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A New Approach To Blogging in 2017

January 3, 2017
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Somewhere around September I announced to myself that I was going to stop blogging in 2017.

This marks the 10th year of 20-Nothings. 10 is a nice round number. 10 and people say, wow, 10 years of blogging. This blog has been an awesome outlet for my creativity, great launching point for my writing career and helpful way to establish and grow my brand. I find it helpful to keep a place where I can write in “voice.” I think it’s important to have a weekly (at the least) writing ritual for overall productivity.

Sound like I’m preaching? That’s because those lines are almost verbatim what I teach to the aspiring or struggling bloggers in my blogging workshops. I say, “this blog has literally given me everything, including a husband.” And that’s true. I started writing scripts because a friend in the theater world read this blog and suggested I try that genre. I moved to Los Angeles because a literary manager found this blog and signed me. I met R because a mutual friend thought the two of us should meet after reading some of my posts.

But here’s the thing – I’m tired of writing this blog.

Or – I’m tired of writing this blog like I’ve written it for the past 9 years.

I research every topic I write. I consider things like click bait and what’s trending and what my readership has gravitated toward in the past. I actually refer to a document that has all the most popular hashtags per day of the week (#MCM, #TuesdayTransformation, #WednesdayWisdom). Sometimes I’m into the topic I land on, sometimes I’m meh but it has to get done every Wednesday because I committed to every Wednesday and consistency plus content equals audience; that’s a fact I learned over 9 years of blogging. So every Tuesday I hem and haw about writing. What exactly is hemming and hawing? I believe the technical definition is sit on Facebook with pit in stomach then eat 12 handfuls of 7 almonds each because President Obama eats exactly 7 almonds so there must be something to it Eventually I write the post, edit the post, publish the post and share the post on social media. And then we begin again. Ugh.

But here’s the thing – it wasn’t the writing part that I started to hate. It was the everything else. What should it be? Is that important enough? Do I have a right to talk about that? Will anyone care? I was hating the parameters of what I considered “being a blogger.”

So I’m changing them.

It is currently 7:22am on Tuesday, January 3rd. I am sitting at the small desk in the “office” corner of my living room wearing my robe over my pajamas. My pajama shirt says “Namast-ay In Bed…” which is what I tried to do when my alarm went off at 6:15am and I realized it’s still dark at 6:15am.

  • “You said you were going to write,” R said.
  • “I know but it’s dark out. I can’t write when it’s dark out,” I said.
  • “Turn on a light,” R said.
  • “I know but that’s not good, natural light. I need good, natural light.”
  • “J…,” R said.
  • “I know…,” I said.

15 minutes later I got up. It was still pretty dark, but R was right. The lights do in fact make it light.

I pressed play on the pot of coffee I set up to brew last night. I could auto set it, but I prefer the act of turning it on because I’m in control of this day, okay. I drank a big glass of water while enough coffee for one cup brewed because if I drink coffee on a totally empty stomach I get a stomach ache.

Then, finally, I sat down to write this post. It was 6:48. Why so early? Because despite my pajama shirt, I’m actually a much better thinker and writer in the morning. And if I leave this to some other time of day, the rest of my work will get in the way.

My only plan was to write about how I’m going to be blogging moving forward. My goal was to get something done in one hour. It is now 7:28.

And that’s the plan going forward. I’m going to sit down a few days a week (2? 3? 1?) and write a blog post. It will be a blog post because it will appear on my blog, but that’s the only rule I’m assigning.

A lot of my writing life has become organized around what other people want – what is the marketplace looking for? what will sell? what will get reads? That all makes sense. That’s all part of the gig.

But I think I’m tired of blogging because it became one more writing task in service of something else. I think in 2017 I need a place to just wake up, sit down and write. If that changes my Google ranking, so be it. I’ve had a solid enough run.

I could call this my New Year’s Resolution, but I think that makes me more likely to break it. Instead I’m just going to call it what I want to do because I want to do it and see what happens.

And to any/all blogging students reading, I know. I spend weeks telling you to do the opposite of what I’m now doing. I still believe that if you want to build a strong audience as a new blogger, you’ve got to follow “the rules.” But since the whole world is pretty much upside down at this point, you’re welcome to try it this way.

It is now 7:46am. I need to find a photo for the blog header so I’m going to wrap it up right here. I’d like to have a lovely closing thought, but I don’t. Maybe re-read one of the sentences above in a serious tone as if it’s the big, strong finish? Let me know which one you pick.

Until next time,

-J

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