I get a lot of mileage out of blogging, when I bother to do it. But it often turns into more of a chore than a joy. Why is that, and how do I change it? I’m open to suggestions for how to turn this around.
Right now, my best strategy is to just throw myself at it using the brute-force method. Commit to writing regularly for a week or so. Writing no matter what it interferes with (say, going to sleep at a reasonable hour, or playing that game on my phone where I sling pizzas and sushi rolls*). My hope is that just writing regularly will re-awaken the joy. Or at least let blogging sneak back into being a habit. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that I fail to keep up with my self-imposed schedule. I fail early. Then I fail often. And even when I complete a mandated blogging stint, by the end I do not feel joyful and it has not become a habit.
There have been several times in my life where I did find joy in writing regularly. Those were time periods when I had free time (or at least, unstructured time — I most certainly had more pressing things that should have been occupying both clock hours and brain estate*) and I had Big Thoughts to meditate on.
Without reservation, I can state that writing — even blogging of the daily-diary, overly personal and not terribly intellectual sort — has been a major boon. The first thing it does is help me work through the kind of ideas that take more than one shower session to truly grasp. The second thing it does is create external memories. A back-up hard drive for my thoughts and emotions. A timeline for things that I mis-remember. I can go back and re-read what I was thinking, see how long I struggled with easily resolved things. And probably laugh at myself for being ridiculous. But that, too, is a gift.
Anyway, I’m not enamored with WordPress.com. I’m too dang lazy to set up a self-hosted blog (I know it’s super easy guys, shut up). I love Tumblr, but Tumblr is the wild wild west, and I’m a little too citified to want to be out on the frontier these days. I like the layout and recommendation system on Medium, but the userbase is lacking; it’s also a little too citified for my wild-west heart. I’d love to find a platform that works as well for reading as writing, for sharing as well as creating, that has a good interconnected community, that allows you to be personal or topical without having to commit to one style. I’m still searching for the perfect place to diary-blog online. I’m not sure I’m committed enough to create my own space without a few of these crutches.
For now, this’ll do! I have some projects and minor obsessions that aren’t really a good fit for the profiles I maintain on social media. For example, I am mildly obsessed with podcasts. My friends mostly couldn’t care less. Solution: blog it! I am heavily obsessed with crazy animal facts. WHO ISN’T, right, but longform with photos is infinitely better for this discussion. I’m trying to start a business and find myself cycling from enthusiasm/inspiration to cluelessness/despair. Thought-cycles are a great thing to deal with in writing; these infinite brain loops can turn a crop circle into a corn maze, with the right pruning.
Note this, self: Stuck on things to write about?
- How many people did you talk to today?
- Did you read any interesting articles lately?
- How’s the business plan going?
- Have you seen any pictures of goats being hilarious lately?
- Are you confused about other people’s actions? Let’s obsess about it in minute detail.
- Did you share 160 words on Twitter that actually you had a lot more to say about?
- Did somebody say something stupid on Facebook?
- Did a podcast make you think of something TOTALLY RELEVANT?
- Do you just totally not get kids these days?
- What are we going to call the generation after the Millennials, anyway?
- Did one of your friends say something hilarious or blog something insightful?
- Not really, butts are over-done. Maybe farts, though.
*actual time-waster of choice, August 23, 2015, 34 years old