Sloth, the 7th Deadly Sin of Blogging

All of us have bad habits, bloggers as much as anybody (maybe more, heh). When you are blogging for your own enjoyment, who cares? When you are blogging for cash bad habits are dangerously counter-productive. One “blogging sin” I can guarantee most of you will have experienced is laziness. Sloth, procrastination, apathy, indifference, “can’t be arsed” … call it what you will but whatever you name it, it’s a killer for creating a successful blog. If you are hoping to make an earning from blogging it is worth avoiding at all costs. Laziness is a handbrake on your road to professional blogging. How can we avoid this most tempting of blogging sins?

I say it’s the most tempting, how can I be sure? Well, just look at how many blogs get started then abandoned! The web is awash with good intentions, very few blogs get past their first year. Sad but true. It’s a shame but also mainly annoying for the readers, I would say it’s also a shame for the blogger.

Laziness is extremely annoying when you are a member of a blogging team. Personally I am far less likely to succumb when a part of a team than when working for myself as I have a strong fear of letting others down. I think though we will have all worked with people who are quite happy to let others take up their slack on a regular basis. Teams can break down when this happens. When working on your own the effects of laziness are only obvious really in your lack of progress and results. Perhaps only really apparent in hindsight.

Cowardice or fear can be a potent cause of lack of progress. Be careful of misdiagnosing laziness for being afraid and vice verse. It’s tricky sometimes to work out if you or someone else are avoiding something because it is unpleasant, boring or because of being afraid. I once got cross at a colleague because he would regularly find any excuse to avoid a client meeting, it worked out he had a real fear of face to face conversations with clients and just needed a little coaching. Fear in blogging though? What is there to be afraid of in blogging? Well, some people build up blogging into a popularity contest or fear public critique of their thoughts or opinions. One “flame” comment could be all it takes to stop posting all together.

Sometimes you could make an effort if you cared more. Apathy and irresponsibility go hand in hand. If you care about something it eliminates the possibility of being apathetic and you are bound to feel more of a need to produce. Another good reason to find a blog niche you enjoy and feel passionate about and if a team blog, people you like and don’t want to let down.

You might say, what harm does it do? If you are a bit crap at maintaining a blog who does it hurt? No one really gets hurt but overall the web becomes cluttered with half arsed dross and blogging gets a bad name. I have lost count of people who have said all blogs are rubbish based on their highly unscientific sampling. Perhaps if we encourage our fellow bloggers to keep up an effort this might not be so common.

When I had a traditional 9-5 job apathy, idleness, and time wasting used to creep up on me on a regular basis. For a while I would have periods of extreme productivity, followed by a  time where it took all my effort to do the slightest amount, and that small effort was painful. Other than just not being in the right job, I realised there are certain things that trigger each behaviour both positive and negative. You might recognise some of the energy draining causes in yourself:

  • Distractions – there is always something more interesting to do. Reward yourself by getting the dull stuff done now so you can get to the more enjoyable tasks
  • Hunger – make sure you feed yourself, I find I just can not concentrate unless I have eaten but be careful to not over do it as being bloated is just as bad!
  • Dehydration – it’s right what they say, you need to regularly drink fluids, preferably not the ones that make you desperate for … comfort breaks
  • Lack of oxygen – I always think and work better when I get time to get out in the fresh air
  • Lack of interest – so important I don’t mind reiterating over and over, if you are starting a blog write about something you are interested in, it makes maintaining it long term so much easier
  • Fatigue – get rest, people who are tired not only do less work, the work they produce is crap

Anyone can be forgiven for slipping on occasion, or even semi-regularly, but if it becomes the main pattern of your blogging you are in trouble. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it’s not a very effective path to riches. It takes hard work, persistence and stamina, sorry to say. The real winners in blogging are those people who put their heart, mind and soul into it. If that sounds like too much like hard work it could be that blogging isn’t for you …

The good news is so few people realise this, for the few people who are willing to put in that extra bit of effort all the rewards are there ready for the taking. This could be all the motivation you need!

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7 thoughts on “Sloth, the 7th Deadly Sin of Blogging

  1. Well — Not like a lot of us are LAZY that have Junk Websites/Blogs

    In my case it’s just a hobby that I don’t care if I make any money.

    However, that being the case – I am not running out and paying for services.

    I spend countless hours just keeping my FREE stuff operational (example: PC’s, Linux, Apache, WordPress)

    So it’s more of a challenge just learning how to keep it all working.

    So time runs short on the actual creating content aspect – All part of it being a hobby I guess.

    My last system crash I lost all of my content – I have a few LLLL.COM’s for sale HERE if interested.

  2. That “(10+2)*5” is really a great concept (if you don’t forget to return to work 🙂

    I think there is even a Firefox extension for it … or a different application which forces you to make a break. Never tried it 🙂

    OK, beside the really useful tip to take care of your body (I remember the water discussion 🙂 I would add two serious points:

    • Write an outline for the daily blog subjects in the morning. An outline is simply a piece of paper and you commit yourself to write a list of check points on it. Pls. have a look at “how to write an +outline“. It’s a basic writing technique which everybody should be aware of while creating a structured article or schedule. And then you simply have to fill every point with live 🙂
    • Have a motivating desktop. Look at your desktop and ask yourself if you really like it the way it looks and feels. If you get to your desktop and the first thought is ‘I have to clean that mess before I can start’ then you will have huge problems to stay productive in such a surrounding (i.e. my desktop 🙂

    PS: And get a quiet computer for writing … I have paid a load of bucks extra lately as a bonus to get a quiet PC.

  3. A very good post, particularly for people who aren’t accustomed to writing constantly. Professional writing of any sort requires endurance and at least in the beginning, a deep commitment to producing, no matter what the odds. But, after you’ve been at it for a few years, it becomes much easier to write on demand even if you are not inspired. Because writing is what you do. You simply produce. If you are anguishing about it, quit it. Because that consumes time when you could have been writing, which we presume is something you really like to do.

  4. Arg…for some wierd reason in Opera you don’t see that your comment has been posted. Edited this post to avoid the double-post.

  5. Very nice tips on keeping focused and on task. I like to use the (10+2)*5 method of working on a task for 10 minutes, taking a break for two minutes (walking away from the computer) and repeating (5 times would be an hour of time). It works really well when I’m working at home, but not so much on the job where there are distractions that you can’t control or schedule.

  6. That was good, Chris. I particularly liked that you pointed out that often not getting something done has to do with body energy rather than interest. It could be interest, too, but then the “hint” would be that you simply aren’t interested enough to carry on.

    Good one.

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