Change of plan

Warning: This is a blog post about blogging. No-one would blame you for not being interested in this topic.

When I started my March monthly challenge to blog everyday I quickly noticed that a very easy way to cheat would be to post one or two words of commentary along with a link, video, or quote, alleviating myself of the need to put any effort into composing a post. It would be as easy as clicking a button in my browser to claim that I had achieved my aim for the day. That didn’t seem to me to be within the spirit of the enterprise.

I made a rule to try to close that loophole: I would only count posts of 300 words or more as satisfying my goal of posting every day.

Two weeks later I’m convinced that that rule was a mistake. Most good posts don’t come from thinking about a subject and deciding that it would make a good topic for a blog post. Good posts come from a desire to make a quick post about an interesting subject. It’s only while writing that you can discover that a post would benefit from expansion into something lengthier. It’s much more difficult to decide up front, without writing anything, that a particular topic is worth 50 words, or 300, or 1000, than it is to discover that fact during the process of writing about it.

So a little over half way through the month, rather than continuing ever less successfully with the flawed original plan, I’ve decided to change the rules. From now on I’m removing the requirement that only 300+ word posts count towards my goal of blogging every day. Instead I’m replacing it with a more flexible rule: I will blog every day, regardless of how much I think I can get out of each topic. I will post more than once if I happen upon multiple topics that interest me in a day. If I see something worth sharing, I’ll write 50 words about it with a link. My hope is that some of those posts will spur me to add a few more words, and inevitably some will come out at the length that I originally hoped for all of my posts.

By the end of the month I’ll see if I got more out of this new approach of writing about what catches my immediate interest, or if the original “hold out until you find the one best topic of the day” strategy won out. My bet is on the former.

As Jeff Atwood pointed out on Coding Horror a few years ago, quantity always trumps quality. I’ll produce more good work by writing badly often than I will by writing well occasionally.