The story so far…
I began again.
(I wrote about the first phase of writing here.)
I’d spent much of September last year writing daily anyway, for a charity event I was involved in.
And round about that time, I started reading others’ blog posts too. One of them had a challenge: to write every day during October.
I was ready for a change of scene, after the event. I figured I’d got going on writing, I could keep going.
This time, I was also reading what others were writing on their blogs. Some of that helped – and some of that made things a bit confusing.
What to write about? Lots of others writing in October had their themes. That felt like a pressure – so I chose not to have one. But writing emerged as a theme in its own right, over October.
I reached the end of October, and it had felt good. Writing brought a transition between super-busy, ill, and then some steadier times that month. That helped too.
So I moved to a new challenge for myself: to write every day. And keep going.
How many blogs have new posts every day? Over time, I realised, not that many (personal ones, anyway).
Some do more, but they may also have more of a ‘product’, like a business that the blog promotes. Or they have advertising on the blog, and feature those businesses that support them. (This is also fair enough. Blogs serve many purposes.)
That makes a difference between ‘content-heavy’ posts, that match the flow of life at the time of writing, and ones that can be pre-written.
Over time, I saw a few other ways of easing the blogging load – and ones that encouraged others to respond.
Putting up a photo on a given day, and asking others to do the same. Or setting a short weekly writing challenge, and opening it up.
I decided to keep writing, with a different theme a month. That gave me a focus – but it also meant that the theme would change after a while.
A few things changed after I started doing this:
– Some months I had plenty to say. Other times, I had a few posts ready, but not enough to fill a month. But as I kept writing, new ideas for posts came. Some were better than others, true, but some wouldn’t have emerged otherwise.
– Some months, I tied things to the actual time of year: writing about food in the run up to Christmas felt natural. Other times, it was more a case of what felt right next.
I actually had a plan of 6 themes, but then I found that I got interested in other things through the blogs I was reading. So the eco theme emerged – partly also through doing some tidying up of old posts, and realising it had been a theme in the past too.
The downside: some months, I had a theme planned, but then I wasn’t interested in writing about it. So I wrote about something else – games, for example.
I realised that that too is OK. There is a balance of what is current, and what starts to feel like it’s being cranked out.
As this process went on, I also realised that there were other things that felt important about the writing. It was about the writing discipline, yes, but also about honesty – something I realised I valued a lot in other people’s blogs.
I got to April, and I had run out of writing. For then, anyway. And actually, that too was OK.
Life entered a busy season at home, and some nights, it helped that writing was a choice – rather than another obligation to add to the rest. Because while I wanted the discipline of regular writing, I also wanted to enjoy it still.
There is an immediacy when it comes to writing. Some days, it’s harder to find – or it slinks in a few paragraphs down.
But when it’s there, you know it. The words flow, and you can think of few better ways to spend your time.
That was my early experience of writing for myself: being in the moment of writing, and loving it. I didn’t want to lose that in the process of writing regularly.
This writing is not a job as such – so it needs to work for me, as well as for me to work at it.
At the same time, I’ve come to a point where I’m choosing again to commit to writing regularly. What that looks like…that’s the bit I’m still trying to work out.