Thirty days hath September, which means today’s post is my last for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. As an experiment in pain thresholds, it has been fascinating. As a useful tool for thoughtful daily blogging, however, it has been an unmitigated disaster.
The writer’s life is filled with admonitions and advice, the most common of the latter being “write every day”. This is thought to both instill discipline and allow a safe space for the regular honing of skills. It is important to note that in no way is this daily accrual of written pages expected to be published, kept, or even revised — no, the expectation is “just write” for pure exercise of craft, and if perhaps it survives in subsequent drafts, well that is just icing, really.
And that is the thing with blogging, isn’t it? Certainly the “save as draft” function is useful to many of us, and often availed for one reason or another, but with the “Publish” button so near at hand, and the accelerated, transitory nature of the medium, thoughtful revising is rarely a factor. Certainly it hasn’t been for me, at least not this month.
There are a couple of pieces I’m pleased with, not for their quality of writing but for their initial introspective honesty and the responses they garnered from readers. My post about yelling, for example, happened in a burst of shame but elicited a few insightful and reassuring comments and emails that I truly appreciated. My post about wanting another helped me admit and clarify to myself some conflicting feelings of longing for a third child, and sparked a deep discussion with my husband.
But there are many, many posts that are just filler, just me meeting the daily quota in the minutes between real-life obligations that can’t be shirked or pushed aside. Things like feeding my kids, picking them up on time, getting them to doctor appointments. Buying food, meeting deadlines for paid work. So I’d scratch a few words into the computer and hit Publish, cringing at the lameness but forgetting it in the next minute as I rushed off to carry on with the real business of living.
I don’t know how people balance the studied seriousness of a craft like writing against their regular life. Perhaps if the time I carved out was regular (though, let’s face it, 4am is looking like the only viable option) and there was no immediate publication threat, it would be a richer experience with more useful — if long-term — results.
I’m not sorry I did it — like I said, it was an interesting experience and netted some valuable insights and connections. But I’d rather save my time and my posts for when I have something meaningful to write.