To my surprise, this is my 400th post, which seems worthy of mention. I last wrote about blogging in any detail on my 250th post, on July 28, 2014, about a year and a half ago. I write two posts every week—a schedule I have now maintained for almost four three years—so I shouldn’t have been surprised that I wrote 150 posts in about a year and a half, but I was. At this rate, I’ll hit Post 500 about the end of 2016.
In my 250th post, I commented that blogging has taught me how to write to a deadline and to write regularly, even if the quality is not always consistent. And in an earlier post, I discussed the need to plan one’s blog posts in advance.
I haven’t learned much new about blogging since writing those earlier posts. But today I want to reemphasize the importance of planning, flexibility, and commitment.
Of course, planning, flexibility, and commitment are important in all aspects of life. But blogging has reaffirmed the criticality of these three traits for me.
I do have a plan for my blog—topics I want to cover every month, from family to history to writing. I even have a schedule for when I’ll post about which topic. I don’t always follow the plan, but I have it to fall back on if I need it.
Still, I find it works best when I keep my plan loose—that’s where flexibility comes in. Sometimes I stick to the plan. Sometimes life and death and the world get in the way, and there is something more important to write about than what the plan says. I try to maintain the flexibility to write the posts that demand to be written.
The most important aspect of my blog to me is my commitment to have some post go live every Monday and Wednesday morning.
When I travel, I try to write ahead, so there is a post waiting for each Monday and Wednesday that I’m away. Sometimes I schedule my posts three or four weeks in advance. But then, if I have a more timely idea, it’s harder to make myself adapt. Writing ahead maintains my commitment, but hurts my flexibility.
So my planning, flexibility, and commitment all work together to provide the posts you see each week. I find this is true in many other endeavors—both in my other writing, and in other aspects of life (even in preparing to file my tax returns and other detested tasks).
But there are still many posts I dash off the night before they must appear for readers. (You can’t tell which those are, can you? I hope not. At least, not always.) On those occasions, I’ve kept my commitment, but my plan failed, and often so did my flexibility.
Even planning, flexibility, and commitment don’t always assure high quality. Once again, this also is true about all aspects of life, from writing to cooking to managing a staff.
Believe it or not, this is not one of the posts I am writing the night before you read it. I’ve thought about this one. For about a week. I drafted it days ago. And I’ve edited it. It’s better now than the first draft, but far from the most compelling post I’ve written. Some days—and weeks—are like that.
Here are a few of the most read posts from this blog thus far:
Fellow bloggers, how do planning, commitment, and flexibility play into your posts?