I just got back home from my mountain climbing road trip through the northwestern United States. It was awesome, but keeping my blog and business going wasn’t easy. Here are a handful of things that I learned that will help you manage your blog but still have a good time when you’re away from home.
1. Write and schedule posts in advance
Yeah, you know this one already, but it’s worth repeating. I blog here at Blogging Bookshelf twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), and writing a handful of posts in advance would have covered a good chunk of my trip. The problem was that I didn’t have much time before the trip to write those posts because I was so busy getting ready for the trip!
So I’d say start building a stockpile of blog posts now. When you’re not traveling, write an extra one every week. Before too long you’ll have enough to cover your traveling butt for a couple weeks.
2. Get 3G
For those who don’t know, 3G is essentially an Internet connection via cell phone networks. So if you’ve got a 3G-enabled device (iPad, iPhone, laptop, Kindle, etc.), you can access the internet wherever you have a cell phone signal. You usually have to pay extra ($25-$30 a month) for this service.
I can’t tell you how useful a 3G device would have been on my road trip. My trip was a little different from most people’s in that I didn’t spend a ton of time in big cities. If you’re in San Francisco, sure, it’s easy to find a coffee shop with free wi-fi. But it’s a bit more difficult when you’re driving across the nothingness that is Nevada. Because I was just passing through most cities and towns, I didn’t have time to find an internet café or restaurant with wi-fi. My blogging suffered a bit as a result.
Now, I do have a 3G Kindle, and I did use that from time to time, but it’s slow. That’s not a machine built with web browsing in mind (which I like because I don’t get distracted while reading), though I can access the Internet, read email, and respond to comments on it. And the great thing about 3G on the Kindle? It’s free. I did use it on my trip a couple times on my trip to check email, but I couldn’t upload blog posts or anything from it.
3. Realize that it’s ok not to blog
I think that a lot of people are afraid to stop blogging for any period of time, even if it’s a short one. They think that if they stop, that readership they’ve spent so much time and effort building up will vanish.
This is definitely not the case. Your blog won’t suffer and real negative side effects. You need a break; Blogging 24/7 is not healthy.
If you don’t blog for a week or two, it won’t be the end of the world. Your blog and your readers will still be there when you get back.
4. Plan your writing and publishing time
I mentioned earlier that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in cities while road tripping. But I did spend some time in Seattle and Portland. I knew ahead of time that I’d be there for long enough to get work done, so I planned accordingly. This meant that I wouldn’t have to write all the blog posts before my trip; I could work on them while in those cities.
There were several times on my trip when I knew I’d be camping at the base of a mountain for a couple days and I’d have time to write. Though I couldn’t publish my stuff from Mt. Shasta, I knew that I’d have plenty of time write on my laptop, then just upload the writing when I got to the motel in Redding.
5. Ignore all but the most important tasks
You don’t really need to be tweeting all day every day while you’re away. People will forgive you if you don’t update your Facebook page constantly. Do those tasks that are the most important. For me this was 1) publishing posts and 2) checking email to make sure I didn’t miss anything essential. (I didn’t.)
6. Turn off
Keep your mind away from your blog and on your travels. You’ll enjoy your trip more, and you’ll be able to attack your blogging with fresh zeal when you return. Also, I’ve found that I get great ideas for my blog most often when I’m not obsessing over my blog. Funny how that works.
7. Take notes
Make sure you have some sort of note-taking device with you at all times to record those great ideas. I use a notebook and pen, though you might prefer a cell phone. Sometimes I just take the pen and write on the back of my hand.
8. Manage your computer’s power
I spent a lot of my time in places where I didn’t have a place to plug in my laptop, so I needed to make sure my battery lasted a long time. To do this, I lowered the screen brightness, turned off my computer’s wireless modem, turned off Bluetooth, and never opened any program other than my word processor. I can get 8 hours of battery life when I do all this, and that’s more than enough to churn out some good blog posts.
The trip was awesome, but I’m glad I’m back. I just moved to a new city and am excited for this different kind of adventure. And sure enough, not focusing on my blog 24/7 while I was gone got me super psyched to work on it now that I’m back.
Having an internet-based business or blog does allow you to mix business with pleasure more than the average person out there. But while you’re traveling, I’d recommend trying to fill up on the pleasure side and keep the business to a minimum. It’ll all still be there when you return.
- What was the last trip you went on that had some blogging thrown in?
- What other tips do you have for the traveling blogger?
- How has your blog fared in your absence?
[Note: I don’t have internet access in my new apartment and won’t for a while, so any correspondence with me might take even longer than usual.]