One Thing I Learned from a Successful Year of Blogging

If you’re anything like me, writing about ideas comes easily, but coming up with topics or angles can be difficult. It always seems to start out well, but after several days, weeks, or even months after launching out into the world of writing regularly, coming up with new topics can become mentally draining.

I struggled with constantly coming up with blogging topics for several years. Far too often, the early mornings of my scheduled post day would find me pecking away at my keyboard, writing whatever was on my mind, primarily because I had no idea what to write about, what angle to take, or what problem to solve. I procrastinated on writing, and the blog suffered as a result. It was this way for me in 2011, 2012, and in 2013 I stopped writing the blog altogether—at least for that year.

At the beginning of 2014, I set an audacious goal to write two posts per week. All my previous blogging ventures were only one time each week. Not only was my blogging challenge twice as intense as anything I had ever done, but for someone who struggles with “what” to write about, this was a big self-challenge.

However, I planned 2014 with a subtle shift. Instead of writing directly about my topic (which in my case is how to effectively study the Bible), I shifted the focus to things I’ve learned while studying. Each post would cover ONE thing I learned from ONE passage, and I would narrow the focus to just the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John).

rbs-topic-slip-bucketPlanning my year in advance is the one key thing that brought about my successful year of blogging. The first weekend in January, I sat down and collected all my study notes, and then broke them down into passages and key ideas about each passage. I took this massive collection, and printed them out, and proceeded to cut each idea into little strips of paper. I took all these strips of paper, folded them twice, and put them in a plastic container.

In one afternoon, I amassed a collection of topics that would cover almost TWO years of my goal of two blogs per week. This collection has served me well. Now when it’s time to blog, I simply pull out a slip of paper and write from the prompt. No more writer’s block!

Perhaps you struggle with what to blog about. If so, it might be that you are trying to make your posts too complex. If you want to declare 2015 as “the year of writing,” then change things up. Set aside a few hours this weekend and gather or create a list of topics you could write about. Then take your list, and break it out even further by putting it into “One Thing” segments—one thing you learned, one thing you wish you learned, one thing you need to still learn, or one thing that you never thought you’d learn. Before long you will have a good solid stockpile of potential content to take you through 2015.

That’s one thing I learned from my successful 2014 of blogging. Now, make 2015 your year!

[guestpost]Camden RossCamden Ross writes regularly on ReflectiveBibleStudy.com. Not only does he blog, he also writes Bible studies for those who want to grow closer to Jesus. If you’re looking to develop or strengthen your Bible study habit, Cam is definitely someone you want to pay attention to. Learn more at ReflectiveBibleStudy.com.[/guestpost]

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Tim Bishop - January 6, 2015

I took great pleasure in reading this post from an individual who selflessly provides quality advice to others online. Effective organization is such a crucial quality to succeed in almost any life venture. Many creative people struggle with it because random ideas, and good ones at that, abound. You’ve demonstrated a very practical way to structure one’s writing. It’s great to read about how it pushed you to achieve that which was and is challenging: creating engaging content that matters. Best wishes for even richer content in 2015.

Reply
    Cam - January 6, 2015

    Thank you for these kind words Tim. It was my pleasure to share.

    Best wishes for your 2015 as well!

    ~Cam

    Reply
Micki Vandeloo,GPC - January 6, 2015

What a great approach, Camden! I will definitely try that once I get the results of this year’s readers survey for my blog back! Keep up the great work!

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    Cam - January 6, 2015

    Thank you Micki.

    This aproach would be the perfect compliment to a reader survey. Nicely done.

    Hope your 2015 is filled with lots of excellent posts!

    ~Cam

    Reply
Jim Hough - January 6, 2015

Camden, such a great post! I am at the front end of my blogging adventure. Started with a few random posts last year (fizzled quickly!). Your idea about keeping the topic to ONE key thought is brilliant. Simple…but brilliant (most good ideas are!) Thanks for sharing and I wish you all the best in 2015!

Reply
    Cam - January 6, 2015

    Hi Jim,
    Glad to help and thank you for the compliment.

    Hope your 2015 doesn’t include blogging burnout — cause that definitely would suck. 😉

    ~Cam

    Reply
Colleen Reiter - January 6, 2015

Great practical ideas, Camden! Since I plan to start blogging shortly, I will include your suggestions in my preparations. I also like the tangible, non-digital element of the paper strips. Thank you for sharing about your blogging journey!

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    Cam - January 6, 2015

    Hi Colleen,
    I’m sure someone has a more “digital” approach to the analog paper strips, but for me, I think it’s kinda fun to “draw” the topics. Makes me think that each post is a winner from the start. (Okay, I’ll admit that sounds a little cheesy.) 🙂

    Glad to help you prepare for your blogging adventure. While it is challenging at times, it is definitely worth it in the long run.

    ~Cam

    Reply
Debbie Wilson - January 6, 2015

Cam, I love your ideas. What a great way to make your writing fresh and fun!

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    Cam - January 6, 2015

    Thanks Debbie.

    Always glad to help and inspire.

    ~Cam

    Reply
Erin K Casey - January 7, 2015

Cam,
Thanks so much for contributing to MWC. As others have commented, I so appreciate the practical value of your suggestions. I’ve assigned Friday as my blog planning day and am putting your One Thing idea to use.

Here’s to a successful 2015 for you!

~Erin

Reply
    Cam - January 7, 2015

    Thank you Erin for the opportunity to share with your community of writers.

    I am always happy to share what I’ve learned that is useful and glad that it has helped both you and many others.

    Have a successful 2015 to you too!

    ~Cam

    Reply
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