Think of a drummer in a rock band. Somehow she manages to keep that bass drum going while rat-a-tat-tatting on all the snares and cymbals above.
That’s what we want to do with our blogs and books. We want to keep our blogs dynamic and lively, releasing new posts regularly, while at the same time making solid progress on our book manuscripts.
Why? Because our blogs help us build a readership, while our books help us go deeper into the content we want to share with the world. If we stop (or never start) blogging, it’s quite possible we won’t have an audience for our books. That’s no good, so how do we do both?
Writing a great book while maintaining your blog’s momentum can be difficult, but the reward is worth the effort. You can succeed at both. Here’s how.
Strategy #1: Commit to the Long Haul
Writing a book and building an audience via your blog takes time. If all you want is a book with your name on it, go ahead: drop the blog and just write and self-publish your book. But if you want to write a book that a lot of people read, and I hope you do, commit to sticking to this for the long haul.
Strategy #2: Give Space to Both
It’s important to give space in your life and calendar to both the book and the blog. The two perform different functions, and each deserves your careful attention. You can do this a lot of different ways.
- Weekdays for one and weekends for the other
- Mornings for one and evenings for the other
- Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for one, Tuesday and Thursday for the other
- The first two weeks of a month for one, the last two weeks for the other
Decide on an approach that gives space to each, and don’t be afraid to switch things up as you go.
Strategy #3: Set a Manuscript Goal and a Blog Goal
As you begin this journey, I recommend setting a goal for when you’ll complete the first draft of your manuscript and a goal for how many email subscribers your blog will have by when.
For simplicity it might be useful to set the same deadline for each goal. For example:
- Complete the first draft of my 45,000-word manuscript by June 1
- Build my blog’s audience to 5,000 subscribers by June 1
It’s important that you remain flexible. Be willing to revise your goals. Jon Acuff, in his forthcoming book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, he talks about the power of cutting your goals in half. It’s good advice. Better to actually hit your goal, even if it’s less ambitious than you originally set out for, than beat yourself up for not hitting a goal that was probably unrealistic to begin with.
Strategy #4: Break It Down and Design Your Day-to-Day Process
With your goals in place, you’re ready to set what Michael Hyatt calls “habit goals,” goals that incrementalize and support your “achievement goals.”
If I want to write a 45,000-word manuscript by June 1, how many words do I need to write each week to get there? What’s my day-to-day writing process going to look like? To download a tool to help with this, click here
If I want to build my subscriber list to 5000, how many do I need to add each month? What are my strategies for doing this? For sixteen possible strategies, click here.
Strategy #5: Repurpose Your Blog Content
Wouldn’t it be great if you could repurpose some of your blog content for your book? You can! Ask two questions:
What published blog posts can be repurposed for my book? It’s bad form and usually a contract violation if you’re working with a traditional publisher to simply copy and paste your blog content into your book. But that doesn’t mean you can’t begin with blog post content and then revise and expand on it. Go deeper. Get more practical. Give more examples.
What content gaps could you blog about? Bestselling author Mark Batterson told me he thinks of his blog posts as his test balloons. He has gauged his audience’s interest in a topic by blogging about it. You can do the same. You can also help yourself “think out loud” about a topic by devoting a blog post to it. Then use that post as a springboard for a piece that goes in your book.
Strategy #6: Consider Blogging Less Frequently
If you blog every day, consider blogging three times a week. If you blog weekly, consider posting every other Tuesday. Your blog is not going to tank just because you slow down your frequency a bit.
If you feel like your audience will be put out by the change, consider publishing a blog post in which you announce your plans to write a book because you want to go deeper in serving them. The only way you can do that, you could explain, is by publishing fewer blog posts. Assure them it’ll be worth it!
In this way you’re honoring your audience by letting them know what’s up, you’re managing their expectations, and (don’t miss it) you’ve begun promoting your book!
Strategy #7: Schedule Some Writing Retreats
I’ve saved the best strategy for last. I’ve worked with thousands of writers, and the number 1 way they’re able to make real progress on their manuscripts is by getting away for some dedicated book-writing time.
This can look a lot of different ways—from staying with a friend to booking an AirBnB for a week to staying at a monastery for a long weekend. I’ve created a tool help you design and schedule a writing retreat that is customized to you and your situation. To check it out, click here
What’s Your Plan?
Time to take action. Grab a notepad and answer these questions:
- How are you going to give space in your calendar to your book and your blog, and what are your goals?
- What are the incremental steps you want to pursue to hit your goals?
- How can you get your blog’s content to serve your book’s content?
- How frequently will you blog, and when are you going to take a writing retreat?
Get after it. You can do this, and we need you to do it!
Question: What book do you want to get into the world? I’d love to know! You can leave a comment by clicking here.