How to Blog – Consistency

Every couple of months I have been writing my thoughts about the blogging process. As a blogger who formally started blogging last June, I have learned so much already from my own mistakes and from the advice I have gleamed from others in the blogging community.

The last article I wrote about this was How to Blog – Progress and I enjoyed reading the feedback. There are thousands of us who are working hard to create blogs and maintain them but we could all benefit from sharing our experiences and pointing out aspects that we have improved or become more competent with.

Consistency is the Key

I know it may sound fairly obvious to some of you but it is something that I have learned the hard way – consistency definitely matters. Blogging regularly and keeping to a schedule of some kind really is important if you want to become serious about building up a blog.

When I was a bit overloaded by projects for my main job, I allowed blogging to take a back seat and this resulted in my viewing figures dropping. Understandably, people start to forget about your blog if you don’t regularly put content in front of them.

That is why consistently putting out blog posts is crucial for us bloggers. If you can manage two posts a week then great. If you do a post every three days, great. But try not to be erratic. A full on daily bout during blogtober followed by one post a fortnight will confuse readers and not encourage followers to stick around.

Tips for being consistent

Here are some of the ways that you can ensure that your blog is regularly putting out content:

– Have a blogging schedule. Some bloggers put out a regular post every Friday for example while others produce funny cartoons every Monday… Whatever it is that you do, keep doing it and remember that your readers will be looking out for that familiar (niche) content.

– Make sure the content you do produce is top quality. Whatever you do, don’t be sloppy and bang out any old article just to fill space. We all have days when we put out lazy articles but try not to have that as a go-to habit.

– Open up to guest bloggers regularly. Members of the blogging community always want to share the love and one of the nicest things to do is to cross-pollinate on each others’ websites. Not only is it a great way to widen readerships but it also makes backlinks that can increase a blog’s DA.

– Have a few evergreen blog posts written ready in your drafts folder. These will be ready to put out during a busy period or when you are unwell.

– Plan ahead. I know some bloggers spend a whole day getting their posts ready for the coming week. I rarely do this but can see how useful it might be to those with a busy workload or parenting commitments.

Bitesize Content

For me personally, rather than spending lots of time in one chunk creating blog articles, I tend to do little bits here and there. I often think of an idea while at work and generate a title and introduction paragraph during my break. Then later on in the evening I start piecing together the rest of an article.

Also, I complete those important jobs such as promotion, SEO, responding to comments and research at different times throughout the day. For instance, when I wake up I pop my last post onto some twitter threads. Later on I find time to comment on other blogs and reply to comments on my recent posts.

Moving On

Hopefully you will agree that producing regular content is a way to sustain a readership and enable a blog to have firm foundations. By having a schedule or making bitesize time slots for writing content can help to maintain the consistency that bloggers require.

Thank you for reading my article about how to blog consistently. It is great to see many new bloggers emerging in 2022 and I hope that my general advice is helpful. Please comment your own thoughts on this topic. If you enjoyed my post perhaps consider following my blog for similar future posts.

The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost – Book Extract

As I am currently having a little break in Scotland, I decided that today I would share a brief snippet from my first published book. This story of three families was written four years ago and came out in 2019. I am still proud of it because it covers so many different topics in just a hundred and two pages. Hopefully you will find the extract intriguing.

How could I keep everything as normal as possible? How could I hold my head up high? Nothing made any sense to me anymore. I was overwhelmed, bewildered and out of painkillers. My head pounded slowly as it had for the past ten hours. A night spent at my mum’s house was needed but I really ought to go back there, to the home I had shared with Michelle. My heart was sat throbbing gently in the soles of my shoes. My ears quietly rang. My nose ran tirelessly. I felt as though reality had subsided and everything was a mix between chaos and sublime fantasy. My children needed me. No doubt about that. But what could I say? What should I do? Who could I turn to? Why didn’t I see any of this coming? I was not one to cry but tears fell out of my eyes like rain from an overloaded storm cloud suddenly offloading. Like daggers, they seemed to cut across my cheeks and dig into my jaw, carving faint yet permanent etchings across my face and staining me forever like ageing creams dissolving the past and dripping poignantly onto the floor as if flooding and muddying the future and any chance of escape.

I had put a few clothes in a bag last night and got out of there as the police had urged me to. They wanted to examine the house and take finger prints and find out exactly what she did. I had accidentally taken her jumper with me. As I picked it out of the bag I thought about the last time I had seen her in it. Just the other evening. She had been cooking salmon and I recalled her taking it off because she said it stank of fish. I sniffed it now and it was clean and fragrant. It reminded me of spring and the strolls we took through the hills. My heart sank back down into those soles and I gathered myself together. My kids were stood either side of me as they saw me caress her jumper. They leant into my shoulders and we stood in silence, looking out of the window, reflecting quietly.

I gathered up their stuff and we got in the car quickly. My mum asked if I would be alright on the road driving in this state. I tried to make her believe that I was capable and I started to drive off, without looking over my shoulder. I needed to face up to this. As I drove quite slowly through the mainly car-less roads, the usual warmth associated with going home did not reassemble and I was left feeling confused, uncomfortable and out of place. I noticed a glazed look in Alfie’s eyes and the sparkle of partly evaporated tears chalked into his face. I could not determine the way Tess felt exactly as she looked quite serious yet I sometimes thought I could see the beginnings of a smile, especially as we passed some of our favourite haunts, like the park, the duck pond and the place where she went to dancing lessons.

I prayed to a god that I had never really believed in that she might get through this in one piece and have nothing but fond memories of her wonderful mother. Little did I know this day was going to resonate with her more strongly than anyone else. Alfie was the one with mixed emotions, so I largely anticipated him suffering greatly.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this small extract and hope that for some of you it grabbed your interest enough to maybe check out the book. For a recent book review that I did, have a look at my article about Exciting Times.

The Relationship Between Art, Psychology, and Wellbeing

I am delighted to share a fascinating guest post with you by ‘The Wellbeing Blogger’ which explores how art and wellbeing interact. I was pleased to read this as I have a keen interest in art and always wondered how it linked to psychology, as it does seem to stimulate calmness and satisfaction in me. Read on, to find out more about the importance of art.

A historic painting that I (Jamie) discovered in a Luxembourg castle.

Guest post by Vanessa Dias,

Art has been a primary form of communication between human beings for hundreds of years. A piece of art, whatever it may be, can carry many ideas, experiences, and values. How did art come about though? Does our brain play a role in the Arts? And what can the Arts do for our psychology and well-being?

Scholars believe the Arts are exclusive to mankind, and I believe there is an Artist in each one of us, ready to be uncovered and liberated. It seems, however, that Art in all its manifestations is a recent event in mankind’s history. Despite the existence of hand stone tools linked to Homo erectus and Homo habilis, it was only with Homo sapiens that Art became part of humanity’s heritage.

Starting out

The first objects of Art being produced were fine hand tools, small statuettes made from ivory, bones, beads, and pendants. There was also body painting and jewelry, which are thought to have been used as a way to evidence social status and group identity. Only much later did Art become a source of beauty and awe to human beings. 

Scholars also believe the evolution of art and its cultural purpose reflects the evolution of the human brain. Increased hemispheric asymmetry, interconnectivity between specialized areas, neuronal density, and brain size are thought to have contributed a great deal to the increased practice of art. 

Unlike Language, which seems to be located in the left hemisphere, Art can’t be reduced to a single brain region or cerebral hemisphere. It’s a rather complex phenomenon and it has the capacity to affect the brain itself. Our nervous system can be positively impacted whenever we find ourselves involved with art. Whether that means producing or appreciating art, we can benefit a great deal from it.

This eye-catching mural is in Salzburg, Austria.

What does research show?

Research studies have shown that visual arts interventions (e.g. drawing and painting) have positive effects on our psychology by regulating our levels of stress, self-reflection capacity, self-awareness, behaviour and thinking patterns. These effects are also reflected in our physiology. When we engage with art, and especially when we produce some sort of creative work, our heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (the stress hormone) are normalised.

On a daily basis, contact with artistic outlets can help us cope with reality setbacks and difficulties. It seems to function as a stress buffer, protecting us from the negative consequences of high arousal states. If it means being involved in the production of creative work, the better. A 2020 study showed that arts participation enhances mental health and increases life satisfaction.

So how can you incorporate these findings into your life?

There are several pathways you can choose from, and my advice is to pick an outlet without thinking too much about it. Just allow yourself to go with the experience and invite your explorative spirit into action. You have painting, sculpture, literature, architecture, cinema, music, and theatre. Select one of these forms of art and explore different ways you can engage with it.

For instance, let’s say you choose painting. You can try watercolor, oil, or acrylic painting. You can also focus on different styles of painting, and learn more about each one of them: modernism, impressionism, cubism… but if you want to start small and collect some immediate benefits, you can start with colouring in. I have a ready-made colouring workbook that you can download and use for free. The act of colouring directs our conscious attention away from ourselves and into the present moment. This way our mind gets a break and the chance to relax. Give it a try and start witnessing the benefits of art in your well-being.

This is a beautiful painting that gets you intrigued and keeps you amused. I (Jamie) saw it in a London gallery.

Thank you for reading Vanessa’s informative and thought-provoking article about art and wellbeing. If you enjoyed it then please give her lovely blog a follow.