I’m a bit perturbed about James Chartrand’s recent post over at Men With Pens about abandoning a blogging schedule, not least because she advocated only writing meaningful things while simultaneously appearing as if she just threw her post together. I’m gonna be upfront with you all – I just whipped up this post. But most of the time, I leave my writing to marinate before posting.
Anyway. So James, in an effort to be different, purports that there is a great conspiracy afoot that advises bloggers to stick to a schedule. Even though those dispensing the advice, James being one of them, are all like, “This sucks. I want to be on a yacht right now.”
First of all, everyone’s creative process is its own unique snowflake. Heck, even in “On Writing Well,” Zinsser proclaims in one of his chapters that he and another respected writer had opposing views on how to write. Zinsser has to write everyday or else he’ll lose it. The other writer is all whimsy and inspiration. He can’t write unless the fancy strikes him. And other people have weirdo traditions.
Secondly, James uses some loopy logic about readers getting bored. I admit, I get bored with MWP’s blog posts because it seems to be regurgitating the same dribble every month or so. Anyone in the news business will tell you that won’t fly because people want to know what’s new. No one ever asks, “Hey how did that thing 10 years ago turn out? I was around at the time, but I want you to repeat it me right now. I’ll ask you again in the future to remind me of what happened 15 or 20 years ago.”
This point is correct:
Let’s forget the cheap Chinese buffet rule of having consistent blogging schedule and ditch it in favour of an occasional steak dinner. The kind you save up for and enjoy. The kind you really savour. The kind you look forward to because it’s rare. And because it’s that good.
I’m of the opinion that if you’re gonna write something, add new insight. Any editor will tell you that, otherwise you won’t get published. Unless you work for a Men’s or Women’s magazine (ba-dum-ching!). If you’re not adding to the conversation, shut up. That should free up your schedule some, no?
Third, James says that writing despite your feelings is bad for you. Actually, it’s better for your writing and for you in general.
If you succumb to your own paranoid thinking, you’ll never get shit done. This is why the Buddhist (here I go again!) precept of “doing what needs to be done right now” is so important.
Yes, if your kids are crying and you’ve got mold in your bathtub, those things take priority over writing. If nothing but your feelings are getting in the way of your writing, just sit your ass down and write, damnit. You’ll be better for it. Unless you have a rich spouse who can support your whimsical schedule, you’re gonna need to get over yourself to finish that post lambasting that other blogger.
Overall, I think James here is being disingenuous to get hits.
I’m here to tell you that if you follow the basic rules of writing, as outlined in the inexpensive and everlasting book “On Writing Well” or even “The Elements of Journalism,” you’ll do fine.
The most important thing is to find out what works for you, get over yourself, do the work that needs to be done, and be comfortable being uncomfortable.