Writing Down the Bones
If you have not read this book, do so now. It was written by Natalie Goldberg. It will change your attitude about writing and is my backpack, wherever I go. Does writer's block happen? Is it a cop out? The answers don't really matter when you are facing a blank page and your fingers refuse to move. Or on those days you are sure you could write, but no idea seems right.
I remember writing in school. It was a chore and it was boring. That's because it was taught incorrectly. You studied for tests. You practiced for football. When it came to writing, you were graded on your first try to put it truthfully. Writing requires practice just like anything else.
Don't take my word on the book:
I get wrapped up in a lot of things. But I need to learn to write more often and more fluidly. And it's always the thing I leave for last. After email checking, stats checking, feed reading and hitting the social sites, I leave the last half hour to write an extra post or two.
Don't get me wrong. I get the bare minimum done first. Posts do get written pretty regularly around here and at my other blog. But I am trying to start a few more. These won't be posted to daily, but they will need enough content that I will need to write more often.
I started with a good idea in mind and it takes me off on a tangent a lot of times. I can trim a few minutes here and a few minutes there by building automated systems to save time. Don't get me wrong. The plan was to have all the time wasters automated. I would write the content. But if certain things were brought to me while writing it, similar but more complex than the way that Zemanta works, I could save time in research.
Putting Writing First
The fact is, writing takes the longest time, especially when it is not practiced that often. But once you start doing more of it, it becomes easier. And building a system based on the belief that I really have the stamina and will to keep that amount of writing going is putting the cart before the horse.
So for now a test. And the test is action. I know if I set aside twice as much time for writing, time where I have to be typing, whether it comes out like shit or not, I will eventually write three times as much content in twice the time. Well, I don't really know exactly. But it works something like that. Because writing the bare minimum lowers the bar. And with practice, comes better writing.
How am I going to find the time? Setting it in the forefront of my mind for period of time. By reading books and blogs on writing and reading good nonfiction. I am always reading, but for the most part, what I read does not inspire good writing or writing in general. My wife has told me this many times.
Content and Writing Prompts
Another problem with a plan like this is that blogs tend to get in a groove. Believe I jump all round on this blog as much I think as possible, but there is only so much I can write on certain topics in a day. At least at this point, where a small part of me knows that a lot of this is procrastination. When writing becomes second nature to me, like eating three times a day, maybe there will be more content all around.
So, I was reading a post over at Wordpress Web 2.0 Spot-Er about how to become a Google Trends blogger last night. And to tell you the truth I had a few beers in me. So, I started a blogger blog and started writing about trends. I was just picking random ones. I got to the point where I realized I had written a lot of posts.
With the freedom to write about anything that pops up on Google Trends, there is no excuse. Maybe I should be focusing on my work (i.e. not spreading myself even thinner), but sometimes you have to prime the pump first. And if this is what it takes, so be it. And you can be damn sure the time won't be wasted, because like Alex said, there is traffic potential. And you can be sure I will build some links somewhere.
Everything Does Not Have to Be Perfect
For starters, I think I put it on bloglot. In fact there's a test post up there now. I still can't see myself using a free blogging platform. For now, on a directory. A subdomain would be nice, but I have to work out my Wordpress MU installation over there first. With an active Drupal site in the root directory, I ran into issues. So I will just start up another blog inside Drupal for now. You see, I could create enough issues, I will never start this thing. I am already thinking I need a different theme and that's my mind trying to throw something else in the way. It's better to take the path of least resistance for a while and just start.
Now, I won't kid myself. I know there is only so much time in the day. The hour fairy isn't going to stop the clock for a couple of hours. Something else will have to give. And like I said, this is too get my bare minimum daily writing done which I will continue raising the bar on, until I am satisfied that it is worth investing any more automation time into the machinery. Of course, if I take off on a whim and start pumping out articles on other blogs, that is what I am trying to acheive anyway. Then, the trends blog will have to sit for a while.
You see, I have built site's on automated content in the past and it's always a crap shoot. Great risk for a single guy for extra windfalls, but not if you depend on it. Instead, automate the rest, just write to build truly unique content and stop waiting for Google to turn the tables any day. It happened to me once. The beginning of 2005. After a few pages refreshes, it was apparent that I was on Google's naughty list and it was going to be a long road to make up for a site I just set up and babysat a few hours a week.