The Road to Success Is Long and Winding, and I’m Just Getting Started.

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These days it’s so easy to fail. Everywhere I turn there are distractions that I’ve inadvertently created for myself that, without keeping in check, will lead to my demise. Even though some very basic scientific principles contradict me, I feel like there are fewer and fewer hours in the day to get things done.

It’s a bit early in the blogging process for me to be giving advice about how to do everything perfectly, so instead I’m going to give some insights as to how I plan to eliminate the distractions I face when trying to blog. If nothing else, this will be a good point to return to at the end of a year’s time to see how much things change.

Idea #1: Don’t Use WordPress

Before you go and crucify me for hating on WordPress, I’m not talking about abandoning the platform, just the web app. There are so many distractions baked right into WordPress that it’s easy to get sidetracked. Installing plugins, changing your theme, tweaking settings, and analyzing stats just to name a few. Being a web developer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of customizing WordPress instead of using it to write. The WordPress iOS apps are great for cutting out all the extras and getting right down to business. That’s where I anticipate writing most often.

Idea #2: Sketch and Write

For me, writing is hard. Any resistance along the way causes me extra frustration and ultimately causes me to write tons of incomplete posts. Since I’m going to primarily be using devices that doesn’t naturally lend themselves to long format writing, they’re going to need some help.

Naomi happened to have a Belkin iPad case that she wasn’t using that had a keyboard attached to it. I’ve been using it for the past few days and it has changed the way I use my iPad. Since I’m often on the road with my kids, it’s not always ideal to lug around a laptop. With apps like Koder I’m able to get some code written when necessary, iBooks lets me take my book library with me, Paper lets me doodle and sketch, Google Drive helps me collaborate on documents with my coworkers and clients, and the WordPress app lets me publish on the go. These aren’t new ideas by any means, but adding a keyboard into the mix has made some of them exponentially more usable for me.

I picked up a stylus from lunatik that doubles as a real pen so that will help me when jotting down notes and sketching. Before that I made a stylus from materials that I had laying around the house (remind me to post a DIY guide about that!). I’m a digital sketchbook nut, so I have just about every paid and free app available on the App Store (Bamboo Paper, Sketches, Sketchbook Pro, Paper, Penultimate, and Notability) with all of their in-app purchases. Each one has its own pros and cons, but my favorites are Paper, Sketches, and Bamboo Paper…in that order.

Idea #3: Write In Spurts

Since I’m running here and there on most afternoons, I think it will make sense to write in chunks when I can. This will likely mean that I’ll write when inspiration hits me – while walking my kids to school and waiting for them outside the dance studio. I often don’t have enough time to get much of anything done besides responding to emails, so this would be an ideal time to get some ideas down.

Update: As it turns out, this is a terrible way to write. I’ve been writing this post the way I previously described, and I’ve had to re-read what I wrote several times already. Fail #1. Instead of actually trying to write posts during these times, I think I need to figure out a system where I can capture ideas as they come to me. I’m thinking a quick voice recording of the light bulb moment. It might be interesting to add those recordings to these posts so that you, the reader, can get a better grasp of my thought process.

Conclusion

We’ll see how this whole thing shakes out. in the long run. In just two days of blogging I feel like I’ve already learned so much about what works and what doesn’t. If you have any tips, or you’re Chris Lema, leave a comment and let me know your strategies. Until next time…

On Becoming A Better Blogger…

I’ve been watching this guy evolve over the course of a year in his campaign to blog every day. The growth that he showed in his traffic statistics was eye-opening.

Just recently I spent a weekend at a conference called Pressnomics. Pressnomics is a conference that is unlike a WordCamp in that it doesn’t focus on building things with WordPress, but building and running a business around WordPress. One of the speakers at Pressnomics had a strategy for building your online presence. At first he said there were something like 141 things you should do to do better than the next guy in order to beat them in search rankings. If that seems too tough, he offered a second solution – 10 things you can do to beat out the next guy. Finally, if that’s still too much work to he boiled it down to one thing – hit the publish button. Do it more frequently, with better content, for a longer period of time and you’ll win.

I can’t promise I’ll have the discipline that Chris Lema does, but I’m going to do my best to drive traffic to this site in one way or another. I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about, but it will probably range from WordPress code to business strategies, parental anecdotes to photo galleries, and from time to time maybe even some good old fashioned high school type writing prompts.

Hang on, we’re in for a wild ride.