Don’t Start a Blog You Can’t Finish

“Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it hundreds of times.” -Mark Twain

Starting a blog is easy. Finishing a blog, now that takes work. As I speak to attorneys all over the country about blogging, one of the #1 fears that I hear from them is:

“I don’t want to start something I can’t finish”

Two weeks ago I talked about Why anybody can blog, but most people fail. This week I want to talk about how attorneys can create an effective blog strategy AND have increased productivity. We are going to talk about how lawyers can create a process that will guarantee they can make their blog a reality.

The Devil is in the details

As professionals we work well under pressure. Deadlines, due dates and clients in crisis. These things don’t phase us, after all it is our job to make the problems of our clients our problems. This means that every client call is most likely urgent. There are always new fires to put out. It is impossible to plan for the calls, so we need to be ready to clear our schedule and help our clients solve their emergencies. This high volume of urgent and important matters can make it difficult to work on those things that matter the most to us. Some of the things that are the most important to us, aren’t urgent and certainly aren’t emergencies:

-watching your son’s soccer game
-dinner with your family
-date night with your spouse
-lunch with your best client
-follow up calls with your best prospects

None of these items are urgent, but it can be safely said they are all extremely important. Steven Covey describes the conflict of urgent/important versus not urgent/important with this 2×2 matrix

Our focus should be on the top right quadrant.

Sometimes we get so bogged down that when we finally have free time we spend it in the bottom right quadrant- doing things that are not important or urgent. Becoming “stuck” and living our lives in quadrants 1 and 4 is very common. There are four secrets to escaping them.

1. Have a clear vision of your future

What’s the point? Why are you creating the blog? What is your end goal? What matters most to you? Will your blog help you get there? If you can’t answer these questions- your blog will die an ignominious death. You won’t have the motivation to keep going.

2. Have a set time each week for planning

You’ll never find time for blogging. You can’t “make” time for blogging either. You need to schedule it, and that requires you to have a planning process. Set aside time each week to schedule your week and make it a priority to blog at times when you are less likely to have distractions.

3. Build accountability into your blogging goal

Who else knows about your goal to blog? Does your wife know? Does your boss know? Your business partner? Your coach? Make sure someone is checking up on you. Almost daily I hear professionals complain that they aren’t good at keeping regular commitments. Being accountable to someone else can help.

4. Make blogging a habit (this is probably the hardest step)

This comes as no surprise, it is difficult to start new habits.

“Man, I can’t floss my teeth. People talk about how hard it is to stop smoking; about as hard as it is to start flossing.” – Mitch Hedberg

If Mitch were alive today, may he rest in peace, I think he would agree that blogging is AT LEAST as hard to start as flossing. It takes commitment and dedication.

Ok, that is all I have to say right now. My wife is calling me, and it’s time to take my son to the park. Let me end by saying, if blogging is important to you, make it happen. If not, don’t beat yourself up for not doing it.

Comments

7 Responses to “Don’t Start a Blog You Can’t Finish”

  1. Tim Baran says:

    Great points, Adrian. Love the idea of a “clear vision” to start but for many, that may be the most difficult of the four points as focus and message can initially be somewhat scattered and subject to change. Love “setting aside time for blogging”. I need to heed that.

    I’ve found that it often takes a few attempts to find your voice, style and substance, so I would add that even if someone can commit to only one post a month, then they should get started. In this case, starting may be more important than finishing, since a blog is really an eternal work-in-progress.

  2. True Tim, having a clear vision can be very challenging- and I guess that was one of the points I wanted to make about blogging. If you don’t have a clear vision you are working towards, the blog will likely take a back-burner to other things.

    As for finding a voice, that is a serious issue. Most people have never written informally, or lack confidence in their style. The best solution for that? WRITE WRITE WRITE. I remember my English teachers always telling me to write whenever I had the chance. For years I kept journals whenever I traveled or spent summers in internships. The more I wrote, the more confidence I was in my writing. I’m still learning things all the time, but I think that was a big help in finding my voice.

    Perhaps a blog post on “finding your voice” is in order?

  3. You know I totally agree with your last point! You and I have had many conversations about making it a habit. It’s not easy…and it takes at least six weeks of consistency (and people commenting about how smart you are) to make it a habit. It’s not an easy undertaking. I was just venting that I’m feeling overwhelmed by our blog right now. We have two posts every day now and I’m spending at least two hours a day on the blog. But it’s also making money now so it’s worth it! At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. 🙂

    • No question it is worth it, but it really does take a leap of faith. You spend your first few weeks slugging it out, and it sometimes can seem like nobody is paying attention. When a blog finally get momentum and you are getting emails and calls on a regular basis, that is when it get’s fun.

      Love what you are doing with your blog Gini! Some day I would love to have daily posts on my blog, that takes some serious coordination.

  4. Candy Dye says:

    You always have such excellent advice, Adrian! I remember feeling so nervous when I first started blogging. With time and good feedback, the pressure lessened. Focus, commitment, consistency and discipline are my keys that keep me going. Then you just have to do it, and keep doing it, quitting is not an option! I enjoy it as a way to share information and chat about it! Thanks for being such a wonderful resource – love your twitter videos!

    • Thanks Candy!

      Some people are able to blog, and it doesn’t take much work. For the rest of us it takes discipline and thoughtful analysis. I love your comment “quitting is not an option” – that is the attitude anybody that is serious about blogging needs to take.

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