I’m posting less on my blog these days, but I may be writing just as much compared to times past. The difference is that over half of my posts stay on my computer where no one else will ever read them.
I don’t feel bad about these unread posts. I needed to write them. Otherwise they would continue to buzz around in my head, demanding my attention and trumpeting their worth and, at times, “genius.”
In truth, I suspect that I would have posted almost all of them in the past. Such has been the pressure to pump up my blog numbers, to keep people engaged on social media, and to, let’s be honest, stir the post just a bit from time to time.
Now that I’ve stepped out of the traditional publishing platform rat race for the foreseeable future, I’m letting posts develop at their own pace and evaluating them with a far more critical eye. Some need a few weeks to settle into themselves. Others are ready to go after a bit of tweaking. And still far many more are done after the writing. The latter is a good thing.
I didn’t realize how badly I needed to just write things down and end it there. I often have an idea or the kernel of an idea bouncing around in my brain, and it can be such a relief to finally see it appear on a page. Once it lands there, I can make a sound judgment about its merits.
This has come into focus for me as I started praying with the Examen. Just writing out the good and the bad parts of my day on the “Examine” app provided clarity and a simple chance to vent a little. I have a moment of bracing honesty each day where I can tell myself, “There, I said it!”
I found that processing my issues in a private way via the Examen provided just as much if not more relief than a more public processing on my blog.
I still believe that blog posts are an important first draft of my ideas. I still think that blogging can be a helpful way to process ideas in public. I still love the idea of writing the best piece of short form content possible and then immediately finding out what readers think. As an author who develops book ideas for years, this immediacy is a blessed relief.
Every person who leaves his twenties behind and starts to stare down middle age or “old” age, whatever that is now, likes to think that some wisdom and gentleness has been added to the mix over time. Whether you call that moving from the first half of life to the second half of life, mellowing with age, or simply realizing that you were a bit of a jerk in the past, a bit of evolution on our parts strikes me as appropriate. I hope that I write differently ten years, twenty years, and even, gasp, thirty years from now.
At this point in my life, sacrificing a bit of consistency for the sake of picking only my best thoughts, rather than sharing ALL of my thoughts, feels like either a wise or a “less dumb” shift. I truly do need to write a lot, but it doesn’t all necessarily need to be shared.
Removing myself from the race to keep growing my blogging platform in order to catch a publisher’s eye finally gave me permission to let up a bit. I still care deeply about reaching more readers with my writing, but my higher priority is letting my work evolve at its own pace and recognizing that oftentimes my writing is only for my own eyes.
Perhaps it would be easier to write for others if I could first learn to write for myself.
4 thoughts on “Less Platform, More Sanity”
I felt a lot of pressure to blog multiple times per week when first encountering this idea of platform. After indie publishing my first book, I “temporarily” reduced my posts to every other week. That was over a year ago, and I haven’t looked back.
I love blogging, and I strongly believe in the principle of practicing in public, but at times it can be very draining!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Ed, this is sound advice. Many ideas need to sit a while and mature (like us?) and others seem to demand immediate expression. But it is always wise to wait, pause and pray.. never mind edit thoroughly… before exposing our words to the world. They will usually improve in flavour and savour for some time spent marinading! Thank you. 🙂
Like you, I often have multiple ideas floating and stomping through my head. I am part of the blogging community, but for the time being as editor and contributing photographer while my husband writes. The words that demand attention are the ones I put down on paper and leave to develop more fully for a different time or even a separate blog. It is a good process for me; my skills continue to grow. My husband, who has been quite ill, is healing in spirit and heart.
Thank you for this. I blog very irregularly partly because when I teach, I’m pretty tied up with that work. I also feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I have something I was going to blog about but backed off because it is wanting to be a longer essay, if not something even longer. There is great freedom in writing for yourself to work things out and there is pleasure and stuff to be learned in writing for an audience.
After working at this for a year, I’m finding I’m just not good at building an audience, at least not right now. Not blogging regularly contributes to that I know. Oh well. I take comfort in the fact that “small” isn’t always so bad.
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