Friday, 23 March 2012

Daily, weekly, monthly? How often should you blog?

When I first started this blog back in September 2011, I planned to write three sections each week: the writing bit, the reading bit, and the food bit.  I was so enthusiastic and excited about the project that I could have written hundreds of words on each subject, every time.  But I soon realised that, given that I also have a number of teaching commitments, a house to clean, a dog to walk and a husband to talk to, not to mention a Difficult Second Novel to write,  I simply don't have time to write what is essentially three posts a week. Most writers seem to blog anything from daily to occasionally.  Personally, I think weekly is good, although I have to admit that recently, I have failed dismally to even keep to that.

Sadly, I don't even have time to read as many blogs as I'd like, but now and again I have a 'blog fest'  where I spend a whole morning catching up. In doing this recently, I took note of how frequently the blogs appeared, and I discovered that many of the daily blogs are very short, and skim the surface of the subject, whereas the longer blogs were usually more in-depth with more to get your teeth into. 

Some frequent bloggers post on the same subject over several posts, e.g.  Plotting: part one, part two, part three.  And I think this works really well. But some short blogs promise more than they can really deliver, and it's disappointing to find that something that suggests an in-depth discussion about, say, point-of-view, character, or plotting, in reality only touches on the subject.

Could this be because the blogger has recognized how difficult it is to blog on a daily basis and still have time for writing a novel, short stories or whatever?  How anyone, especially a writer, finds time to blog every day is beyond me.  Fine, if you can come up with a riveting, pithy nugget of genius in 20 minutes flat, but the chances are that blogging every day means you're likely to sacrifice quality in favour of brevity.  Unless you can give your blog the time and attention it deserves, your reader is likely to be disappointed.

Having said that, there are some daily - or almost daily - blogs that really do seem to do the trick, as in, they do actually deliver. So how come there are so many brilliant brief bloggers out there?  Shall I tell you my sneaking suspicion? -  and I only say this because I know I've done the same thing myself - I'm wondering if the good daily bloggers are using their blogs as a legitimate form of procrastination.  I mean, it's writing isn't it?  Its creative, you're practicing your skills, honing your craft; it counts, right?

Well, it does, sort of.  It's certainly better than not writing anything, and it helps to get you known, but unless you're sure that you can deliver posts of a reasonable quality without seriously impinging on the writing time you have available, might it not be better to blog less frequently so that you can spend  time on each post and still have time left to devote to your work-in-progress?  The important thing, so I'm told, is that your readers know what to expect and when to expect it.  To that end, I have changed the heading on this blog to reflect the fact that it will appear less frequently than it did at the start.

I like to spend a fair bit of time on each post, writing a first draft one day, leaving it overnight, then  editing, tweaking and polishing the next day.  Having said that, I'm sure that many of my posts contain typos, repeated words or inelegant sentences, but if I were to blog several times a week, I fear the quality would be even poorer.

Or is this whole post a transparent attempt to justify my own low output?

How about you?  Do you now blog less frequently than you did at first?  Or have you become even more prolific because of the regular practice?

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  1. I try to blog twice a week. But that is up the swanny at the moment as I've gone walkabout an the internet connection in the Himalayas is, well, interesting. Should have plenty to say when I get back, though!

  2. Ooh, That sounds exciting! Will look out for your posts when you get back.

    I was OK with weekly at first, but the minute something happens, it all goes to pot!

  3. We're a writing partnership and are just about managing to blog once a week - but as we both run other businesses, sometimes our 'working together' time is at a real premium.

    We won't publish anything that we don't feel offers value to our readers - so if that means missing a week because we haven't had sufficient time to work on a post, then so be it!

    I also find it hard to put in the time to keep up with reading all the blogs that I've subscribed to. Having said that, I've just signed up for yours lol.

    1. Hi Joanna - I'm delighted that you've signed up for my blog, but totally understand that you may not have time to read it very often. It's so frustrating, isn't it? An eight-day week would help!

      A writing partnership is a great idea - at least it doubles the chance of being able to do it. I agree that missing the odd week here and there is preferable to rushing it. Keep up the good work!

    2. An eight-day week is a great idea, Susan! ;-)
      Let me know when you've worked out how to do that! :-)

  4. Really interesting post, Susan. I also started my blog in Sept 2011 and in my enthusiasm I sometimes managed two posts per week but I couldn't keep that up. I decided to blog because I kept hearing aspiring writers need an online platform but really I had no idea what to expect. I never dreamed it would be getting over 1000 hits a month by now, that it would be so rewarding in so many ways, and I certainly didn't realise what a commitment it would be. Like yours, my posts require preparation (reviews) or research (listings/articles) on top of the time taken to actually write them - my 'free time' has practically disappeared!

    I do try to post each week because I've often heard that it's hard to keep an audience returning if it's less frequent. The idea of daily blogging is beyond me - I couldn't do it and I wouldn't want to read the same person on a daily basis! However, sometimes I announce that I'm having a week off (so if someone stumbles across it for the first time it doesn't look as if I've abandoned it!) It would be hard to keep going if it felt like an obligation.

    I really enjoy your blog - how about a little series on the run-up to publication of your first book? Now, that would REALLY interest me!

    1. Thanks Isabel. It seems we have a very similar approach to this. As you say, it would be very hard to keep going if it felt like an obligation, and I think taking a week off here and there is probably the best solution.

      I almost certainly will be doing something about the run up to publication, but the publicists at S&S suggested it may be a good idea to do it as a feature first, rather than as blog posts. But I'm sure there'll be something on here anyway - watch this space!

  5. I blog once a week - I just don't have the time to do more. I feel as if this gives me a nice balance, though, and it gives me the motivation to keep up with it. It's like any sort of writing - you have to find out what work for you, not do things a certain way just because other people do. Great post!

    1. Thanks Emma! Yes, I think you're right - we shouldn't feel obliged to keep up with more prolific bloggers, and it's hard to stay motivated if we're always struggling to keep up. I agree that once a week is good!