Batching Your Blogging Might Make You a More Efficient Writer
How breaking up your work into stages could make you more productive
I’ve been supporting myself and my daughter as a full-time blogger for close to two years now. Prior to this work, I was a contract writer for about four years.
Over this time, I’ve learned that the only way to really get through an unconventional writing career is to ride the waves.
Regardless of the platform(s) you choose to use for your writing, there will always be things that change. To continue writing and manage a successful career, you’ll have to deal with each change as it comes.
But writers aren’t just impacted by external changes. You’ll have to deal with internal change, too. This can include things like your evolving voice, shifting priorities, mental or physical health challenges, and a growing interest in different writing styles or topics.
Your passion for writing certain stories may change, and even that can be incredibly jarring.
Such changes are, of course, in addition to the external forces you can’t control. Reading and engagement habits shift. Algorithms change. Interest ebbs and flows.
Although you’ll do your best to anticipate and respond to change, you’ll undoubtedly run into some writing periods where you feel like you’re “off” your game.
This is completely natural.
One way to get through the upheaval?
Consider batching your work.
Every Writer Deals With Specific Stages of Writing
For a blogger like myself, there is idea generation, outlining, research, writing, editing, finding an image, and backlinking. Not every story has all of these stages, but it’s a pretty good overview of what I do. You might also stage your work as pre-writing, drafting, and finishing up.
But let’s be honest.
Going through each of these stages day in and day out can be rather overwhelming. Some days, you might just want to crawl under a rock, veg out, or stream Netflix for hours. Sometimes all I want to do is putz around with a meaningless app like Emoji Blitz or Happy Color.
Often, what I’d really like to do is just finish another story without going through all of the earlier stages at that moment. As much as I love writing, sometimes all I really want is the finished product.
Perhaps you can relate.
I’ve discovered that going through a lot of changes (internal or not) leaves me feeling more restless with my writing.
That’s when I crave the “final stages” the most.
Consider the Pressures of Daily Writing
A lot of us put enormous pressure upon ourselves to finish writing one (or more) story every day. It’s not a bad goal, and for many of us, it makes sense if this is all we do for a living.
Even so, it can be mentally and emotionally draining to go through so many different writing stages every day. Depending upon what all is going on, it may not always be in your best interest to keep going straight through each stage.
If you begin feeling a bit overwhelmed or burnt out, you might be able to refresh your process by batching your work.
Batching Is Just Grouping Similar Tasks Together
Since it takes time for our brains to switch from task to task, it can be difficult to be productive when your work contains multiple tasks.
As writers, we sometimes minimize our own efforts. As if it’s just writing and no big deal. But writing is a big deal. It takes time, energy, skill, and plenty of thinking. Even on the occasions when unexpected inspiration hits us, writing doesn’t just happen. We each have to make it happen.
If you’re struggling to be more productive, batching might be just what you need.
Start With Breaking Down Your To-Do List
When you write from home, it’s very easy to lose track of everything that you’re “supposed” to do. Writing a blog post or article might actually mean:
- idea generation
- finding an image
You might have other tasks too, like replying to emails or comments. Or making an editorial calendar.
Rather than going down the same list of tasks for most stories, you can batch similar tasks to help your brain get and stay in the zone. In that case, you wouldn’t manage your to-do list by each piece of writing. Instead, you would go through it by batch task.
Assign Batch Tasks to Your Work Hours
Generate your ideas
Maybe you need to spend a day on idea generation. You could write up your editorial calendar for the week (or month) and come up with a list of story ideas.
Idea generation can be a great opportunity to try out new creative exercises. A lot of writers make the mistake of putting idea generation completely on the back burner. That’s too bad because creative exercises can help rejuvenate our minds and get us out of a writer’s rut.
Outline your stories
I’ve never been one to outline much of my work, but that’s beginning to change. Outlining your stories is a good way to cut out a lot of bullshit before you even begin writing.
If you’ve got a road map for your stories, they’ll typically be easier and quicker to write. Plus, if you write up several outlines in one batch, you might find connections you never would have made if you’d been working on one story at a time.
Research the facts
If you’re anything like me, most of your work won’t need much research, but you’ll usually need some backlinks to help bring everything together.
Outlining your posts makes it a little easier to know what research you’ll need. Think about what you’re trying to say and why anyone should believe you. Sometimes, you’ll need to find sources to back up your thoughts.
And sometimes, you’ll need to do research before you know exactly what you’re going to write.
Sometimes, all I’m in the mood to do is write drafts. In that case, I’m often not ready to conclude a piece, and maybe the intro is lacking. It doesn’t matter. I simply write the sections I feel most compelled to write.
I prefer to write my drafts when I’m feeling particularly inspired, but that’s not always realistic.
If you’re lacking in the inspiration department these days, you might want to consider setting some attainable goals to help you move forward and write.
The final stage of writing a blog post will vary from person to person. Some folks pull their images last. Others read their piece out loud and complete final edits.
Whatever counts as your final step in blog creation, it’s nice to have a batch of stories ready for those finishing touches on the days where you’re mostly in the headspace to finish something.
By the way, if you’re looking for a beautiful image for your posts, you’ve got a lot more options than just Unsplash.
Marketing your writing
Ah, marketing. Most writers either love or hate this part. If you want to be more productive in your writing career, you could consistently set aside some time to share your work with the world.
Maybe you’ve got a Patreon account to manage, a Substack newsletter, or an email campaign to work on. Whatever it means for you, there’s bound to be a way to get through it with a little more joy. Not to mention, results.
This article has some great ideas for creating a successful blog post and for marketing each story when you’re done.
Batching isn’t what I’ve always done, but I’m beginning to see the light. After a couple of years of writing fresh content every day, my own brain is ready for some new methods.
How about you?