Thoughts About Blogging

You all know that I’ve been contemplating a Patreon for a good long while.  I have a short story project that I intend to be Patreon-based.  But I’m also considering moving to that for blogging, too.

While I’ve been on hiatus, I’ve also been thinking about my blog format.  I’ve been using the same format for years: some kind of thoughtful post on Monday, some kind of progress update on Friday.  But that format just isn’t working for me anymore.  I’ve had a lot of my thoughts about the process of writing.  When I do have thoughts, they occur to me at the time and I don’t like scheduling them out into the future.  So maybe I’ll just keep Friday progress posts (or move that day since Friday nights have been packed lately) and do other posts and things occur to me.  Or maybe I’ll just blog through Patreon.  Or maybe I’ll blog through both.  The possibilities are endless!

I love structure.  I love lists.  But this has stopped working for me, so I think it’s time to make a change.

Routines

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.

Progress Update

I’ve managed to slog my way through more of the Touchdown novel this week, taking me up to 26,218 words, or probably about 1/3 of the way there. It’s an increase of under 3,000 words for the week, certainly not my best week ever, but I consider it respectable since I’m still fighting serious writer’s block.

I have a feeling that I’m going to end up junking a lot of this part, since if it’s no fun for me to write it’ll likely be no fun for anyone to read, but that’s just the nature of writing a novel.

Meanwhile, I’ve done some background work on submissions. It’s time to hit another cycle since all of my works have come back in with rejections. I had been putting it off until I feel better; now is that time.  I also wrote a couple of blog posts so that I can build my buffer back up from “do or die” levels (though one of the posts is itself on the perils of over-buffering).

All in all, the week has been moderately productive, though not amazing. I’ll take it. It feels like I’m on the road to recovery.

Belated Plague Novel Revisions Update

Sorry for the sparse nature of the blog this last week.  I’ve been pushing hard to get the revisions done, and I think I may have pushed too far.  In good news, the revisions are done!  The project is now off to my beta readers, some of whom have already offered feedback.

The bad news is that I ended up mired in depression for the rest of the week and, in my push to finish the revisions, I had run through the rest of my prepared blog material.  Whoops!  I’ll have to plan that better next time.

For now I’ll be recharging my creative spark, trying to work on some short stories, and working on rebuilding my blog buffer.  In the meanwhile, hooray!  Two sets of revision down, a few more to go!  But after this “break.”