Advice for the Part-time-Blogger {Part-Time Bloggers Dilemma Part 2 }

{If you didn’t hear, The Real Housewives of Bucks County are now East Coast Creative (Get the story here). You’ll still be getting all the DIY, Design, and Monica & Jess that you love, but change your favorites to www.eastcoastcreativeblog.com Thanks!} 
Last week we got real with you all and shared some of the struggles of a PTB (Part-Time-Blogger). You can check out the post here, but basically we’re trying to figure out how to write a successful, growing blog, when it’s not yet your full-time job (Notice we say “yet”… girls can dream right?!?)  
Due to the huge response we got from so many PTBs, we thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned along the way.  

Pre-plan your posts.  
We spent about 6 months blogging by the seat of our pants.  Ex: 10pm on Monday one of us would be DIYing a project for Tuesday morning.  That still happens occasionally, but planning out projects ahead of time, helps us balance out the type of posts per week (DIY, Design Trends, Recipes, etc).  It also helps cut down on our time shopping for materials.  When you know what projects you’re working on for the week, you might be able to cut your Lowes trips down to 2 or 3… sometimes, it used to be 5 or 6!  
Using a simple Google calendar is a must for us because there are two of us that need to know the plan.  Seeing the month or even two weeks at a time planned out makes things seem nice and manageable! 
Check your Memory Card. 
Don’t check to see if it’s working, check to see what’s on it.  Jess and I have commented numerous times that we take more pictures of projects than anything else.  Before blogging, I was a camera junkie.  I had it with me all the time and we had awesome pictures of our kids.  About a month ago, I decided enough was enough.  Blogging was getting in the way of family pics.  
This is a peek at my April 2012 photos in Picasa.
Not one single picture of any of my kids, or even a single human for that matter.  Ugh!  
I made a decision to be intentional and take more pictures of people than things! 
Here’s a peek at May 2012 so far (and yes, I started May’s folder about a week early)
I’m happy to be more balanced in this area, and really it’s not about the pictures, it’s about where my focus is and what memories I want to preserve… projects or people??  I’m choosing people.  
Find a Blog Mentor.
Officially or unofficially, having someone that you can ask blog questions to is so helpful! Beth from Home Stories A to Z was the first blogger we were able to reach out to with questions.  She was always so helpful, even if our questions were silly or kinda obvious.  
Having someone that knows the ropes and is willing to give you support when you need it is essential.  Don’t be afraid to reach out when you have questions.  (You can even ask us, but we’re still technically  considered rookies) 
Recently, we got an “Official” Blog Mentor.  We write once a month over at Beckie’s blog, Infarrantly Creative.  That started a relationship that has helped us more than we ever could have imagined.  Once a week we conference with Beckie about all things blog related.  This lady is amazing! We give her a topic we want to talk about and 60 minutes later we have about 5 pages of notes and are so invigorated and full of ideas and things to try! 
If you want to take your PTB to the next level, consider reaching out to someone that you think would make a great blog mentor.  It’ll rock your world! 


Prioritize.

This sounds so obvious, but believe me, once the blog world sucks you in (in a good way, of course!), everything else can take a back seat. Decide what’s most important to you, and what things you’re ok living without. Actually write your priorites out on paper. It helps! For example: I made a choice to stay home with my kids (I work 10 hours a week outside of our home), so I only blog during their nap time and after they’re in bed. Truth be told, I barely open the computer until 1 PM. However, I’ve had to give up sleep (low on my priority totem pole) in order to keep my top priorities straight. Give and take, right?
Learn when to say Yes and when to say No.
We’re still learning this one, folks, but here’s are our thoughts about it. For the entire first year, we didn’t say no to anything. And we’re happy about that. Our lives were absolutely crazy, but we firmly believe that to grow your blog (just as you would a business) you have to put yourself out there, put lots of time in and keep your face forefront in everyone’s mind. Doing that for the first year gives us the luxury now of choosing what’s best for us and our blog, and occasionally saying no when it’s not a good fit.
Source: oprah.com via Marivi on Pinterest
Be Consistent.
It doesn’t matter if you plan on posting twice a week or five times a week, but be consistent. Our favorite blogs are the ones who post on a regular basis- it’s what keeps us coming back for more! We don’t like to guess when someone might be posting, and we figure you don’t either, so we do our best to post five times a week. Side note: if you want to grow your blog, posting often is key! Readers will come back if the content is different each day. You’ll definitely lose readers if you post once every other week. It’s just the way it is.
Step Away from the Computer
If you’re anything like us, you’ll understand why this is important. We are constantly thinking about new projects, upcoming posts and events, how we can better grow our blog etc., so we could literally sit for hours and hours and hours at the computer and STILL have stuff we want to do. One of the best things that happened this year was our Mexico trip- a forced time away from the blog. And guess what? It was fabulous! We both thought we’d miss blogging terribly and would go through withdrawal. Not so.  Real life is so much fun, and you might miss it if you sit on your rear all day staring at the screen.

Stop Comparing
Not gonna lie. We went through a slump where we compared our blog and projects to another fabulous blogger. No matter what we did, or how great our projects were, we still felt like they didn’t measure up. It stinks and takes away all the fun of blogging. We realized that there are millions of amazingly talented people out there, and someone is always going to be doing something more creative than we are, but who the heck cares?! We do what we do because we love it, and from what we’ve heard, our readers are pretty happy with it too. Every person has a gift- use yours to the best of your abilities and move on!
Source: imgfave.com via Sarah on Pinterest

These are just a few things we’ve learned along the way.  The PTB dilemma is still something we’re working on, but it’s come a long way from where we started.  Who knows, maybe someday we’ll have a Full-Time Blogger Dilemma! That would be wonderful! 



So what other tips would you add to our list?  


jess&Monica

Comments

  1. Great post! I’m really looking forward to reading more stuff like that from you – you guys are super!

  2. Love you two! You are amazing bloggers and I’m honored to be mentioned in your post :). I just wrote a post for my bloggie bestie Chris from Just a Girl entitled 10 Blogger Commandments and you all hit most of them and more! I really like the tip on the pics. I still have way too may pictures of things in my home and not enough of my kiddos. Good reminders ladies!! xoxo

  3. Awesome post! I’m going to be taking you up on your offer to answer questions! I hope you don’t mind:0)

    My triangle needs to be a square with a “clean house” option. Before I started blogging, I used nap time to clean the house. I NEED to make more time for that!!!

  4. Awesome post ladies, thanks for keeping it real. And thanks for the huge shout out. {blush!}

  5. Great post as always! I’m about 15 months into blogging and feel like I have a good feel for myself and how I work as a blogger. But, and I’m being totally honest here, I’ve had a hard time with the “find a blog mentor” one. Part of me thinks I’m being bothersome and another part of me feels silly, like I’m asking a kid on the playground to be my friend. I have reached out to a number of other bloggers and they are always extremely welcoming and encouraging, but it never goes much beyond that first email or two. I know this is important, though, and it’s something I would like, so I’m curious how you broach the topic?

  6. These really are great tips, from a newbie blogger still finding my way, these tips are really helpful! :)

  7. Thank you both for this candid and helpful piece. I have been blogging for a bit now and agree it can be a bit much at time but it is great to see the support is out there.

  8. I’m coming up on the one year anniversary for my blog. I’ve asked other bloggers technical questions here and there and have always received great replies. Can you share a little bit about what types of things you discuss with a blog mentor?

  9. I definitely need to focus on the last 2…I’ve been so absorbed in my laptop for the past few days, I haven’t left the house! I’m completely embarrassed. I’m getting back on track tomorrow and getting out of my house!

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Don’t be embarrassed, it happens to all of us. Sometimes we just get lost in ourselves and what we’re doing. It’s a learning process. Thanks for stopping by the blog! :)

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