiate between business or personal blogging when one thinks about planning. If there’s no objective, there won’t be a plan, and that’s fine. If, though, you’re wanting to correlate your blogging with business objectives, it had better support them.

    “If you build it, they will come” is a nice sentiment. However, if you’re not satisfied with the number of people showing up, and you want to derive an income, even if it’s a supplementary one or a jumping off point to other revenue producing activities, you’re going to want to put together a blueprint.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Shakespeare at the Guthrie: Macbeth =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      Definitely. Just as Sam (previous comment) said, there is a difference between personal and business blogs. And as for making an income from a blog, like you said, to do so does require planning even if it’s just how to get more traffic.

  6. Despite turning blogging and social media into my new career, I still think that blogging does have an element of “fun” – especially personal blogging, and especially if you enjoy writing.
    .-= Check out vered | professional blogger´s awesome post: I Saw The Rose. And I Smiled. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Yes, Blogging can be continue to be fun even if we turn it into a business. How smart of you to keep your MomGrind blog as an outlet for those posts where you want to share your personal views.

  7. I do not have a very detailed plan on my blog. However, I do and try to keep an schedule and have a post drafted at least one week ahead. I do no longer blog for fun in my main, Spanish language, blog. Instead I’m trying to build up a following slowly hoping that someday, somehow I will be able to build a profit from it. Yet, I still need to work on that.
    .-= Check out Miguel de Luis´s awesome post: Consumiendo el planeta =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel,

      Keeping a schedule and your dream is a great way to stay motivated, knowing someday things may be different. With blogging it appears perseverance does pay off.

  8. Chania GirlNo Gravatar says:

    When I began blogging last April, I will totally admit that I had no true plan … probably because I had no idea what I was getting myself into! :) As a result, even though I dearly loved blogging and networking and commenting, etc., I had not planned for the time that would require, nor had I planned for how an upcoming move back to the States might affect all this.

    As you know, I took an unplanned five-month hiatus that started last October and only recently rejoined the blogging world. This time, I do know what I’ve gotten myself into … but I also know how much I can give.

    I am well aware that the time I can give (less than it used to be) may mean that my blog will grown more slowly (this tends to be how the ratio works). But if it means I keep my sanity and that blogging remains fun (and not a chore) then I reckon it’s worth the trade.

    Thank you, Barbara, for the thoughtful articles you continue to post and for the forum you give us bloggers to express our thoughts, concerns, and frustrations without bombarding our readers. You do a wonderful service. You’re tops!

    Have a great Sunday! :)
    .-= Check out Chania Girl´s awesome post: Looking for Zen in all the Wrong Places =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Chania Girl,

      That’s so true. When we start blogging we have no idea what we’re in for; with the time commitment being the largest. It sounds like your break away from blogging did you well. Now that you’re back, you’re aware of all blogging entails and have made the necessary adjustments. Smart!

      P.S. It’s great to have you back. :)

  9. Good food for thought. I’ve always blogged to niche my career coaching business. From the beginning Delightful Work has been all about serving those who want to make the leap to self-employment. So I think with a strong and definite purpose we can still fly by the seat of our pants. I can go months without checking stats and analytics and that’s okay for me.
    .-= Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s awesome post: When Doubt Is Good =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Tom,

      Adding a blog to a business niche is a great way to keep your clients up to date on what’s going on in your life And for you, your blog has become a stepping stone to your newest adventures, as well. Although you may not have planned to have it work out that way, it works very well.

  10. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I agree that there are a lot of abandoned blogs out there from either writers block or just letting go. I on the other hand have so much information to spread around that when the wall hits, maybe there will be an environment that is just wonderful. Until then, I will be writing as much as I can until it is no longer needed.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: At Risk Kids Inspired and Going Green! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I hear you. With the topic of your blog being “green”, as long as you’re enjoying blogging, you’ll have topics to share for a long time.

      Go green! :)

  11. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    Regarding: “blogs where bloggers have stopped showing up”.

    It could have nothing to do with planning. The answer might be simpler than we thought.

    - Maybe the author is just a crummy writer. (Has anyone been willing to admit that not every blogger is necessarily a Pulliltzer-Prize-winning genius?)

    - Maybe they’ve taken their little niche, and beaten the dead horse to death. And they’re unable to write about anything else.

    - Maybe the atmosphere of the blog has changed. For example, free-form fun discussions are now discouraged, and only opinions at that toe the party line are welcome.

    I’ve seen cases of all three. And it tends to drive readers away.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Good points Friar,

      And don’t forget to add those who think they can earn a gazillion dollars from a blog in a short period of time. 8)

  12. I have a long term outline for everything I do. Sometimes the short term goals within that outline are flying by the seat. ;)
    .-= Check out Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s awesome post: The Official DEDC Comment Policy =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dennis,

      I like how you put that. And, as we all know, even the best laid plans can go a rye.

  13. Great post, Barbara! Other than the days of the week I post (MWF, Sunday), I don’t usually have a plan when it comes to blogging. However, I’m making a big life change soon and realize that I now need to have a plan. This post was perfect for me. Thanks!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Dani,

      That’s a good point. When our life changes,so can our blogging schedules. Thinking about that in advance can help those speed bumps in life a little less rough.

  14. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Oh Barbara,

    I SO wish I could formulate and stick to a plan. Much like goal setting, it appears to not be in me blood. I guess I’ll have to fly by the seat of my kilt for a while longer.

    George
    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: Envelope, Please. And the Bee-YOU-T-Full Blogger Award Goes To… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      Only you would say that; “seat of my kilt”. :)

      Goals are tough for me, too. I get way too sidetracked.

  15. I’m guilty of not having a great plan. I do have a good plan to follow to pump out blog articles, but I rarely follow it. Maybe I’m a part-time blogger?

    I think this post has inspired me to really think about my blog and devise a plan on what I want to do with it (and how to do it).
    .-= Check out John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s awesome post: The Debate: Do You Update Older Posts or Leave Them Be? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John,

      Don’t you think it’s also that life gets in the way of those blogging plans? And, if we’re not blogging for business or to make money, other than having a long term vision of “still be blogging five years from now”, sometimes it hard to put what we want into specific words.

  16. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    I have NO plan… anymore. I AM flying by the seat of my pants, post to post. I’m thrilled though that yesterday I was able to write 3 posts. Until then, I had no drafts.

    I started with a plan in 2008 and all hell broke loose since then. Course, it’s almost been 2 years. I find myself comparing my blog to a child — it just needs room to grow and if I try too hard to fit it into one particular mold… well, I think that’s when my frustration surfaces… and when writer’s block rears its nasty head.

    I still love blogging! Still love writing. Sometimes I think about stopping… and then I don’t.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Are You With Relationship? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      I can see how it would be difficult to have a blogging plan, plus plans for your two businesses. They can tie together and you may pick up clients via your blog, but when business calls, that’s where your attention needs to be as that’s what pays thee bills.

  17. Hi Barbara,

    How do you continually write such relevant and interesting posts? You amaze me. :)

    Other than trying to post at least twice a week (on no particular day), I have no plan. Although, I must admit that I chose to start a blog for reasons that might be much different that most. I’m using writing to help my brain heal (and to meet others). So, it’s important for me to not put pressure on myself.

    That said, I’m hopeful someday I can grow JBN into something more than just a mental and social exercise by creating content that can help many others, too.

    Thanks, Barbara!
    .-= Check out Lori (JaneBeNimble)´s awesome post: What She Said =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Lori,

      I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit. Jane Be Nimble is already a blog which is helping others. Thus, I see what you’re doing as a win-win. To me, you’re on the right track. :)

      • LoriNo Gravatar says:

        Thanks, Barbara.
        Your kindness flows through your writing, posts, and comments. I love that about your site and YOU.
        Keep up the great work — and thanks for your kind words.
        ~xo

  18. No plan for me. I’ll write when something comes to mind. I have my favorite blogs in my bookmarks and stop by daily. Some of them update daily and others weekly. However, I’m more about quality than quantity. As for my own blog, I’ll randomly throw in a random fact post, which is fun to write since I learn new stuff.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Bounce House,

      Writing when something comes to mind is what a lot of bloggers do. That technique not only helps to keep blogging fun, but also takes pressure off of “having to post”.

  19. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I had no thought knowledge of the future when I started blogging .. except I thought my positive stories via letters could be developed into a stimulation tool for the elderly or ill, who needed extra input. I know that’s the case .. I just need to get to that point .. and have lots of ideas for the future – just need the space to do it.

    And this incorporates planning etc etc .. I will get there!

    Great post and thoughts .. and Lorelle sure is good – thanks for that cross reference .. have a great week – Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pevensey Castle, Normans Bay, smuggling and family remembrances … Part 1 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      Yes. Lorelle is great. If you go to her blog, she has tons of articles any WordPress blogger will find helpful.

      I remember you mentioning how you want to take your blog posts and do more with the. Although that will take time, I know once you’re done with your projects, they’ll be awesome.

  20. Hi Barbara,

    When I started blogging back in 2008, I had no plan. I was so clueless about blogging. I had no knowledge about stats, links, seo and everything else that came along with it.

    However, I learned as I went along and now that experience is paying off as I work on creating a new site.

    That said, I think it is best to just go with the flow, give your best as often as you can and you will know how to proceed. Life is a constant evolution and so we evolve as we experience things. So the same applies for blogging.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Spiritual Partnership =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia,

      You showing up and your comment reminded me of how it was your readers that lead you in a different direction than you had originally planned for your blog. And, I’m guessing something similar may be happening as you build your new site.

      P.S. I’m patiently waiting to see what you’ve been up to.

  21. Greg BlencoeNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    When it comes to planning, I’m a little bit of both.

    I have a pretty general long-term plan for my blog. But I stay flexible in case I’m led in a certain direction that feels better.

    I think it is quite difficult to know exactly how your blog is going to evolve. Therefore, I think flexibility is very important, because the blog might be a lot better if you change directions.

    Regarding writing individual posts, I don’t have a schedule because I have found that I really don’t like to feel pressure to write posts. I almost want the posts to write themselves. They are created inside of me and then I just have to write the words down on paper once I feel inspired enough.

    My main focus is on writing material that hopefully is really good. I would much rather not publish a post at all than publish something that is not good.

    And I’ve found that my posts are best when I am inspired to write them instead of feeling like I’m forced to do it.
    .-= Check out Greg Blencoe´s awesome post: How to get your ideal boyfriend/girlfriend =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Greg,

      I hear you. Long term plans (or visions) for a blog can be helpful to keep us on track, but in the short term, to echo what you said, it might be better to be flexible and let our blogs develop naturally.

      When I started blogging I thought one of my other blogs would be where I’d spend most of my time, but it was this one that started getting the traffic and comments. I would have never guessed since there are so many other blogging blogs out there.

  22. KimNo Gravatar says:

    Try as I might, I have never been able to come up with a plan for my personal blog that was effective. I found trying to force myself to post made it joyless and my writing suffered. So I suppose my plan is not to plan and only blog when I feel the urge. I don’t think my 3 fans are disappointed. :)
    .-= Check out Kim´s awesome post: Maternity Workout Clothes =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kim,

      That’s funny. “…my plan is not to plan…”. And based on the previous comments, the consensus is, with personal blogs, planning can easily stifle our creativity and take away the fun factor.

  23. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, great new topic. When I started blogging in September, I had no plan. I blog for fun, and I am still very much in the learning phase. I have specific posts for Mondays and Wednesdays. The rest are whatever comes up from just living life. When I started, I too, had no idea what blogging entailed, but I’ve learned a lot since I started reading here. I do write some posts ahead so I have something waiting in the wings. I’ve also found since taking up blogging that many times I find myself thinking in terms of a post, and I keep a running list of ideas. Since it is still evolving, the only semblance of a plan is to keep posting, practicing my writing skills and see where it leads me.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      There is a lot to learn in the beginning, isn’t there? That learning actually never stops, but I do think that’s one of the reasons blogging can be so joyful; we never get bored.

      I had to smile at what you said about thinking in terms of a post. The sign of a true blogger. :)

  24. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Too much life has been in my way so far in 2010 and it has left me more on the “seat of the pants’ routine then I have ever been in my life before…I was all plan and routine/ time management – routine and practice.

    I have been ordered to relax to heal….stop worrying …just be…

    I am finding this the hardest work I have ever done in my life.

    I thought I was building a career with blogging, but now I am in limbo…still writing and it gives me a format to my days and the week….

    I do get lost in my research more often…or reading…today the sunshine just caught my whole attention…
    Good idea sharing. thank you…
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: Another Alternative =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      Your story is a perfect example of how even when we do have plans, life may have other plans for us.

      If you’ve been ordered to relax, stop worrying and just be, I’m guessing that’s exactly what you need to heal. As you know, the blog will wait for you, as will your readers.

      I hope you’re feeling better real soon.

  25. Barbara,
    Visiting once again…and you caught my attention with this post. It’s like you were reading my mind. I worked all weekend on trying to determine where I want my blog to go. I don’t have the answer yet but what I can say is my attitude until recently has been to ‘see where this takes me kinda fly by the seat of my pants and wonder if anyone is really interested to know if I am thinking about this and should it really matter to me also’ to… well, not quite there yet.
    :)
    What I can tell you is there are about 9 paths my blog could take from where it is right now and all are promising if I want it to grow and become bigger. What I can also tell you is that, without some kind of plan or structure, it will not successfully get down any of those paths very smoothly.

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I am happy I dropped by tonight.
    Regards,
    Darren Sproat
    .-= Check out Darren Sproat´s awesome post: A Sunday Wish for You =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Darren,

      By the sounds of it, you’re blogging more for than just fun. I think when we stop to think about what we can do with our blog or what direction we can take it, the possibilities are only limited by our imagination.

      Knowing you can take your blog into 9 different directions shows me you’ve done a lot of analyzing. I do agree, if you’re looking to grow and/or change directions, some sort of planning is essential.

  26. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, great post. I have a site for new IMers and we offer a ‘blog review’. I have been astounded at the number of people who start a blog and let it fall by the wayside in just a few short months, someitmes even weeks. It does take time and commitment but I don’t have a plan at all. I like the freedom of no structure!

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Mandy,

      Yes. It is amazing how many blogs go into dormancy. In the past I was showcasing new blogs/bloggers and if I go through the list, (see a link in the sidebar – Featured Blogs From The Past), many have stopped updating. On the other hand, I’m happy to see how many of those bloggers are still going strong. :)

  27. HollyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara….

    I just stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for Sexy Toolbars…and I love it! Fabulous graphics design.

    Like everyone else….I have been undisciplined in my “planning” my blog. I am working hard to carve out an hour each morning before I begin work for any of my clients, to write for my own blog while I’m fresh. I understand the importance of being consistent… now I just need to get my butt moving in that direction!

    I still have so much to learn about the mechanics of building a great blog site…. as writing is my love and I really want to share my thoughts with others.

    Thanks for the education!
    Holly

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome Holly,

    I think you’re on the right track if you can set aside a certain amount of time for blogging. I know for me, that helps to keep me focused and on track. Although there will be interruptions, I find just having a tentative schedule is advantageous, plus I love to blog so it also gives me something to look forward to.

    As you’re probably finding out, there is a lot to learn about blogging. I’d suggest to just take your time and enjoy the journey. I’ve been at this for three years now and continue to learn daily. But…I also think that’s what keeps me blogging – it’s a continuous challenge, so I never get bored with it.

    I was just on your blog and enjoyed reading your latest post “Be Careful What You Ask For”. Great story with a fabulous message.

    Happy Blogging, Holly!

    I hope to see you again soon. :)

  29. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    > A blog is an investment in time, energy, and creativity.
    That is a beautiful perspective and really points out that it’s a trade-off against wherever else we could spend our time, energy, and creativity.

    I’m a fan of routines. Not because I like discipline, but because routines free you up. If I have a routine for something, I don’t waste my energy figuring out how to start from scratch every time. Instead, I can spend more energy creating or freeing myself up. Routines are perfect for efficiencies and growth.

    I think planning is a skill that anybody can learn. I think the value of a plan is that it helps you get clarity on what you want to accomplish, as well as explore paths to get there. Ideally, you can find the path that enjoy the most that gets the most impact from your time, energy, and creativity.
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: Those Moments When You are Most Alive =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      I like how you put that,

      I think the value of a plan is that it helps you get clarity on what you want to accomplish, as well as explore paths to get there.

      I’ve found by having a long term plan for blogging, it helps to keep me focused even though I know to be flexible on how to get “there”, as well.

  30. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    I did plan things a little.
    Initial plan:
    Get a good looking theme that can be used as a conventional website or blog (got mine from Elegant Themes).

    I’m heavilly involved in teaching Public Speaking and I’ve seen how scared people can be and how fast they can lose that fear and gain confidence – so my blog subject was easy.

    Concentrate on writing useful good quality posts using techniques that I know get results – no miracle methods.
    No rush to get them out – takes me ages sometimes.

    Slowly build up visitors via the blogosphere – you and many of your readers have helped with that.

    And the future?
    Don’t know but I’ve got a good foundation and I’m in no rush.
    .-= Check out Keith Davis´s awesome post: Flying in formation =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      I think you hit the nail on the head with the “slowly build up visitors…”. Too often bloggers think all they have to do is throw up a blog and thousands will be knocking at their door. By realizing it’s a slow (and steady) process, I think the time helps to prepare us for “the end result”.

      P.S. I agree. A good foundation is vital.

  31. My original plan was to just write and occasionally share my paintings. I quickly discovered there was more to blogging than writing, so up came the learning curve. And the more I learn, the more I learn there is to learn. Planning is becoming essential — now if I can just learn how to do it effectively. Hahaha!
    .-= Check out Barb Hartsook´s awesome post: Life Happens in the Small Moments =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barb,

      I hear you. I don’t think we ever stop learning when it comes to blogging. But, that a good thing.

      I wish you well on the planning part. :)

  32. Hi Barbara, I think this is a wonderful post! I agree with you that lack of long-term plan is probably the main reason why some blogs do not last long. I think that it’s important that the blog owner lists down the topics that he wants to cover. Then it’s also important to do a thorough research on the topics that he wants to write about. Most importantly, the topics should be close to his heart. It will show in his posts if he’s doing it for the money, or if he’s doing it because it’s what he wants to do. Aside from long-term planning, in order to make one’s blog successful, he should have the passion to maintain it. This means treating the blog as something highly valuable to him.
    .-= Check out Linda @ New Age of Self Help´s awesome post: Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-04-18 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      That’s true. If a blogger starts a blog and is writing on topics they have no interest in, but they feel that topic is the fastest way to make money, they may soon be disappointed and just give up.

      Like you said, when we’re passionate about what we post, it shows.

  33. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. :)

    Yeah, I’m like certain other folks here in that I fly by the seat of my pants. I often don’t realise what it is that I want to say until I’m literally saying it, which is why I often do countless drafts of each and every post I make. It’s time consuming but so worth it to shape what would otherwise be just a diamond in the rough.

    No long term plans here except to be around for the long term. Hopefully I won’t get all disgusted and bitter like I did the first time and stick with it for this time. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the Darwin’s Regress comic because I’m literally making it up as I go along, and the whole blogging thing gives me an excuse to remain creative… and that’s gotta be a good thing, right? :P
    .-= Check out Tony Single´s awesome post: A Dog Made Me =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Yes Tony, that is a good thing. 8)

      I know what you mean about not knowing what you want to say until you start writing. I’ve found even if I have backup drafts, they often don’t speak to me as strongly as a new topic.

      I like the way you’re creating your cartoon as you go. I’ve read several books where the author said the same thing – they didn’t write the book, the book wrote itself.

  34. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I started out with an end game in plan – and I think probably it is working out simply from the interest on the blog; however I have refined my thoughts, ideas etc .. and have lots of plans – just need the energy and freedom to get on with it. I keep thinking, which is all I can do with my mother and her care in the background all the time – at the moment she’s the most important thing.

    I’m now able to sort a few things out here .. and then perhaps will be able to put the spare energies into my blog and its future = my future; without other worries, other than my mother.

    However I’m extremely grateful to the powers above that sent me in your direction, and other bloggers that I see here and roundabout .. as I’m learning possibilities all the time.

    I’m also very grateful for the encouragement I get when I’m commenting and when others come over & comment on my blog – makes the world of difference.

    My instruction at the beginning was to find something I was passionate about … not necessarily work related .. and I seem to have slotted in and done that – then it becomes relatively easy, as I enjoy what I’m doing .. and I love the learning I get from others’ blogs.

    Thank you .. always enjoy reading your posts and catching the wave .. have a great rest of the week – Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pevensey Castle, Normans Bay, smuggling and family remembrances … Part 1 =-.

  35. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Hilary,

    You bring up a good point. Even though we have plans for our blogs, at times those plans may have to be put on the back (or side) burner. But…that gives us the chance to marinate on our ideas and to also make changes along the way.

    I echo what you said about us having the ability to learn from other bloggers, as well. With most bloggers being open about what works for them, if we listen, we could possibly end up saving ourselves a lot of heartache, and time.

    Have a great week, too. :)

  36. This is a fabulous discussion. There are so many unique “sound bites” in the comments that if I had more time I would schedule Tweets with different quotes in them all linking to this post so more could read it!

    Some of my favorites are:

    “just in time blogging”
    “fly by the seat of my kilt”
    “my plan is no plan”

    I can relate to all of these as I am only now (after 1.5-2 years of blogging) moving toward a regular posting schedule. I actually announced it a week or two ago and have not yet managed to actually DO it but I am going to make it happen. It just may take a few weeks to get into the habit of daily posting.

    I have always had a clear vision of the purpose of each blog and have so much material to add that I don’t believe I could ever run out. Time is always the limiting factor for me – simply not enough of me to go around.

    I believe the only way to really know something is to jump in with both feet. Start doing and out of what you learn your vision and plan will emerge.

    I particularly like Kathy’s “just in time” concept as I believe that we are all guided to do what is most important at the optimum time – IF we are listening and do not allow schedules and rules to interfere.
    .-= Check out Gail from GrowMap´s awesome post: Affiliate Tips Tuesday: Holiday Promotions =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Gail,

      I agree. The sound bites are fabulous. It gives us a good perspective of how others approach blogging.

      I give you a lot of credit if you’re going to go to daily posting. I did that for quite some time and although I never ran out of things to say, at times it was brutal (staying on top of the posts and comments).

      I think having some sort of vision does help to keep our blogs on “track” (however we define that), and as was mentioned earlier in the comments, having flexibility to make changes along the way, too.

      I know what you mean about time to do it all. Too bad we can’t be cloned, hey? :)

  37. [...] Blogging – Have A Plan? Or Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants? – Barbara raises a good question; do you plan out each topic you blog about or do you just let the content flow? She leaves us with the task of answering the question “Do you have a long term plan for your blog?” It is a good question considering there are quite a few abandoned blogs floating around out there! [...]