One of the things I’ve discovered while working through my post-death-in-the-family writer’s block is how important my routines are toward my being an effective writer. This blog is one of those routines. I initially created it to give myself accountability toward my writing goals, and judging by recent events, I still need it to help fulfill that purpose.
I should have known the importance of routines and self-accountability from my day job, where my life is run by the checklist I created to make sure that all of my work gets done to my specifications. While ultimately I’m accountable to my boss for the quality of work, it’s my job to make sure that I’m giving him work of the highest quality in the first place. And while my preferred work style is focusing intently on a given task and seeing it through to completion, the necessities of my day job don’t always allow that, so I’ve had to adjust. Enter the checklist, a visual reminder of where I was in my quality assurance process.
My blog was initially intended to be similar to my work checklist, a visible reminder of where I am in my “becoming a writer” process. Yet over time it became a thing for itself. I wanted to make sure that my blog updated regularly because successful blogs update regularly and my word is my bond. If I say I’m going to update on Mondays, I better update on Mondays or explain why. To that end, I started working a little buffer in against unexpected events like weekend Internet outage or inexplicable depression.
I think that taking that too far actually hurt rather than helped. In preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo, when I planned on focusing all of my writing energy on creative writing, I buffered up blog posts that would take me through the middle of May. Once I’d basically given up on hitting my Camp NaNo goals, there was nothing dragging me back into the process of thinking about writing. I even stopped listening to my usual podcasts in the car. But avoidance wasn’t refreshing at all. I think the fact that there was nothing forcing me to engage in writing dragged out my recovery period. I doubt it was coincidental that once I had to kick my butt into gear to update my blog again, I started writing again.
So that’s one thing I’ve discovered about me. I won’t dispute that buffer posts are a good thing toward making sure I meet my own self-set blog posting deadlines, but too many buffer posts can be a bad thing.