Yes, it's been a year!
Last April I started blogging once a day and then, in the middle of May 2012, I started writing two blog posts a day, even on weekends! That was intense ... okay, crazy ... and I went down to one post on Saturdays and Sundays.
I've cut back the past couple of weeks, now I'm blogging five times a week, but I thought I'd write about what blogging every day for a year has taught me.
Great and wonderful things blogging has done for me:
1. Helped me get through writer's block
It sounds silly when I put it like this, but blogging every day has taught me that I can write every day.
Blogging every day helped me get over my fear of the empty page by helping me develop work-arounds.
For instance, I now know I have a much more difficult time writing a first draft on my computer than I do in a journal. If I write my draft long-hand I rarely get writer's block. If I write my draft using a keyboard ... well, that's a non-starter. I'm not sure why this is, but having discovered it out I go directly to my journal.
It takes longer to write all my articles, all my stories, out longhand and then transcribe them into my computer, but the work gets done and that's the important thing.
2. Taught me I'm a horrible judge of what folks will like
I think I have a pretty good handle on what folks find moderately interesting, but I regularly fail miserably at guessing what people will think is tremendously interesting. Articles that I thought would be of interest only to myself and a couple of other cave dwellers have been my most popular, and articles I thought would be insanely popular turned out to be no more popular than average.
What is more interesting, though, is that every single time I felt I was writing uninteresting drek the article was at least as popular as average.
The lesson is that even if everything is screaming at me saying I'm writing drek I need to keep writing. Nine times out of ten the feeling passes and, even if it doesn't, even on my worst day, my writing turns out not to be as terrible as I had thought.
3. In order for me to write about something it has to interest me
It is difficult for me to write about something that doesn't, on some level, interest me.
This is one reason editing is such a chore. At some point in the editing process I begin not only to loath the story, but the very sight of the manuscript gives me hives! Okay, maybe not hives, but I do begin to find reasons, any reason, not to work on it.
My fix? Put the manuscript aside for a time and go on to something else.
How long? It depends. At some point I'll be sitting down, my mind will be wandering, I'll be thinking about future projects and I'll remember a story I put away. Its incompleteness will bother me, like an itch that needs to be scratched. Then I'll reach into my "down time" drawer, pull out the manuscript, and begin working on it again.
Coming back to the story with new eyes is like starting over. And chances are it'll be much easier for me to spot, and fix, its weaknesses.
I realize this--putting your manuscript away in a drawer and forgetting about it for a week or a month--isn't always possible for folks who have external deadlines, but I do think that taking some time away from the work can often help improve it.
The downside of blogging every day:
1. Takes time away from the kind of writing that pays my rent
That's it. That's the only downside, but it's a big one.
Periodically bloggers write about whether folks should blog, or how much folks should blog, but I think it's probably different for every person. Each of us must struggle to find that comfortable medium where we reap a benefit without taking too much time away from the work that puts food on the table.
And, next week, I do promise to write that post about book promotion! (grin)
Why do you blog? What has blogging taught you?
Photo credit: "It's all about love" by kevin dooley under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.