Developing a daily writing habit is a constant challenge in becoming a writer. Blogging can be a great assist to this process, but it’s also hard to retain a consistent focus. I used to try for twice a week –considered by all sage wags to be ideal. I find a different rhythm of daily blogging –if I can manage it — to be good for my focus, good for my energy and good for my soul.
Why Writing A Blog Post Every Day is a
Terrible Brilliant Idea
There is nothing easier to do than to wear oneself out on a topic, even a topic we’re passionate about–for even passions have their ups and downs. I meander, you wander, we all have problems creating a consistent narrative and a compelling story. All good blogs are stories. Maybe it’s a story about becoming fashionable, or doing it yourself, or a story about raising kids, but it’s a story.
Good stories take time. We need to develop our characters and our narrative voices. I once saw a blog post that said something along the lines of “stop trying to be witty” in blogging, and I rolled my eyes. Everyone has to try things and be bad at them for a very long time. Dear God, don’t stop trying to be witty. Don’t edit yourself right out of the gate.
I’ll tell you a secret. While I do publish a post a day, mostly, it’s usually a post I started at some point, some other time. I write every day. I don’t necessarily publish the post that I’m writing.
Time and Practice
John, my son, has been a terrible comedian since he was oh, fourteen or so, I’d say. Horrible, terrible, very bad jokes, puns, failed witticisms by the truckload. It could grate even on an indulgent mother. But now in the twenty-something category, he’s gotten up to the rank of “amusing.” He’s got a sense of timing, delivery, and audience that every comedian needs to be successful, at least for his age group and “weight class” of young college students. His friends think he’s funny. People not related to him enjoy his sense of humor. He didn’t get that way overnight. He had to practice, practice, practice.
In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discussed the idea that we need about 10,000 hours or practice to master anything. The Beatles, he claimed, were made brilliant by the months and months and months of constant playing in clubs in Germany. They reached a threshold of capability through practice that allowed them to step over into mastery. Gladwell’s book is all about reaching that tipping point — and constant effort is one of the magic ingredients in getting to be good at anything.
One of the best courses on blogging out there is available for free at WordPress.com. It’s Blogging University, available at the Daily Post. When I achieve my fantasy goal of a leading a women’s blogging cruise to Hawaii (or the Caribbean, my fantasy changes from time to time), I think that these little e-books would be part of the core curriculum.
More than Practice–A Focus on Endless Improvement
We all like to think we’re pretty good at this blogging thing, but really, there is always room for improvement. Daily blogging would be an utter bore if I weren’t reaching for a star–an actual career as a writer. That’s why I am constantly doing research to create blog posts. Most of the blog posts you see here start out as “stubs” of an idea that I work on a little each day until the piece reaches sufficient maturity to be worth posting. So while I write every day, I don’t necessarily publish that post on the day I write it.
Writing is also about revision. When I wrote my dissertation, yonks ago, I also ended up as the reader of oh, a half dozen other people’s dissertations. I was the thesis agony aunt. Even today, I sit on committees of graduate students at universities here and there, reading and helping revise tortured (academic) prose. Only bureaucratic writing rivals the dull, pedantic tread of the dissertation narrative. Everyone needs a reader.
If that reader HAS to be you, yourself and you, then it pays off quite bit to let your writing simmer. Write something, set it aside in the drafts folder, let it sit in the drafts folder for a week or a few days–and write a bunch more other stuff. This will help wash your brain out. You’ll return to the draft with, hopefully, fresh eyes. If you’re also reading good material, getting inspiration and ideas from the writing of others, you’ll probably get a better gut feeling for what makes a piece good or at least better.
The Blogging University’s #2 publication is all about revision. Yes, we can revisit our old posts and revise them. That’s allowed, even recommended. Finding our voices and our points of view is a process. We have to keep improving on them, yes, even the very best writers take classes — or GIVE classes. There are plenty of free writing courses available on the Internet, including the Blogging University course. Take one!
Never stop learning! It’s fun, if you make it fun.
I use the Daily Prompt to stimulate my writing. Today’s post (as of 7 am) was “constant.” Now it’s something different. Heh. I think I missed the train a bit. Thanks for dropping by.