Thursday, 23 August 2012

My life at the moment is busy.  I've got deadlines to hit in my writing life, at home there's one house move done, another imminent. In short, my time is being squeezed.  It's been an interesting experience because it is teaching me to organise my priorities.  Chatting on social media is mainly out, as is reading other people's blogs.

Then there's this blog...well, you may have noticed it's been erratic over the past few weeks.  The thing is, I've made a personal commitment to it.  If I stop blogging 5 days a week I know I will go down to 3 times a week, then 2, then 1 then...the daily commitment is what keeps me going.  I may miss a day or two when under pressure, but essentially it's every day.

It's the same with writing.  If it isn't prioritised, if the commitment isn't made, then it's very easy to let a day, a week, a month - or even a year - go by without moving the writing forwards.  The answer is to put aside time on a regular basis - ten minutes every day, two hours every Saturday morning, every Thursday evening from 6-9pm, whatever suits you - and stick to that.

I used to walk my dog for an hour every day without fail.  Since he's gone, I don't know how I managed to find the time for that hour long walk, but I did (and was much healthier for it).  If it's part of your routine and if you commit to it, you will find the time for your writing.  So I'll keep on blogging - but hope you'll forgive me if it's sometimes later than usual.


Jim Murdoch said...

I’ve just cut back myself. When I first started blogging I read tons of stuff telling me what the ‘rules’ were and most of them were the kind of commonsense things I would have expected to read—post regularly, stay on topic, respond to comments, don’t be an ass—and I’ve tried to follow them. I did take note, however, that ‘regularly’ means different things to different people. I was never going to be able to produce a daily post so I opted for twice weekly which I’ve since cut back to once every five days and now once a week. Of course I write very different posts to you (at least ten times the length of today’s post) but looking at my stats it was becoming more and more obvious that the vast majority of my hits were coming via Google. Yes, I had regular readers but they weren’t waiting desperately for my next post and if anything posting too often was as much a burden on them as it was on me. Many of my friends only post weekly these days and it’s something to look forward to. I think that’s the best gauge of how regular a blog needs to be. Very little of what we’re going to write is time sensitive and Prince Harry wandering round in the nude is good for days yet. As is most news. If I were you I would cut back to three times a week and unless you tell us no one will notice because—and I mean this is the nicest possible way—we’re not hanging on your every word. No one is hanging around waiting on any of us posting. We all have inboxes and feedreaders chock-a-block full of stuff that we have no time to read properly anyway. You’d be doing us a favour. You should think about it.

Giles Diggle said...

Thanks for this, Sarah. It is a welcome reminder. I am in the process of moving my elderly parents from up North down to Gloucestershire and the writing is not so much suffering, as naturally taking second place to family matters.

My blogging has gone completely in the past few weeks, and the revisions to my book have become a dripping tap, which I must fix. Turning it off and on occasionally doesn't quite fix the problem.

But then if life didn't get in the way sometimes, we wouldn't have much to write about! :-)

Good luck with your move.

Sarah Duncan said...

Jim, my point wasn't about how often one should or shouldn't blog, it was about making a commitment to regular writing and then sticking to it.

Giles, good luck with moving your parents. I love your dripping tap analogy - oh, how that struck a chord.

Jim Murdoch said...

Circumstances change. People make commitments to each other all the time and then break them. Divorce is commonplace these days and it isn’t always because of adultery. Mostly I’d say it because the needs of one or both parties have changed. You made a commitment to blog five times a week. And that’s fine. Several years on it might be time to reassess whether it’s necessary, both for you and for us. When Carrie and I first got married I was always coming home with little pressies. Fifteen years on they’ve not dried up but they’re no longer necessary. I came home with a couple of cakes yesterday and that was all that was needed; I’d remembered her. I used to feel a high degree of responsibility to my readers. They were used to two blogs a week and I felt I was letting them down cutting back. The fact is they never asked me to blog twice a week and I see no one up in arms now I’m only blogging weekly. There will be a few who will be upset if I stop blogging completely but as long as they hear from me periodically (and that is a very grey area) they’ll be content. I just wanted to make it clear that your commitment to blog as often as you do is a commitment to yourself and not us. Most people use some kind of feed reader and so it really doesn’t matter how often anyone posts because the software will let us know when we have something new to read. I had one friend drop off the map for six months and I never even noticed she had gone until a blog appeared in my feed reader where she was apologising for going AWOL. Computers allow us to get away with being forgetful like that. Not sure it’s a good thing but it’s how we cope.

Penny said...

Please keep blogging, Sarah, even if only whenever possible. Yours refreshes the parts others don't always reach :-)