5 Ways a Blog Can Help You Complete Your Passion Project

July 15, 2011 8:18 PM

It’s hard finding the time to indulge your passions. I’ve wanted to create and release an album of my music for a very long time. It was only this year that I finally got around to doing it. How did I fight my natural inclination to procrastinate, and my inherent fear of failure? With a blog.

Blogs can be far more than just places to share your thoughts with the world: they can be publicity vehicles, ways of soliciting help from friends, acquaintances and fans, venues for meeting like-minded people, and a great help in motivating yourself to act.

Of course creating a blog just to detail the production of a single album didn’t seem that interesting. So I set myself a ridiculous goal instead: in the year 2011, I would write, record and release five albums of music, in four different genres. Hence the name of my blog – FiveFourEleven.

So far, I’ve only released one record – Inlands by Saga City (download it for free through the link). The second album is in progress, and I have a lot of work ahead of me. But thanks to the very public nature of a blog, and some promises I made to myself (and anyone who was reading) at the beginning of the project, I believe I’ll reach my goal before the year is out.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the last seven and a half months, and picked up some good tips on how to turn a blog to your advantage and use it to help you achieve your goals. Here they are:

1. Go Public

Sometimes we all make promises to ourselves that we can’t keep. It’s the same with the hobbies and passions we don’t pursue; we know we’d be happier if we did, but we also know we’ll forgive ourselves for not doing it.

Well, instead of just promising yourself that you’ll do the thing you’ve been dreaming about, why not promise everyone – your friends, your family, and the entire Internet – by setting a very public goal on your new blog?

Once you’ve gone public with your plan and set yourself a clear and inflexible goal that people expect you to achieve, are you still willing to say, “well, I tried, but I’m just too busy”? Probably not. A little dose of public shame is just the ticket to get you up and running

2. Post Every Day

At the outset of FiveFourEleven, I promised that I would post every day, and barring a few slip-ups, I’ve stuck to that promise.

There are a few reasons why this helps: one is that people will keep returning to your blog if they know there’s new content there each day. This consistency is invaluable if you want to attract and keep an audience. Seth Godin is the master of this – his blog has a new post every day, 365 days a year, rain or shine.

Another benefit is that the discipline and focus required to post each day will spill over into the project you’re blogging about. And just as there are days when you may desperately not want to post, there will be days you want to abandon the whole project. But thanks to your single-minded devotion to fulfilling your promise, you’ll have no choice.
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3. Publicize Through Social Media

One great thing about daily posting is that you don’t have to feel self-conscious about publicizing your endeavours on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve written personal blogs in the past, and I would only share a post if it met some imagined standard of quality and uniqueness.

The trouble is we’re often hard on our own writing, so we’ll be inclined to think a lot of what we’re doing isn’t worth publicizing. But once daily posts are part of your routine, you can make daily social media promotion another part.

When I finish one of my posts – whether it’s a quick three-paragraph summary of that day’s activity or an in-depth musing on the nature of art – I immediately post the link on my Facebook wall, and that drives a lot of the traffic I get.

4. Use Your Friends

It may sound wrong to “use” your friends, but as I quickly discovered when I started my crazy project, the people who love you will want to help you succeed. And chances are they can.

Their support can be as simple as paying attention and offering the occasional encouraging comment. As we all know, it can be dejecting trying to create something in the Internet’s overcrowded marketplace, and it makes a difference knowing that someone’s paying attention.

At the same time, whatever project you’re tackling, practical help is always appreciated. My friend Neil offered his design expertise to create one of my future record covers; I’m hoping to get talented singer Lisa on one or two of my tracks. Even if it’s just people offering you soup or baked goods, knowing you’re not alone is priceless.

5. Share What You Learn

According to artist/blogger extraordinaire Austin Kleon, the secret to getting attention and developing a community online is a simple, two-step process. Step One: Wonder at Something. Step Two: Invite Others to Wonder With You.

The Internet has democratized art in a wonderful way, and allowed people from all over the planet to come together over shared interests. That’s one major goal of blogging your passion project: sharing what you discover in the process of creation, as well as the process of publication, collaboration, and investigation that comes with it.

If you learn something valuable – a smarter way to do something, a great trick for sharing your work – give it away to people who are looking for help in a similar endeavour. Chances are, lots of people who share your interests will find you as a result, and help you to reach your final goal: getting your passion out of your head and into the world.

(Photo Credit: AliceFlynn/Etsy)

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2 Responses to 5 Ways a Blog Can Help You Complete Your Passion Project

  1. Latosha Kreiman on July 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Excellent, but it would be better if in future you can share more about this subject. posts.

  2. Steve Jobs Rap Track | Empirella on July 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    […] This track is part of Malcolm’s 2011 goal to write, record and release five albums, in four different genres, which he’s chronicling in a blog called FiveFourEleven. (Read Malcolm’s article on 5 Ways a Blog Can Help You Complete Your Passion Project.) […]