Writing Routines

This year I've decided that the first post of each month will be something related to writing/blogging. You can check out the first 'writing' post from last month, here!

They'll say things like "write everyday!" "Carve out time in your schedule to write." "It doesn't matter if it's not good, just as long as you're doing it!" Such are the tips that many people will read when researching online on writing and blogging advice. I'm not here to bash the suggestions or even prove them wrong, because they're not wrong. Thousands of people, including myself, have found some amount of success by heeding these words.

I will say that I think that much of the advice might be a little unrealistic, and also lacking something else: read regularly. If not more regularly than you write! And at least in my opinion, yes, it matters a lot what you read. I am not of the camp that believes "it doesn't matter what you read, as long as you're reading!" No. It makes a difference, I think, if you're reading regularly the back of the cereal box vs. reading regularly the newspaper, or the latest NYTimes Best Seller, or something off the list of The Best American Non-Fiction. It matters a lot what you fill your head with, regularly. At least it should matter a lot what you fill your head with on a regular basis.

When I first began blogging I wrote posts everyday. Well, that's actually a lie. I sat down in front of my computer one night each week and hammered out 6-7 posts all in one go, and then scheduled them to go live for the rest of the week. By doing this I learned a few things:

1. Blogging is hard work. Like really hard work. At least for the kind of blog that I wanted to have, or thought that I wanted to have...
2. I did not want to do that (and be miserable) for the kind of the blog that I wanted to have.
3. It taught my brain to think in terms of blog posts. This is different than, say, teaching my brain to think in terms of a haiku, a research paper, or a 140 character tweet. 
4. It taught me what it takes to build up a readership

Now I sit in front of my computer one night each week and hammer out 3 posts to be scheduled live Tues, Wed, and Thurs. Am I still writing regularly? Yes. Am I *still* blogging regularly? Yes. Am I happier doing this schedule than what I was? Yes. Does that make the quality of my posts a lot better? I think so!
I'll probably sound like a broken record by now but... writing is a hobby for me. At least the kind of writing where I am not getting paid, or I am not getting graded on. The schedule that I have now allows me to continue writing as a hobby, it makes it enjoyable and less like a 'task' or a chore that I am obligated to do. Part of why I scaled my schedule back was to preserve the enjoyment of writing while also maintaining that connection I have with my readers. (Also because.... well, you know... I am a young person who has a life to lead and lots of mistakes to be experienced.) The other reason why this schedule works for me is because blogging is not the only kind of writing that I enjoy doing! If I had my choice -- I would rather be writing fiction. All of the time. But that's not something I've really figured out realistically how to do... yet. 
This schedule that I have now found works for me because it allows me to continue growing as a writer. That's really all it amounts to.

I guess what I am trying to say about writing routines is this: figure out why you want to write, and then write regularly for that reason. When we force ourselves to do things just for the sake of getting them done, it becomes increasingly dreadful in an increasingly fast way! The routine I have is probably going to be different from the routine some other OI blogger, or any other blogger might have. It's a matter of what each individual is writing for and about. If what is regular for you means that you write every time the house is quiet and no one is bothering you, then stick to that routine. If what is regular for you means that you write on the commute home from work/school, then go for it! So here are my writing tips: Find your regular routine, read, and do what makes you happy. 

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