Blogging Q&A + My Timesaving BFF in WordPress (The Dashboard)

Welcome to More Cowbell! Today is Thoughty Thursday when we examine whatever topic is kicking around in my brain for the week.

First of all, I want to thank all of you who voted for Rapunzel in the March Movie Madness tournament going on at Educlaytion. She didn’t make it to Round 3 but it wasn’t through lack of trying on our part. You guys ROCK!

I’m looking forward to the Life List Club Milestone Party tomorrow (I thought it was next week)! My grand prize this time is one of Margie Lawson’s lecture packets for a random subscriber. (You can subscribe in the upper right corner by my picture.) I’ll also be giving a $10 Starbucks card to a random commenter, so I hope you’ll come back and see me tomorrow!

But the MAIN thing on my mind today is TIME. I’m making some career changes right now and that sucks up a whole lot of time, which is second to good health on the treasured commodities list.

I know “time” is on every blogger’s mind, especially those who also write books. We never get that hour of mindlessly surfing the web or staring into space back. In my book, that means I’d better learn to save time wherever possible so I don’t feel guilty when I piddle around.

Here’s some time-related blogging questions I’ve been asked lately:

  1. How do you post so damn much, Jenny??
  2. How do you  balance writing and social media time?
  3. How do I cut down the amount of time it takes me to blog?
  4. How do I get ahead of my blog schedule – I always feel like I’m running behind.

Let’s take these one at a time…

1. How do I manage to post so much?

The honest truth? I write quickly and I don’t do a ton of research. (Shhhh! Don’t tell anybody.)

I see amazing bloggers like Catie Rhodes and Gene Lempp who obviously do a TON of research. I love their posts…and I know that I could never do them.

I use my blog as my “morning pages”: a way to get my juices flowing and to clear my mind for my other writing. It is very rare for me to spend longer than an hour on a post and that includes formatting. Keep reading to see how I keep my writing time at 20-40 minutes.

Techie Tuesday posts take me longer than any other post of the week, but it’s also the easiest one to sub out to experts. When I sub the Tuesday post out, I still have to format it, but I don’t need to format it AND write it. (Plus, Techie Tuesdays are how I give back to all of you, so they will always be worth it to me.)

2. How do I balance my writing and social media time?

I segment it into different parts of my day and I time myself. Yes, really. I’m so forgetful that if I don’t set alarms, I forget what I’m up to. I can get lost in social media for 3-4 hours at a time, which is about all the time I can give social media AND writing together each day. That includes blogging!!

What types of tasks have I set the timer for?

  • My time on social media. Most of the time, I try to not exceed 10-12 hours for the week. (That calculates out to no more than 2 hours per day, 6 days a week.)
  • Set a timer for your writing time – my current goal for this is 10-12 hours a week.
  • Set a secondary timer specifically for blog writing time – I try not to exceed 30 mins.

I have an OXO digital kitchen timer with the ability to time three things (picture to right…you can buy on Amazon). This has been invaluable because I can stop and start it as many times as I want to.

3. How do I cut down the amount of time it takes me to blog?

This is a bonus time-saving tip for all of you that are new to blogging and I’m sure many of you do this already. Use your WordPress Dashboard wisely.

What do I mean by this? I mean keep Draft posts at the ready. On those days when you’ve got no time or energy, you whip one of those babies out!

For example, I don’t do a ton of mash-ups – maybe one a month – but I almost always have one ready. I just try to hold it until it’s really full of goodness (and I have time to format it). Mash-ups take a TON of time, but they’re a great way to give back.

Note for any blogging newbies: A “mash-up” is a post full of links. It’s customary to give them a quick intro. These posts help to draw people to your blog because the bloggers you reference see that hits are coming in from you, so they come say hello. Plus, you are giving exposure to others and helping their blog traffic. It’s a win-win.

Here’s the top of my Dashboard screen from a few weeks back:

You can also get to your Drafts easily from your main Posts screen:

I like the Dashboard better than going to the main posts screen because you can see the first few lines of the post. Plus, it’s right there in my first screen when I go into the admin area for my WordPress blog.

Note: This is one of the main ways Blogger falls down on the job for me – you’ve got to go TO the Posts area to see your draft posts and you don’t get the two-line preview you see in the WordPress dashboard.

What do I keep in my Dashboard?

Sometimes it’s just an idea, sometimes it’s a full-blown post. The titles are just to jog my memory. They almost always change. You probably recognize some of the Drafts from the Dashboard screenshot above since they’ve posted over the last few weeks.

None of that’s the point. The point is that if I come across a link, a quote or a story that fits for a draft post, I can quickly go to my Dashboard and create or update that draft. By the time I’m ready to post something, it will take 20-30 minutes instead of an hour or two.

4. How do I get ahead on my blog schedule – I always feel like I’m running behind.

Some of this is a personal preference. I know people like Lena Corazon who have to get in the mood to blog. I use blogging to get in the mood to write or to empty my brain, so my process is very different from hers.

Photo from melle-100things.blogspot.com

I also gave up TV at the beginning of last year. 

I know some of your mouths just dropped open because TV is how you relax. I have reading for that. All TV was doing for me was sucking up writing time, so I cut it.

Disclaimer: I don’t know if I would have been able to stick to my guns without Tiffany White’s Ooo Factor to give me TV updates, but I have watched zero shows since the beginning of 2011.

Other Time Savers:

Last summer, I wrote a post called Is Your Blog Eating You Alive? which details most of my tricks for combining activities to save time. I was about 3 months into More Cowbell at the time, and I was learning how to juggle everything.

One of my first posts last April was about scheduling your blogs ahead of time on WordPress or Blogspot. Hopefully none of you are missing out on that  loveliness.

FINAL THOUGHT:

The first 3-6 months of your blog are a steep learning curve
that you just have to suck it up and get to the other side of.

Now, enough about MY process…yours might be totally different. You might be sitting there thinking I’m totally off base and blogging is just a pain in your patootie. Whatever you’re thinking, I’d love to hear about it!

Are you struggling to balance your blog and the rest of your writing? What time-saving tips have helped you the most? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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63 Responses to Blogging Q&A + My Timesaving BFF in WordPress (The Dashboard)

  1. Nope. Not getting any words of wisdom from me. I’m on the receiving end. The biggest phew in my day (so far) was your comment that the first 3 to 6 months of blogging are difficult and I have to suck it up.

    Second best thing? The idea of keeping mash-up notes on a blog draft instead of a Word Doc. I have a number of Word Docs on my hard drive–somewhere–all opened and saved when I couldn’t find the previous doc.

    What did I name that dang document? Geesh. Can’t remember. I’ll open a new one. There. Saved. [a day later] What did I name that dang document? Geesh. Can’t remember. I’ll open a new one. There. Saved.

    Thanks from the bottom of my socks. Oh. Wait! Did I store the mash-ups there?

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Gloria. When I first started, I kept my blog drafts in Word and I wasn’t as fast. It’s easier to see the preview of the actual blog (for me) on the screen. It’s certainly easier to only have to format things one time. Now the only posts that are in Word are the guest posts that I need to send to someone else.

      Mashups are a snap when you do them this way because you spread the pain out over time. Or you can do it the way Kristen Lamb or Natalie Hartford do where they put their links at the bottom of other posts.

      My favorite mashup, bar none, is Gene Lempp’s Saturday Blog Treasures. Go scope those out to see the master at work.🙂

      Like

  2. “I also gave up TV at the beginning of last year.” << Me too! Though I can say I watch movies sometimes, one every two weeks or so (depends on my mood =P).
    Sometimes people say to me "did you see that ad by such and such?" … hmm, no?
    I also gave up playing games. I love playing games, especially online ones like World of Warcraft, and I was waiting out for Diablo 3, which should come out this year, but I'm not anymore, because my time is limited and I can get pretty lost on games. I was addicted to WoW and I won't go back anymore because I know I'll spend HOURS playing that, precious hours that I could be writing and writing is way more important to me.
    My way to relax? To write, or read. That's all I need.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, I end up watching kid TV with my daughter, but I never ever spend my free time with television. It’s a complete time-suckage for me, along the lines of what you describe for WarCraft. Plus, I find reality TV insanely boring. Lucky for me, eh?

      Like

  3. alberta says:

    the first few months=nightmare – now fun fun fun – I can’t unfortunately write my posts as quickly as that as, because of dyspraxia, thay have to checked and rechecked so many times but I am getting quicker

    I have installed a timer on my dashboard and set it for blogging, networking,novel writing, plus rest of life time -house, gardening etc:) it is working really well – I have printed and laminated lists of network days such as when to post triberr, novel publication’s facebook/goodreads/twitter days, blog hop days – stuff that comes round quicker than I can keep up with!!!

    I have never watched much TV and apart from Dr Who I only really watch documentaries and I’m fussy about them – I want to learn not be entertained by them so none of these fancy ones with actors pretending to sign a treaty – I’m not a child! I do indulge in comedies – the writers are observing life and isn’t that what we do? – great source of material there:)

    your blog also – I am agog at your energy – keep them coming:)

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  4. K.B. Owen says:

    A lot of my Tuesday Terrific collections come from bits of things I’ve seen on Facebook, read on blogs, or gotten emails of (my mom loves to send me stuff), and that’s what I’ve been doing with them – opening up a post draft and dumping it in to look at later for ideas. Glad I’m doing something right! The history posts and other research-oriented posts I do (about classic mystery novels or detectives) are fun to write, but VERY time-consuming! It gets hard to justify the time with so little blog traffic and comments, and so I’m still grappling about my blog’s focus. It’s definitely a work in progress.

    Thanks, Jenny!

    Like

    • ACK! Kathy! I love your blog topics. Especially the history ones. I’ve been a slug on making regular visits. Don’t give up on your audience yet.

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m with Gloria – I LOVE your blog and it sounds like I’m not showing my love enough. Shame on me! Your voice is so fresh and your topics are so completely different than mine that it always keeps me engaged.

      Like

  5. Gene Lempp says:

    Yep, the Designing posts (thanks for the linkage) are indeed my longest time wise because of the research – average of about 4 hours including formatting. However, I do my research in bits and pieces and keep an email Draft of sites I plan to use as reference which helps the actual writing go much faster. Took 3-6 months to get a smooth process.

    I like the kitchen timer idea, I have an online timer but always forget to use it. Maybe a “hard copy” version will work better. My social media time is about 1 hour a day, most of which is scanning blogs and setting tweets. Biggest helpers here so far – Triberr & Google Reader.

    I totally missed that little WP Dashboard trick but I’ll be using it now. By the way, my mashup takes about an hour, including formatting, tagging, read through, etc. Took about 2 months to smooth out the process for this one.

    Ah, no TV – I only watch it when I’m eating and walk away once the food is gone. So, I can’t say I never watch it but almost never. I do try to pick up a movie once in awhile on TV or DVD on the computer but ONLY if I’m watching it for “writerly” reasons. Otherwise, like you said, there is just no time and this one is easier to give up then most people think.

    This is an awesome post, Jen. One day I’m going to have to pick your brain for some other tips – and maybe I’ll give up a couple of secrets in exchange *grin*

    Peace, friend🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…thanks, Gene! I think sharing the tips is going to make everybody’s life easier because then we all get faster and share more nifty-ness with each other.🙂

      I’d be delighted to exchange secrets – you’ve got the rockin’ bomb brain dude. We’re lucky you’re on our side in the quest to take over the world.🙂

      Like

  6. Emma Burcart says:

    I love the idea of using a timer! I write all my blog posts on Sunday and get them in the drafts and ready to go, so that throughout the week I can just publish them when I’m ready. I would love to be able to set them to publish automatically, but the clock in my website (?? so not techy) is off, so I don’t want to try that. I did have a few posts stocked up, but I had to use them when I got sick. So, now I’m back at trying to build up another stock pile. Maybe using a timer will help me with getting more done on Sunday. I tend to get distracted, especially by social media. My designated social media time is no problem, it’s jumping on the internet when I should be writing that I need to put a stop to. I wish there was a way to turn off the internet at a certain time. But that is WAY above my tech knowledge level. Thanks for the great ideas!

    Like

    • K.B. Owen says:

      Emma, you can schedule your posts on WordPress. When you have your post ready, click the little “edit” word next to “Publish Immediately” – then a calendar appears below the line. Set the date and time you want, then click the “ok” button right under the month box (I missed this step my first time and couldn’t figure out what the heck had gone wrong, LOL). Once you’ve clicked “ok” it will say “Schedule for XXdate @ xxTime” If that’s the correct date and time, just click on the “Schedule” button underneath, and you’re all set!

      Hope that helps,
      Kathy

      Like

      • Thanks Kathy! That’s helpful advice for me too.

        Like

      • Additional note from the remedial section. My blog wasn’t set up properly for GMT when it first launched so I played mental math with what time the blog “thought” it was versus my actual time. Had to Google GMT and Central Standard to get it set properly.

        Which reminds me. I have to reset now that we’ve switched to CDT.

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  7. mliddle says:

    Jenny,
    As my blog launch date rapidly approaches, I am stressing out of the whazoo! I am tring to have as many blog posts ready beforehand as possoble. Even though, I will not be posting everyday (that will be almost impossible due to my body’s unprectability – I have multiple sclerosis & chronic pain), I want to try to get ahead so that I won’t be stuck without any posts. I also have a list of possible blog titles plus a paragraph describing what the post will be. In addition, everytime I think of a post idea, I write it down in my phone and use Dropbox to have the file available on my laptop. And similar to you, Jenny, I watch hardly any tv. I realize there will be a steep learning curve once I srart posting, so that was helpful to me to hear you say that. The other thing I do is I have a timer for reading and commenting on posts. That means I may not be able to comment on all the posts in which I would like to give feedback. I hope some of these comments are helpful to others. Your posts have been so helpful to me as I write.
    Thanks,

    Like

    • mliddle says:

      P.s. I was supposed to have my name at the end of my commment – Monique

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Monique, I’ll tell you what I tell everybody: BREATHE. You want so many things from your blog that it will scare the crap about of you. Don’t think about any of those things. Just schedule a few posts a week, maybe 2-3/week for the first few weeks.

      Then, as you think of posts, insert those in and push some of the others back. I’m often on a day to day schedule but when I know there is a big event I need to get ready for (like NaNoWriMo), I’ll push all my other writing aside and blog up a storm until I’ve filled a few weeks. Then I have that time to just write what I want to.

      Like

      • mliddle says:

        Thanks Jenny for reminding me not to get caught up in all the possibilities – and to breathe! My focus is on my posts and connecting with my readers. I find myself wanting to say so much – I think I need to keep things simple, but interesting, in the beginning, At first, there will be only 2 posts – 3 max. Right now, I have no shortage of ideas. My struggle is when to talk about what. I have a feeling that this particular issue will work itself out. I appreciate all your feedback. Your comments help to keep issues for my blog, and the blog itself, in perspective.
        Thanks –
        Monique.

        Like

  8. Yep, my travel posts take about 3-4 hours to do as well, with a bit of research, the writnig part, photo prepping and formatting. Hense they have fallen off the radar lately because i’ve trying to focus on my WIP. Maybe one day I will be able to write blog posts more like you, more of an emptying of the brain and like a warm up.🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I LOVE your travel posts, Nicole! But have you ever thought about doing them as a slice of life about a few photos?

      That would let you do a single place as a series – like the Food of Ireland, the Tourist Ireland, the castles of Ireland, the People of Ireland, etc. Your 4 hours would become 4 posts and free up a ton of time for your WIP while driving traffic to your blog.

      Just a thought…

      Like

  9. Oh boy, great tips, Jenny. I can really use these because I’m still struggling to get a handle on managing my blog, most specifically, the content. Your tips on creating Drafts will help with that, but I’m a lot like Lena in that I tend to wait for the mood to strike. Getting control of and improving my blog is actually one of my main goals for the upcoming months.🙂 Thanks for the enlightening post!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sheila, one of the best things Kristen ever told me is to blog about what you feel passionate about. If you blog because you “have to” it will come across. If you blog because you “love to” it will come across as well.

      I don’t know if that helps, but I never forgot it.🙂

      Like

  10. LauraDrake says:

    You ARE the Goddess of Social Media, Jenny! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  11. Okay. We are more alike than I thought. I don’t watch TV. Any. And I write quickly. I don’t have tomorrow’s blog post planned, but it’ll happen. I have lots of snippets in my notebook that can become blogs quickly. And…I love using a timer. They save my life with middle school students – but it was only a while ago that I thought of using them for me.

    My other technique is cluster writing. For the blog I co-run with Chase McFadden, I will write 6-8 posts in an afternoon and schedule them. Done for 2 months. (We post weekly). Then Chase picks up the proverbial ball for the next two months.

    Someday we’ll meet, Jenny!

    Like

  12. Julie Glover says:

    Thanks for sharing your process. Great stuff here, Jenny! As for what I’ve learned with my blogging:
    1. The most time-consuming posts are those which include photos and videos. Cutting down on the visuals saves time. I’m learning that I can spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME looking for the perfect picture to go with a post. So I’m cutting back on that.
    2. Whenever I have a blog post idea, I jot it down. Whenever I have more than that, I start a post. Sometimes it’s a few sentences; sometimes I hash out a first draft on the spot. But because of this habit, I currently have 16 draft posts in various stages and 4 other jotted-down ideas. That makes keeping to a schedule much easier.
    3. I usually take Monday of the week to polish my two posts and get them scheduled for the week. I know that I won’t get quite as much writing on my WIP done that day, but then I don’t have to think about the blog deadline looming.
    4. Theme days help — at least one. If you enjoy your topic and it provides a framework, it’s usually easy to come up with ideas and spew out posts. Plus (and this is so cool!), FRIENDS START SUGGESTING IDEAS! (For example, “Hey, I know you blog on shoes, and I saw this great article on the resurgence of custom cobblers!”
    Best wishes to all the fabulous bloggers out there! This is the place where I get MORE COWBELL, but there is some worthy cowbell-shaking content out there in the blogosphere.

    Like

    • Eden says:

      Actually, Julie, you may be onto something with the visuals.

      According to my husband, one of the biggest reasons he doesn’t read blogs is that a lot of them are so graphics heavy (and he says that includes the fancy backgrounds I like to use). He can’t read them through the connect he has at work without them taking several minutes just to load, and they mess up his other network connections.

      So I don’t know how many people have a similar problem, but it’s worth considering.

      (However, on the whole WordPress Dashboard thing… I actually had started a whole bunch of posts in my dashboard, and then moved to doing them in other places, because I wasn’t visualizing them there. …I’m a handwriting “deep” thinker, not keyboard one… So now I’m in a tizzy. Do I try going back to the other method?)

      Either way… I’m with Jenny on her love of Gene’s mash-ups. They are…oh, heck his whole blog is awesome.

      Like

  13. Great post, Jenny. thanks so much. My posts are taking aobut an hour, maybe 90 minutes, but I”m happy with that. I have ideas to take me into the next month, so that works well. I need to get some written and posted ahead of time, but right now am using comments and feedback to determine where they are going.

    thanks for the great tips.
    louise

    Like

  14. Fantastic ideas, Jenny. I’ve been tossing bits and pieces of blog post ideas into Google docs, rather than straight to the WP dashboard. I’m not a huge fan of WP’s editor, even at full screen, so it’s easier for me to edit and move things around there (even though it does require a few extra steps of copying, pasting, and formatting in WP).

    Sometimes I think that the “bum-in-chair” rule applies to blogging, as well as to writing. I used to give the same excuse (“I’m not in the mood!”) for writing as I do to blogging, but once I started *forcing* myself to sit down and write, it just became habit. This will probably be my experimental goal for ROW80 next round: set aside dedicated time for working on blog posts. I have a really long lists of ideas, and lots of words bouncing around in my head. I just need to actually write ’em down.😛

    Like

  15. MonaKarel says:

    No TV? Hmmm. Well I am seriously contemplating no more cable. It’s money I could use elsewhere, and I was keeping it going for my husband, who wanted all sports, all the time. I do like my news and weather.
    I went to the Dashboard, and discovered a mass of very strange spam posts. Most bizarre! And all gone now. Love the idea of pre-timing blogs, and also the save an idea feature. I have those ideas but they’re gone with the wind if I don’t write them down immediately (we have a LOT of wind here.)

    Like

  16. Am I the only one who uses Windows Live Writer? I can’t get WP to take my photos, so I paste my Word docs into WLW and click “Publish” and it’s done. In Windows, I can use folders to keep Life List Club posts and Christian posts and miscellaneous posts and other guest posts separate from one another and retrieve them quickly. I probably spend 30 minutes writing each post and another 15 minutes going through WLW and posting and then setting up notifications in HootSuite.

    Like

  17. KM Huber says:

    That’s it for TV for me, which I have been considering, although my main viewing is Turner Classic Movies but the expense I don’t need and the time I do. Thanks for this reference post, Jenny, as a new blogger, it’s really helpful. As you note, blogging is just the best for one’s writing, no matter how blogging is used.

    Just another great Jenny Hansen post.

    Karen

    Like

  18. First of all, Jenny, I did vote! That’s a hilarious competition!
    Seriously, you do have blogging down to a fine art. I rarely have a post organized in advance although I’ve been planning to do that since I started. I’m keeping all of your tips in a file and thanks a bunch for all of them. Maybe one day …

    Like

  19. GREAT post, Jenny!! This will help so many out there, I just know it. And I’m so happy that my TV addiction and blogging about it is able to help you stick to your “no-TV” rules (except for Baby Girl’s programs). 🙂

    I need to add a Pinterest button to my WordPress….just saw that on yours. How does it work exactly?

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Tiff!!! Oh, I bless you each and every week, trust me.🙂

      The Pinterest button is now down in your Dashboard under “Sharing” – I just dragged it into the button area and voila! I still need to get myself on there. If you’re in, will you invite me??

      Like

  20. Fantastic post, Jenny. We can all learn so much from each other’s challenges and successes. And there’s no way you could be off here, not when sharing what works for you!🙂 Different strokes for different folks, right? I find yours awesome.

    Like

  21. Jenny! Hope you are doing a-OK today…. I absolutely have unfinished posts in my queue for my blog. I keep them there for exactly the reason you said.. The ones I have to have a few of are my Flash Fiction posts.. I get sidetracked and realize it is Thursday night and… OH NO!!! I need a Flash Fiction Friday piece!!! Oh wait, I have a half-assed one in my queue. I;’ll doll it up and send it out..
    Happy almost Friday, Jenny… great post!

    Like

  22. Fabio Bueno says:

    What would we do without you, Jenny? Thank you for this post! A few of the things you mentioned I’ve learned the hard way (like scheduling a post), but most of them are invaluable tips that I’ll apply from now on.
    The mashups take a ton of time, but the giving back part of blogging is essential. I appreciate that you (and Gene, in the comments) shared how you draft one. Thanks to you both.

    Like

  23. donnagalanti says:

    Great tips! I too whip up draft ideas in my WordPress when I think of them and jot down bullets/notes to fill in later so I’m not stuck. But I DO need a timer for social media…thanks!

    Like

  24. Kat Morrisey says:

    Thanks so much for all the tips! I so wish I could give up television. I’ve definitely cut back on the shows that I watch because I just am so, so busy. But to give it up…oh you are a stronger woman than I! I could read so many books and write so much if I gave up TV, and save money too…Hmmmm, now you have me thinking!

    Like

  25. Karen McFarland says:

    As always, very timely Jenny!

    I guess I’m in the infancy stage with my blogging and I need to cut myself some slack. I’ve been a bit too hard on myself. But it takes me hours to write a post. I’m such a perfectionist. I’m running out and buying a timer. That’s a great idea! And I gave up T.V. in July of 2010. Don’t miss it.

    Thank you for all your help Jenny!🙂

    Like

  26. tomwisk says:

    I’ve only got 82 posts for my blog and it’s still morphing into what I want out of it. I have a question for bloggers out there: Do you have problems posting from Word 2010? No TV. How are all those preseason baseball games going to get watch. Don’t say radio. I can only scrounge three radios in the apartment and one is in the bedroom.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Tom, I got tired of having to format again when i got into the WP dashboard so I skip Word and just use the Dashboard. It saves me at least 15 mins per post.

      LOL on the baseball – I grew up with baseball constantly on the radio or TV. My mama was a fanatic. As a result, I love that sport.🙂

      Like

  27. I’m with you about it taking a while to get used to blogging, but having been at this since 2006, I can’t use that excuse any more! I find my issue isn’t so much balancing blogging versus writing as balancing writing *anything* against my full time 40+ hour/week job. The main advice I give anyone trying to write is this: Try to avoid having a primary job that requires most of your creative energy. When I get home, I’m beat – the last thing I feel like doing is trying to write. I have used the scheduling feature, mostly for the weekly posts (like the old ManFAQ and now the Horoscopes) and for when I’m out of town, and I have a few floating drafts – it’s just hard to find that point where my creative energy and my available time coincide! And kudos on the TV! I quit watching most TV years ago – although I’ll confess to Dr. Who and Anthony Bourdain when they’re on!
    Thanks for a great post, Jenny!

    UPDATE: Check out http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/you-must-be-logged-in-to-comment?replies=253 – I had this happen to me (and had to retype my reply) here three times before I Googled WTF was going on. Please feel free to yell at WordPress for me!

    Like

  28. Emma says:

    I need to do a blog mash-up. Thanks Jenny.

    Like

  29. Chihuahua0 says:

    I don’t watch television either.

    Really, I need to start working on my blog more. After I collect links for my weekly round-up, perhaps I should start work on a new one.

    Like

  30. I completely agree with you on the WP Dashboard. It took me awhile to use it fully but now it’s my go-to tool in WP. I loved Marcia Richards post on scheduling posts and I’m aiming for that🙂 For the mash-ups, I do them as part of my Sunday Summary posts, I create the draft and just drop links in as I come across them during the week with a bit of an intro. Friday or Saturday when I’m updating my progress I format the links, maybe 15-20 minutes. Right now my Tarot posts take the most time but I try to do 2-3 of those at a time so I’m not pulling out the same books over and over again.

    I love that you use your blog posts as Morning Pages, right now that doesn’t fit into my life. And as you seem to be the queen of social media… Thanks for all the tips Jenny!

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  31. John Holton says:

    “The first 3-6 months of your blog are a steep learning curve that you just have to suck it up and get to the other side of.” Jenny, you’re my hero. I’m bookmarking this page.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, John…you’re a sweetie pie. I think everyone thinks their blog is going to be easy and, when it’s not, they wonder what they’re doing wrong. The answer is NOTHING. There’s just a learning curve.

      Like

  32. Jennette Marie Powell says:

    Wow, this post is just what I needed! And you are sooo right about the posts requiring research. I love doing the My Town Monday posts because I always learn something myself, but the research simply takes too much time! I spend half of Sunday writing those blogs sometimes. I think I’m going to dial back on MTM to once or twice a month. Now I just have to figure out something to replace it with.🙂

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  33. This is 100% pure crackle sauce! (that means it’s extra special full of goodness).

    Dashboard is my friend, but I never thought to keep drafts. I usually just schedule posts out, but drafts are an excellent idea. You give back so much to us. We need to find a way to give something to you! I know, I can babysit Baby Girl for you! Or better yet, take you out to a bar and give you a night off from everything. That would be win-win for both of use. Crackle sauce!

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  36. I do the draft thing too. For that, I’ve found that the WordPress app for my Android phone comes in extremely handy–if I get an idea while not around my computer I just pull up my app and type in my title etc and save as a draft….

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  39. Hey Jenny, Thanks for the post. I have got to learn some of the tricks to make this process go faster. I can easily spend 2-4 hours on one post. And, don’t get me started on twitter time. It is out of control. I should be spending 2-4 hours on my WIP. And, good for you with eliminating the TV. I do think that is part of my problem as well. My new thing is watching reality competition shows. The dancing and singing inspire me and then during the judging and commercials I mute it and write. Not the most productive, but it is extra time.
    But, I have been only at this for a month now. I need to be patient and see where I am at in 3-6 months. Thanks for that. I feel a little better now.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Sydney! I’m glad you feel better. The first 6 months or so of a blog are a crazy hot mess. Right about the 5 month mark, you start really finding your groove and it all gets REALLY fun. Just keep at it.🙂

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