Blogging Challenges

How To Guide for Blogmas

So this is the first year I’ve attempted Blogmas and I’m happy to say so far it hasn’t been too bad. We are about half way through the challenge though and I can already tell I’m running out of ideas. So this is mostly a post to remind me how to better approach blogging challenges like Blogmas so I don’t run into a mid-challenge burn out. Feel free to use it as well if there is anything here that you find helpful.

So what is Blogmas/Vlogmas? It is a blogging or vlogging challenge where you post a blog or vlog every day in December. I attempted something similar to it on my YouTube channel in August when I participated in VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August). I won’t lie that was hard, even with the topic calendar I was provided with to help me vlog each day. The difficulty came in trying to find the time to film and edit the videos. Blogging would seem a bit easier for this type of challenge, right? Uh…to a certain extent, yes it is. I don’t have to film and edit ahead of time, but I still have to plan everything out so I don’t fall behind. So, here are some tips for Future Andie (or anyone that finds this useful) on how best to approach blogging challenges.

  • BRAINSTORM – One of the biggest challenges I’m running into is coming up with blog ideas. Start taking down topic ideas a month or two months in advance. I’m old school, I prefer to write down my ideas in a notebook. This year I started bullet journaling so I keep a spread in my bullet journal for blogging ideas. If you prefer you can certainly keep your notes on your mobile devices or on your computer. This is very top level brainstorming though, so at this point don’t worry about coming up with images, outlining content, or titles.

  • SELECT/ORGANIZE POSTS – So at this point you should have all these great post ideas from your brainstorming session(s). It’s time to go through and pick the ones you want to use during the challenge and get organized. Now this is where I would enter them into my monthly spread in my bullet journal since that is where I keep track of my schedule for my blog and my booktube channel. However, you can certainly create a schedule using your calendars tied to your Google, Hotmail, etc. accounts. I do use my Google calendar on my phone, but I admit I mostly use it for personal things like keeping track of people’s birthdays or when bills are due.

  • OUTLINE/FLESH OUT BLOG POSTS – So you have your calendar with your blogging schedule all planned out for you. This will make it easier now that it is time to write your posts. Some people can just sit down and start blogging and they come out with some fantastic posts. My blogs where I just kind of wing it though come out short and feel like I didn’t put much thought into them. Posts like this one actually go through a couple of stages. I approach my book reviews in a similar manner, but that’s a whole different blog post. First thing is to create a mini outline of how I want the blog post to flow (still not worried about images). Also, if you want to at this point you can fill in some discussion points in your outline. This will help when you go to write out your posts.

  • TIME TO WRITE – Okay so you’ve done all that pre-planning stuff. It’s time to take those mini-outlined blog ideas and actually turn them into a post. At this point, I write out my posts, then save as a draft and proof read. Once I’m happy with the content then I work on the images for my blog post. Now hopefully, since you did all that planning you are blogging ahead and scheduling these posts in advance. I cannot stress enough how much blogging ahead will make this whole process less stressful.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA – Don’t forget to share your posts on social media! I like to use HootSuite to pre-schedule my social media posts as well. I swear this is my least favorite part of blogging. It feels weird to self-promote, but how else do I get people to come see this post I put so much work into? Sure you can participate in all sorts of weekly memes or do tags in hopes that once people have visited the blog that they will explore other posts. Let’s be honest though, that doesn’t happen very often. So set time aside to pre-schedule your social media posts or to share in real time if you have a moment to squeeze that into your day to day grind. I pre-schedule because I tend to forget to share my posts otherwise.

Most important thing to do though is to have fun with the challenge. If you miss a day, that’s fine. It won’t be the end of the world I promise. Pre-planning your approach to blogging challenges like these will hopefully help reduce any stress involved. I am not a daily blogger, so for me this has been challenging. I’m not sure if I will keep up the pace of daily blogging once it is done, but at least I’ll know I’m capable of it.

Let’s chat! Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with me? Are you doing Blogmas or Vlogmas? Let me know down in the comments.

Happy Holidays Book Nerds!

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