Well, after 31 days of consecutive blogging, the WordCount 2010 Blogathon is over. And I made it. I posted something every single day of May from the 1st through today.
And boy am I glad it’s over.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I did it. It was a great exercise, but I will be glad that when I return from Slayage in a couple of weeks, I’ll be back to my 3 times a week schedule. And thanks to the brainstorming I tended to do every day this month, I have an extensive supply of ideas to fill out that schedule already.
The Daily Grind
For a long time, I thought I wanted to do daily posts. I see bloggers who do it with great success every day, so when the blogathon came around, I knew this was my chance to see if I had the gumption to post something seven days a week.
Well, that’s not entirely fair. I didn’t find the idea wholly terrifying or even that difficult, but I ran into one problem: daily posting does not allow posts to be anywhere near the quality I want them to be. I find myself writing shorter posts with less in-depth commentary because I just haven’t had time to write 2k+ blogs 7 days a week. Not with writing 2k+ on my novel every day and prepping an academic presentation for Slayage.
I typically learned this lesson through you all. I received, on average, far fewer comments on posts I spent less time on. My wife was also good enough to tell me that she missed my in-depth posts; she could tell that I was writing about the same amount, but it was just less concentrated on particular topics. So it will be good to be given a few days to write, ponder, and edit far more thoroughly now that the blogathon is over.
A Favorable Distraction
The best thing about the blogathon in my eyes was the freedom it allowed me in writing. If you’ve ever written anything lengthy, then you know that feeling of burnout that comes from being super-close to the project, from thinking about it day in and day out.
This month, my novel has been that project. Not that I’m burning out, but I’ll admit that some days’ 2k are more difficult to write than others. The constant presence of blogging actually helped keep me from burning out, I think. The variety that came with switching from fiction to blogging every day was instrumental in keeping the pace and staying ahead of schedule (+2,474 words at the moment).
That said, I’m glad to have more free time for other things.
Will I Do It Again?
No. I won’t.
I know that sounds harsh, but that isn’t the intent. I enjoyed the program for what it was to me: an intellectual exercise to see how the other side lives. And in the process, I learned that the style of blogging I fell into last year was indeed the correct one for me.
I learned that I am not a post a video/set of links blogger. I learned I’m not a “here’s a news story with a couple paragraphs of explication” blogger. I learned that I’m a writer, a blogger who cares more about the ideas, conversation, and their quality before anything else. And I just can’t hit that happy medium by stretching myself too thin.
So thank you, WordCount Blogathon, for giving me the opportunity try something new and learn a little about myself as a writer.
Knowledge of yourself is the best knowledge to have. I enjoy reading your wit no matter what you post Beej.
I appreciate that, Ben. And I agree with you that any kind of self-knowledge is a worthy goal.
You should listen more to your wife, she was spot on. 🙂
I wondered why Beej is suddenly posting so much. Did not even notice it had a daily schedule.
This is the beauty about blogging: Some blog only every other month, and they are great. Others blog several times a day and they write great articles as well.
You are right that people will comment less on daily blogs. People simply won’t be able to comment a lot if every blogger would blog daily.
What bores me to hell is the compulsive blogger that gets so uninspired that he even more than it is usual copies hot topics and then does his half-hearted silly take on the topic. You never did that, but I unsubbed from several blogs that did that for longer than half a year.
I guess you already noticed, I simply love Twitter! 🙂 – commenting posts of the rich blogosphere and twittering is great fun to me. What surprises me is that bloggers read each other but so often totally refrain from commenting articles of their fellow bloggers, but rather write their own take on the topic. This is somewhat connected to the point I mentioned above. This is rather sad, as I much prefer blogs for interesting comments over forums where too many people like to play the so-called “forum game”.
I agree wholeheartedly, Long. I don’t see why comments aren’t utilized more often. If I have something to say, I say it in the comments section. If I have something to say that’s more of a tangent, I write my own blog and link back (my most recent TOR post, for example).
I never wanted to be one of the “me, too!” bloggers who has to have a take on every daily hot topic. I do love reading about them, but I, like you, end up unsubscribing from a blog if after a long period of time, all I get are copycat posts on the FOTM. I’m certainly glad that I never came across that way during this experiment or that if I did, you never unsubbed. 🙂 I think there are a few posts this month that are “half hearted silly takes” on some things, but that’s the nature of the beast. I’m going to do my best for that not to happen anymore. Or at least, quite as often. 😉
Longasc wrote: “What surprises me is that bloggers read each other but so often totally refrain from commenting articles of their fellow bloggers, but rather write their own take on the topic.”
Bloggers are often pretty chatty, wordy people. I think most of us feel reluctant to spam another blogger’s blog with a post-length comment. When a comment starts to feel more like a post than as a comment – well, then it’s time to make a post out of it.
I comment a lot personally and I think it’s an important part of blogging. However – the week has only so many hours, and you have to try to keep some sort of balance between how much energy and creativity you put into commenting and how much you devote to your own blog. To thrive a blog needs regular updating. Definitely not on a daily basis, but 2-3 posts a week makes a blog feel alive.
I agree, 2-3 posts is a magical number. 5 is just too much for me to maintain and 7 was a nightmare for my desired quality. I love reading blogs who can maintain quality at it, but I’m not one of them. But then again, I love reading Wolfshead when he gets around to posting, and we all know he doesn’t post anywhere near 2-3 times a week these days.
I don’t think, however, that blog-length comments are a bad thing. I love to see extensive comments on my blog, for instance. I think, however, the content is the key to whether or not it is appropriate, like I mentioned above. I think that if the comment is a direct response to the ideas, then it should be fine, no matter the length. If it is an idea that was simply inspired by the post, then a new blog with a backlink is more suitable.
Been enjoying your style for sometime now, BJ. I especially enjoyed your sentence, “And I just can’t hit that happy medium by stretching myself too THING.” Made me THING of James Arness in the Fifties Sci-Fi classic The Thing from Outer Space. Not sure why; just thought I’d share that thought.
Glad you’ve enjoyed it, Kerbe. I’ve enjoyed yours quite a bit, too, actually. The debacle you guys had out West this last week kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m certainly glad you all are okay.
I’ve never seen the Thing from Outer Space, but I’m kind of wondering if it’s in my 50s/60s SF DVD collection I was given for Christmas one year. I’m off to look!
You came to a bunch of the same conclusions I did while participating in the Blogathon this month. Writing every day is not for me either. I hated when I would put up a post and feel like I mailed it in. I’m planning on going back to my 3-5 posts per week.
I missed your in-depth analysis this month too. I liked being able to read a post by you each day, but your mega posts that delve deep into a subject are much more interesting. I’ll be glad to see you switch back to your normal writing schedule.
I wanted to say thanks as well. Commenting on your posts and twittering back and forth with you was really fun this month. You helped keep me motivated, even if you didn’t know you were doing so. Thanks Beej!
.-= Void´s last blog ..What I Learned By Writing Every Day =-.
Indeed. I’ve enjoyed reading yours, too, though I think I much prefer your commentary and reviews to the strategies to games I haven’t played. 🙂 I enjoyed the social media-fest we had, too. You best not be stopping it!
I think a big thing to blogging is not the frequency but rather the consistency. Even if you only blogged once a week – but every week – then you’re readers would be very happy 🙂
.-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..MMO Or Baby? =-.
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