Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Rhythm Method

Telwyn reminds me that the theme of this Blaugust week is "Staying Motivated". I'd almost forgotten we had themes because, with less than a week left to go, I am, if anything, over-motivated by the imminence of the end.

Belghast took an enormous amount of care this year to avoid placing any kind of expectation on anyone who chose to participate. He commented that it was his fear that in the past "Blaugust wound up killing more blogs than it wound up helping" as bloggers found themselves overwhelmed by the immensity of the task they'd taken on.

No-one needs to feel that they have to post every single day. Bel created a whole range of Awards to make that point abundantly clear:
  • Newbie Blogger Award – You did it, you created a new blog and by god we are going to sing your praises for doing it!
  • Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2018.
  • Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2018, go you!
  • Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2018, you are a badass!
  • Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted every single day during the Month of August 2018 and deserve accolades.
Now, awards definitely motivate people. There are lots of blogs I read that proudly display all kinds of icons and banners and flags that have been handed out during various events over the past few years. I've read some lovely posts where bloggers have been surprised, delighted and grateful to have won an award. Maybe if you're a post or two shy of one of those targets, just the thought of a shiny would be motivation enough to get you back to tapping those keys

I'm not personally all that interested in winning awards but I do find myself highly motivated by hitting targets. And I do like to do what I say I'm going to do. If I say I'm going to post every day in August I am darn well going to post every day in August, whether I enjoy it or not! I'm stubborn that way.

That's not really a good thing. What's more, it goes entirely against the advice I would give (and have given) to other people. I would always say that when it comes to something you do in your own time, for your own amusement, you should feel both able and willing to stop as soon as you find you're not enjoying it.

Which I would, if I wasn't. That's the thing. It's entirely possible to enjoy something while not enjoying it. I look forward to coming home from work and blogging at exactly the same time I as I wish hadn't committed myself to doing just that.

Stop and smell the lupins.

I've thoroughly enjoyed Blaugust and I'm very pleased with myself for having posted every day and yet I'm counting the days until it's over because I can't wait to have my workday evenings back. I can absolutely understand why some people post every day in August and then don't post anything else until Christmas.

For me it won't be that extreme. I'll go back to my normal routine of posting each day that I don't have to work, three or four times a week. With luck, I'll remember it is at least possible to get a quick post out on a weekday evening so my frequency might be a little higher for a while, but it won't last.

The thing to remember - the most important thing - is that blogging has a rhythm and that rhythm is different for every blogger. If you sign up to a set of external standards, as with Blaugust, it's fine to play along while it's working for you, but it's just as fine to stop and swap them for standards of your own.

As Wilhelm says in his excellent post about Editorial Policy, "what you do on your blog just has to please you". That applies to frequency just as much as it does to whether you italicize World of Warcraft or shun the Oxford comma.

If you want or need to take a break after Blaugust then take one. If you feel you're just hitting your stride then carry on! There's no correct cadence or set schedule. Post when posting feels right for you.

And if you give yourself permission to post only when you want to post, perhaps you'll even find yourself wanting to post more often. It's not a job, it's a hobby. Enjoy it.


  1. I am always a bit angsty about Blaugust because I feel I just HAVE to post every day. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, pressure and deadlines do motivate me and having to get a post a day in got me way ahead in drafts and now I am already 31 posts into the month, have six day left and and seven done drafts in the can ready to go. I almost hope there is no news that I will feel compelled to write about. Can we keep everything under wraps until next month?

    I will be glad to be a bit more relaxed in September... though I have the anniversary post to finish up and you know how long that gets.

    1. I'd love to be able to post every day and if I'm still doing this when I retire I probably will. With only about three or four hours of free time in the evening after I get in from work and most of my posts taking a couple of hours at least to put together, it's just not sustainable long-term. A month is about the most I could stand, I think.

    2. Certainly the extra posts this month have pretty much come straight out of the time I might have otherwise been running through Battle for Azeroth, which is probably why I haven't posted all that much about my experiences in the game so far.

  2. I have 3097 blog posts published. Do I get an award? Will someone sing my praise?

    This Blaugust thing is getting pathetic.


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