Sometimes you read something, and it just stays with you. Whether you like it, or not. Last year I read a personal opinion, an opinion which I did not agree with I must add, and it has stayed in my head. Hung around, niggling at me, eating away me.
Let me back track for a moment.
I blog because I enjoy writing, primarily. There are lots of other reasons why I blog, but it’s the writing that keeps me coming back. I may not be a stellar writer, but I enjoy it, so who cares?
Not long after I had first started this blog, I tried to take part in a challenge to blog every day. I managed to blog every day for half of the month before caving, but I still felt proud of myself. Fast forward a year. As a more experienced blogger, I decided to try the challenge again. Only this time, I didn’t make it past the first day.
Somehow I found myself reading an article about blogging every day. In the comments section below the article, there were lots of people talking about how much they enjoyed daily blogging, and how it had improved their writing. And then there was one lone, standout comment. It went something on the lines of, ‘The internet is already filled with massive amounts of drivel, why add more daily drivel too it? You should blog only about things that matter’.
Why it stood out to me among a sea of ‘daily blogging is great, yeah!’ comments, I really don’t know, but it did. I’d read it, and I couldn’t unread it.
Shortly after reading the comment, I read another article. This time it was all about ‘how to succeed at blogging’. One of the tips was to make sure you only post quality pieces, and that if it feels like just a filler post, don’t publish it. It’s an idea I’ve seen mirrored in many comments and many articles since. Basically, don’t write drivel.
I don’t agree with it. In my opinion your blog is your own space, and if you want to fill it with nonsense, that’s your prerogative. Despite disagreeing with the statement completely, it still stayed with me, and it has reared it’s ugly head almost every time I have sat down to write a blog post. Every single time I try to write, a little voice in my head asks ‘is this really necessary, do people really need to read this?’ It’s completely changed the way I blog, because from that moment onwards I always felt under pressure to write something profound and meaningful, and when I couldn’t find that, I just didn’t write.
This week I have been reading a book called Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (catchy title, don’t you think). I don’t usually read self help style books, but this had been recommended to me, so I thought I’d give it a try. The book is designed to help us change the way we work, allowing us to always produce the best work we can. It’s written particularly for creative people, with wisdom from 20 leading creative minds. One chapter in, and I have read something that has again stuck in my mind, but this time in a positive way.
Frequency. OK, what I read wasn’t just one word, but it is that word which forms the basis of the section which has stayed with me. Gretchen Rubin, author of bestselling book The Happiness Project (which I really need to read) writes in Manage Your Day-To-Day about how important frequency is. I don’t want to go in to too much detail, because I would urge you to read the book, but she talks about how frequency keeps ideas fresh, sparks creativity, and, most importantly for me, keeps the pressure off.
‘If you are producing just one page, one blog post or one sketch a week, you expect it to be pretty darned good, and you start to fret about quality’ – Gretchen Rubin
That really resonated with me. I don’t post often, and when I do, I really worry about the quality. The fear of not producing my best stops me from producing anything at all.
After reading that particular section of the book, I felt like I’d had a lightbulb moment. I need to start writing frequently to eradicate the fear of writing that I have developed. To banish that little voice that has been asking ‘is this necessary?’ every time I write.
If some days I produce absolute nonsense, to further fill the internet with more ‘drivel’, so be it, because other days I may produce gold. Gold that I would otherwise not have produced, had I not written due to fear. Even if I write every day and never write anything truly wonderful, I’ll still be happy with that, because I enjoy writing. It makes me happy.
And really, that’s all that matters. In all areas of life. Do what makes you happy.
Linking up with What I’m Writing
You can find Manage Your Day-to-Day here.