With so many elements to consider when blogging-such as building your brand, connecting with readers, gaining subscribers and sponsors, and so on - it's sometimes hard to remember what lies at the heart of it all: the blog writing itself. Sometimes, even though the content of your blog is what inspired you to start the blog in the first place, it's the hardest part to create.
Maybe you feel like you're out of ideas for blog posts. Or maybe you're paralyzed by the thought of making critical writing mistakes. The blog writing process is daunting, but the good news is that there are apps that can help you get back on track.
So once you've taken care of all of your web design woes (perhaps by handing over the website-building and SEO-strategizing reins to a reputable service provider), it's time to start writing. To propel yourself out of writer's block and jumpstart your productivity, check out the following three apps.
Everyone knows how to create a basic outline, but what about when your ideas aren't fully formed enough for a bulleted list? There are days when all you have are flashes of inspiration-or even just flashes of half-baked ideas you're not sure about yet-and you have to come up with something from there.
Enter: SpiderScribe. This app allows you to brainstorm by creating mind-maps out of elements like calendar events, written notes, photographs, and entire files. With it, you can link the different elements you're thinking about until a narrative appears. There's no wrong way to connect your ideas, and the lack of pressure should get your creative juices flowing. While using it non-commercially is free, the Pro version of the app costs only $5 per month. In other words, you could trade in just one of the Starbucks lattes you've been procrastinating with for the key to unlocking your writer's block.
Once you know what you want to write your blog post about, the next hurdle is actually doing the writing. Different people maintain focus with different rhythms, and the key is figuring out how you work best.
Marinara Timer is a web-based app that lets you set timers to keep you working for a predetermined amount of time before you're rewarded with a break. The app's concept uses the Pomodoro Technique, which was designed around 30 years ago by Francesco Cirillo. It's based on the idea that people are more productive when they take regular work-breaks-in this case, a 5-minute one after every 25-minute segment.
It's up to you to decide if the Pomodoro Technique works for you, but if it doesn't, Marinara Timer has got you covered. Apart from the classic Pomodoro setting, this app provides you with a Custom Timer where you can lock in a range of time periods for the varying stages of your writing process, as well as a simple Kitchen Timer you can set for each task. Oh, and have I mentioned it's free?
Even the best writing routine with the strongest outline can get side-tracked. Who hasn't sat down with every intention of writing a beautiful blog post only to find themselves scrolling through their Facebook feed, the front page of an online newspaper, or funny YouTube videos? With the Internet's finest just a click away, it's easy to get lured away from your blog writing goals.
If you've decided that enough is enough, Freedom is a great example of an app that will let you block distracting websites. It works across multiple devices and the blocking-sessions can be spontaneous or planned ahead of time. Freedom is used by creative professionals in businesses like Google and Microsoft and at universities like Harvard and Carnegie Mellon, and the average reported productive time gained with the app was 2.5 hours daily. At $2.42 per month on a yearly plan, it might just be worth giving it a whirl.
Tell me what apps you have tried and liked or disliked!