Why I’ll Probably Quit National Blog Post Writing Month

I have perhaps 20 demands on my time at any moment, and blogging is often near the bottom. So the challenge to put blog posts at the forefront excited and energized me. But I might quit.

Because I’ve realized, just as with National Novel Writing Month, when I have false deadlines and self imposed “write a certain number of words each day” or “post every day” rigors, I produce schlock. I don’t write the stories that are burning to be told, in language of which I’m proud and with time to mull the best structure. I generate crud, and submit it because I’ve said that I “have to.”

gutter, rainwater, pollen, leaves. Unstill life.

gutter, rainwater, pollen, leaves. Unstill life.

For me, right now, challenges become a homework assignment rather than an inspiration. Blogging has become a chore instead of the thing I genuinely enjoy doing.My writing sounds slapdash, crammed into the crevices I have left, rather than something moved to the forefront and finessed because it’s important.

So we’ll see how it goes. Today is Day 18, and I’ve posted 17 times. And about 5 of those posts are just rotten. I don’t like those odds. I’d rather post 10 times and feel satisfied with the writing than post 18 times and feel my blog’s quality is suffering for the exercise.

But wait! I think…what about all those ideas in that file called “post ideas”? Well, if those are compelling enough stories to tell, then I would have done so by now. And I still can. Rejecting the challenge doesn’t mean I can’t post daily. It means I don’t have to.

But wait! I think again, What about committing to something important and writing as part of a huge group of dedicated writers?! Frankly, I don’t care. Writing is a solitary exercise, and while I cherish the tightly knit group of writers with whom I rarely share my fiction, I don’t care whether the whole world is writing right nor or not. What other people do is none of my business. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I don’t need any more chores. I’ve had a tiny blog for eight years, and my audience changes little whether I write daily or monthly. I wrote every day for years. And life changed in many ways such that I don’t have as much to say publicly, both because I’m inwardly focused on my family right now and don’t have time, and because I don’t want to share as much as I once did. Blogging every day for a month as part of a group challenge is not going to make me a better blogger. It’s not going to reinvigorate my writing. It’s going to exhaust me and stifle my willingness to share. Because the creeping profanity in this post is suggesting to me I’m resentful, and if I keep going with this bad attitude, I have nobody but myself to blame. I began a blog to find a community, and I found one. Bigger than I’d hoped. As an introverted curmudgeon at heart, I often want to pull up my welcome mat and say, “I already have enough friends, thank you and good bye.”

I don’t, of course, because for each dear reader I lose there’s a new face in the comments or subscription list, whose own blog is wonderful to read and whose comments make me feel less alone in those dark moments most writers have at 1:23 each morning. So the community stays small and I adore every reader. Gah. Does that mean I have to sit up straight and wear mascara ‘cuz you are here again?

Sigh. Whatever. I want to blog more, so I will. I want to honor the NaBloPoWriMo community, so I might. I want a place to whine about blogging, so here I am. Maybe I’ll be here tomorrow. And maybe I’ll wait a day or two. There is no reward for trudging through a thing just because you should. There are rewards for recognizing when a self-imposed should seems ill-fitting.

Now it is my time to rend and tear the garment, else allow it to lie as falls without alteration, and feel in this exercise the discomfort of something not quite right. What I learn from the binding and gaping is a test of patience.

I’ll let you know what I find, though. And not just because it’ll count as another post.

11 thoughts on “Why I’ll Probably Quit National Blog Post Writing Month

  1. It’s a stressful challenge, and you are 100% free to let it fade out if you don’t want to feel obligated to post every day. Focus on your family and yourself!
    I’ve liked pushing myself to post every day this month but I’ll admit it’s led to some “cheat” days, if there is such a thing.

    • Isn’t that silly, that we think of calling posts scheduled in advance, or linking to something else, or relatively short “cheating”? I’ve been particularly rankled by any “should” lately, so I’m not sure why I thought signing up for this was a good idea. I don’t even think I’m going to do holiday cards this year, and it’s a perfect Chrismakkah confluence year.
      Glad you’re enjoying the challenge. There is no such thing as cheating if you’re posting. Cheers!

      • My “cheating” is digging deep into old high school assignments and stuff to take material instead of new work. But that’s true, there is no “should.” Cheers to you too :)

    • Excellent point. I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces commenting on a lot of familiar sites lately. This is a VERY good point, Alexandra. Community not just to keep us honest, but to support.

  2. I hear you and have felt exactly the same. But I sort of knew I’d feel this way and my main reason for doing it was just to DO it because I am excellent and the not doing and the not writing. So I threw quality out the window for the sake of working more on establishing a routine. I’m lucky I only have 3 readers so the risk was small. No guilt if you stop. Or if you don’t!

    • You have more than three readers, Goofball. And there’s nothing wrong with your quality. You’ve just cut your massive missives into daily, bite-sized vignettes. That’s theater!

  3. I like that you’re posting more frequently, even though you feel it’s not your best writing. I also understand not liking the idea of HAVING to post everyday, which is why I haven’t ever signed up for one of those post-a-day challenges. Being assigned a task is a guarantee that I will rebel and not do what I’m told — even if I’m the assigner. But I do think it gives us a more intimate glimpse into your everyday life and interests. What you find mundane and uninspiring perhaps makes your more likable, human and approachable. I post in spurts — several posts in a row, followed by days, sometimes weeks, without posting a thing. I have found that committing to posting more frequently has helped with my relentless perfectionism. I do very little initial editing on my blog posts. I get it down and post. Naturally, I cringe when I inevitably read back over what I’ve written and find missing words, homophones, and excessive wordiness. Oh my god. The short — I get this, but your writing is never schlock.

    • It’s true that I’m getting out more of the stories that would have escaped my memories. I also happened to have a large cache of “I should write about ___” notes in my phone to draw from.

      I’m such a grumpy rebel about challenges. Not sure why.

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