Hope for your financial life and beyond

How Do You Create Time to Blog?

Disclaimer: This post is part very calm rant (over my predicament), part probe (asking advice from you the reader), and part self-help (just getting this out of my mind and thinking it through so I can move on).

HourglassHello. My name is Brian. I’m a part-time blogger.

(I’ve actually never seen standards for what classifies someone as full or part-time. I just assume that because I’m not posting every day of the week that makes me part-time.)

This July 3rd, I’ll celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary. I’ve consistently posted twice a week for the past year. (Which actually was my personal goal.) On a great week I can sneak in an additional post or maybe compile a weekly roundup of awesome posts I’ve read.

I haven’t done many additional posts and no roundups recently because I have lacked the time. That’s frustrating. I LOVE reading what other people write and sharing comments in their blog world. And I love passing on what I think is good content to my readers.

I’ve seen an even more disturbing trend happen in the past month. I’m really having trouble keeping up with my writing schedule. I learned from John at Frugal Rules the importance of putting a blog calendar together. That’s been a ton of help. I’ve got a slew of stuff planned out to write on for months to come.

But keeping up with that calendar with all my other personal responsibilities is the challenge. As a part-timer this is what I’m up against:

I have full time responsibilities at work. I teach middle and high school for a living. This takes up all my time from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday.

I have the equivalent of full time responsibilities at home during the week. After school, I oversee homework, dinner prep and cleanup. This usually lasts from 4:30 – 7:00. I get the kids to extracurricular activities like rec-soccer or basketball practice. On weekends, I do laundry, grocery shop, clean the house, work in the yard and spend time with the kids. We also invest 3-4 hours at church on Sunday.

(I need to stop for a moment and say I’m not complaining…I’m OK with all this. Two years ago, this was the deal I struck with Mrs. Luke1428 so she could pursue CPA licensure and an MBA. By taking on these responsibilities I’m helping her live out her dream.)

Then there is my health. I spend 4-5 hours a week running, usually early in the morning before work (between 5 and 6:30 AM). Consequently my bedtimes are usually early (9:00 pm) the night before a morning run. That really cuts into one’s evening.

I also am property manager for our side business – rental real estate. I absolutely love doing this but there are times when it just eats you for lunch. Like this past month when I was in between tenants on a property and had to complete a fairly substantial renovation before we could lease it out again. What a time hog that was!

Then there is writing for Luke1428 and all that goes with maintaining, developing and promoting an effective blog. With all these things going on in my life, you can see how this could easily get dumped off the backend of my daily schedule.

Look, I know that your life is as busy as mine. How are you scheduling your writing time? Do you pop a movie in for the kids and lock yourself in the basement for three hours? Do you call a babysitter and head off to the local library for the evening? What tips do you have? The blogging community wants to know.

Before you offer any comments or suggestions, let me tell you what I won’t do to find more writing time:

1. I won’t blog on the clock at work. I would consider this stealing time from my employer. I don’t believe that is honoring.

2. I won’t sacrifice my health. I can’t stop running. It has benefited my life greatly and my future goals have become too big and important.

3. I won’t neglect my families’ needs. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith…” (I Timothy 5:8). I take that verse from the Bible seriously.

4. I won’t cut out church.

5. I won’t go back on my word to my wife. She has enough responsibilities trying to complete her professional degree requirements. That’s where her focus should be for the next 8 months until she is done.

Hopefully this is just a short season of my blogging life I’m going through. It feels like it’s the blogging equivalent of the marathon “brick wall” (the point around mile 20 where the stores of glycogen in one’s muscles are depleted, leading to severe fatigue and causing many runners to quit the race). I’m not one to quit, especially when I enjoy doing something. But finding time to produce a quality part-time blog with all of life’s other demands staring you in the face is a bigger challenge than I anticipated.

Anyone else ever feel this way at some point in your blogging career? When do you schedule your writing time?

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Next Post: Hey Parents…It’s OK to Create Cheap Memories

Prior Post: Budgeting Series, Part III: How to Make a Budget

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Comments

  1. Hey tere would you mind stating whic blog platform you’re working with?
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    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!
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  2. Excellent post. I previousally to spend alot of my time water skiing and watching sports. It was quite possible the very best sequence of my past and your content material kind of reminded me of that period of my life. Cheers

  3. Brian, I’m pretty much in the same predicament as you are. I’ve been actively blogging for three months and have been enjoying it. I found that I was putting in 25 hours or so a week into blogging. that included reading other blogs, commenting, the social networks etc. I was able to write 2-3 posts a week. The family demand on my time (which will always take precedence and a new job where I am traveling most of the time have left me little time to pursue my blog adventure. I have scaled back to just reading other blogs when I get the time (I don’t comment anywhere near as much as I used to). I’m focusing more on writing and publishing decent posts. I’m shooting for two a week but will settle for one!

    • Been there Jose. It’s such a challenge, when you find something new you love, to fit that into an already tight schedule. The tendency is to go overboard, especially when you see what other bloggers are doing and you feel like you need to keep pace or be left out of the circle. I try not to compare myself to others and focus just on what works for me. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic.

  4. I write when I feel like writing something. An inspired post can be done in 20 minutes while a not so inspired post can take hours. I jot down ideas if I don’t have time to write the post. And I have been waking up early, to have one quiet hour to read, comment, etc. on weekends if I have time I do a little blog update, design, code and the like.

    • I love the inspired post Pauline…the not inspired post, eh, not so much. I spent hours the other weekend writing a really long budgeting post that I wanted to be very detailed and clear. That was really draining. You have to do those type once in a while but they kinda take some of the fun out of blogging.

  5. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    I like KK’s idea. My situation is a bit different since I’m at home all day. I do most blogging work in the early AM, when you would be running, and then hope on here and there as the day progresses to leave comments, etc., when I can. But doing them all on the weekend is a great idea, as is Shannon’s about possibly hiring someone? Good luck with finding a balance that works for your busy schedule!

  6. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    First off, thanks so much for the mention Brian…I really do appreciate it and glad to hear that a calendar has helped you out so much.
    More importantly, I too can relate to how you’re feeling. I started my site intending for it to be a part time thing on the side for me to do on top of our business and I feel like I have two full time jobs plus the kids. We get up at the crack of dawn to get a lot of our stuff done and my wife is great at understanding me being on the computer morning, noon and night. I would second Cat’s suggestion as I do that my smartphone and it helps a lot. I am also looking at probably hiring a writer in the near future as I just need more time for our business as well as try and promote the site more. That said, it is a challenge and I just have to make myself realize that there is only so much I can get done in a day.

    • You’re welcome John. That blogging series has been really helpful. This post was all about me talking myself through my priorities. I’ve found something new that I really enjoy doing and it’s challenging to know how that fits into my current life. I don’t want to give it up because I enjoy it so much but I don’t want it to be so stressful that it becomes just a chore or task to complete. So I guess I’m talking about finding a nice balance to it all.

      Sounds like this is the perfect leverage I need to convince the Mrs. and I to enter the smartphone age. 🙂

      BTW…you are doing great with your blog. I’m really impressed with how far it’s come in such a short amount of time. And thanks for your contributions here in my space as well.

  7. I hear you, Brian! I am amazed by those who post every day! You got a lot of great advice (some I’ll be taking to heart too) and I think it’s incredibly commendable your commitment to helping your wife achieve her dream of being a CPA. I’m assuming she has finally caught her breath now that April 15th has passed? I hope so! Like you I have a full-time job, two active girls and so forth. The Heavy Purse is really important to because I believe so much in the importance of financial literacy, but I don’t do it on my own. I couldn’t. I have someone who designed my websites and publishes my posts. She makes them look pretty, edits them for me and creates any graphics. I realize that is not an option for everyone, but maybe having a guest post even every other week would lighten your load. And I have always been a big believer in quality over quantity. If you can only write one great post a week and keep your sanity – don’t feel bad about it. We’ll still keep reading! 🙂

    • Good thoughts Shannon and thanks for your support! I’ve thought about having someone help me with site design and feel like I am in a position to do that if I want. I want to learn more about site design, SEO and all the stuff that goes into making a blog really successful but I know that will take time. And I also want to write better and that may mean only doing one post a week like you said.

  8. Maybe you should start thinking of quality vs. quantity. I think it’s better to have one really thoughtful and well-written post than two or three mediocre ones. Less can be more, in this case. You shouldn’t feel so much pressure — you shouldn’t feel like so many people are depending on you or have expectations that you’re not meeting. Frankly, I know of at least one of your readers (ahem) who can’t keep up with all your posts because of her busy life. Maybe since you’re new to blogging and didn’t know how it would go, your original goal for writing was unrealistic?

    • I’m not sure if my goal was unrealistic to do at least two posts a week. I definitely underestimated though how much work it would be with everything else going on in the family. You are right about feeling pressured. I do put that on myself out of a desire to keep the site moving forward. I probably need to not stress about it so much. Thanks for those thoughts.

  9. Carry a pen and paper with you. When I have to sit at a doctor’s office or anywhere else, I just start writing furiously or at least spend the time thinking of blog posts. You could also hire a staff writer. I write for several blogs, and it helps those bloggers to get fresh content and also not have to post as much. You can also automate a lot of things, like twitter and facebook posts. You can even automate tweeting other bloggers posts so you are still participating in the community without having to do it at work.

    • Thanks for the suggestions Cat! I need to do more of these. Our doctor’s office is extremely slow. I usually end up being there for at least 90 minutes. That would be a great place to think and write as it is relatively quiet.

  10. This has been a crazy month and I feel exactly what you are saying. I’ve been filling in for another doctor, and it’s a bit of a commute. Soccer also started last week, and there seem to be lots of end of school activities for my daughter and husband. Sometimes I get home and just can’t bear to look at the computer. I hate writing at night. My brain is just dead, so I try to get up before everyone on Saturday and get the week’s posts done. I would love to take weekends off from the computer, but that’s really the best time when work and activities are hectic. I am committed to do this for a year, and then we’ll see if I feel the time is worth the reward. I really do love the community, but it is hard to keep up, and I only have one kid!

    • Ahh…the dreaded (uh…I mean fun) soccer practices 🙂 We are doing that as well. It is fun to watch my daughter play but I get a hidden inner satisfaction when the fields are closed due to rain and we don’t have to go to practice.

  11. It might be a bit of a copout, but all I can say is we make time for the things we find important. There are only so many hours in the week and only you can decide where on the priority list blogging falls! I write when inspiration strikes and usually schedule a bunch of posts during those times in batches.

  12. Hey it’s not easy. I don’t even have kids or any of those kinds of responsibilities and sometimes freelance work is slow, and I still have a hard time finding time or motivation sometimes. You gotta do what’s best for you! I’m one of those people though who does not use a blog calendar. I just don’t know what I want to post about from day to day. I just wing it. I don’t think I’d be any good at sticking to an editorial calendar.

    • Whatever you are doing is working…I enjoy reading your posts. I like the calendar because it allows me to think in advance on the posts I have scheduled. But I’m not married to it. If something comes up spur of the moment, I just move posts to another date.

  13. I try to write at least three posts on the weekend and have them scheduled for Mon, Wed, Friday. That way I can spend the week commenting on other blogs, doing social media etc. I’m trying to find a balance too, but it’s not always easy. I find myself staying up later and waking up earlier to fit everything into a day.

    • Sounds like a good plan. I like waking up early to write and have found pretty good success with that. I think I write better in the morning than at night (although I finished this post around midnight!).

  14. Financial Black Sheep says:

    I second taking a couple of hours on Saturdays. With time set aside I do more, like updates and backing up my blog. Of course I have my own server, so I have other thing to do, but setting aside time lets me focus just on the blog. I also send myself emails about post ideas, things I want to read more about, or funny things going on that I want to share. This lets me concentrate on what I am doing currently instead of the ideas that keep popping up in my head (at the wrong time).

    • I beginning to believe that shifting my writing to the weekends may be the way to go. If I can finish posts for the week on the weekends than I can use my time during the week to read other blogs, comment and work on making my site better. Thanks for the input.

  15. Ian@30SomeStudent says:

    Brian, I know exactly how you feel. I definitely don’t get to post as much as I would like. I find a few hours at the library on Saturdays can help get work done.

  16. Brian, this is the predicament that I am in now. I consider myself part time as well. I post three times per week, M, W, F. I also put up guest posts on T, TH. I work full time and deal with my son until he goes to bed. I usually come up with time late at night. I am a night owl, so I don’t go to bed until 11:30 or 12. The best thing I can say is that if you find some time, come up with some posts, write them out and then just schedule them into the future. You can also accept guest posts from other bloggers, that way the content will be good because you know it is not coming from people that just want free links for SEO purposes. It is hard to figure out, but I know where you are coming from. I am trying to find more time now.

    • I really like to stay a couple of posts ahead in my writing. When I get behind because of life circumstances that’s when I feel the pressure. I don’t like staying up too late to get posts written for the next day but sometimes I have to. My best writing times are early in the morning before everyone is up.

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