At the end of 2015 I committed to blogging daily for 2016. As you can imagine, that’s a pretty heavy commitment. Especially considering my full time work that consumes on average 55 hours per week before travel.
Then family, a social life that includes spending hours on a motorcycle, and of course that large sucker of time, leading worship at church. Oh yeah there are the 17 podcasts I subscribe to, weekly books I read, and don’t mention Masterchef, Orphan Black or Game of Thrones.
If you then consider the average time a blog post actually takes. Invariably for me the shorter the post the longer the composing, but not always.
But I was committed for a number of reasons:
1. I want to write. Professionally.
Stephen King suggests if you want to write (well), you have to do two things a LOT. Write, and Read.
Committing to blogging every day was a way to develop the discipline of overcoming distractions and flexing that writing muscle. Sure you can blog once a week, but you’ll never get to the 10,000 hours required for mastery at that rate.
2. Documenting My Life.
The very word ‘blog,’ comes from ‘web log.’ Think of it as an online journal. The articles often show a snapshot in time, and space. A context of a life lived that is hard to recall any other way. Especially with the granularity that writing ‘every day’ brings.
3. Articulating Thoughts.
Over time as I develop hypotheses there are two benefits to sticking them on the blog. The first, is the act of writing forces me to structure my thoughts. The second, publishing them gathers valuable feedback that in turn strengthens the thinking.
Structuring my thoughts daily exercises that ability. It makes me much sharper at work and when interacting with others.
4. Developing Collateral.
The blog is a great place to publish articles that provide value and insight. Gear reviews, ‘How to’s’, and professional leadership techniques. A lot of this I can, and do repurpose.
Just the commitment to blog everyday generates a demand for content that drives me to develop it. Not to mention an online place I can find content I’ve created before.
Sure anyone can brainstorm, although few rarely do. But can you generate a list of ideas good enough to write about every day? How about headlines, and keywords, images, and questions?
Because I have to. Well, I committed to.
But So What?
For some time I’ve been thinking about the effectiveness of the blog.
Not effectiveness in the ‘content marketing’ sense. Yes, I do look at the numbers. I also practice SEO (to get better at SEO rather than to drive traffic.)
Rather my effectiveness in the world.
Is this really the best thing I could be doing with my time, skills, and effort? I guess a heart attack will help prioritise things like that, but as I said, I have been pondering this for a while.
I love writing the blog. I love the creativity, the research, the writing, the editing, and the measuring. But frankly the daily commitment does consume a LOT of time that I could leverage to provide more value to more people. Time I could be learning, or directly earning. Even expressing: e.g. time I could be writing stories, shooting photos, or editing video.
Simply reducing the cadence isn’t a solution. That just lessens the value to everyone.
There are very real pressures on the Internet that say “Focus! Your Blog should have a single customer, a single domain, and focus on building your traffic so you can monetise them” and clearly that’s not my thang. It’s never been me. I’m what Emilie Wapnick calls a ‘multipotentialite.’
And the blog isn’t exactly aimed at “monetising” anyway. (Most of you will probably be glad to know).
Although there are the seeds of opportunity. My most popular articles all have to do with Motorcycles and Motorbike Touring. I was even asked by an online company to review their products. I could absolutely see a blog as part of motorbike touring and gear sales business.
So, it seems, a way forward could be to split the blog into a number of sites, all dedicated to an individual topic. Some to earn, some to express.
Which is fine, but I’m not entirely sure creating more work for a (at least initially) zero net gain return, makes any sense at all.
So as we’re exactly half-way through the year, I’m declaring the commitment honoured. (Even though this post is just over a week late) 🙂 I have posted every day since 1 Jan 2016. That is except for Easter Sunday because I wanted that to be a follow up to my story “Fire, Earth and Blood”
I will continue update this blog occasionally, but not daily. Over time I expect to start another site that is more dedicated to “Roger 2.0.” To my career and life as it evolves. I may even document some of that process here.
It’s been a very fun ride, and I do very much enjoy all of the readers, comments, and engagement. Enough to want to grow that.
At this stage I’m not even sure I’ll keep (identifying with) Rog42.
On the one hand it has been my identifyer for some 20 years across 4 continents, 9 countries, 22 cities, and 9 companies. More constant than a home country, a telephone number, a passport or social security number, an employer email address. There’s a LOT of investment in the brand.
It’s short, easy to share, and ‘geeky to those in the know.’
On the other hand it’s hardly that famous or well-known, and I’m unsure it’s a brand I’d create if starting from scratch. It doesn’t really stand for anything clearly.
More on that later.
But for now I’m taking a holiday. Literally a holiday on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. I intend to Reflect, Plan, and Create in equal portions.
If something catches my fancy, I may pop it on the blog. Or not.
I am disconnecting from work mail, Facebook and Twitter.
See you on the other side.