3 Blogging Experiments That Might Make You a Better Writer

This is a guest post by John Saddington. He is a professional blogger who loves sharing his blogging tips, tricks, tools, and practical teaching. He covers such topics as SEO, WordPress and making money with your blog. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Sometimes we need to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zones in an effort to improve our writing. But it’s not natural to make yourself uncomfortable. No one willingly jumps out of box without a bit of helpful prodding or a direct challenge.

A Crazy Scientist Doing Experiments on Himself - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RichVintage, Image #16177705

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RichVintage

I’m here to help.

Here’s an opportunity to “up” your writing game with a few activities that can expand your mind, give you a much-needed fresh perspective, and an opportunity to flex a bit of mind-muscle that you haven’t touched in a while.

Ready to feel a bit of discomfort for the sake of a better blog? Try one of these experiments. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results!

  1. The Environment Experiment. Like most people you’ve probably created a unique environment for you to do your best writing, thinking, and publishing. This might be a home office or a specific area of the house or even that favorite couch in the living room that just seems to “work” and help you get things moving.

    What if you were to write in an entirely different place today? What if you were to go to another part of the house that’s never seen the light of your laptop? What if you were to go outside? What if you were to even leave your house and goto the local coffee shop? What if you were to stay home instead of heading to the local roast? What would that do for your perspective?

    Challenge yourself to work in a different environment and you might find that you actually like the change. Heck, you might even be more productive! Make sure to take good notes about your experience so you can replicate it later.

  2. Output Experiment. You might be used to publishing once or twice a week on your blog and you’re pretty comfortable with that rhythm and your community appreciates your consistency.

    But what if you were to accept an increased output challenge? If you typically post twice a week, why not publish three times or four times this week? What would happen if you were to double the amount of blog posts this week? Do you think you could do it? What would happen if you did (or didn’t)?

    See if you can break outside of your existing publishing quota and go for broke with more posts than you would typically do. You might find the change of pace exciting, and your blog might benefit greatly by an additional post (or two). You might even see more traffic, more shares via Twitter and Facebook, or even a viral push from a social network. Again, take good notes about your productivity boost to see if it’s something that’s sustainable long-term.

  3. The Media Experiment. Perhaps you’re pretty comfortable with your current fare of blog posts—a mix of copy and a picture here and there. Have you ever done a video blog post? A videolog? Have you ever communicated to your audience audibly and visually through video?

    There are a lot of reasons for attempting this challenge, but here are two that I’ll mention explicitly:

    • Increased authenticity. The people know who you are but they’ve never seen you communicate in this fashion. There’s a deeper level of connection with your audience that you’ll be able to take to the bank.
    • Better communication. There’s a fine art of being able to communicate audibly and it shows, especially when you capture it on video. Many professionals have discovered that practicing this form of communication you ultimately help one to become a better writer.

I hope that you’ll try one these experiments today and will seek to execute on them in the upcoming week. Who knows what will happen or how your community will respond!

Question: Which of these experiments appeals to you the most? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    Thanks John.  These are definitely stretching!  Some of my experiences:

    #1: Great idea!  Will try this one for sure.

    #2: Tried this.  Not sustainable, both by my writing (which can be improved) or the time required (which I’d rather spend more with my family off-line).  But at least I tried it, it may work for some…

    #3: This one is great too… and it’s the one that stretches me the most (because my video skills and office lighting don’t seem to be good enough) …  but I will put it in the “To Do” column for the future!

    Thanks again.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sure thing dave! my lighting skills are terrible but it’s something i’m trying to get better at!

  • Tlamorris

    Great suggestions! While increasing my output is really where I’d like to head, I’m about maxed out on time between my day job, family and my writing. Changing environment really appeals to me.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      do you work from home or in a corporate office? what would have to change?

  • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

    Nice post John – great ideas.

    After reading your post – rather than looking at which one appealed the most – it actually got me thinking of more ways to breathe new life into blogging..

    I think my favourite was to change the ‘reason’ I blogged, which made me think first about what the reason was. Usually I’m driven by practical usefulness – but what if I changed the reason to..

    * Tell a personal story of challenge that had a good lesson in it..
    * Stimulate the person to ask their own question instead of me providing a solution to an already decided question..
    * Highlight a misconception/assumption that people never challenge, but which needs challenging in order to achieve some element of success..
    * Interview a successful role-model..
    * Talk about what didn’t work, and why, and what was learned..

    Actually this sent me off into a whole load of ideas!

    Thanks John, good work..

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      In addition to a great post by John, you have added some inspiring ideas as well!

      Thanks for the spark!

      • http://John.do John Saddington

        totally agree chris!

        • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

          Thanks John, and Chris, and Gina, and Robert!

          – John – finally made the switch today to Standard Theme.. your site is a great inspiration.. gives me way too many questions! :-)

          • http://John.do John Saddington

            thanks so much paul for your support! that means a lot to me and my team.!

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            How is the standard theme working for ya?

          • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

            Hey Brandon – the Standard Theme is great. Fast, light and easy. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want it to look like (value to visitors), and so for a little while – I’ll be working on customisations..

            Probably the biggest factors in choosing it were:

            1. Integration of social media. Reputation comes from visibility through sharing..
            2. The dedication and passion of the team behind it..

            At some point I’ll probably blog on those customisations, and what they created..

          • Joe Lalonde

            Thanks for sharing what the Standard theme helped you with. I’m trying to decide on what I’ll be using when my blog kicks off.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Paul, what great brain storming ideas! I’m going to incorporate some of these and I truly appreciate the electricity to the brain this morning :)

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Good thoughts, Paul.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      i like the interview a role model – those are always a lot of fun and very beneficial for the readers as well as myself!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Paul, I’ve been thinking of starting a blog. When I do start it, do you mind if I use your ideas? There were some awesome ones in there!

      • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

        Hi Joe, thanks for the positive feedback – and of course – it would be great if you used any of those ideas!  good luck with the blog too..

        • Joe Lalonde

          Paul, You’re welcome for the feedback. Your ideas were great!

          I appreciate you letting me use your ideas and wishing me luck on my blog.

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    Great experiments, John! I did the output experiment for a year at one of my blogs. I’d been posting about once a week.

    When the year was up I compiled all posts into a PDF. Titled it “Name of Blog 2009″ and sold copies for $10 each. Was a little surprised and a lot happy at the number of sales. :)

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      paul,

      wow! love this productizing your work. i’m sure you did it again for 2010?

      • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

        In 2010 I grouped 10 posted together at a time around common themes. Only published 2-3 times a week.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      That’s awesome! I might be interested in doing that! How long did it take to compile everything?

      • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

        It didn’t take long at all.

        I excel at RAPID IMPERFECTION. :)

        Step 1: Copy a post.

        Step 2: Paste in Word Document.

        Step 3: Make sure each article starts on its own page.

        Step 4: Sell it.

        More on Rapid Imperfection… I am not afflicted in the least with perfectionism. The 75-85% level of any project can be reached fast. The effort required for an additional 10% may not be worth the return.

        Perfection does not exist in our projects anyway. You cannot please EVERYone because there is always someONE who has a problem with you or your work.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s awesome Paul! Great to hear of your success in the sales of your blog product.

      BTW, how much did you increase your output?

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    You inspired me, too, John. I have decide to post 7 days a week for the next six weeks. Part of my motivation is that I am writing a book on a deadline and need to create more content. This will enable me to do so. Thanks for a great post!

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

      7 Days a week Mike?! You’re killing me. I keep trying to follow your model, but you keep making it so darn hard! (grin). Seriously though – good luck with it!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Ben. Hold me accountable!

      • http://John.do John Saddington

        mike is hardcore.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I’m still a lightweight compared to you. Are you sure you don’t have a clone (or two)?

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Talk about it! I was out of town, and I didn’t check my Google reader for 3 days…and I find 13 blog posts from Mr. Saddington! That is dedication there!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree!  It’s almost all I can do to keep up reading!  Looking forward to the increased post activity!

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      Posting every day makes sense when you are using your writing for a book or research. It’s just hard to sustain. I’m really interested to see how you put everything together, Michael. I’ve set myself some deadlines and need to follow through with them. Like Ben, I’m trying to follow your model, but you just keep raising the bar!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I actually did it once before. About four years ago, I gave myself a challenge to write every day, seven days a week, for 90 days. I did it. It was a huge boost to my traffic (though I did get some complaints). The key for me was three-fold.
        1. Run every day. This is the creative space where I outline posts.
        2. Finish one post completely.
        3. Get tomorrow’s post outlined. This enabled me to perk on it overnight and hit the ground running.
        Also, when I did it previously, I had a full-time, very demanding job.
        Personally, I think consistency is more important than frequency. Don’t let the latter outstrip the former. In other words, don’t commit to more than you are willing to sustain.

        • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

          I agree with the running idea, Mike. So good for sourcing ideas. I put up a post today about the minimum effective post for bloggers. I’m looking for ways to become more efficient with my morning time. What has really helped is outlining, sourcing images, and securing links ahead of time and storing them in the cloud. Your post on using Evernote for Bloggers has been REALLY helpful!

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          Mike, I like the idea of writing one post completely, and outlining another post.  I’ll have to try that.  It may help with cutting down my writing time.

          • http://John.do John Saddington

            robert,

            i do something similar but i always draft much more than i publish.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Do you ever draft any that never get published?

          • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

            I have the same issue, except, I still only get out 2 posts a week on average. I like that Mike keeps raising the bar, but it’s like having a drill instructor for physical trainer!

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          Right now, I post pretty much every day (more often, it is 3-4x per week). I’m just afraid that if I post everyday, the content will not get read. I get about half of the comments on the first day…after that, I get a few more adding to the discussion.

          What would you advise?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Personally, I post for myself first. You have to sow in order to reap. I see blogging as a process of sowing the seed, believing that if I do I will build an audience.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        I would find it extremely hard to write 7 days a week.  In fact, recently, I’ve been finding it hard to write once a week.

    • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

      Awesome way to drive content creation.. but yikes! 7 days a week for 6 weeks!

      I’d be really interested in seeing how it also affects your site stats Michael – I’m sure there’ll be some interesting and positive patterns..

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Stay tuned. I already doing five days a week.

        • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

          Just had a thought Michael..

          I know your comment about committing to write every day for six weeks will inspire people.. I know people love to be part of something, especially when there’s an element of challenge and achievement (growth) incorporated..

          And so I imagine that a 42 day challenge would be something that would inspire a lot of people to take part in.. 42 blog posts in 42 days..

          People could share their daily achievements, share ideas for what to write about and encourage each other to keep going..

          I know the participation and group accountability makes a big difference to me..

          warmest,
          Paul.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I love the idea, but I am afraid that would create additional work for me. Until the book is done, I am saying “no” to everything else. Thanks. (Maybe we can do it at another time.)

          • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

            Awesome example of staying focussed and true to your purpose.. :-)

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            I’m sure others will be up for it!

          • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

            Count me in, Paul, if you or anyone else runs this challenge. Not sure I’d finish, but I’d sure give it my all for 42 days.

          • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

            Hey Ben, awesome! the more I thought about this, the more I liked it..

            It could also be setup as another way to help people get clear about their voice, their passion, and a way to position themselves for maximum value to their readers.. 

            With some good question to ask ourselves about why we are writing, what the purpose, and the higher purpose is, what we believe..

            Saw a good short video the other day, from Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action..

            http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

            Using that approach of asking first the ‘why’ – would support us in writing great content..

          • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

            I just watched that video again – first saw it a couple months ago. It is very inspirational. So it sounds like you’re proposing a 42 day challenge, with the first day (or more) being entirely focused on WHY you do what you do.

            Given the effort and dedication required, I think the participants would need to set a lead time as well. Bloggers who are not already doing this – especially those far from it, like myself, will need to plan for this.

            I like it. Where do we start?

          • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

            Hey Ben, love the enthusiasm!

            OK, I thought seriously about this, and actually it isn’t the best time to take it on as a project for me either. It would result in me cutting back on other things, which right now are important.

            However, I do think it would be great to flesh out in slow time, some kind of strategy/plan which could form the backbone of a 42 day challenge. Especially if we solicit the feedback of people as to what the challenges might be, and what factors would likely make the difference between success and failure..

            What do you think?

          • Joe Lalonde

            Paul, that sounds like a fun idea!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I’m looking forward to the new content, Michael!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      ah. i’ve never had to deal with book deadlines before… that would be a new one for me…! perhaps some day…

    • Joe Lalonde

      I was wondering if there were a few extra posts last week. We went on vacation and noticed a an extra couple of days of posts.

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Love it when I see two online communities I follow converge in one place! Thanks Michael for having John over today!

    I am all over the media experiment. I have been thinking about expanding my content through video for some time now. I just need to pull the trigger.

    The thing that scares me though is I don’t want to be dependent on video. Sometimes I will see someone’s blog post contain a 30-minute video and I may not have time to watch it until the weekend or late night. I don’t want to turn people off because the video is not accessible to them.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I like the videos that Michael posts here.  Usually, they’re pretty short, or I can listen to them in the background while I work.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      i think robert has a good point and i agree… smaller portion sizes work… unless it’s a seriously “dense” topic.

  • Pingback: One Blogging Experiment That You Want to Avoid | TentBlogger

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I believe “output experiement” will reap rich rewards for me. The numbers keep driving rather than abstract theories. I used to get slow when I get pressured up from different ends. But, I like your idea of ‘output experiment’.  I am going to try this style. Thanks for your idea, John.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sure thing uma! when will you start? *grin*

  • Chrisjohnstoncoaching

    Interesting reading and some great food for thought.  Thanks!

  • iGranny

    Okay- I am personally feeling the push!  And I needed it.  Thank you Mike for allowing John to guest post today and for again for a motivating and encouraging post.  And I promise not to begin my next blog with the line “sorry I’ve not blogged recently…”

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      hah! you can if you’d like… but just go for it and jump right in? 

      http://tentblogger.com/grave/   <~~ i have some thoughts about how to do this well.

  • http://nlp13.com Jacqui_gatehouse

    Interesting post!  Number 1 – check, do that almost every day.  The joys of always carrying a pad and pencil everywhere I go.  Number 2 – check, did that in July/August when I went on a long course and decided to post a daily diary for 3 weeks instead of my usual 2 to 3 posts a week.  Now I’ve reverted to my old schedule I actually miss posting daily, but the additional readers I gained have stayed with me.  Number 3 – been thinking about testing that out for a while.  I think it needs to be …..hair, makeup, roll cameras and hello, good morning and welcome everybody…..  Thanks for the inspiration.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I’m really going to have to try #1.  I usually write late at night; I’ll have to try writing outside, during the day, or something.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      love to see what you come up with…! what’s the goal… (when will you start?)

  • http://smallgroupbooks.com Ryan K

    I really like the idea of incorporating video. I think it would have to stay short enough for people who are trying to be brief but still have enough information where people learn about you and what you are saying.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      great! do you feel your content will be “good” for camera action?

      • http://smallgroupbooks.com Ryan K

        I think a video blog that would best enhance my site would be an interview with an author similar to MHyatt’s interviews at CFA leadercast. I’ll probably have to start with some lesser known authors (anyone interested?) until my site reputation builds.

        I may also consider fun, short videos on “how to enhance your small group”.

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          I think that’s a great idea! You can always interview your own pastor. Many people have done that to “kick-start” things.

  • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

    I’ve done the first 2 in the past.  But I’ve not tried the videolog.  Time to give it a shot.  Thanks for the prodding, John!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sure thing ben! what camera do you plan on using?

      • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

        I was just going to use the one on my Mac. That a good idea or would you use something else?

        • http://John.do John Saddington

          that works and i do that all the time!

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I am interested in this as well…what camera is best? I was just planning on using the droid camera or a nixon camera?

        • Joe Lalonde

          Any of the cameras/camcorders that have come out in the past year or two should work well. I know of many people who have used their iPhones to record video for their blog and it came out fine. The Droid camera should work well too. The best way to see if it will work is to shoot a few test videos with it and see if the quality is acceptable to you.

  • http://twitter.com/RussellPurkiss Russell Purkiss

    I have had an every two day editor schedule for a while, and broke that once, but I like the challenge! The Vlog is something that I have been thinking about, but the psychological challenge it presents, I am working to over come! ( dislike seeing  or hearing myself on film).

    It is always good to stir myself up as it does tend to add zest. Thank you for your post!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sure thing russell. i’m still a bit anxious about seeing myself on camera… i’m not sure if i’ll ever get over it to be honest.

  • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

    Timely post!  Last week I decided to give vlogging a try for the very first time.  I had lots of reasons I didn’t want to try it, so I came up with a “Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Vlog” and vlogged them.  It was kind of funny, and I got great feedback.  Almost everyone said they’d like to see it again.  So I just might give it a go. Although, I still feel awkward about it.

    Here it is, even anyone wants to see my novice attempt, and offer feedback. http://www.chattykelly.com/2011/09/top-10-reasons-i-dont-video-blog-vlog.html

    Thanks!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Kelly, that was great!  I really enjoyed your vlog.  Do it again!

      • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

        Thank you Robert for taking the time to watch and reply!  I appreciate it!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      hah! how clever.

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

    The media experiment is something I have been considering for a while now. I want my readers to know what my voice sounds like when they read my posts. Good knowledge and wisdom is never enough. You have to really connect with your readers.

    On another note, I have been a follower of John for about 10 months now and he does these three things on a consistent basis. As a result of his dedication to the Tentblogger community he has a great bunch of bloggers who are forming some great relationships together, especially in the Tentblogger forums. John is great at creating environments where people can make great online connections and enhance offline ones.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      thanks jamie for your support bro! it’s been neat to see you around ( a lot ) !

      • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

        I hope thats a good thing… ;)

        • http://John.do John Saddington

          yes. i think it is!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jamie, I find it very interesting when I know an authors voice and am reading their work.

      I’ll use Zig Ziglar as an example. I listened to quite a few of Zig’s audio books and podcasts. I then read one of his books. It was amazing how I could “hear” Zig saying the words in the book and in the style of his speech patterns.

      I think knowing the authors voice can be a great experience for the reader.

  • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

    John, Excellent article. I had a suspicion you would suggest writing a “series of posts” but was pleasantly surprised by more ideas than I had anticipated. I would like to compliment you on the way you’ve written on many sub-topics within one general theme or industry to create a series of posts. 

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      brad,

      it’s the only way to keep my head focused enough at times to execute! ;)

  • Anonymous

    Not blogging regularly (yet), but I’m going to use #1 while preparing for Sunday morning’s sermon. Thanks.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      what’s it going to take to blog regularly? what’s missing?

      • Anonymous

        I’d like to start a new blog. I’ve just transitioned into a full-time pastorate after teaching full-time, pastoring part-time for two years. Blogging is in the future, but other responsibilities and priorities have to be at the top of the list for now.

        • http://John.do John Saddington

          that makes complete sense!

  • http://www.kristadial.com Krista Dial

    I’ve done all three of these and they’ve been super helpful! Really focusing more on the media experiment…as I believe video will continue to grow in popularity…fabulous tips! :) Thanks for sharing!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sure thing krista! if you’ve done all the challenges do you have some others you’ve cooked up for yourself?

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

    I typically write in a true “man cave” – a corner of our unfinished basement, next to the washing machine and dryer. It works because there are few distractions (after all, doing laundry is not exactly “enticing”) and it’s quiet. With a newborn and a 3 year old, it is difficult to find any free time – let along one that is absent distractions. Distraction-free, dedicated time is the point when actually writing.

    In contrast, when I seek to generate ideas for posts, I love to go outside. Whether it is while exercising or sitting on the deck with a dry-erase board and a beverage. This frees my mind to a million ideas. 

    I think this week I will try to switch the two for a change. I’ve also considered video posts for quite a while. However, I’ve always hesitated as I have a face that’s great for writing… (grin)

    These are all great ideas, John. Thank you (and Mike) for sharing!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      benjamin,

      I hear you completely! i’ve got a 5 year old and a 8 month old… the times of solitude and quiet are rare indeed! 

      boundaries with time with the help of my wife have really worked wonders!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Good to see you here today, John. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting lately. Here are some of my findings.

    1. Environment: Every writer needs a good chair. I did a search for the perfect recliner a while back and found one from Denmark that was a dream. Unfortunately at over $1500, it was out of my budget. I settled for a cheaper mini recliner at $300 that works well, especially for fiction. I also found that I like typing on my iPad when I’m doing quick posts. As a two finger typist, I’m actually faster on the iPad than on a regular keyboard and the auto-correct really speeds things up. (You need this chair! http://goals4u.us/iBkpY1 )

    2. Output: I tried posting every day for a few months. It did increase my traffic, but it was hard to sustain consistently. I did find that putting together “theme weeks” with 3-4 posts and a wrap up post on the weekend gave me a lot more organized interface for my readers. Surprisingly the wrap-up post really worked well via social media on the weekend. Here is an example… http://goals4u.us/qDv9qv

    3. Media: I’m currently doing an experiment with video output. I’m trying different effects, speaking styles, and locations to see what works best. The problem with video is it takes more time to put everything together. I’ve been blown away with some of the cool effects you can do with iMovie if you select the advanced features option. You can do picture in a picture and green screen to name a few. Unfortunately, editing and uploading can take a long time.

    Overall: Experimenting is fun and can really help you hone your niche. Just be aware that experimenting takes time and effort. I can easily bury myself with a new tool or technique for hours or days and actually have no output. Your site has been really helpful in finding new ways to blog and with you doing the experimenting, it gives me time to actually implement it!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      john,

      i’ve been trying a standing desk for a bit of time. have you ever tried that?

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Yeah…I remember the post about that. How’s it working for you?

        • http://John.do John Saddington

          been great! i really like it!

  • http://twitter.com/janthonyrivera Anthony Rivera

    Thanks for the thoughtful piece. Always looking for ideas to help stimulate the writing inside. With running an agency and also trying to keep up with my editorial calendar, it’s always a tough balance. Your suggestions will be helpful. Tony

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      great! glad that they could help tony!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ohhushmusic Oh, Hush!

    Love these ideas Michael!  I’m a songwriter and I often use the motto:  “If you get stuck, try drawing with a different pen.” The pen is just a metaphor for the tools or environment you’re creating in. As a songwriter, if I’m stuck I’ll sometimes switch from writing on guitar over to piano. Or I’ll maybe just work on a lyric/melody to another person’s track. Or change up the people I’m cowriting with.

    Changing up the creation and output process is vital to keeping things fresh if nothing else!!

    • Oh, Hush!

      woopsi! just realized it was a guest post :-) love the ideas JOHN :-)

      • http://John.do John Saddington

        ;) sure thing!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve done more experimenting with the “environment” than the other two.  I’ve gone to the Abbey of Gethsemani (where Thomas Merton lived and wrote) a couple of times to see if my spiritual eyes would be more open.  And I’ve tried mountain tops and beaches as well.  What I’ve found is that the environment has little impact on my writing.  Coming back to my office in a converted barn on our property works very well.  It seems to bring out the best I have to offer.  But I’ve set it up to be very much in line with my tastes – deep rich colors, bird feeders and waterfall outside my window, ergonomic chair, etc.  

    However, I think the experiments are well advised for all of us.  Thanks for the prompt. 

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sure thing dan.

      wow, i’d love to see pictures of that converted barn…!

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    John, I love your blog and get a lot of super information there that has helped me to improve my blog. I have tried the New Environment experiment and found that I couldn’t seem to get past the uncomfortable feel of the different position on the couch. I couldn’t concentrate in the local coffee shop — too tempting to talk to others. However, I wrote one of my best posts when I was outside on the patio.

    When you mentioned ramping up the number of posts in a week, I took that challenge and my stats increased 50%. Thank you for working so hard to help others push themselves outside the box. It usually works :)

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      WOW!!!!!!! i LOVE hearing stuff like this gina!

  • Jack Lynady

    Great pic and a great read. I am on the verge of experimenting with #3. I want to do a video post once a week. So here’s my dilemma. I have done a few trials and I don’t do as well with just a monologue type of thing. I am more of a conversationalist. So what I am thinking is to “generate” a conversation by incorporating questions from my readers. Kind of like a Dear Abby column. Would love your thoughts John?

    • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

      Jack, perhaps you could use google analytics to come up with what questions or topics people are asking in your industry. That would allow you to be confident you are delivering quality content that is also relevant. Another idea would be to ask people you know what questions they want answered. For example, if you were Michael Hyatt I would suggest that you post a slide in your next speech requesting text (SMS) submitted questions about Leadership, Social Media, and Publishing from audience that will be used in your upcoming weekly video posts. This would help you not only get relevant questions but also begin generating a usable list for text (SMS) marketing or for pushing content in the future (or now). Hope this is helpful. 

      On a less serious note, I think I’d do “Dear Jack” instead of “Dear Abby”. :)

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      jack, 

      i think if done well this could be great! i’m familiar with Dear Abby from my younger years… is she still doing that?

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    Thanks for the suggestions, John.  I’ve been thinking on and off about doing a videolog on my blog, or even doing one of those bloggingheads.tv conversations with another blogger.  I think that would be a good dimension to add to my site.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      sweet! go for it!

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I think the environment experiment sounds really interesting. I think you can even expand the idea of environment to include time of day, music you are listening to, etc. I notice a big change in my blogging productivity when I listen to certain types of music rather than other types.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      that is interesting!

      music of any type keeps me interested and productive… never really thought about each genre’s impact though… i will make note of this!

  • Stephanie

    I like them all! They are all rather difficult, though, when you’ve got a young family to take care of. Number 1 is definitely on my list, though….

    • http://www.bradandlindsey.com Brad Bridges

      What ideas would you have for the parent with young kids who is looking to blog more? I believe that I and many others could benefit from you ideas. 

  • http://stuartloe.com Stuart Loe

    The media experiment is definitely the most appealing to me.  As an aspiring songwriter (not author/blogger), audio and video communication is extremely important.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      go for it! especially if you’re a songwriter!

  • http://benjaminbrandt.com Ben Brandt

    Great suggestions John! Experimentation is the key to learning and growing, and we should always be tweaking our methods to find better, or at least new, results. There is something to sticking with what works, but it can be boring sticking with the same old thing.

    Thanks for the ideas, I’ll be sure to try them!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      ben,

      which one do you think you’ll try first?

  • Barbkoob

    All great suggestions. Believe it or not, I think the video appeals to me the most. Now I haven’t done a vdieo yet….. but I think I’d like to get those creative multimedia juices going. I bet people like watching cool videos that keep your interest still get your message across.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      they do! and they don’t have to be long either. start small and find the right length for you and your audience.

  • http://pursuingreal.com Mike Lawrence

    These are great ideas. I love reading John’s work. Thanks for having him as a guest. I’m currently trying to increase my posting frequency so I look forward to seeing how it affects my writing. Considering I rarely ever posted before, it should have big benefits over time. :) Thanks again!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      mike,

      it will! it almost guarantees increase of traffic, for starters.

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    John, I think I need to try number two and see if that helps me increase traffic on my site. Plus I need to get back to my first love, writing!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      jump back on it! glad you could be encouraged!

      • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

        Already got a bunch of ideas for new posts!

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I struggle with the idea of experimenting with media. I’ve wanted to try a video blog but really didn’t know where to start. Also, I was doing good posting a few times a week until about 2 weeks ago and my schedule got crazy. The best thing that I did was to get about 2 weeks ahead.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      doh! is the schedule better now?

  • Justin Simmons

    Thanks John, helpful as always. I need to increase my output, which means I need to actually schedule time to sit and write. I have a million excuses not to, but the fact remains… If I want to grow my platform, I have to put out great posts.

    I’d also like to try video, just to shake things up. Any recommendations on starting materials?

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      justin,

      i’m not a pro at video… AT ALL. all i recommend to do is start, experiment, and then google for help like most of us do!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Great post, John! I totally agree with this… I am going to try to do a vlog on my site soon! I’ve been talking about it for awhile, but I need to get to it!

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      awesome! let me know when it’s up!

  • http://thomasmarkzuniga.com TMZ

    Love all of these suggestions. I’m big on writing locations and finding different inspirational juices in different places. I’m gonna attempt to combine both that suggestion with the media suggestion by visiting somewhere new each week and blogging/vlogging from said locations. Stoked to try this out.

    • http://John.do John Saddington

      great! glad you could find something actionable!

  • http://www.doris-socialworker.blogspot.com Doris Plaster

    Thank you, John. This is a very interesting post. 

    When I tried #2 as part of a blogging project in April in which we would post daily for a month, my collection of posts turned into a book–my first little book :-)

    Blog challenges can lead into successful projects. 

    Doris
    http://www.doris-socialworker.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/johnlambert John Lambert

    Man, I need to get on the ball!  Thanks for the suggestions.  I will be doing a big overhaul soon.

  • http://davidlarteyblog.wordpress.com David Lartey

    I have never though of trying any of these experiments. And they are all appealing to try so I might not try one but try all. It might not be now maybe some other time in my blogging life and career.

  • hudson5107

    Just reading the possibilities helps jog creativity. I do have to reject #2, however, on personal grounds. I really dislike daily blogs. I get way behind on reading even the ones I like – this one for instance. So many of the daily bloggers have nothing to say, and just seem to prate. I confess I err on the other end of it by not blogging enough. I’m at a point of trying to restart with interest and commitment. Thank you for this motivation.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Great ideas!  I just tried a new style for my blog, a video post.  It made the top six posts for the month of August! 

    I also have thought often about trying to blog in new places, besides my office and Starbucks…  It’s on my radar a lot more significantly now.  Thanks!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jeff, I must have missed your video post. I’ll head over to your blog and check it out.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Thanks!  It was an unboxing video of a case for the iPhone 4 and iPad 2, from 12South.  I enjoyed doing it!

        • Joe Lalonde

          Thanks for pointing it out to me. That’s probably why I missed it, no need for either of those as I don’t own an iPhone or iPad 2. I’ll still check it out as it’s always interesting to see how others are doing things.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Thanks!

          • http://www.needleforthechristianbubble.com Joe Lalonde

            Jeff, awesome review on the iPhone case. The case looks great. Wish they would make one for the Evo 3D.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Thanks for taking the time to check it out!

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    I have trouble doing the message on my voicemail. I’m not sure about vlogging. It’s a thought. It is more authentic, too. Something different.

  • Blog Rehab

    I always do my work at home, either on the couch or kitchen table. Then yesterday my daughter had to go to an event for a few hours at another high school in the next town. I went to the public library in the neighboring town and worked in a new environment. It felt so much more efficient than usual. I’m planning to go back at least one time per week. The table I worked on even had an outlet right next to it. There were lots of other laptop users nearby. I liked working in the quiet, rather than at a coffeeshop or Panera.

  • http://stuartloe.com Stuart Loe

    Hi John, thanks for the encouragement.  I uploaded a video of myself playing a song over the weekend to my blog http://www.stuartloe.com  The sound quality is not great, but at least I am not just talking about it.  “Action Trumps Everything!” 

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  • Joe Lalonde

    John, you give a lot of helpful suggestions here. Suggestion 1 really sticks out to me. A change of location can do so much for your productivity it is crazy. Imagine the inspiration you could get by writing your newest blog post at the beach, in view of the sunset, or out in the woods.

  • Officialbsj

    I love all three of these experiments and will not only try them, but I will make them a part of y blogging routine, spicing things up every other week or so…Thanks!

  • Pingback: Why You Should Embrace Discomfort – Michael Hyatt (excellent blog piece) « GVS | Global Virtual Studio

  • Danielbolton

    I just discovered your blog a month or so ago. Such an incredible resource for beginning bloggers like myself. Thanks for taking the time to add value to others!

  • Erika

    This was very helpful! Thank you for sharing your insights. I know I am a little late in commenting, but I would at least like to get into the habit of becoming more interactive. I am really intrigued by doing a video blog. I am searching for ways to be authentic, especially since my blog is about the Bible and connecting with other women. I hope I can work up the courage and time to do this.