One of the great things about being a blogger is that you can do your job from anywhere in the world. It’s one of the best careers to have if you want to escape the cubicle and achieve independence – or location independence. In the past year, I’ve covered thousands of miles while continuing to meet my blogging commitments. What tools do you need to make it happen? Here’s how it works for me.
The tool I use most for editing blog posts is Windows Live Writer. Unfortunately, it’s not a portable app (unless you count loading it on your laptop). My backup for writing posts when I have no access to my usual software is Google Docs, though now that Scribefire is available for Chrome that may become my blog post editor of choice. You can also set up your blog so you can post from your mobile device, though I haven’t done this yet.
Almost everything I need to use is in the cloud, so that I can access my files wherever I go. I also keep offline backups of all blog posts just in case (I’m paranoid about that, having been burned once before).
Every year, the hardware I need gets smaller and lighter. I remember going on a trip several years ago with a heavy laptop and large portable hard drive. These days, I can move around with a Samsung netbook and USB pen drive – double the capacity of my old setup and half the weight makes this a winner for me. Add a pair of headphones so I can talk on Skype and you have the perfect mobile setup. To round out the hardware list, my Nokia touchscreen phone can now do just about everything (radio, social media updates, video, photos, Skype) so there’s nothing else I really need. One option I’m also considering is a Wi-Fi range extender to allow me to pick up a signal from a wider area – this could be quite useful in some situations.
Some of the difficulties of blogging on the move have to do with getting internet access at the time you need it. I solve that by planning ahead. Before a trip, I’ll schedule several posts so that my readers have something to see even if I can’t get online at the usual time.
One of the tough decisions if you’re going to be on the move is how to handle comments so that you are not overwhelmed by spam. After much trial and error, my solution is to allow anyone who’s had a comment previously approved to comment freely, which means the conversation can continue even if I’m not around.