Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14: Quit Quitting Quitter!

When I first started working on this blog (long before actually putting it up and publishing anything on it), I decided to look at the way successful bloggers run their sites.  Instead of looking only at sites that would be similar to what I wanted to do, I examined the blogs that I love to read.  I figured, if I liked these blogs so much that I make a point to regularly stop by them, that must be a good place to start.

There is a long list of blogs I checked out back then, which included blogs that were forwarded to me from other future contributors and friends on the LostGirls Ideas Committee.  But the one that stuck with me, even though I don't follow the same general formula, was The Pioneer Woman.  I already knew I liked Ree Drummond from her cooking show (which was my Saturday morning zen moment, before I worked Saturdays) and had started reading her blog a few months before deciding to create this one.  The particular post that stuck with me, the one I still keep bookmarked, was actually forwarded to me by my mom: Ten Important Things I've Learned About Blogging.

Blog often.
Whether you write a sixteen-paragraph essay about the cosmic implications of a free market system, a one-paragraph description of what happens to your soul when you walk into your godforsaken laundry room, or a simple photo and caption, consider your blog a precious bloom that requires daily nurturing.
And watering.
If you water a plant once every two weeks, it will shrivel.
Unless that plant is a cactus, and then it would thrive.
And to tell you the truth, I really can’t figure out how a cactus fits into this analogy, so forget I brought it up.

"Blog often" was her #2 and it was the first time I really thought about how often I visited my list o' blogs - which is to say daily.  And if a blogger didn't post something for a few days, I might not remember to go back.  Not because I was mad at them, but just because it was part of my daily routine and if there was nothing there to see, it just kind of fell off the list.  Which is exactly what happened to LostGirls in the past few months.  Posts from any of us became less and less frequent and I had to consider whether I would give up this blog, as well, or try something new.  Which is how NaBloPoMo and BlogHer became a part of our lives.

If you have writer’s block, push through and blog anyway.
I posted the first chapter of Black Heels on a morning when I woke up with the most raging case of writer’s block, I couldn’t even type my name.
I was sure you’d hate it, but I posted it anyway.
I went on to write forty-plus more chapters.
What if I’d given in to my writer’s block and decided not to blog that day?

This is one of those things that you learn...and you know it's true...but you still have days when you just don't want to do it.  I felt like that today when I got up.  I felt like that for most of December, too.  And I talk about December's NaBloPoMo (my first attempt) as being a failure, but it's not because I didn't write every single day - it's because I gave up writing at all at one point.  I treated it like missing one day, or even a few days, was the end of the world.  Probably because of that whole falling off the list thing that I know happens.

For this month's NaBloPoMo, I'm making an effort to post something every single day.  But if I miss a day, I'm not going to just give it up altogether.  I'm going to remember what my dad told me, when I was last trying to quit smoking.  He said that if you have a particularly bad day and you feel you really need to smoke, do it.  But then quit again the next day.  I couldn't believe my father was saying this to me, but it actually does make sense.  For years I'd tried to quit and kept screwing up and not forgiving myself for it.  It's now been over a year since I quit.  I had a weak moment when I first moved to Virginia, but even on my worst days in the last few months, I haven't actually been tempted to go buy a pack.  And part of it, for those out there trying to get loved ones to quit, was that my dad used positive reinforcement.  He told me it was okay.  I don't know why I needed to hear that, but it seems I did.

If I can quit smoking, I can certainly use the same method to keep blogging.  And instead of punishing myself when I screw up, I'm going to put on my big girl pants and get back to it.


  1. I had this exact conversation with myself last night because I didn't blog on Saturday or Sunday. But then I realized I've posted more this month than I did in pretty much all of 2011, so missing a day or two is probably not the end of the world. It's all about progress!

    1. That's exactly it - if we're writing more now than we were before, that's an achievement. And that makes me feel much better about the days when I either don't write (because I'm sure it'll happen sooner or later) or the days when I barely give a paragraph (which has already happened). I should probably do a list of topics like Sonja (see next comment).

  2. I started NaBloPoMo with the knowledge that I wouldn't blog everyday -- but would blog at least 4 times a week. It works well for my schedule, but now I need to figure out which days I'm gonna blog and stick to those particular days. I also did a 30 minute brainstorm today and came up with 40 new topics to blog about -- which is awesome, but now I need to actually write them. I started reading a blogging book called "How To Build A Blog: Create Awesome Content and Build Community" by Sean Platt and Danny Iny. It's very common sense advice which is just what I need right now. And you've reminded me to check out my favorite blogs -- cuz I've seriously neglected them lately!

    1. I think the more important aspect of any challenge is that you meet your own guidelines. Only YOU know what is a realistic goal. 40 new topics! My lord, I wish I had a list like that right now, as I STILL haven't written today's post. I'm going to have to check that book out.

  3. I love your story. It has given me motivation too. Do the best you can do!



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