How to Write Your Book and Blog at the Same Time

7 Strategies for Succeeding at Both

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • pm

    Great suggestions, especially #5. I’m planning on taking a 52-short-stories-in-52-weeks project that I’m documenting on my blog and turning it into an e-book next year.

    • Chad R. Allen

      Glad it was helpful to you! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Pingback: What's most challenging you as a writer? | cooks & books()

  • Chelsea L. Johnson

    This is great Chad, thanks!

    • Chad R. Allen

      You’re so welcome, Chelsea, thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Amanda Farmer

    I’m working on a Q & A type book abo fibromyalgia. It will be geared to family and friends of the one with the illness. Each chapter/ question will have 3 parts.
    1) explanation in laymen’s terms
    2) my personal experience
    3) what the friend/family can do to help.

    Ive blogged on most of the questions already and am gearing up to have a facebook event on each question, having other sufferers share their answers.

    • Chad R. Allen

      Wonderful, Amanda! This sounds like a book the world needs!

      • Amanda Farmer

        I believe it is. When i go to speak places, i mention my illness but dont have a lot of time to speak about it. I nearly always have people come ask me questions. I want to have something they can tale home and learn from.
        Thanks for responding.

  • Man… really helpful, @chadrallen:disqus ! It’s like you’re reading my brain/journal/goal list! Thank you. I want to get my premarried book, Ready or Knot, into the world. Thanks for all the great help getting me to this point.

    • Chad R. Allen

      Yeah, man! Definitely had you in mind when I wrote this. Glad it was helpful to you.

      • I’m especially going to apply #7 on retreats as I have a few scheduled. I know it will help me on track.

        Side note – I’ve found working on blog posts and book at the same time to be more helpful and engaging. Too much of one or the other has been tough since they seem to engage different skills and gifts.

  • Tara Cole

    Thank you for this post! I’ve really been struggling with this problem for awhile now. Going to sit down during my writing time tomorrow to answer those questions and get to work!

    Book project is Choose Freedom a book about the chains that bind us and how to walk in relationship with God.

    • Chad R. Allen

      Tara, awesome! Taking in information like that in my post is helpful, but information combined with action is so much better!

  • I think the writing retreats is a good idea. It may be even better in a structured group.The problem at home is that there are just too many projects. If you go to a cabin alone, you may just start hiking, A group setting with set writing and no talking times, and set times for conversations,etc could be very useful to many,

    • Chad R. Allen

      Awesome, Paul, do what works for you!

  • Molly Heyen

    Okay, Chad. I hear you. You wrote this for me, right? I am still struggling a bit with the target audience of my blog and happy to ignore it for edits on my manuscript, but I know they both need my attention. Back to work.

    • Chad R. Allen

      You can do it, Molly! My advice is to blog for the audience you want to have.

  • Thank you, Chad! Great tips and strategies here to incorporate into our writing plans. Sometimes we just need permission from a trusted source to split our focus between blog and book. I would love to get my novel, Uncommon Threads, out into the world. On the non-fiction front, I want to publish the next book in the Goodbye series.

    • Chad R. Allen

      Permission granted, Doris! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • curtheffelfinger

    As you know, friend, I very much want to get “The Peacemaking Church” into the world. Thanks for these suggestions to keep my blogging head of steam stoked as well.

    • Chad R. Allen

      You’re getting closer and closer, praise be!

      • curtheffelfinger

        Amen. Sprinting to the finish line!