So, you’ve started the blog that’s going to make you rich and famous… the cleverest name ever, a really cool template, maybe you’ve even paid someone to design a site that’s completely original. Now the real work begins, because between here and the book deals, you’re going to have to create a lot of content.
The consistency and frequency of your posts will help you win the loyalty of your readers. In a poll about tech-related goals for 2011, Mashable.com discovered that many users resolved to blog more frequently, which means even more competition for you. So, since inspiration is nothing without execution, how can you set yourself up for success?
In her 1928 feminist essay, A Room of One’s Own, Virgina Woolf wrote, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”. Here’s an updated list of the must-haves for the modern writer:
1. A smart phone – Not only is your smart phone your digital lifeline when you’re away from your home computer, it allows you to go out into the world and capture the things and ideas you can’t get at home. Use it to:
- take notes, capture voice recordings, shoot photos and videos on-the-go.
- manage your social media accounts, which is essential to promoting, sharing and discussing your content with your readers.
- follow the feeds of your sources of news and inspiration on Twitter or on their apps, if they have one. My favorite apps include Mashable, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. I browse them on my iPhone or on my iPad in bed, right before sleeping, and send myself articles I want to explore more in the morning.
- blog on-the-go using mobile apps, like the ones available from WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous.
2. A proper place to write - A proper workspace is absolutely essential given the long hours and focus you’ll need in order to post regularly. A laptop on the coffee table just simply won’t do night after night. As you can see in the photo from Rue Mag above, even the most spartan of desk configurations can do the trick and look pretty. Your body will also thank you for a comfy chair.
3. Comfy clothes – H&M’s Fashion Against Aids cotton jumpsuit is the new blogger uniform. Warm, comfy, unisex and pretty cool, it trumps the Snuggie anyday. I’m wearing mine right now.
4. A digital camera – Not all blogs must have photos, but if yours requires them at all, you must invest in a simple but good camera that takes good quality shots. I recommend two – the Canon G12 (pictured above in black) has great controls, performs well in low light and also shoots 720p HD video in stereo sound, which is great because you won’t have to invest in a separate small video camera. The Canon PowerShot SD1400IS is better for smaller budgets and it’s what I like to carry every day in my purse and especially in an evening bag at parties. It’s also a good idea to have extra SD memory cards on-hand so you’re never caught in a jam and forced to delete photos in a rush.
5. Headphones – Whether you’re watching Youtube videos, editing your own footage or just listening to music, your hours might coincide with other peoples’ TV schedules or beauty sleep, so a good pair of headphones is a must0have desk accessory, like the Maracas in white from WESC.
6. External Storage – Not only do high quality photos and videos eat up space on your hard drive, requiring extra storage, but you’ll also need your work to be portable so you can squeeze in a quick post at lunch, for example. Now you can skip the USB sticks, which fill up pretty quickly, and opt for the My Passport hard drive, which at 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches fits right into your pocket or purse, is lightweight and stores anywhere from 500 GBs to 1 TB, based on the model you choose. Made by Western Digital, they can also be bought on Amazon, starting at under $80.
7. Inspiration - The more inspiration material you consume from various sources, the less likely you’ll be to hit a major writer’s block. And if you’re a beginner, reading other peoples’ writing and treatment of subjects will really help you develop your own craft. My iPad has allowed me to cut down the stacks of magazines littering my home and the books that weighed down my bag. Not only do I download magazines like House & Home and Vanity Fair now, but the Kobo app has revolutionized the way I read books too. An iPad, however, is not a must. The important thing is the material, whichever way you can get it… and I’m not above taking things from a dentist’s office.
8. Smart Snacks - Food is fuel and if you pump yourself with refined sugar, carbs and soft drinks (which many of us opt-for when writing) then your body’s going to crash before you get to put your brilliant ideas out into cyberspace. Opt for clean, healthy snacks to keep you going and give your body more energy overall. And choose water over pop, juice or coffee as much as possible. It will prevent dehydration, which is the most common cause of fatigue.
9. Music - It will get you pumped, keep you going and help you drown out everything else going on around you. Grooveshark.com is great for listening to music and building your own playlists for free whenever you want. You can search and select from thousands of popular songs, save the playlist by creating a free account and access your playlists whenever you log back in, at any computer. You can even embed your playlists on your site, like I did below.