To Blog or Not to Blog…That is the Question

By November 26, 2010Blogging

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.

Join the discussion 25 Comments

  • Galit Breen says:

    well that’s just a fab (albeit hard) question, isn’t it? i can’t even imagine blogging every single day– although i am slow 9and i do mean slooooooow) in the process. i can see where it would build that skill though and i’m impressed that you’re trying it! maybe a regular cadence is nice– mwf or some such? so happy to have found your blog and i’ll be checking everyday now!! (kidding, only kidding! :))

  • IASoupMama says:

    Right there with you… at least this month 🙂 Although, for some reason, my blog isn’t showing on the NaBloPoMo site. I think I write best with a four-a-week schedule. And I hope to return to that schedule in t-4 days…
    IASoupMama recently posted… Thankful for Full BelliesMy Profile

  • When I first started my blog, I made a rule with myself that I’d blog 3, maybe 4, times a week. The 4 times a week seems to be what’s stuck, but I don’t really force it. Yes, I start to get a little panicky when I don’t have something written, but I tell myself it’d be OK. Sometimes life just gets in the way without making a blog entry out of it. There are other times, though, when the entries are there in abundance and I have drafts upon drafts saved to post for days to come. Those are good times.
    C recently posted… Damn You PilgrimsMy Profile

  • SuperJenn says:

    Oooh, I’ve been thinking about this too and I’ve come to a decision (I think)… to continue to post daily….even though some of it will be doodie (I also detest hitting publish and absolutely do not publicize that it has been done!) HOWEVER….

    I love to write.

    I have found my blog stagnant. I have found my inability to process my words…to make the thoughts in my head into the phrases on the page….overwhelming lately.

    I started NaBloPoMo dreading each day…finding the time, dreading the stale mind… and as the month has gone by…. I’ve got my GROOOOVE back! (Most days).

    I’ve had comments online, on posts, and in real life from people who say they are really enjoying what I’m writing. They are not only reading…they are ENJOYING…which makes my heart very happy.

    Almost as happy as writing it.

    This happens because even if I slop out a piece of doo at midnight….the next day I’m more comitted to working out those words.

    PS…I tried the schedule your posts thing…it didn’t work for me. My blog flows like me…and there is NOTHING that scheduled and pre-thought out about my life 🙂

  • Hollywood Farm says:

    After moving back to LA from farm I’m finding less daily inspiration. Farm stories are much more interesting!

  • I used to go back and forth on this – but I’m ok with writing as the spirit moves me, as long as it moves me three times a week! If I write more, unless I’m inspired, I find that the crap overwhelmes the “goodies.”

    I like the way you think through it, though!
    Susan recently posted… Social mediaMy Profile

  • liz says:

    i do post everyday, though saturdays are comment love letter days, which doesn’t require the same kind of thought as a regular post. also, sundays is the new info for a weekly meme, so it’s not a regular post.

    i don’t have firm beliefs one side or the other. if i really had nothing to write about, i wouldn’t. though i really agree with your points about blogging being a sense of community and that if i skip one day, will that too easily become 2 days, then more?
    liz recently posted… Word Up- YO!- Edition 25My Profile

  • I really can’t manage any more than 2-3 posts a week (and lately less than that). I just get burned out. I also can’t bear to blog if I don’t really have anything to say–it just feels wrong.

    You’re right–balance is REALLY hard.

    • Brittany says:

      In everything right? Not just blogging. Balance is so very difficult to achieve. It takes work. In blogging I think it is a little bit of inspiration and more than obligation, a little bit of discipline to sit down and write the posts when they are in my head.

  • The one thing I cannot do is write ahead. I will invariably go to publish a write ahead post and then realize it feels stale to me. Weirdly, old posts don’t read stale when I look back to them, so I realize this is likely just a trick I am playing on myself. Still. Can’t do it.

    As for the to write or not to write debate. I’ve long believed that words beget more words. I believe that if I could devote even more time to writing I would write more and better things. So, though I am not always able to do this, I do think it is the best avenue toward better writing.

  • Ashlee says:

    Blogging hasn’t become a chore for me yet. I haven’t even written 100 posts yet, though. Sometimes if I’m not feeling it..I’ll skip a day. I would rather have a post that people like reading than one lacking my passion for a subject. Know what I mean? That’s a good article you posted!

  • Christine says:

    Such a good post! I do sometimes feel obligated to post because I want to keep my 30 readers, but other times I just don’t have anything to say. As a stay-at-home-mom I really don’t have too many exciting things going on around me to blog about. I may have had a blog for years, but I’m still trying to find my niche.
    Christine recently posted… 7 WeeksMy Profile

    • Brittany says:

      There may not be many exciting things some days but maybe you could keep a log of ideas and inspiration. Your thoughts on any number of topics could make for tons of posts. I try to relate what is going on in my family to what is going on in the “world” of parenting. While many posts may be about my family specifically and not uber exciting events, I find that relating y family to what is going on outside of my family makes for more interesting posts. Thanks for the comment!

  • My problem is that I have too many posts in me — I think I have three drafts right now — and that I don’t have enough time to write them all. And I don’t want to annoy my readers, either. Every time I post twice a day I’m losing a subscriber 🙂

    Love your blog!

    Dagmar’s momsense
    Dagmar Bleasdale recently posted… Giveaway- Win a YBIKE Balance Bike!My Profile

    • Brittany says:

      I have too many posts too but so many drafts stay that way because when I finally pull them up they feel old or uninspired or like they need a whole day of work! I almost think I need to schedule a day for DIY, a day for family, a day for review/giveaway etc. I think if I can maybe limit my categories then I can be more organized. We shall see! That stinks to lose subscibers when you post twice in a day. Can you schedule the posts out to future dates or do you then get too behind like me?

      Thanks for the compliment! I’m off to visit your blog!

  • Kelly says:

    Blogging for the sake of blogging seems inauthentic and commercial. Blogging because there’s something you need to say and your blog is the outlet you use to share your voice seems highly authentic and cathartic.

    I find myself leaning toward authenticity, both in what I write and in what I read. (With forgiveness for NaBloPoMo, of course.)
    Kelly recently posted… Cluck of the Week- All the reasons big and smallMy Profile

    • Brittany says:

      I don’t really think it is all about blogging for the sake of blogging but rather having the discipline to sit down and write, even when inspiration seems lacking. As a busy mom, if I didn’t “make” myself sit down and write I don’t think there would be much of a blog here. I love to write and I love to blog and to have this lovely community so I am always authentic, even if maybe all of my posts are now awesome. Would that they could be!

      • Kelly says:

        Just from experience, those who post daily JUST to post daily (not as an exercise in creativity or as a push to flex their mind muscle) aren’t doing it for discipline’s sake. Someone who loves to write and finds fulfillment in the work of it (thinking of Big Little Wolf at as an example — she’s extremely prolific!) should keep it up. I imagine that’s what it would be like if you pushed for a daily post.

        But there are thousands of others posting daily in the hustle to become a “big time blogger.” That’s not really the formula most successful bloggers have followed, so I’m not sure what the point is. In all things, quality takes you so much further than quantity.
        Kelly recently posted… Cluck of the Week- All the reasons big and smallMy Profile

        • Brittany says:

          I totally agree with you here! I am in no way thinking that posting each day will make me super blogger and I am much more concerned with quality. And yes, I am trying to push myself. I am proud of where it takese and how it forces my mind to stretch. Thanks for the new blog to check out too!

  • At BlogWorld, Scott Stratten warned against posting daily just to post daily. He said if your posts are not AWESOME don’t publish them. He said crappy posts damage your reputation, which is ultimately more important than simply ranking high in Google…
    Mommy Reporter recently posted… Simple… yet amazing pumpkin breadMy Profile

    • Brittany says:

      I totally agree that to post just to post is not a good idea. However, sometimes I need to write to get the juices flowing and hope that I can make something out of my thoughts. I do not post if I think it is really a crappy one. 🙂 I think finding your groove requires hitting publish at least somewhat regularly or you do risk losing readers. We all try to keep up with so many blogs that it can be easy to forget when a blog goes a week or more without any posts. My reader actually flags these blogs. Like most things, there is a balance. Because I believe that my writing gets better with practice, I try to post regularly. No, every day is not neccessary but I enjoy challenging myself in November to write and post each day. It actually helps me to focus on where I think my writing is best and where I think I need some work. I sure do wish every post was AWESOME but I know that only through hard work and posting so I can get feedback will I ever figure out what works. Thanks so much for the comment and boy – would I love to go to BlogWorld!

  • I asked myself this question around day 10 of NaBloPoMo. I just felt like what I was saying was becoming so boring. And earlier this month on Twitter, you said that your comments this month when you’re posting every day were way down. I experienced that too. But like Super Jenn above, my family and friends who read my blog who are not bloggers are enjoying reading it.

    I totally agree that writing everyday is paramount to being a good writer. I’m a chronicler of my life in my blog. I don’t have many followers, don’t do giveaways or reviews, and I don’t have many commenters. But I do so love writing my blog and reading the ones I’ve found. I feel like I’m part of a community of women whose lives are richer for the relationships (however they may manifest themselves online) formed.

    So is it inspiration or obligation? For me, it’s a little of both–balanced out, and that’s what my bloggy life if all about. 🙂
    Grateful Twin Mom recently posted… Keeping Black Friday BlackMy Profile

  • Bryna says:

    Since we have the “follow” as an option, it doesn’t matter when you blog. It’s going to come through. Better to make them worthwhile than “just because”. IMHO. 🙂

  • Erin says:

    This post was very timely for me. I recently published a half-finished post – I was trying to finish…I couldn’t find the way to bring it to a close. I hate that post – because I know I wasn’t done. BUT…at least I got my thoughts out.

    My quest for perfection sometimes leaves me paralyzed. I am so afraid that my post will be doodie that I can’t say anything.

    My blog is a one part of my mental health plan and therefore it is CRITICAL that the thoughts that stumble around my mind get themselves worked out…

    and so I write – as often as possible –

    I love this post and I agree that the balance is in somewhere between inspiration and obligation:)
    Erin recently posted… What do you mean by thatMy Profile

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