I’ve been having trouble writing these daily posts for the last couple months. The reasons range from boring and predictable (I’m busy) to slightly more interesting (having more readers has given me writer’s fright), but the process I’ve been going through while writing has been kind of interesting to me.
Writing is an inherently creative task, and like any creative task, the creative process varies from person to person. I know bloggers who sit down and write their daily posts in a near-stream-of-consciousness flow, spend a minute or two checking for any glaring errors, and then hit publish. And while their posts aren’t consistently amazing, they do often push out some pretty good content.
Other bloggers I know carefully crafts their posts over a period of days or even weeks, refusing to publish them until they’re nearly perfect.
My method is quite a bit more haphazard and inconsistent: my posts come to me in fits and spurts, each a unique “personality”. Some just pour out of me a few minutes after the idea has hit, while I’ll wrestle with others for weeks. I’ve got dozens of drafts in various stages of completion, because while the initial idea was intriguing, I just haven’t managed to piece together enough bits to consider it worth sharing.
This makes it difficult to write a daily blog post, because some days I have plenty of ideas and things to write about and I find the words flowing easily, while other days I have absolutely nothing. Most frustrating are the days in the middle, when I have a faint glimmer of an idea that wants to be expressed, but I just can’t make the words work.
Add to this the pressure of needing to produce something every day. Pressure generally isn’t conducive to a creative atmosphere for me. But I have a public commitment to post every day, so I have to post something. This often results in posts that I’m not thrilled with that could have been 10x as good if I could have waited a few days to publish them.
The obvious solution would be to wait until the post is better before publishing. I’ve gone this route in the past, and without a specific, consistent habit of regular publishing, I go months without writing anything. No, I need to keep the daily habit, but figure out how to increase the overall quality.
So here’s what I’ve come up with. For the rest of March, I’m going to write a blog post every weekday, just like I have been. But I’m also going to write one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. And while I’m at it, I’m going to write two posts every day instead of one. But I’m just going to continue to publish a post Monday through Friday, as I have been. Since there are 20 days left in March, that will give me 40 posts in total that I’ll have written by month’s end, but only 15 published. Which means I’ll 25 surplus posts in the hopper, or five weeks of daily posts.
“But Ryan, if you’re going to just start writing twice as much, won’t your quality go down??” Good question, and it’ll be challenging for the next few weeks, but here’s the key: I’ll then have a five-week buffer where I’ll have the opportunity to examine a post and make any changes necessary to take it from OK to great. It’s like the QA portion of the conveyor belt in a factory: I want to make sure I fix the duds before they get shipped out to customers. This way I’ll have some breathing room to do that.
And bonus: not having the psychological pressure of getting today’s post out today will hopefully improve the writing as well.
I generally like to tell people about things like this after I’ve done them, but I’ve been planning on doing this for a couple months now and it hasn’t gone anywhere, so I’m hoping that by telling thousands of people about it, I’ll be able to actually buckle down and do it.
So if you have anything you’d like me to write about, now’s the time let me know.
PS – And in keeping with my theory that I won’t be any different tomorrow, I’m starting right now.