My Best Blogging Practices

My thoughts on the matter are a direct result of the thought-provoking blog from Eric at MakeItUltra.  In it, he shares some of the rules he’s set up to maintain a healthy balance between blogging and the rest of his life.

I was interested to read his personal blogging rules, and even more interested to realize the difference in how he approached the question from what I would have, though I would see myself adopting any of his guidelines.  This gives me great satisfaction; it reminds us that we can get insights from others but ultimately we all walk in our own unique way.  My own list, like his, lays forth the path in which I choose to travel as bloggers.

1. Consistency is king.  It’s more effective to have the deliberate pace of the tortoise than to have the hare’s feckless dashes to nowhere.

2. Produce.  Write a lot.  Writing, like any creation, multiplies exponentially as it becomes more prolific.  Writing down as much as possible is just like sowing a lot of seeds in a garden.  The more I write, the more I till my mind and plant ideas.  I don’t know which will grow, but I know the more I plant, the better the harvest.

3. Nurture your community, both in and outside of the blogosphere.  First, there are thousands of other bloggers out there.  A vast number of them are more experienced than you or I, but there’s plenty of room for everyone to be respected and prosperous in their own communities if they have an honest work ethic and compassion for others.

Second, isn’t that the fundamental reason we blog?  To connect with others, swap ideas, share what you’ve spent so much of your life learning?  So I can’t just post something once a week, pretend I’m the J.D. Salinger of blogging and never talk to anyone.  Well, I could, but why would anyone engage with me if I don’t engage with them?  I guess the Golden Rule is the only rule I’d apply here.  Do unto others as you would want  them to do unto you, or put another way, I’ll get only as much engagement from others that they’ll will have first received from me.

What personal guidelines do you use when it comes to your blogging?  What paths do you take to keep on track?  I’d be much honored to hear some of your own ideas in the comments, or point me to your own blog post.

-Andrew

Advertisements

ECHO Guidelines- cultivating a better self

Why do we set goals?  Everyone has their own goals and their own reasons, but it always boils down to becoming a better person in some way or living a fuller life than what we have.  This is our meta-goal, so to speak.  Too often we focus on our desired results, however.  Of course this is very useful, but we often forget to focus on the very process itself.

With that in mind, here’s a simple set of guidelines to keep your process on track, no matter who you are, or what your goals are.  I call these the ECHO Guidelines.

ECHO stands for:

Exercise
Create
Heart
Organize

Find a way to incorporate these four simple things in your life every day.  And I mean every single day.  Chances are good that you’re already doing each of these four things most days, but recognizing these guidelines helps you focus and expand on the right things in an achievable way.  This is about process, so consistency is key.  It’s like depositing money to a savings account.  Even if you only deposit a dollar at a time, you are doing it every day, and its interest will compound more quickly than you think.

Here’s the good news about these guidelines: you can define these terms as loosely as you want. Let yourself be half-assed about them if you’re having an off day– it doesn’t matter; the point is that you are doing something.

To clarify these guidelines just a little further:

Do some sort of exercise every day..  It could be for burpees for 1 minute, a brisk walk for an hour, or a yoga session.  It doesn’t matter.  Move your body.

Create something.  Paint, draw, doodle, cook, build, make, whatever you want.  Create new connections with people at a networking meeting.  Create a different atmosphere at home. When you consciously get involved to bring something new to the world that didn’t exist before, you create something.

Let what you think and what you do be born of a loving heart.  I’m sure you’re a good person (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading an article about self-betterment on a blog called The Running Llama).  But even good people can have casual, malicious thoughts towards other; just think of the first thing that goes through your head when you’re running late and someone’s driving too slow in front of you… it’s probably not filled with brotherly love.  Watch these thoughts.  Don’t beat yourself up if you have them- we’re all human, after all, but be mindful of them.  If you were simply cognizant of all the little instances that you judge someone else, or casually wish them away, you vastly improve your life in the long run. But go ahead and take it one tiny step further, and make sure you do, think, or say something, no matter how small, that is specifically for the good of someone else. If it’s for a complete stranger, give yourself bonus points.

Organize something.  You don’t have to create a new organizational system (unless you want to), but at least contribute to the organizational systems you already have.  It could be cleaning dishes, going through old files, rearranging books, whatever you want. Keep the principle “a place for everything, and everything in its place” in the back of your mind.

When you touch on each of these four categories at least a little bit every day, you will have:

  • made a positive contribution to your physical health
  • added something new to the world to make your life easier or more enjoyable
  • increased the amount of love in the world, instead of adding hate or judgement
  • made the world a little more efficient and orderly

Again, this is about process, the important thing is not what you do or how much you do, but that you do it at all, at least a little bit every day.  It’s about thinking on the right things, giving yourself small victories, and letting consistency be your stepping stones. You won’t leap to the top of a building in a single bound, but by keeping focused on the process, you’ll remind yourself to achieve your goals one step at a time.

By keeping the ECHO guidelines in mind, you’ll simplify your process, take some pressure off, and give yourself at least four small victories every day as you work towards fulfilling whatever type of person you want to be.

Fitting Things In

In this modern world of 24 hour electricity, we can be more productive than ever, yet more than ever we seem perennially out of time.  I think part of this stems from crowding too much in our life at once, as if our rampant consumerism has started to bleed into our goal-setting and self improvement.  When we get inspired, we want to do everything, and we let that desire spread our goals thin.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to accomplish a lot, but we tend not to have the patience to master one goal at a time, so we end up mastering none.

I also think that we try to fit things in our daily routine, but in their own separate compartments.  If you want to go for a run, you set aside time to do so.  Then if you need to go to the store, you put that in a separate block of time.  Blogging goes in another time, and so on.

But with a little flexibility, it doesn’t have to be that way.  When you say you are going to “run to the store”, why not actually run to the store if it’s close enough?  If you plan on running every other day, and you also need to get a couple of items from the store, then strap on an empty backpack and set out on foot!

That’s what I did this morning.  I took an opportunity to fit two things on my agenda- running and going to the store- and both tasks were enhanced from it.

For running: it gave me an opportunity to practice carrying a little weight, which is needed variety for my leg muscles.  Also, I found the bag of tortilla chips I nestled in my backpack for the way home unexpectedly rhythmic and helpful for maintaining a smooth, easy pace.

For shopping: it forced me to focus on what I truly needed for the next couple of days, because anything I purchase would need to fit in my bag, not to mention that I would have to carry it over two miles home.  This helped me avoid buying things on a whim, which saves money, which is always a good thing, because that tree next to my house still ain’t a money tree.

It was not as long a run as I often do, and it was not as much shopping as sometimes I must do, but I was able to fit in two beneficial things in different, refreshing way that kicked my day off beautifully.

Besides that, it gave me a blog post to fit in before my 9 to 5 today.