A couple of years ago, I decided to start a writing blog. I still don’t remember exactly why. My mate Krys was starting hers, The Road To Ithaca, then, and maybe I caught some of her excitement. I also read a lot of blogs, so it’s possible I was inspired by something I read somewhere. Or maybe I thought, “I really feel the urge to shout and swear at strangers on the internet, but I don’t want to join Reddit. Hm.” Alas, that was before I kept personal journals with any regularity, so the motivations are lost to me.
One thing I do know, though, is that I came into this without a plan other than “write some stuff about writing and include some weird pictures and a lot of swearing”. Given that as my starting point, how the hell did I get here, to my 300th post in just under two years?
Some lessons I’ve learned along the way can just as easily be applied to your particular flavour of everyday writing. Let’s take a look:
1. Consistency. Also, consistency. I decided on three posts a week and stuck to it. I’ve missed the odd post here and there—mostly because of holidays or technical difficulties—but not many. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings are post writing; Tuesday and Thursday are post planning and research. Simple.
The best thing about the three-posts-per-week-come-hell-or-high-water strategy is that I’m always on a deadline. It gets me writing in the morning, and by the time I’m done the post, I’m usually ready to get my fiction on.
2. It’s both the size and how you use it. 300-500 words per post, mostly. Yeah, I have a few posts that run over—not many that run under—but for the most part they fall right in the sweet spot of what I can reasonably bang out in half an hour of typing time.* Keeping it to that length keeps me focused on the subject at hand. It also makes it seem more do-able. I’m far less likely to say “fuck it” and blow off 500 words than I am, say, 2000. Besides, if the ideas are too big, there’s always tomorrow’s post to get done.
3. The All-Judging Eyes of the Internet are on me. Admittedly, some times more than others. When I got Freshly Pressed a couple of months ago, there were a lot more eyes than usual. Likewise when seemingly random posts caught hold on Twitter or Facebook. There was an audience out there, somewhere. That’s you guys, by the way.
Having people pay attention to stuff that you write is both cool and terrifying. But for the day to day writing, it means one thing: I better be damn sure of what I want to say.
4. Fuck it, ship it. Perfection is a magical unicorn that will gore you with its pearlescent horn and then stomp your perforated body into the dirt with its glittery, moon-dusted hooves if you spend too long chasing it. Getting content out on that schedule means I had no time for perfection. And so it ceased to matter. If it was good, it was good. Get it out there. No need to go unicorn hunting.
300 posts in and I’m still figuring this shit out. I can’t wait to see the updated lessons when I hit 500.
*Research and editing will add on to this, but it’s the rare and difficult post—or the particularly brain dead day—that I can’t finish in about an hour.