I started a version of this blog as I was finishing up my senior year of high school back in 2014. I had no vision in mind for it, other than that it was an easy way to make it look like I was doing something productive during my Computer Science class. A year later, I got my first sponsored post opportunity. A year after that, I completely transitioned to a “blog for bloggers” and wrote over 100 posts about blogging. Then at the beginning of 2017, I switched to lifestyle blogging and committed to running this blog with the mindset of it being a business (I gotta pay for groceries somehow), while staying transparent and keeping it very “me”.
All that time, I was in college. I would make 30+ posts over the summer and winter break, but no matter how committed I felt going into the semester, I would always find myself forgetting to post and leaving my blog empty for months. College is rough. Job searching is rough. Add blogging to the mix and it’s impossible not to feel a little burnt out!
But blogging isn’t just about writing posts. It’s about connecting with your readers, keeping your social media updated, responding to PR emails, designing graphics, and so much more. All these tasks make it a fun “job” for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, so even when I’m not getting posts up, I’m always “active”. I love following my readers on Twitter and seeing what they’re are up to on Instagram, and I read other bloggers’ posts every day! These things don’t really feel like part of the job, but just…life?
So despite being that blogger who disappears every October and February, I still think it’s possible to manage blogging and college without too much sacrifice. Here are some tips that have helped me over the years and hopefully push some struggling bloggers to keep at it!
1. Don’t try to post a million times a week
Committing to posting multiple times a week burns me out more than anything else. You feel guilty if you don’t do it because you’re letting down your readers, but you get bored of writing after running through all your post ideas in two weeks. I used to think you had to post 3+ times a week to be considered a “good” blogger and to get brands to work with you, but as long as your content is high quality and engaging, it’s totally okay to only post once a week and take breaks every once in a while!
When I am posting, I usually get a post or two up each week. I don’t have a “schedule”, so I pretty much just post whenever I’m in the mood. Most of my posts are above average in length, so I find it hard to push out three posts in a day to schedule for later. And if I don’t know what to write about, I like making life update posts!
2. Follow and engage with other similar bloggers on social media
Once the semester starts, I lose a lot of motivation to blog. I have a million other things to do, and none of my school friends blog, so it’s easy to get out of the blogging mindset. Following other bloggers gives me a community of people that get the struggle and are pushing to stay active too. Seeing them get posts up reminds me that I’m completely capable of writing something too.
3. Block out a few hours of “blogging time” each week
My schedule is always changing, so I can’t just say “every Tuesday I’m going to write all my posts”. I tried doing that, and the fact that I couldn’t made me feel like I couldn’t keep blogging at all.
What works for me is looking at my calendar at the beginning of week, finding a 3 hour time slot that’s empty, and devoting that time to blogging. That’s usually enough time to write a post, share it on social media, run through my influencer networks to see if any new opportunities are open, and do a quick check on how my blog is doing overall. Then I just don’t think about it the rest of the week, guilt-free, unless I just happen to have free time and feel in the mood to work on it.
4. Make a master list of post ideas and keep it somewhere you look often
It’s pretty easy to not blog if you don’t have any post ideas, so don’t let that happen! I use Todoist for everything from my school assignments to my Christmas wish list, and have an ongoing list of post ideas there too. I don’t come up with new post ideas all the time, but every once in a while I’ll come up with like, 10 in one sitting.
5. Use a list app!!
I already mentioned using Todoist to list your post ideas (I promise this isn’t sponsored), but using this app in general has made me feel so much more in control of my life! There are tons of to-do apps out there, but I personally like Todoist because I can group different lists into “projects”, with or without due dates, and also see a master list of any tasks with a due date one one page.
So for school, I have one main “project” and add any assignments or tests in there, along with their due date. That way they’ll show up in my master list.
In my “blog” project, I write any ongoing things I want to do like email some company or write a certain post, and don’t add a due date. Then once or twice a week I’ll go through there and schedule any tasks I want to get done that week with a due date so they’ll show up in the master list.
By having the option to add a due date or not, it’s really easy to make long lists of things I eventually want to accomplish and schedule them when I have time. For blogging, that means I can make a list of post ideas or other tasks and only look at them when I need to.
6. You can’t always do everything
Last month I turned down a sponsored post opportunity because the turnaround was really quick (about two weeks for content creation + editing + publishing), and I just couldn’t see myself getting that post done and having enough time to finish all the end-of-semester assignments I had due. It sucked, because I could really use the extra money right now, but I let my contact know that I needed to prioritize school and would love to be considered for future opportunities with the company. She was totally understanding, and I definitely think that was the right decision for me at the time.
You can’t always say “yes” to every blogging opportunity that comes your way, and taking all of them isn’t necessarily good for your blog either. Know your priorities, know what image you’re trying to portray with your blog, and be willing to turn down opportunities that just aren’t a fit for your blog or your schedule. Yes, money is awesome, but so is feeling in control of your content and your time!