When do you blog? Are you on a schedule? Or do you wait until inspiration strikes?
What do you blog? Do you follow a meticulously-planned content calendar? Or do you wait until an idea hits you?
One of the challenges with any kind of creative work is staying productive while giving yourself lots of dreaming time. Many creatives never make a career out of their work because they operate too far on an extreme: either limiting themselves by being too rigid or preventing project completion by being too free-flowing.
So, how do you hit the middle ground? What can you do to become a better blogger?
The trick is to balance creative freedom with discipline. Here’s how:
This stage is where you have total creative freedom. Let your mind wander. Draw inspiration from outside sources, like books and magazines or trips to an art gallery. Journal. Head out for a walk. Take a shower. Whatever lets you loosen up your thought process. Just make sure to capture those dreams in your notes app on your phone or in a notepad. Hang onto your dreams, but don’t censor them. No idea is a bad idea at this stage! We’ll start to vet them a bit further in the next step.
Comb through your dreams and think about which ones are viable. Can you turn this idea into a blog post? Can that idea become a Pinterest-worthy DIY? Can these ideas be a photo series on Insta? Start to assess the practicality of your ideas. Do you have the budget to complete this project? Do you have the time to tackle this other one? Don’t make any final decisions during this phase; simply start to think through the realities of each idea.
As David Allen famously said, “You can do anything, but not everything.” Each and every idea on your dreams list can be accomplished–but not at once. After you finish thinking through all your ideas, start to plan them. One might take a day–like, a super fun photoshoot idea with your cats and a new toy–whereas others might take a week, a month, a year, or longer–say, writing your memoir. Decide on what you want to do when. Some items from your dream list might not make the cut, but hang onto them in case they surface for you again!
You have the dream of your idea. You’ve thought through the logistics. You’ve planned your execution. All that’s left? It’s time to create! Here’s where you harness that creative freedom you used in the dreaming stage to get down to work! Of course, you’re working to a plan, so you know what you need to do to see the project through to completion.
On the Other Hand
Don’t lose sight of in-the-moment strikes of brilliance! Dream, think, and plan as much as you can, of course, but if the mood hits and you have a spark of insight, skip those steps and get to creating! Sometimes those ideas turn out to be the diamond in the rough… and sometimes just the rough… but if you don’t capture it, you will never know.
How do you balance creative freedom with discipline? Do you lean further one way than the other? Let us know in the comments!
Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.
Image: Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com