Do Blogging Deadlines Help or Hurt You?
When you set your blogging deadlines, are you taking an action that will actually help your blog or hurt it? My answer: Yes!
Since no two bloggers are exactly alike, blogging deadlines will have different impacts on each one.
There are people who seem to thrive on deadline pressure. I once worked with a television news producer who didn’t seem to move nearly as fast unless he was down to the wire in terms of getting his newscast written and ready for air. The earlier in the evening it was, the slower he seemed to move.
The closer to airtime, the faster — and more panicked — he seemed to get.
Over time, we realized that he thrived on deadline pressure. I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Blogging consistently is important.
Many have suggested that it’s a wise strategy to establish a set schedule for your blog and follow it as closely as you can. Those folks reason that in publishing on a regular schedule, you’re building up your trust with your audience. You’re giving them the expectation of when you’ll publish that they feel they can rely on.
That’s certainly not a bad thing.
Blog deadlines help you focus your efforts in blogging at a consistent pace.
It’s so easy these days to get distracted. Dozens of things demand our time and attention. The biggest advantage of blog deadlines is that they keep us on target to be able to publish on a regular schedule.
I do think that’s valuable.
There can be a dark side as well.
Remember that producer I mentioned earlier? He loved deadline pressure, it seemed. He would apparently procrastinate to create more urgency in his work.
But there was a problem he couldn’t see. He wasn’t nearly as good as he thought he was at getting himself out of the holes he’d dig for himself by not pacing things.
The rush he created made for more mistakes and less quality. But the newscast went on when it went on, so there were times we’d have to settle for a more frantic production because he wasn’t as prepared as he should have been.
That happens with blogging, too.
You can love deadline pressure as well — I think most of us do an extent. But if you allow that love to put you in a position where you’re having to rush and crash together ideas just to make your slot, you’re not helping your blog or its readers.
So where’s the happy medium?
I’ve published daily for five years now. Recently, I celebrated my 2,000 consecutive daily post.
I wouldn’t claim, even jokingly, that all 2,000 daily posts are perfect or even as good as I should have made them before I clicked that Publish button.
What I will claim, however, is that I’ve done more planning on those posts than I’ve ever done before. Some posts are written a few days ahead of time. Some posts, like this one, were begun more than two weeks before the day they actually go up.
Once in a while, I’m not able to get a post written as far in advance as I’d like. But even in those cases, for the most part, I do let the post idea simmer a bit in my mind before I actually start writing.
I almost never write a post cold with no idea in mind and meander through something just to get a post published. (I can only hope it never feels as though I do!)
I use an editorial calendar, a device I’ve touted for a long time, to help me plan the posts I’m going to write and when I plan to post them. Sometimes, a post will begin with nothing more than a title. (A title that is subject to change once the piece is finished.) Just seeing those titles on the calendar days (and weeks) ahead of schedule serves as a reminder that I need to flesh out those ideas in the background while I’m working on other things.
If I’m focused the way I should, the deadline becomes just the final push to get me to finish what I’ve already been working on.
As I like to say when I give blogging advice, your mileage may vary. Mine often varies from what the “experts” say.
But I think that blog deadlines, if you look at them the right way, can be a big help to keep your creative juices flowing.