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Creative vs. Self-Disciplined Blogging

Creative vs Self-Disciplined BloggingDid you ever stare at a blank document because you have to write a blog post?

Is your mind so creative that you come up with many ideas and go around in circles?

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Do you consider yourself to be a creative thinker?

Well if you do, this post is just for you.

1-In + 1-Out

On Saturdays I like to do some reading. 

I came upon Derek Halpern’s article, How To Be More Creative and Unlock Your Best Ideas on Social Triggers.


Creative vs. Self-Disciplined Blogging

You can read about the 1-in and 1-out rule, and more…
in How To Be More Creative and Unlock Your Best Ideas (Derek Halpern, Social Triggers)

It’s an article about being creative.

I was inspired by Derek’s article to write my own article on creative vs. self-discipline blogging.

It’s all in keeping with the “1-in and 1-out rule.”

Creative Blogging

Now, I am convinced that I have a creative mind. 

For instance…

It takes me forever to get dressed because when I try on my clothes… either the color doesn’t agree with me on that day, or a new idea of what to wear suddenly pops up in my mind. 

So yea, just getting dressed in the morning takes time when you’re too creative, my friends 🙂

When it comes to blogging, this creativity actually feeds my passion for blogging…

Creative vs. Self-Disciplined Blogging

Read more about how critical passion and creativity are for blogging in How Passion Impacts Your Blogging Business

Self-Disciplined Blogging 

I have already written about 4 Productivity Tips For Bloggers.

They are all critical for self-disciplined blogging.

And self-discipline is at the root of all productivity.

I go about my morning routine and try to stay with my DMO (Daily Method of Operation).

For each day of the week, I actually have a list of all my to do’s, be it business or personal stuff. 

If I didn’t have that list, my mind would spin out of control.

Spinning out of Control

Yes, I can stare at a document like you do, and have so many ideas when I start writing, it turns into several topics. 

Then I have to take each one when I’m editing and it all turns into multiple blog posts.

This kind of activity, instead of leading to greater productivity, actually contributes to a drowning sense of blogger overwhelm.

It’s true!  

I have done this so many times. 


My Daily Method of Operation (DMO)

I created my DMO. 

This may sound tedious, but I do struggle to write about one subject at a time. 

I can start writing and then check my Facebook, get into a conversation via PM, and end up losing half my day.

Then comes dinner time and I want to cook something healthy, but I’m so starved by then that I jump for something frozen. 

Not a good way to do things, eh?

However, with my DMO, it keeps me constrained. 

It keeps me in my box instead of drifting out of it.

Creative vs. Self-Disciplined Blogging

You see my friends, I naturally think out of the box and that’s a good thing, except when it comes to actually getting things done.

Back to Derek’s article…

He makes several great points by conducting little experiments (which I’ve done).

He illustrates how the creative mind has no limits. 

Sounds great, but actually… This is where we get ourselves into trouble.

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The freedom of the creative mind is appealing, but it can lead us down the path of distraction and loss of focus.

That’s why we have to stuff our creative urges back into the box in order to get things done.

Indeed, we thrive on creative blogging, but can only become productive when we practice the art of self-disciplined blogging.

My Story

So let me share with you how I get things done myself.

1.  Working with my clients is the number one thing I create time for, first and foremost. 

Then I get down to the basics… teaching, customer service and all that is imperative to my business. 

I spend a lot of my time on those things.

2.  One of the most important things I work on is product creation. 

If I left it to myself, there would never be a product. 

But product creation is a key part of my business.

So instead of making it a major headache, I hire a coach to help me get it done.

My coach give me an unbiased perspective and a professional advisor to bounce my work off of.   

There are time limits, too. 

My coach helps me set and stick to a production schedule.

My production schedule helps box me in… I have such and such done by Monday, and I focus on that. 

Otherwise I’m throwing my money out the window.  

Same process, different stuff to do on Tuesday… Wednesday… etc.

With me so far?

3.  My blog is very important to me. 

I need to write content. 

Good content.

Engaging content worthy of my great audience.

So I have a special day in the week that I sit myself down to do that (Part of my DMO). 

If I’m off focus, lacking self-discipline, no content would get produced.

Finally, I have to spend every day answering comments and going to the commenter’s blog to reciprocate. 

Time consuming hugh? 

Not really, when you break it down inside of your little box, scheduling a certain time of each day to do what you’ve gotta do (More of my DMO).

4.  Social Media:  It is critical that we spend time on a few of these platforms. 

That helps us build our target audience and our following.

We have to choose the ones that get us the best and the most traffic. 

All the while being social and not pushing our products/services. 

So I may share a funny story, make my own image, and then some. 

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Yep…this can take time.

But with my DMO, I limited my activity to only a certain amount of time each day for hitting up my social media sites.

5.  Getting away from my computer. 

This involves time at the gym. 

Time to take a ride in the sunshine, or to read a book.

I also have created time in my day to do nothing at all.

That might be the most creative part of my day 🙂

Again, it is all part of my DMO.

6. Getting dressed/personal care. 

Sure, it takes time to shower, put on make up, do my hair and pick out my outfit of the day. 

Yep, we all gotta do it don’t we? 

So I prefer to do this before I sit down and start working. 

When I’m dressed for work, I feel better. 

Working in my p.j.’s makes me feel lazy and I find I can’t get as much done before fizzling out.

These 6 examples I’m sharing with you are part of my actual day. 

They are “my story.”

Of course I have long term goals, too, but they have to be met one day at a time. 

And each day, each little activity is important (yes, even doing my hair lol).

So I have to confine this creative mind of mine into a box. 

Nothing wrong with it, but it is the only way I can get things accomplished.

I do pride myself for always thinking out of the box, but my time being inside the box is when productive things get done.

Learn More About Donna’s Popular Top Tier Coaching Program for Bloggers

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What about you? 

Do you have that creative mind that woo’s you toward so many random things? 

Or… are you self-disciplined by nature? 

Drop me a comment below and share because I would really like to know.


Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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32 Responses to Creative vs. Self-Disciplined Blogging

  1. Ryan Biddulph
    February 8, 2018 at 1:31 am #

    I dig your routine Donna.

    Kelli and I just returned from a delicious lunch and fresh fruit shakes here in Thailand. On the road – especially in Thailand – lunch and shakes daily are a routine to get away from the laptops. Then we do some walking too.

    But outside of that, writing is the key, core activity that drives everything because I love writing more than anything else. I find that being prolific helps me pop up everywhere too which drives traffic and my blogging income; especially through my eBooks, which I promote freely on multiple platforms. Although I am flexible I focus on that DMO to keep on task, to be led by what feels fun to me and to add order to a sometimes hectic day.

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..How to Connect with Online InfluencersMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 8, 2018 at 11:34 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      It’s always a balancing act between being self-disciplined, and doing your creative work – in your case – writing.

      But like you say … without your DMO you’re really going nowhere.

      That doesn’t mean of course that you can have this great workflow strategy, but never do anything creative.

      The fact that you keep writing all the time is what really keeps everything moving forward in your business.

      And the funny thing is that I always find that the busier you are, the more productive you actually produce.

      People tend to think it’s just the opposite.

      They have more time to do the things they want then they’ll get more done.

      But what really helps you get more things done is being creative inside the structure of your daily method of operation.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Not Making MoneyMy Profile

  2. Freddy G. Cabrera
    February 8, 2018 at 3:04 am #

    Hey Donna!

    I’m a fan of Derek Halpern. I have learned a lot from him and still do. He teaches well and gives great advice.

    I like that 1-in, 1-out rule. It’s a simple piece of advice and it works very well.

    As bloggers, we are constantly challenging our minds and creativity to come up with great and helpful content for our readers in our niche. Sometimes, especially a the beginning, it can get challenging to craft the type of content our audience needs. I’ve been there.

    What has helped me stay on course and keep my creativity levels high is a blogging schedule, and also a healthy lifestyle. If your body is not healthy, chances are your mind is not going to be as productive. What you put into your body and what you do to your body matters, and that affects your brain, and that can affect your creativity. It’s a chain reaction. For great wealth, you need great health.

    So, keeping a healthy lifestyle helps me with my creativity, and having a blogging schedule keeps me disciplined to get the job done in due time. For instance, I publish a brand new blog post on my internet marketing blog every Monday. This gives me a deadline and a full week to create a new valuable and epic blog post for my niche audience.

    Another thing that helps with creativity and also with self-discipline, is when you get a great idea for a blog post in your mind write it down somewhere right away, and if you have time start planning the structure of your new blog post right away.

    I also practice the 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins. This simple trick works wonders! I highly recommend people to look more into this to kill procrastination for real!

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Best regards! 😀
    Freddy G. Cabrera recently posted..6 Ways To Keep Your Readers Reading Throughout Your Whole Blog PostMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 9, 2018 at 12:04 am #

      Hi Freddy,

      I checked out the 5 second rule.

      I had never heard of it so thanks for sharing it.

      It’s something I actually do all the time myself, but I didn’t know there was a rule for it … haha.

      Keeping your life in order with a healthy lifestyle is really important to your success.

      I think so many people think that by working day and night and burning themselves – they’re doing the best they can.

      But actually, they’re working against themselves.

      Yes, you do need to have a work schedule and you need to stick to it.

      But you don’t have to do it 24 hours a day x 365.

      Breaking away from the routine is every bit as important as sticking to it.

      It greatly enhances your creativity.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Best 3 Ways To Get Your Blog NoticedMy Profile

  3. Marquita Herald
    February 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm #

    Excellent tips Donna. I am definitely a creative, and I have been on that same road where I started out writing about one thing and the post turned into something entirely different!

    But I am also a big fan of systems and use spreadsheets for pretty much everything. I have (digital) folders where I keep ideas for posts and as I find interesting quotes, images or whatever on that topic I drop it in the respective folder. Then I have my trusty spreadsheet and every one of my posts is on there by date and category. I plan my posts a month ahead and by glancing at my spreadsheet I can see how best to plan the flow of my articles, which would be good to link to, etc. I think we each have to find a DMO that works for us and then tweak it for our individual quirks. 🙂

  4. Donna Merrill
    February 9, 2018 at 12:11 am #

    Hi Marquita,

    I love how your use of spreadsheets actually enhances your creativity.

    It makes perfect sense, really.

    If you’re not organized, it’s hard to be creative.

    You end up just collecting random thoughts and images and quotes and all that.

    But by being self disciplined enough to use spreadsheets to organize your creative work, you’re really combining your self discipline with your creativity.

    Nice job.

    Thanks for the peek inside your modus operandi 🙂

    Donna Merrill recently posted..The Best 3 Ways To Get Your Blog NoticedMy Profile

  5. Prosper Noah
    February 9, 2018 at 4:26 am #

    Been a while Donna and glad to meet another wonderful post here ☺

    I would Just save this and come back to finish

    Hope you are good?
    Prosper Noah recently posted..How to Find High CPC Keywords for Google Adsense in your NicheMy Profile

  6. Emenike Emmanuel
    February 9, 2018 at 11:50 am #

    Hello Donna,

    This is another epic post from you. I do best to create a balance in all of these but often times, I see myself getting so distracted by social media.

    Earlier this week, I made up my mind to spend quality time reviewing my old posts, updating them and replying all my emails. So far, I have done justice to it and my blog is bouncing back gradually.

    As for my personal stuff, it’s unfortunate to say that it’s the last thing I think about. I know this is wrong but I promise to get to it pretty soon. Before then, I must my target for the month.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Emenike Emmanuel recently posted..10 Startup Tips for Launching a Business When You Are in DebtMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

      Hi Emenike,

      It is not so easy to create balance. It does take some time and practice. This is something we can’t do overnight lol. But I see that you are aiming for it and eventually you will create the balance you need.

      We are all unique and there is no one way to do it, but I like to go by the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Get Freelance Work from LinkedIn – It’s Easier Than You ThinkMy Profile

  7. Moss Clement
    February 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I call this a masterpiece because I’ve never thought of writing anything near this topic. However, creativity is necessary to become a great writer. Self-discipline is also a great quality to develop in order to become a better writer.

    Inasmuch as creative is important we must try to keep a balance with being creative and self-discipline. Creativity lets the juice flow naturally but you have to contain it, that’s where self-discipline comes to play.

    I use a variety tools to help me contain my creative juices, such as an outline, evernote, etc. This tools help me strategize and execute my activities.

    As Ryan pointed out, DMO enables him to be productive, map out your task for the day and follow through to accomplish it.

    Thank you so much for sharing Donna!

    • Donna Merrill
      February 10, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Moss,

      You made a great point when you wrote that creativity lets the juices flow naturally but it takes self discipline to contain it.

      I use evernote also and it does help with my creativity. I write and write, but have to take one subject and elaborate on it to turn it into an article. But it saves so much time and I don’t have to stare at a blank screen scratching my head to find a topic to write about.

      DMO has to be part of our business in order to get things accomplished.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Get Freelance Work from LinkedIn – It’s Easier Than You ThinkMy Profile

  8. Lisa Sicard
    February 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    Donna, once again you give me food for thought and your article helps me get back on track. Thank you for the great tips and for letting me see both sides of my personality and how to use them to my benefit!!! You rock!!
    Lisa Sicard
    Inspire to thrive
    Lisa Sicard recently posted..JustRetweet increases your tweets reach and social proofMy Profile

  9. SaraBeth
    February 10, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    I have periods of both great self-discipline and creative. I find on the lower energy less creative days I need my 3 task to-do list. It is my bare minimum that must get done. Oftentimes blogging will take a backseat for awhile. Having a set task within a set time limit is important to get me to move forward.

    I dig Derek’s content and that idea was mentioned to me before from another internet marketer – blogger Lynn Terry. She says to write a piece of content for every piece you consume. It can be overwhelming if you regularly read blogs, articles, browse social media, etc (without limits).

    To jumpstart my writing again (and creativity) I’ve allowed myself to do 1-minute and 5-minute blogging. Once a read something I give myself 60-seconds to highlight a feeling, a takeaway, or my thoughts on the topic. The 5-minute writing is based on a word and helps me write creatively off the top of mind instead of thinking about how the writing will work on my business blog.

    DMO’s sound great. When I’m playing my A-game I stick to a schedule each day and focus on the money task (another jewel from Lynn Terry) which are my clients.

    Thanks for sharing your routine and how you stay focused and get things done even with a lovely creative mind.
    SaraBeth recently posted..Friday Five #3 – Tools, Conversation, and Social Image SizesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      I like the way you allow yourself the one minute and five minute blogging. You read something and give yourself a minute or two to highlight a feeling or takeaway. I do that too and keep it on a document on my desktop. It gives me so many ideas to write about and elaborate on.

      DMO is a great way to push forward. I see that you focus on the money task first and that is so wise my dear.

      Thanks for sharing so much of what you do. I’m sure my readers will savor your comment.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Get Freelance Work from LinkedIn – It’s Easier Than You ThinkMy Profile

  10. Vishwajeet Kumar
    February 10, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

    Hello Donna,

    Brilliant Post. Creativity is very important to make most out of your post. You cannot write a post if you are not creative. Well, Self Discipline is also very important to keep you organized and focused on your blogging task. So, a balance of creativity and discipline is very important to become a dedicated and organized blogger. Thanks for sharing these great tips and insights here.

    Have a Great Day 🙂
    Vishwajeet Kumar recently posted..Top 5 Platform to advertise your Business and Products!My Profile

  11. Janice Wald
    February 11, 2018 at 1:07 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    I also have a to-do list without which my mind would also spin out of control.
    I definitely believe in self-disciplined blogging for the reasons you mentioned– your mind would spin out of control and without being regimented, you wouldn’t get anything done.
    I stumbled your post.

  12. Joy Healey
    February 11, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I love that 1-in, 1-out rule.

    Just the other day I scheduled a very long post – when I suddenly realise I could get TWO (still) long posts from it. So I did!

    I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person because often things look like the dog’s dinner when I’ve done them, perhaps I’d better have a rethink.

    Rather than a DMO I tend to be very reactive to what my offline clients want from me. I don’t really see that changing any time soon, but I AM trying to introduce more “time for me” into my routine.

    Now – off to research the 5 second rule 🙂

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

    • Donna Merrill
      February 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Joy,

      Good to know you are creating that “time for me.” It is so important especially when we run our own businesses. We are our business so if we are that tool, it needs to be kept sharp.

      Indeed, your clients always come first and I know how that feels. This is why in my DMO I create time for them first and foremost.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Do I Get People To Love My Blog?My Profile

  13. Susan Velez
    February 12, 2018 at 8:22 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Love it that you have a daily method of operation. I’ve got one too, but it has definitely taken me a while to create one. When I first started my blog, I thought that I had to be working on it 24/7. Eventually, I started to get headaches from being online for way too long.

    Now that I’ve been blogging for over a year, I totally understand the importance of blogging routines. Like you, I tend to do better when I know what needs to be done. I use Trello and Google Drive to help me keep my blogging tasks organized.

    Since I’ve been following my daily routine, it’s much easier to take time off. I have actually joined a gym a few months ago to help me stay in shape. Oh, and I am now able to do other activities as well instead of just working on my blog all the time.

    I even managed to cook my first loaf of fresh bread yesterday and test out my new bread maker machine. I’m really not a baker or cook, but I am trying to eat better and this involves a lot of cooking.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this with us and maybe it will help bloggers understand how easy it can be to manage a blog and still take time off to do other activities.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan Velez recently posted..Blogging Costs A New Blogger Should Not Skimp OnMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 15, 2018 at 3:28 pm #

      Hi Susan,

      A DMO doesn’t happen when we first start blogging unless we have a good coach to teach us that. I made the same mistake when I first started too.

      Indeed following a schedule does give us so much more flex time. How awesome that you baked your own bread!

      I like to cook all my meals myself. For health and plus I enjoy it. So I have a big slot in my DMO time to do so.


      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Do I Get People To Love My Blog?My Profile

  14. Shantanu Sinha
    February 12, 2018 at 11:48 am #

    Hey Donna,

    I like this approach and have used this idea of writing about almost anything that I came accross at some point of time in the past – it really works great. Not all ideas are directly targeted to your business which is why I even went on to write about those ir-relevant things on free blogspot blogs – just to keep the flow!

    Doing things in a routine hasn’t really worked out well for me, but to keep pro-castination away, I always try to get my most difficult thing done right at the start of the day. This takes most of my time and yes, drain creativity too – but I still like this approach because it gets more things done and wastes minimum time,

    Love that idea about making time for not doing anything – will try to get some of that in my schedule too! It can be a serious creativity booster,

    Overall, really like your DMO and thinking if I can setup one for me – not sure though because scheduling my time hasn’t really worked out well last time that I tried,

    – Shantanu
    Shantanu Sinha recently posted..11 Tips for Maximizing Your Server PerformanceMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 15, 2018 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi Shantanu,

      Aha…I see you “eat the frog” i.e. You do the most difficult task the first thing of the day. It really works and I can say so because I do it myself. Then you have free time to let those creative juices flow.

      Yes, making time for doing nothing is so important for our well being. We are not machines, but human and we need to think, walk, or just be.

      I’m sure if you take into account all the things you do in a day you will have a long list. I suggest writing all the business stuff on one side of a paper and on the other side write down all the rest. -Don’t forget eating lol –

      This will help you segment your time and start creating that DMO.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Do I Get People To Love My Blog?My Profile

  15. sazia kazia
    February 13, 2018 at 2:01 am #

    Hi, Donna mam, Thanks for sharing these tips. all points are necessary to become a successful blogger. Creativity is the main quality which is necessary for few niches.
    Social media plays an important role in blogging.

  16. ikechi
    February 14, 2018 at 10:48 am #

    Hi Donna

    This is just what i need because my schedules are just out of control and i have so much to do that i guess i need to declutter and take the time to arrange my thoughts . You are right that a Self discipline blogger can also be creative.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Take Care

    • Donna Merrill
      February 15, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Ikechi,

      Seems like we can’t get anything done without a schedule. If we go food shopping we make a list and follow it. Same applies to our blogs, business, and our private lives.

      Indeed a self disciplined blogger will have plenty of time to be creative.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Do I Get People To Love My Blog?My Profile

  17. Sarah Carter
    February 15, 2018 at 10:21 am #

    I found that while I love to write when I just sit down and write I get an unstructured mess that takes me an age to edit and put into some sort of structure. So in the last month or so I’ve been timing my activities, and actually working out how long things take. And I won’t start writing without a structure for my content now. It helps me a lot. Of course while I’m writing I have loads of stuff going through my head, so I keep a notebook by my keyboard and scribble onto it (hoping I can make sense of it later). I HAVE to turn off email and Facebook while I’m writing, others – yeah, shiny stuff distracts me. So it’s very interesting that I’m not alone in this, being structured makes me more effectively creative (If that makes any sense???)

    • Donna Merrill
      February 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      This makes total sense to me. I too have to shut off everything even my phone when I’m writing. I like to get into the flow. I can get too creative and get off point very easily unless I have some sort of guideline to keep me focused. But I do the same thing as you with a notebook by my computer writing down other ideas. Sometimes they can be used, other times it is great to de-clutter my mind.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Do I Get People To Love My Blog?My Profile

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