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Why Guest Blogging is Like Doing Laundry (And How to Get Both Done)!

guest bloggingWhen you’re trying to get the word out about your new business, building your audience, and making connections, there’s a lot of guest blogging to do.

I’m assuming you’re pretty aware of this since you’re here on Freddy Krueger’s site. And just like tackling the never-ending cycles of laundry in your household (especially if you have kids), it can seem overwhelming at first.

But there’s a simple process to doing both…

You‘ve Got to Capture Your Stuff

When you change clothes, or take something off before showering, it’s a lot easier to keep up with your future laundry if you take the extra second and a half to put your clothes in the hamper. It’s not hard. It’s already there in your hand. How much more effort does it take to toss it in the hamper versus throwing it on the floor? Not much.

It’s the same when you’re preparing to write or pitch guest blog posts. Sometime during the day or night, you’ll have great post ideas that you can either shed onto the floor (and good luck gathering up all those scattered thoughts when it’s time to write!) or you can take an extra second to jot it down in a notebook, a smartphone app, a voice memo, or wherever you like to keep track of them.

Hamper, notebook, whatever. You need your stuff in one place, where you can find it.

Sort as You Go

You can add one extra tiny step when you’re tossing your clothes in the hamper. Sorting light and dark clothing will make it even easier to throw a load into the washer when you’re ready. By the way, you can add separate containers for delicates, dry cleaning, etc. – if that applies to you.

But hey, I’m a work-at-home-mama with 2 young kiddos, so not much in the way of clothing items with special care needs is allowed to come into my home at all. You’re probably in a similar situation, working from home a lot of the time, so lights and darks is all it’ll take. Simple.

With guest blogging, it’s the same idea. You can just jot down your headline idea. Or, you can take a few extra seconds to write out your quick outline. I had the idea for this post as I was falling asleep a few nights ago.

Had I just written down “Guest posting = laundry!” I would have woken up just as confused and intrigued as you probably were when you saw this title (after all, you are reading it for a reason). But I wouldn’t have the benefit of my own explanation.

That’s all I would have, and I would’ve had to force the connection in a way that didn’t make sense to me, or waste a lot of time attempting to remember my falling-asleep revelation.

So really. Sort as you go. Outline your post as soon as you get the idea.

Be there. Focus.

I know I’m not the only one who has thought, “I’ve got a few minutes, so I’ll just toss in a load of laundry before I ____.” But that can backfire. If you’re not present when the load finishes washing, you end up with soggy wet clothes sitting in the machine for who knows how long! And if it gets really bad? You come back to stinky mildewing dampness, and have to start the cycle all over again.

It’s like that with writing blog posts too. It’s better to sit down and write when you have time to be present for the whole thing. Set a timer if that helps you. Focus. Stick with it until the end, and if you absolutely can’t, make sure you come back to it as soon as possible.

Don’t lose your momentum, and don’t lose your focus. No one wants to read a stinky mildewed post. So if you get lost along the way, you’ll probably have to start all over again.

If you‘re not fully present, you‘re wasting your time, and you‘ll just have to start over again anyway.

Finish the Job

We say the chore is “washing clothes” but really, drying is a good chunk of the job! Some of it can be handled automatically, with the machine dryer, but certain items really need you to take care of them separately. You need to hang dry things that can’t go in the dryer, or lay them flat on a towel. Shrunken or stretched-out clothing is no longer clothing. It’s trash.

When writing your guest blog post, the final stages of proofreading are just like the drying cycle. Sure, you can use automatic spell check along the way while you’re writing, but proofreading is absolutely necessary. And sometimes you’ll need to cut rambling parts, edit, or rephrase things. That has to be done manually, by someone with a brain, not just a microchip.

But it’s worth it to make sure it’s done correctly. No one wants to read an unedited post. It’s trash.

Mindfully complete the task you started, or you might end up with trash.

Share What You’ve Done

If you don’t fold the clothes once they’re clean and dry, and put them into everyone’s drawers (or at least on their beds so they can put it away themselves), what’s the point of all the work you’ve just done?

Your kiddo will have a really hard time picking out an outfit with her favorite shirt if that shirt is in a hamper of clean clothes somewhere in your bedroom “to fold later.” Even if it’s not perfectly uniformly folded (who does that?), it’s still done. So put it out there.

I could stop this post in its final revision stage. I could save it on my hard drive and never send it to Felicity for consideration. I really think it could help someone simplify the guest posting process and get the word out about their blog and their ideas, but it can’t help even one person if it’s locked away in my files.

So I won’t do that. I’m not going to let perfect be the enemy of DONE. I’m sending it on and trusting that the people who need this post will find it.

Don‘t allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear or perfectionism. Your ideas (or clean and folded clothes) are only worth something if you put them where people can find them.

Ready to Tackle Your Next Guest Post (and Your Laundry?)

You’ve done thousands of loads of laundry in your lifetime. And maybe your system wasn’t perfect every time, but you got the job done. I know you did. Because you got dressed every day (er, most days).

Guest posting is just like that. There are tips and tricks to make the system run more smoothly, to get your ideas into the world. And even if you don’t do it perfectly every single time, at least they’re out there.

What about you? Do you have some laundry or guest blogging tips or tricks to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

About Emily Chapelle

Emily Chapelle is an expert homemaker, having set up six different houses in seven years of military moves. She spreads encouragement and inspiration to other homemakers with a no-nonsense attitude and lots of tough love. She blogs at So Damn Domestic and leads a community of real homemakers making real changes at Hardcore Homemaking. Get her free eBook, Finding the Awesome: 3 Steps to Doing More & Stressing Less for more inspiration and guided, broken-down exercises to find your Awesome.

25 comments

  1. Awesome article, Emily! I especially liked your point to outline your concept when the idea strikes so that you can easily turn it into a quality, coherent post.

    I’ve definitely woken up to little sticky notes on my bedside table with ideas scratched out at bedtime… I’m sure they were good ideas about but I can’t figure out what they were about! 😉

  2. Mommy says:

    What a talent you have for distilling ideas into readable articles that people can easily follow and identify with. It’s an honor to know you. Great Job!

  3. Thanks for this post Emily! As a homemaker, I totally get what you’re saying and I so appreciate the laundry analogy. I love your creativity in describing the ins and outs of ‘guest post preparation’ so clearly. As Cat Knott said, getting the ideas down as soon as they arrive is a definite must, because it is as if my particular ‘brain fog’ monster lies in wait to devour them all before I can jot them down. Fortunately, and despite a week of unending laundry, I’ve been able to do a good bit of brainstorming and am ready to begin the writing process. Thanks again for the upbeat vibe in your post!

  4. Sheila says:

    Great blog post, thank you!

    Question: I have been asked to write a guest blog post for a blogger who has a very large following. Are there etiquette rules for posting what I write on other sites? I was holding off on asking others to post it out of respect for the woman who asked me to write the blog but I would love to have it posted on more than one site. Thank you in advance for any tips.

  5. Cat Knott says:

    Hi Emily, I had to reply as you’ve just really made me smile. I absolutely agree about taking time to write down those flashes of inspiration the moment they arrive – I’ve even been known to run for toilet paper in the middle of the night to write my notes on when my bedside notepad was missing! But getting them down quick is the key, before they disappear into the usual brain fog of busy’ness.

  6. Voni says:

    Emily …. what a joy to read! I chuckled and going to remember some valuable tips. Now I want to start following your blog . What Danny wrote about guest posting is right on. KEEP IT UP.

  7. Jagoda says:

    The laundry analogy is such a helpful mnemonic. Two take-aways for me: 1) sort your ideas into groups, and 2) write down a few more notes about your idea besides the headline (I have a list of these that no longer inspire me–what was I thinking?).

    Thanks for a fun and helpful read.

  8. Jessica says:

    I’ve no trouble writing a guest post – it’s deciding where to send it that’s so difficult! That’s where I always get distracted, researching blogs and then ending up reading all their articles for hours instead of strategically deciding where to pitch for guest posts. Vicious ‘cycle’, isn’t it?

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hey Jessica, it sounds like you’re just writing stuff you feel like writing… which is different than writing a guest post.

      When you write a guest post, first you choose the website/blogger you’d like to approach.

      Then you need to analyze their readership and where it might overlap with yours… and really provide value to those readers. That’s where your post idea comes from.

      Pitch your idea to the blogger, and if they say yes, go ahead and write it.

      But if you just write, write, write… and then try to pitch… you’re basically creating your product without an “audience” to sell it to.

      I suggest you read around a bit more on Danny’s site here, both about audience-first businesses and about guest post practice. I think you’ll find that it relieves a LOT of stress and reduces your chance of rejection a TON. (If someone rejects an idea/pitch, it hurts a lot less than if they reject a post you spent 4 hours outlining, writing, and editing.)

    2. Terence Verma says:

      Hey Jessica,

      Ever thought about finding an intersection with ‘a’ blog topic and then an angle to write about? Hope I’m not suggesting something that you may already know about?

  9. Tom Southern ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ha, love the analogy, Emily! Although, I have to say, housework is not my forte I can relate to how it’s not unlike guest blogging. It’s hard work. And you’re right about the drying cycle – it takes time to do the essentials like editing, proofreading, and some times, re-writing.

    I think the most important part is to have courage. Courage to tackle that laundry load. Courage to tackle getting out there and getting noticed and building an audience. I’m just starting on my venture. It’s not easy. But I recommend it to everyone. The more you do it. The more you improve.

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Courage is so huge… we need courage to try anything we want to succeed with, but at which there’s a possibility we might fail.

      (And if there’s no possibility of failure, everyone would be doing it… and success would be meaningless anyway.)

      I love the last bit you wrote… “It’s not easy. But I recommend it to everyone.” Ditto, friend.

  10. Carolynne says:

    Hi Emily,
    This is just what I needed this morning. I am doing almost all of the things you suggest, but needed the reassurance.

    When I started to save my ideas on voice memo on my phone, I knew I was hooked to blogging. I also have a special note book that I carry around to jot down ideas.

    Right now it the waiting for replies that is the difficult part.

    Love you the way to connected it all to laundry. Having said that, time to do a load.

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      It sounds like you’re doing what you need to do! And while you’re waiting for replies… maybe you can work on something else. I’m a huge fan of using “waiting moments” for more productive work.

      If the ball’s in someone else’s court, it doesn’t mean you stop playing while you wait for the return… you go get another ball.

      Keep up the good work!

  11. Kimunya Mugo says:

    Emily, thank you for sharing with us a wonderful piece. I hopped and skipped my way through this article because I could identify with every aspect of it. I have just sent off a guest post that I wrote in my ‘clothes hamper’ in its entirety. This happens to be Evernote on my iPad mini 🙂

    When I get an idea, I quickly start a new note with the idea as the title. For example, it could be ‘BLOG: How a Laundry Basket Saved My Blogging’. I park it there and come back with little nuggets until it is finished. The fact that it’s staring at me means that I have to complete my mission.

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Kimunya, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And congratulations on sending off your guest post. It’s so rewarding when they touch other people.

      I need to figure out how to use evernote more productively… I feel like it’s just a (searchable) pile of notes whenever I do attempt to. Am I missing some tricks?

      1. Laura Ryding-Becker ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        If you’re looking for a simple note-taking app, try http://www.simplenote.com. It’s a place where you can type whatever notes you want to yourself and assign tags – and that’s about it! Simple! I use it almost every day, including for guest post ideas and information. 🙂

  12. Emily, talk about right on the money! I’m talking about your suggestions, sure, but really I’m thinking about your super duper (does anyone say that anymore?) analogy. We can all relate to laundry unless we’re in the 0.2% (I made that number up) of people who don’t have to do their own.
    And I’ve experienced the trauma of trying to read my too-shorthand notes about what was a great idea and is virtually lost.
    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Thank you, Elaine. I say super duper a lot, so you’re not alone. There’s at least two of us.

      And made-up statistics are fun!

      Too-short notes are heartbreaking, aren’t they? I don’t know how many post drafts I started through my 7 years of blogging… that only had a title and no outline. And when I came back to them to write, I had no idea what I had been thinking of at the time. 🙁 Worthless.

  13. Irwin says:

    Excellent post! Thanks for writing tbis. This puts things into perspective. By comparing guestblogging to something all of us do on a regular basis, it makes the concept easier to grasp.

  14. Fabienne Raphael ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey Emily, thank you for reminding us all those little details that we tend to forget.

    And your analogy with laundry is just very original and makes your concepts easier to remember.

    Your post applies not only with guest posting, but several other things, either personal or professional. We have all experienced at least once, wishing or wanting to do something, starting it (even though all the elements are not found yet) and not finishing it, because of a lack of focus, preparation or just discipline. Or maybe, as you said, by wanting it to be so perfect.

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      You’re very welcome, Fabienne.

      Finishing projects, tasks, assignments, chores… it can be difficult, can’t it? We all talk a good game until it’s time to tie up loose ends.

      Focus is huge. You’re so right.

  15. Godwin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Emily, I must confess that I’m thrilled with your level of creativity and the nice intersection between guest posting and Laundry. Who would have guessed before now?

    Most times, I believe that nature and the normal things we do everyday speaks volume to us about the principles of being successful in what we do. The problem is: “Are we always paying attention?”

    Thanks for this post. It is a good reminder that whenever I’m doing some Laundry, my next guest post should follow suit

    1. Emily Chapelle ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Godwin, I find the same thing … the same patterns repeat throughout everything, and we can notice it (and act on it) if we keep a clear and open mind.

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