Last summer I signed up for a course on blogging content with Darren Rowse from Problogger.
My blog had been off track for a while due to a lack of energy and a heavy workload. I knew that if I was to continue to blogging, I needed to take action.
Plus, as a teacher in Adult and Higher Education, my work had moved online during the pandemic. Moving from the usual classroom interaction to online teaching was an even greater excuse not to blog. After spending so long on screen each day at work, the last thing I wanted to do was stay on screen blogging. I wanted off screen outdoor activities like planting tomatoes and walking!
Despite my aversion to being online, when Darren’s email popped into my in-box with news about his course, I checked it out.
I have been following Problogger since I started this blog, so I knew that the content of the course would be useful. Darren had named his course a ‘Content Sprint‘ and his reasons for setting it up resonated with me. So, for a minimum fee, I signed up even though I knew that I wouldn’t be able to attend everything and I would have to catch up when I could.
Darren’s content sprint turned out to be lively and fun. I took notes, kept them somewhere safe until I was ready to blog, and felt inspired. I knew this would eventually help me to get back on track.
So, what is a Content Sprint?
Basically, a content sprint is a week of planning content for your blog. In a burst of activity over a short space of time, Darren guides you to plan six pieces of new content.
What I loved about the content sprints is that Darren guides, motivates and encourages you, but you work at your own pace. You can complete the content challenges he sets straight away, one per week or one per month. There’s no pressure which means that if you haven’t got time to focus at that moment, you can do it later. Whatever suits you. The idea behind it is that you have a series of posts waiting to be written. In other words, a plan.
Planning: love it or hate it?
I spend a lot of my teaching life planning and thinking ahead, so when it comes to blogging, I tend to have a bit of an aversion to detailed plans. Not because I can’t do it (I write comprehensive schemes of work for courses) but, when it comes to writing, I like to feel more spontaneous.
While all the advice out there is great regarding planning and scheduling posts, for me the thought of knowing exactly what I am going to write each month is a real creative turn off. It just doesn’t do it for me.
So, the other reason I enjoyed the content sprint was because the ‘planning’ was in the form of post types. While Darren encouraged us to choose a date to post by, the focus was on the type of posts we were writing. This meant that you could have six ideas each sprint and then pick and choose which one worked for you and when. Your content can be adapted to your post or vice versa.
For me, it was a much freer, creative approach that suits my way of thinking and writing.
What to expect
I attended three sprints. Each one focused on six different types of posts with examples and ideas. So, I now have notes and ideas for 18 posts. More importantly, I gained the enthusiasm to start again.
Working online, whether blogging or otherwise can sometimes be lonely, so I find that surrounding yourself with other writers on a regular basis helps enormously to keep going.
Via a Facebook group, we shared ideas and encouraged each other. The feedback, exchange of ideas and buzz of excitement was motivating.
I still found time to plant my tomatoes and walk in the fresh air, whilst also feeling happier having dedicated some of my online time to blogging!
Find out more about the Problogger Content Sprint
Disclaimer: At the time of writing this post, I am not an affiliate for Problogger which means there’s no commission or payment involved for this post, just a desire to share what has been a very good experience and great value for money.