Let’s try to summarize my blog activity for the last two months, shall we?Yeah, that’s not too good. Technically speaking, the Christmas flash fiction manages to squeeze into that timeframe by five days, but still. My problem is none of the obvious problems everybody starts to point to when a blog stays small.
My design is not utterly broken, cluttered, or ugly. My content is not bad (I hope). My posts are properly broken up by headlines and feature a nice image close to the top. My editing boils down to a quick copy-and-paste into Grammarly’s online check but that’s not that bad and I recently installed Language Tool for a second check. My URLs are lacking in SEO and I suffer from having a very common name but that’s not the kind of problem I’m talking about right now.
No, my problem is very different and probably extremely common: I ask too much quality of myself. Not even in terms of writing where such a thing is justified, but when it comes to topics.
Too Good to be Good
The thing is, I read a lot of writing advice online. And when I don’t do that I listen to a lot of it. Once you have read enough of it, it all becomes so repetitive. There is very little unusual advice, very little creativity. At least that’s what it seems like when you hear the same advice a hundred times.
The problem is, I then steered clear of that. I still read and listen to writing advice in the hope there may be something worthwhile every now and then. You see, the right piece of advice can be extremely inspiring, life-changing even.
But I avoided giving people stale advice. I felt above that, I wanted to write stuff worthwhile to everybody, new stuff. I hate wasting people’s time. Thus I rarely gave writing advice at all. Meaning, I had very little to write about. The occasional flash fiction piece here and there, a new book being published and every few months an actual piece of writing ideas I actually thought to be worth the time to write about them.
For example, there is an unfinished article about using dioramas for writing motivation on my computer. It is a completely unique idea as far as I can tell, it seems to be a very useful one to me using it, and it is almost done, just missing some photos. But it is the kind of idea I have once in a blue moon – or probably once in an even more exotically colored moon. Excellent content, but a blog cannot sustain itself from quality alone.
With that, my posting frequency went down to about one article a month. There would have been one for January but that was tied to a publication I’m still waiting for, so a once-a-month schedule breaks apart quickly.
I do believe a lot of bloggers and authors share that problem. They expect too much of themselves, they avoid writing “merely” good content in favor of great content that is rare and hard to do. Not to mention, their sense of quality is skewed from having read too much great stuff themselves. It’s not exactly intimidation, it’s humility grown to unhealthy proportions.
And I think it is important to recognize the unhealthiness of it.
Snapping Out of It
The good thing is, this is something special to my English blog. My German one can always live off of my life, my personal social networks, my non-author related activities such as political activities. It is less focused, yet more active for it. So I do know how to blog more than that consistently.
So here’s what I’ll do from now on: I will dial down my overblown standards where it comes to topic uniqueness. There will be a post every Wednesday. I will keep my focus on writing topics, meaning every post will be either advice, a piece of fiction, or announcing a new release. Seeing how I have started to try and sell my short fiction, there is bound to be a lot of writing stuff for authors.
It’ll be great. You’ll love it!
During the last few days, I have prepared about two months worth of content. Some has been written, some boils down to a note on my mobile, but it all will come up. No longer will I have a blog for content, I will now produce content for this blog. And while I will stay determined to keep it from being stale advice, I will lower my expectations toward that to a reasonable degree.
What to Expect
Crime! Little plastic people! Godzilla! Steamy Stuff! Dead Trees! The degradation of William Shakespeare!
Lots of exclamation marks!
And for you, dear readers, to ask yourselves whether you suffer from the same unhealthy over-humility, if you have the same problem of not writing on your blog often enough (i.e. less than once a week). I suspect that is the most common hurdle bloggers face nobody talks about. Some may call it perfectionism, but I do think it’s not quite that. This is something related but different from perfectionism. Ambitionism? Exceptionalism? Qualitism? Huh. Any of you have a good word for that? Or is there even an existing one I’m missing?
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