I saw this excellent post from Belghast a while back: Thumper Logic.
The first part of his post got me thinking about my own publishing schedule, and as it is NBI month I thought a meta-blogging post would be a good topic.
I too have tried to write one post a day–in the past. I applaud the effort, and anyone who can do it is far better at this than I am.
The problem I encountered when trying to write a new post every day was: Not everything I write is publishable. Sometimes I can write for hours and produce thousands of words of nonsensical dreck. In fact, that’s pretty common. (You could probably make the argument that what I publish isn’t publishable either.)
I completely agree with the philosophy that one should practice writing every day. That’s the only way to get better. But pushing myself to write something publishable every day is more than I can deliver without stressing myself out.
That’s why I try to maintain a “buffer” of posts by scheduling in advance. A lot of times I do write a post every day. And sometimes I write two or three posts a day. But sometimes I write two or three posts a day and throw them away, leaving nothing. Sometimes I don’t have time to write anything.
You might wonder why I would care about missing days. There’s a few reasons. First, I’m trying to practice being a writer who can deliver a reliable stream of content.
Another reason is that this is still a fledgling blog. If I were a famous blogger with thousands of devoted readers, it wouldn’t be a problem to miss days. Readers would probably still come back. But since I’m still a nobody, missing posts is more of a big deal. Nothing will drive away site traffic more than failing to post new content.
And while I’m not trying to create the blog of the century here, I am at least trying to create the opportunity for a successful blog. I’m not sure what “success” means quite yet, but at the moment it means publishing something at least moderately entertaining or informative every weekday at 11.
So keeping a buffer of scheduled posts is the best way for me to achieve that success, because it eliminates all of the pressure of writing “on demand.” If you’re curious, I try to stay three or four days ahead. Longer if possible. (That’s why my topics aren’t always “timely.”)
Writing ahead also gives me a second or third or fourth chance to re-read and re-edit my posts before they are published. I try not to do a lot of editing, because I’m also trying to train myself to write better on the first try, but sometimes it’s necessary. (Basically my editing involves removing unnecessary modifiers from my writing. Like that word “basically” back there. Actually, I’m really quite fond of “actually” and “really” too. And “quite,” apparently.)