Judging by a few comments I’ve read recently, It seems that New Year is a time when people decide to start a new blog or make a decision to blog more regularly. For the last two years, I’ve been trying to write in this blog at least once a week although I haven’t always succeeded.
In 2016 I’m aiming to be a weekly blogger again although my focus this year is going to be on writing poetry. I’d like to complete a full collection to follow on from my pamphlet (published by tall-lighthouse in November 2014). There are other writing projects I’m interested in and have already started but I’m not ready to talk about those yet. In any case, it’s the blogging side of things I’d like to zoom in on. I see this blog as a journal or diary, a semi-public space where I write about what I’m up to and include some of my ideas and plans, even the odd dream or two and the occasional moan. It’s a confessional space, in some ways, but I don’t think it’s excessively revealing (you might disagree).
I think I’ll continue to blog like this and perhaps talk about my life in general, not just the aspects of it that relate to writing. Everything feeds into writing, after all. I like to hear about my readers lives, too, (that’s you!) and it’s good to hear when something I’ve written resonates with you, for whatever reason.
I try not to spend too long writing each post but some take longer than others. If I sketch out ideas in my notebook , I’m able to write the post quite quickly, once I sit down at my computer. If I find myself taking a long time – several hours – to write a post, I question what I’m doing. I don’t want blogging to be the main focus of my writing but one aspect of it. I have got quicker at post-writing since I first started, however.
With all this in mind, I was impressed with the blogging habits of writer Alec Nevala-Lee who was featured at Discover recently. Alec has been posting twice a day for five years! He posts a quote of the day, which offers thoughts on different aspects of the creative process, and a ‘regular’ post which, true to the blog’s tagline, encompasses “Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.”
While I have no intention of blogging as frequently as Alec, I’ve taken note of his technique for completing each post in about one hour. He does this by keeping his posts fairly short and adhering to the same pattern:
If you look at my posts, you’ll see that the vast majority follow the same basic structure, which evolved naturally over the first year or so of the blog’s existence: an image, two paragraphs, another image, and two more paragraphs, all roughly the same length. It’s flexible enough to accommodate any subject I feel like discussing; it’s concise enough to be written, revised, and published in about an hour; and it means that I don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about how a post will look or how I’ll know when I’m done. It frees me to concentrate on the writing itself, and I don’t think I’d be nearly as productive without these few practical constraints.
I think this structure also shows consideration for readers. The layout of each article at Alec’s blog makes reading an enjoyable experience. I might have a go at structuring my next post in this way and begin to approach blogging in a less haphazard manner. Anyway, maybe some food for thought here for your own blogging practice. Maybe you are already a far less cluttered and more streamlined blogger than I am. Feel free to spill your thoughts!