According to The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, I’ve been doing it all wrong. For me, blogs are essays that you craft and polish and worry over and then publish online.
But according to The Huffington Post Complete Guide, you’re better off equating blogs with emails. You don’t “hem and haw” over an email, so why should you “hem and haw” over a blog post? You don’t pause to edit. You barely pause to think. Half-baked ideas, in fact, may be more desirable because then your readers have a place to enter the conversation.
Blogs need to be timely. They respond immediately to exigency. You read something, see something, experience something that makes you want to fire off a response–and so you do.
As Jamie Lee Curtis, a Huffington Post blogger, explains, “I was just expressing an idea, an idea that wasn’t even formed until it made it on paper. No edit. No ‘What does/will this mean?’ Just an idea.”
I don’t work that way.
Or maybe I just don’t make myself work that way.
Which is probably why I have a dozen or more unfinished/half-finished blog posts languishing in the Draft file. I couldn’t get them quite perfect in the time I had to work on them. I clicked Save instead of Publish, planning to get back to it later and polish and perfect. But instead, time passed, and the need to respond passed, and now I don’t even know why I cared enough in the first place to start writing that post.
Or, in the words of The Huffington Post Complete Guide‘s Rule #2: Perfect Is the Enemy of Done:
a bunch of OK posts is probably better than a perfect post that took so long to compose the event was old news by the time you hit ‘submit’
Ouch! And also, the story of my blogging life.
Rule #1 is Blog often. To begin, the editors suggest blogging “at least two to three times a week for thirty days” at minimum, and from the examples they give, it’s clear that blogging five times a week is preferable. Readers want new content “pretty much every time they visit.”
I also find it’s easier to form a habit when you’re doing it more often. Exercising two or three days a week, while still a healthy choice, just doesn’t work for me. Pretty soon, I’m not doing it at all if I’m only prioritizing it two or three times a week. But if I do it six or seven times a week, I struggle much less to get it done, oddly. It becomes part of the fabric of my daily life.
Apparently Gretchen Rubin agrees:
“Weirdly, it’s easier to blog every day than it is to blog three or four times a week. You get in a rhythm, you don’t procrastinate, you load content into your blog, you loosen up, you’ll be taken more seriously by readers, and you stay engaged with your subject and with what’s happening on your blog.”
And so now I am thinking of a new summer challenge: a daily blogging challenge. Well, a five-days-a-week blogging challenge. I like to take weekends off.