Any writer would know about the so-called ‘Writer’s Block’ when one seems to simply run out of ideas and finds it difficult to write. While it may be a genuine difficulty, quite often it is just a façade for the old ailment blighting all our goals – plain old procrastination.
It is a popular myth that a new habit can be instilled if one is disciplined enough to pursue it doggedly at least for 21 days. Inspired by the same, I took the promise to write a blog a day and the experiment gave some interesting insights.
So for the first time ever after the initial manic period when I started to blog about a year ago, I have managed to have the discipline to write a blog every day for the past three weeks. And it is time to pause and review what happens when you pursue something that can be regarded to reduce your writing to a mechanical activity sans any creativity.
While it is not all that easy, certain routines help make it more comfortable to achieve this goal. Institutionalizing a time slot for the activity certainly helps – I decided to provide for a 1 hour slot every evening to achieve this. Sticking to it in a disciplined manner was the first ‘baby-step’ towards making progress.
My expectation from blogging is quite clear in my mind – a typical piece is about 500 – 750 words in length and usually based on a review theme or on random thoughts that come to my mind. The exercise in one about creativity as well as being able to organize my thoughts cohesively in about 5-8 paragraphs that give a ‘slice-of-life’ feel to it. To add further heft to it, I usually patch in a visual snap from Getty Images that goes along with the theme. This clarity certainly helps you to mull for the next topic to use for the blog and quite often I had a theme in mind that was just as good as putting ‘pen-to-paper’.
On a few days, it was a bit tough though. I did not quite have a topic in mind and the initial effort was a bit of a fight. And out of the blue, I would start writing about something I had not even thought about an hour ago. So forcing things along has its merits – it ‘unlocks’ memories from the deep recesses of your mind and you can put together interesting pieces that you would have otherwise missed altogether.
All the same I did struggle on one or two days when I did not find anything suitable to presented on an open forum. I converted it into a meaningful opportunity by using that day to add to my ‘Private’ pieces that are meant only for my own viewing and that help me sort out some tangled thoughts. Quite a few of them are eventually converted into open view blogs as I wanted to avoid creating any silos in my blog.
Blogging every day also adds to your experience of the blog – I used to get an opportunity to review the visitors to the blog and their activity. While looking at the pieces viewed by them, I would spot a few typos or get a few corrections in mind that I would set to correct immediately.
Search engine activity is what drives most blogs and a regular visit seems to be good for this purpose. I would review whatever was possible to glean from Google Webmaster tools and make a few changes based on that as well.
But the best benefit of it all is your ability to translates thoughts into coherent words that can be published without much rework. The habit forces that into you and even while dealing with a theme, its outline – the opening and closing segments all quickly come through in your mind. It is not that very easy if you do not practice this everyday. For that and if nothing else, I like the idea of doing ‘a blog a day…’ everyday.