At the beginning of 2014 I made a commitment to publish a blog post once per week, every Wednesday. Then, at the start of this year, I decided to up the ante and blog twice a week, publishing every Tuesday and Thursday.
And I’m proud to say that I have, for the most part, done it. Occasionally I’ve published a day or two late and then sneakily backdated (or, you know, flagrantly backdated). And last month, there were a couple of weeks when I only published once. But up until then, I did it: I published once every week in 2014, and twice per week in 2015 up until November.
I decided to start blogging twice a week this year because once a week just didn’t feel like enough. Partly, I thought my business and productivity would benefit if I published more regularly, but mostly I just wanted to write more. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’m glad I did it.
But now it’s time for a change.
When my freelance writing students want to start a blog, I practically bully them out of it. Not because I don’t think they should blog, but simply because I know most of them won’t. They won’t stick to it for any worthwhile length of time, anyway, and then they’ll end up with an abandoned blog that damages their professional credibility. Who wants to hire a writer who doesn’t even bother writing in their own blog?
So, while I don’t outright tell them not to, I do lay down the facts and tell them that if they’re going to start a blog, they should be willing to write something new for it every single week. If they’re not willing to blog every week, they shouldn’t bother at all. And then I make them write their first batch of blog posts during the course itself. If they’re really up for it, they will complete this task easily. Most of them don’t, and then they email me to say, ‘Actually, I don’t think I’m going to start a blog yet. I’ll wait a while.’
Once per week is an arbitrary number, really. I do think it’s a good amount (and I think any more than three times a week is too much), but some of the most successful bloggers only post once every two or three weeks, and sometimes they disappear for a month or two at a time. And that’s awesome. They can do that, because they’ve already drawn people in. But I’m betting most of the popular bloggers who publish relatively infrequently now were incredibly prolific in their early days, racking up several posts each month or week.
So, back to me. I’m insanely glad I decided to blog so frequently for those two years. When I first created Untamed Writing, in early 2013, I blogged intermittently, at one point going for three months without publishing anything.
Blogging weekly has helped build my blogging muscle. It’s a habit now, and I enjoy doing it. It’s also dramatically increased my website visitors and subscribers. And, perhaps most importantly, my reputation. Now, I frequently get emails from people asking about my courses (yay!), from people telling me they just found my blog and love it/think it’s hilarious/just read every single post (triple yay!), and from people who want me to tell them the secret of instantly making shitloads of cash from writing online (please stop).
Blogging regularly was a damn good idea (sidenote: at the start, pouring all my energy into my blog/business helped me get through a particularly rough time). I’m so glad I did it. But yes – time for that change I talked about.
I’m taking a break from blogging. Not for a long time. Just for a few weeks. I figure over the holidays is a pretty good time to do this, since everyone will be too busy running around buying presents, stressing out and eating way too much food.
I’m taking a break because I need one. The thing about blogging twice every week is that it can be exhausting, and I’ve been blogging nonstop for two years now. And I have a horrible tendency to write posts at the last minute, on the day they’re due to be published, which makes it even more draining. I’ve managed it for the most part, but I’m not sure it’s the right fit for my style or personality.
Yesterday, I found a bunch of old posts I wrote for a travel blog I started in 2010 when I was backpacking (that site’s no longer active, I’m afraid). And for years, starting when I was 15, I wrote in a LiveJournal all the friggin’ time – often multiple times per week. So writing is not a hardship to me. I love writing. But forcing myself to do it so often has not only made it something of a hardship – it’s also meant that I haven’t been producing my best work, and I don’t fucking like it. I can’t tell you how many posts this year were thrown together from a last-second idea because I had to publish something. And some of them were bloody awful.
I don’t want to publish for the sake of it any more, or because ‘I’m supposed to’, or because it’s in my calendar (kidding: it’s never in my calendar). I can do better than that for you. So I’m dropping the publishing schedule, effective immediately. My new plan is this: to write and publish blog posts when I want to – when it feels right. To put more effort and care into the things I publish. And to write because I have something worth saying.
So, if I’m switching to this new model, why don’t I start doing it right now? Why the break? Well, as I said: I need a break. Having some time off from writing so often will give me chance to regroup and to get excited about blogging again. And, aw, I’ll probably even start to miss it.
I also want the break to mark a new phase in Untamed Writing’s evolution. I’m going to make some big changes to the way I do things around here next year, and I need time to plot and plan and prepare for it. (I also won’t be sending out any newsletters, teaching any courses, or doing any client work), so I can spend time gathering my energy and preparing to launch back into things full force in the new year. I’ll probably reappear in mid to late January, although, as per my newfound no-scheduling method, I don’t have a set date in mind. I’m just going to come back and do things the way that feels right.
And I’m super fucking excited about it. I hope you’ll still be here when I get back.