This is day 17 of the 100DaysToOffload challenge for me.
I have to say it’s been taxing.
While I am very happy that I got this far, and I am happy with the posts I cranked out, I can tell it’s time to make an adjustment.
This pace of posting is too demanding for me and my family, and it’s also limiting to some extent how much I’m getting out of the challenge.
We’re in a pandemic. Things are harder than they normally are to begin with. The kiddo isn’t going to daycare so my wife and I take turns watching over her. These moments with the little one at home are a gift, but they’re not the most restful. My wife spends more time with her than I do because my work hours are longer.
In the midst of all of this I decide to do a marathon blogging challenge. Brilliant move. I’m in front of my computer even more and I go to bed late, which is a big no-no in my book. When my wife suggests we should watch a movie I say no because I have to go back to the blog after dinner.
This is also hurting my rule about taking a true day off at least once a week. If the challenge is to blog every day, I have to somehow justify time in front of my laptop on my “rest” day.
Of course the rules of the challenge are that there are no rules, but I tend to latch on to trivial frameworks to accomplish things. I operate similarly when I work out: I’ll force myself to keep pedaling until I reach the top of the hill.
Most evenings, after I finally shut the lid on the laptop, there has been a thought nagging in the back of my head: how long can I keep this up? I’m not even close to 100 days. It turns out I’m not alone: Kev Quirk, creator of the challenge, is also feeling the costs and adjusting.
I am really grateful to the challenge for getting me to publish a bunch of posts to my blog. I know it’s only been 16½ but that’s like 5.5 times more posts than when I started.
The main thing this challenge has taught me so far is that I can get to the end of a post, in a complete and acceptably written way, and hit publish, and move on. In the past I would spend too much time thinking about the meaning of each post, as if somehow there was a significant meaning, and I would stall out in paralysis by analysis.
Posts are just a thought man! You can amend it later with another thought. Now you’ve got two posts and you’re a blogging machine. After some time you can forget you ever posted it and there is a decent chance nobody will ever remind you (just don’t ever run for office).
I am a perfectionist in my work, but I’m learning that with blogging you just have to let it go. It’s fine to publish and have it be “just OK”.
All this to say that in 16 posts I feel like I’ve unlocked that part of my blogging abilities. When I sit down to write I am much more confident that I’ll come up with something, and that publishing it will feel more good than bad.
In fact I’ve been surprised by the content that has poured out of the various recesses of my mind. Some days I have had a hard time thinking of what to write. But when I decide on something, it ends up coming out in droves. It gushes out and I end up with far too much editing work.
Each of these posts, even the hard ones, make me feel happy knowing they’re out there. There isn’t a single throw-away in there as far as I’m concerned (you may disagree, but this is a personal perspective). Each one was something that was on my mind, and it’s out there now. And it feels good.
The Next Phase
I want to work on a different aspect of blogging now. Clearly I can slam a post out in a day, day after day if I want to. Check. Now I want to work on quality.
I wrote earlier about how I had a hard time with drafts. Time to fix that. I want to take more time writing posts so that they go a bit deeper, are better researched and better written.
Hopefully this will free up some time. By not forcing myself to publish every day I can forego the writing session if it’s more appropriate to do something else.
This won’t make it easier though. I found the daily posting to be a big motivator. Without it, I’m worried I’ll spend too much time on drafts and end up with big gaps between my posts. I’m also worried that this will bring back the need to post something extra-meaningful and powerful, and failing that, to post nothing at all.
But I’ll learn to overcome. That’s why it’s called a challenge.
This was post 17 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge.