Last week was the first one in the two years since I started my little ol’ website that I didn’t write a blog post.
It had to happen, and here’s why.
It was a hectic Monday morning. I had been sick for the prior 10 days, and I was way behind on more than a few projects. I was scrambling to get organized, return some calls and tie up some loose ends that had gotten badly frayed the week before. I was a hot mess.
My brain was still hazy, so coming up with a viable blog topic became a futile pursuit. The only things I could think of to say involved a litany of complaints of how shitty I felt. And lemme tell you what, feeding the self-pity monster is never good for my mental state.
By about 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon, after hours of worrying over not having a single word on the page, a radical thought occurred to me: “What if — just what IF — you skip a week, Amy?”
And so I did.
See, I have an overinflated sense of responsibility, and I absolutely hate — HATE, I tell you — to flake out on my commitments, especially ones I make to myself. Choosing not to publish (aka skip a deadline) made me throw up in my mouth a little. For realz.
When I started this blog, I decided to post once a week, come hell or high water. I had written a weekly column for seven years, so this was a routine I was already familiar with. I knew it would be challenging, but feasible.
I chose a weekly regimen for two reasons. One, I wanted to formally institute a writing exercise for myself. This blog is a wonderful outlet for my random thoughts and stories, and it’s also an effective way to polish my skills. I can always use the practice.
And two, I wanted to create brand awareness for myself through social media, of which a blog is one medium. I knew I would need to post regular, fresh content to build that awareness.
I am proud to say my strategy has worked on both counts. This blog has been both personally and professionally fulfilling. I have even gotten some jobs as a direct result of my online presence. That’s pretty damn cool, if I do say so myself.
But I don’t delude myself into believing thousands of readers would feel a void if I don’t post. (I’m lucky if I get 300 unique readers each month, and most of those are my family and friends.)
When I had my epiphany about taking a brief break from blogging, my first internal response to the “what if I don’t post” question was, “No one will miss my ramblings, at least not for a whole week.”
As far as I can tell, no one did. And that’s OK.
When I finally settled on NOT writing anything last week, rather than throwing some bullshit up on the page, I felt a huge wave of relief. Removing that ball of stress on Monday afternoon allowed me to get caught up on other important tasks.
Plus, after I stopped freaking out about missing my Monday deadline, I decided to look at my self-imposed hiatus as an opportunity to refocus and recharge. For the past month or so, I’ve felt like I was flailing a bit. Ideas were not flowing like they did at first — they were forced. Writing this blog had stopped being fun. And that kind of sucked.
I’ve spent big pockets of time over the past seven days mulling over what I really want to write in this space going forward. So here’s the deal. I have decided to write only when I actually have something to say. I don’t need to write for the sake of writing anymore. For two years, I did. It was good for me, but now it’s time to move on.
I want to write about topics that mean something to me, and present them in an entertaining and informative way that entices people to read them. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like, but taking the pressure off to post every week will give me the time and freedom to fully develop my ideas and craft better copy.
Because I am an OCD, deadline- and process-oriented weirdo, I still have to establish a schedule for myself, or nothing will get written, ever. From this point forward, I plan to post twice a month, unless ideas sink their teeth into me more often. On the flip side, if I can't come up with a piece I'm proud of on one of those weeks, the pressure is off to post just for the sake of posting.
Bottom line: I've realized that I'm just too damn busy to keep cranking out material of any decent caliber every single week. That's a good problem to have, I know. But I'm sure I can come up with something worthwhile to say at least every other week.
Life, for me, is all about perpetual evolution, which requires periodic re-evaluation. In order to keep getting better, I have to grow and change. Writing a once-a-week blog served its purpose, and now it’s time to do something different.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to this next leg of my journey. Thanks, as always, for traveling with me.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.