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 blogging, I needed to take action. So, when the email from Problogger popped into my in-box with news about a ‘content’ sprint, I checked it out.
The reasons Darren Rowse, creator of Problogger, gave for setting up the content sprint resonated with me. I have been following Problogger since I started this blog and I knew that the content of Darren’s course would be useful. So, for a minimum fee, I signed up even though I wouldn’t be able to attend everything live and I would have to catch up later.
“Earlier in the year as the world went into lockdown, I kept coming across bloggers who felt ‘stuck’ with their blogs. Some were understandably distracted by world events and the impact it was having on their lives while others didn’t know how best to serve their readers through the crisis. Content sprints are my attempt to help bloggers get unstuck and to create content that will serve their readers through this difficult time.”Darren Rowse
So, what is a Content Sprint?
Basically, a content sprint is a week of planning content for your blog in a creative burst of activity over a short space of time. Through daily Facebook Live videos, Darren challenges 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 can be a real creative turn off. It can feel forced and doesn’t always work 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 during each sprint (I did three sprints altogether) and then pick and choose which one worked for you and when. You can then choose to adapt your content 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 incredible.
After the course, I felt much happier having dedicated some of my online time to blogging. When I write a post now, I often pull out the notes and look through for inspiration. Looking at the notes brings back the feelings of excitement and inspiration that being part of these groups created.
To find out more about my thoughts on the power of joining a writing group click here.
To find out more about the Problogger Content Sprint, click here.
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.