When we want to get better at something, like eating healthier or getting in more physical activity, we know what to do. We immerse ourselves in the topic by reading or doing “G-search” (what I heard it called recently … Googling to do research). Or if it’s a familiar topic, we might re-read something we benefited from before. At some point, we just buckle down and start doing the work – spending time on it each day so we can improve and reap the benefits of a regular focus. We often seek out others with the same intentions, because we know the power of a supportive environment. Sometimes, we reach out to a coach or think of another way to change things up when we’re stalled out or need a new challenge.
Well … we can do the same things for our health and wellness blog by making a training plan to build our blogging muscles.
Five exercises to build your blogging muscles
My blog is still a baby blog, having only started it earlier in 2014. But I’ve been blogging on and off for years doing guest posting on others’ blogs, writing posts for a non-profit group, and I used to blog (and tweet) news about my city. Even with my experience, I knew that starting a blog this year with everything else I had going on wouldn’t be easy. But if I applied a training plan-like approach (similar to what I’ve been doing on my weight-loss journey; see below), I could do it. You can use a similar plan with your health and wellness blog. Here’s how:
- Read up on how to become a better blogger. With a little G-search, you can easily find tips, tricks and tactics to build your blogging skills. My go-to resources include reading the Daily Blog Tips blog and listening to the Become a Blogger podcast. These resources and others I turn to, like the dozens of blogs I read each week, inspire me with fresh ideas, practical advice and exposure to experts in the field of blogging.
- Get the time in by writing on a regular basis. Currently, I’m committed to writing at least one post each week. And although this isn’t as frequent as some of my blogging friends like health coach Mike Iamele, the prolific daily blogger I interviewed, it’s best for me. But what if you haven’t started a blog yet? You can still reap the benefits of writing posts, even without hitting the Publish button. Practice mode gets you in the habit of creating content, and just like building up mileage when training for a marathon (or for me, it’s a half-marathon in October) – you can build up blogging endurance.
- Seek peer support – and give time and energy back, too. On January 1, 2014, I set up the Health and Wellness Bloggers private Facebook group with encouragement from a health coach and blogger friend, Lou Ann Donovan. (I interviewed her to learn about her blog makeover project, if you want to check it out.) Part of my reason for creating the Facebook group was to help my fellow health and wellness pros, many who were health coach students or grads at IIN like me. But the other reason I created it was because I planned to start a blog (this one!), and I knew I’d benefit from the peer support. Many months later, the group is going strong, I’m being inspired by its members and I’m helping people by answering blogging questions and offering support and feedback. Whether you join my blogging group or one of the Facebook or other communities out there, I can guarantee you’ll benefit from regular involvement.
- Consider a coach or mentor or take some classes. At the beginning of the year when I was planning my blog-to-be, I decided to find a coach to help me formulate and accomplish my goals. While I knew I would start the blog sometime in 2014, I wanted it to be sooner than later, and paying for a coach helped me be accountable to get my blog and opt-in, a Pinterest for wellness pros ebook, ready by March. (There’s a longer story here that I can share later, but hiring a coach was well worth the time and money!) Other options you can consider: finding a mentor – a blogger who would take you under his/her wing – or taking a blogging course. I don’t have specific courses to recommend, but G-search turns up dozens of free and paid-for options. (Check out this great post I found today, which speaks to this tip: 4 Common Myths Busted & How to Find a Mentor)
- Challenge yourself to stay fresh, and change what’s not working. Just like what can happen with eating healthy and exercising, sometimes you hit burn-out and need to make changes. Things you could do to get your blogging mojo back include: taking a short sabbatical; asking a fellow blogger for advice; or focusing on tips 1, 2, 3 or 4 if it’s been awhile since you tried one. I hit blogging burn-out in the spring because I was trying to publish three posts each week and was feeling frustrated I couldn’t keep up. It pushed me to a point where I let a month go by without writing anything – oh, the pendulum-swing of extremes I can find myself in! – but after talking with some blogger friends, I got my act together. I decided that posting once a week is AOK for where I am in my life, and I let go of the guilt which gave me the boost I needed.
Blogging isn’t easy. Neither is consistently eating well and being physically active. (Read about how I’ve lost almost 100 pounds here. I’m fighting hard to maintain my loss and must confess I’m backsliding some. Uggh.) With practice, a consistent focus and a training plan like this one, you can stay in the game, build your blogging muscles and run a health and wellness blog that’s in it to win it!
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