Successful Blogging Needs More Than Just Willpower

By Posted 2012 Updated   BloggingGuest Posts

 To be a successful blogger, it’s not just the quality that is important. The quantity (or, at least, frequent enough regularity) is at least as critical. After all, regularly writing interesting articles is the core of this business, so you need to be persistent at doing it.

However we all know bloggers who had a very good start, but after some time they do not publish anything anymore. Chances are good that it happened to you in the past. It happened to me for sure, and this is so frustrating! Doing all these efforts and not being persistent enough to reap the rewards…

What happened? Were these bloggers less talented, less skilled or less motivated than others? No. Not at all. They simply fell into one of the biggest trap when it comes to do something over a long period of time (like a diet, learning a language or blogging): They thought that willpower will help them to succeed.

Willpower is overrated

blogging willpowerThe truth is that most bloggers rely on willpower alone in order to continue to write their blog articles. As you are going to discover in the below lines, this is a big mistake, a mistake that will cost them their dream of making money while blogging. The objective here is to ensure that you won’t fall into that trap!

Willpower alone is not going to help you to become a successful blogger. Why? Because willpower is not designed to do that. Willpower is an emergency system, like a spare tire: it is not meant to be used for a long period of time. It is helpful to press on for few miles, but using it is very demanding for the mind and the body: Using willpower alone can and will exhaust you, and your motivation will not help either…

Your motivation will fail

Motivation is cyclical: like the tides, it goes up, then down, then up again, and so on.

At the beginning of your project, you are excited and fired up about what you are doing, and your motivation is very high. Then, in the following few weeks, your motivation is going down little by little, and in order to continue to write articles based on the schedule you defined, you rely more and more on willpower. It may work like this for few more weeks, even for few months for some highly motivated people, but no one can sustain this for a very long time.

Sooner or later (usually sooner than later) there will come a time when your motivation will be down and there will be no more willpower to tap into. At that moment, if you don’t have the right environment and the right habits in place to take over (see below), the dream is over: you are not creating new articles; you do not think about your blog anymore, other things are taking the priority in your life. You don’t really give up (at least you don’t admit it), you simply put the priority on other things…

Given all the efforts, all the time, the energy and the money you’ve invested in your blogging activity, this is something that you definitely want to avoid.

The Solution? Understand what persistence really is!

Persistence is not willpower.

Persistence is a process, a skill that you develop and that you can use to produce regular efforts in a sustainable way. Please note the words used in that last sentence:

  1. Skill: contrary to what is commonly accepted, persistence is not a talent, something that you are either born with, or not. People who claim that persistence is a talent are using this as an excuse to hide behind. No, persistence is not a talent, it is a skill, and as such it can be learned, trained and improved.
  2. Sustainable: when we talk about persistence or about blogging, we are talking about long term: the desired result is not going to show up in few weeks only. So all the systems that you will put in place to help you to persist have to be sustainable, otherwise the system will fail and you will give up at one point.

Here are the three key components of a winning persistence process:

1. Motivation. Being clear about what you want to achieve, and why you want to achieve it. This clarity of objective and purpose will provide a huge amount of motivation, and there are many tools and techniques that you can use to ensure that your motivation stays high for a long time, and low for a very short time. Here are three things you can apply right now to boost your motivation:

  • Put a big sign on your desk with the number of visits per day you are aiming for. This will be a reminder of your objective and a good source of motivation.
  • Set a clear deadline for your objectives (or milestones). There is some magic in setting up a deadline: it triggers something inside you that will help you achieve your goal.
  • Chart yourself: if you want to post every day (or anything that you want to do daily), create a simple chart, and tick it each day that you did what you were supposed to do. Seeing the chart being filled day after day will motivate you to continue. Plus, you will want to avoid having a day with no tick, so it will provide extra motivation when you don’t feel like posting on a particular day. Simple & effective.

 2. Environment. All the things that constitute your environment have an influence on you. They can either push you towards the completion of your goal, or they pull you back. The same for the people around you. Your whole environment is critical in your ability to succeed, so you need to consciously design the best environment to support your blogging activity. Here are three things you can apply right now to create a more supportive environment:

  • Don’t speak about your blogging activities to your friends and family members that know nothing about this topic. Not only they may provide bad advice, but they may also push you to abandon your dreams and come back to the “real” world. They don’t mean any harm, they probably have your best interest at heart, but they know nothing about that field, so their opinion, though interesting, is irrelevant and can be harmful for your motivation.
  • Share your commitments with other bloggers. Tell them what your plan is. If you want to post at least 3 times per week, tell them. They will hold you accountable, and it will create an external pressure: you don’t want to be embarrassed, so you will keep your commitment. Use your guilt, competitiveness or arrogance at your advantage.
  • Join a community of like-minded people. These people understand what you are going through, they understand your challenges, they understand your life. This can provide valuable information, support and inspiration. If you are not part of a community yet, quickly find one!

 3. Routines. All the routines and habits you create to put your activity on “auto-pilot”, so that you effortlessly move forward without having to think about it. Here are three routines you can use starting today and that will help you tremendously:

  • At the end of each day, you create a list of 6 tasks that you want to achieve the next day, and you rank them in order of importance. Then the next day, first thing in the morning you start working on the first task until it is completed. The more focused and uninterrupted your work will be, the better. Then you move to task number 2 and you complete it. If you are interrupted, you handle the interruption, then you come back immediately to your list of six item, until all six are completed. This routine alone can greatly boost your productivity.
  • Never complain, blame or justify. By taking full responsibility and focusing on finding a solution rather than someone to blame, you will be happier, more productive and way more successful than if you play the role of a victim. Catch yourself when you blame, complain or justify, and put $1 in a jar to celebrate the fact that you are moving in the right direction.
  • Create a checklist that you will systematically go through before posting anything. On that checklist, you can add things like “Is there anything else I can add on that topic?”, “Is it how I would explain it to my grand-mother?”, “Are all my sources quoted?”, “Is my title attractive?” or “Did I check the spelling mistakes?”

There is a lot more that you can do, but if you just start with the above, you can already go a long way.

 Do you have what it takes?

When you have a strong motivation, a supportive environment and powerful routines to rely on, everything is pushing you towards the completion of your objective. Success becomes the normal consequence, the expected outcome, whereas failure becomes more and more unlikely with each passing day.

Persistence is an important skill to develop if you want to be successful at blogging, a skill that you will be ill-guided to overlook.

You may become a successful blogger even if your writing style is not that great, or if the design of your blog is not appealing. But you cannot achieve success in this field if you are not persistent.

Check your motivation, your environment and your routines; See how you can improve all these, and start building today your success of tomorrow!

Guest author Laurent Vigneron is writing about having A Life Worth Living, realizing your dreams and making your life more meaningful. Visit the website and get his latest product for free while the offer is still on. Picture: © Helder Almeida – Fotolia.com

This is a guest article and represents opinions of the guest author

One comment on “Successful Blogging Needs More Than Just Willpower

  1. Benjamin says:

    I totally agree with that, especially the one on routine. We can now be distracted in so many ways (email, phone, facebook, TV, skype, MSN, etc.) that (re)learning to focus, to concentrate, to do the same thing again and again in a consistent and regular manner is really the key to move things forward.

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