I read an article on Problogger today entitled Inspiration vs. Obligation: The Great Creativity Debate and it really got me thinking about my blogging style. As we approach the end of National Blog Posting Month I realize I have spent hours thinking about this very question. Blogging every day as an obligation of the challenge is quite difficult, even when I have a bevy of good ideas. Sometimes, my brain is empty or I do not have the time to devote to a topic I am pondering but I must blog anyway.
Is it better to blog no matter what, each and every day, or is it better to blog only when our muse is on our shoulder, whispering wonderful words in our ears?
I am on the fence. I have both waited for inspiration to strike and forged ahead, hitting publish day after day even when I was not ready. I believe there has to be a middle ground, that I must both follow my inspiration and require myself to post.
First, sometimes in starting to write a mediocre post, a great post forms. Words breed more words and sometimes great ones! As my fingers type, I am often moved to take a post further than I thought and to explore a subject. I would not do this if I decided not to write because I didn’t have a waterfall of words waiting in my brain.
Second, sometimes lady muse can be stubborn and not show up for a long time. If a blog is stagnant, it loses momentum. It loses readers. It loses a little bit of it’s life. Blogging, at least for me, is as much about communication and relationships as it is about the posts. Without any communication, every relationship will fade. So even when there is not a perfect post brewing, it is good to get out there. Every time you hit publish you reach out to your readers. I feel good reaching out. Every post does not have to be mind boggling. In fact, most probably aren’t. I’m not saying they aren’t good…but only a very few can be our best, and we don’t always know when those are coming (see my first point).
Third, discipline is a good thing when it comes to blogging and life. It is so easy to put off one day, and then two and then all of a sudden a week goes by and your little blog is starting to get lonely. While I have great dreams of posting each and every day, this is not realistic for me. Setting a schedule that works for me helps me to focus each week on what I need to post while giving me a little room for my muse to find me. A mix of creativity and obligation is good.
Fourth, following obligation to the tee will not work. You do not want to post total crap. I have done it before and I hate hitting publish and I wish I had time to tweak something or to scrap it and start over. There are blogs that are completely committed to having brand new content each and every day. Even on the biggest blogs, some posts are better than others and there are some posts that really we could have done without. So, unless you have to post for business reasons if all you have is doodie then give yourself a break. It’s okay.
Fifth, life comes before blog. Sometimes my obligations as a mother, wife, friend or daughter must come first. My life has to come before my blog. This can be difficult as this blog is a huge part of my life. But my family comes first. Sometimes the muse can wait.
Finally, I enjoy blogging and would really like this general feeling of contentment to continue. While it is a commitment to maintain a blog, it is a wonderful creative outlet that gives me back what I put in. The more I write, both on my blog and in commenting on other blogs, the more relationships I form and the happier I am with my own little corner of the Internet. I don’t want to force anything but at the same time I want to make sure I am writing.
After years, I am still learning balance.
Where do you stand? Are you in the middle like me or do you firmly stand on one side or the other?
p.s. I have great aspirations of banging out 5 posts in a day as the author of the ProBlogger article suggests so that when there in nothing up there you have something already done. Too bad with 3 kids and a million projects 5 posts in a day, even stemming from incredible inspiration, is hard. Also, I always have this crazy urge to hit publish once I have written something. So yes, I have a lot to work on.