Recently someone tweeted me and said:
So I’m thinking about blogging again. How do you keep the topics rolling? Because I get bored easily and then I stop writing.
It’s always flattering and slightly strange when people asking me questions about blogging because I really don’t have any street cred in this game. But, a question about blogging only seemed appropriate to answer on, well, my blog.
After almost two years of nurturing Twenties Unscripted, blogging has become my natural reflex. It is a main channel for how I respond to situations and make sense of my life. But, this blog was not always that. Obviously there was a point in history when it didn’t even exist. When I first started Twenties Unscripted, I didn’t have the cadence I have now. I used to alternate nights of writing with nights of working out because in a former life, I used to be healthier and have a much tighter ass. Nonetheless, let’s not dwell on the past.
I hit my four-days-a-week writing stride probably early last year and would say I stick to that schedule at least 75% of the time. Do I think every blogger needs to blog four days a week? Hell no. But, do I think everyone needs to establish a regular blogging schedule and stick to whatever schedule they establish? Hell yes.
Blogging is about consistency. Blogging is about consistency. ONE MORE TIME, BLOGGING IS ABOUT CONSISTENCY. It stings me to no end how many people who want to create a blog seem to ignore that. If you’re in the mood to only write sporadically, you don’t need a blog. Bless your heart, but you should just grab a journal. Blog once a week. Blog every other Friday. Blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Blog on only the 10th and the 23rd of every month. Whatever. But, once you establish that schedule, you should stick to it. Because the other aspect of a blog is its readers and if those readers don’t know what to expect from you or when to expect it, they will move on to the next Internet shiny object. As they should.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten out that sermon, let me address the actual question–how do I keep the topics rolling.
There isn’t some forumulaic, foolproof answer to that question. But, there are a couple of things I attempt to do. One of those things is to binge on content (I know, content is a word I should reserve for a presentation where I’m trying to impress execs, but bear with me). Like pretty much any millenial, I spend a good fraction of my time ingesting what’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. And, while my time spent snacking on social media morsels is partly just out of habit and also for entertainment, another part of it is to observe and remain open to anything I could blog about. There are enough idiots out there whose utter stupidity I can respond to in a blog post. Fortunately, there are also enough brilliant and thought-provoking individuals out there who may say something that sparks my interest.
Then there is inspiration. The deadly word. I should not have even typed it. That’s the other thing I do. I don’t wait for inspiration. Again, the whole blogging and consistency thing. Inspiration comes along only on occasion and stays only for a moment–kind of like your free-spirited, long lost aunt who shows up with gifts, takes you on an excursion and then disappears for the next five years (we all have those, right? Or is it just me?) Inspiration is not the kind of thing you can rely on to carry a blog. It will fail you more times than it will assist you. I guarantee it.
If there’s anything else I do, it’s 1) never think of any topic as too small or too large to tackle on the blog and 2) hold myself accountable to write Mon-Thurs no matter what (usually.) As far as the first piece goes, I’ve blogged about everything from conversations with my aesthetician to the passing of Nelson Mandela. Much of anything can be a springboard for a post, especially if you’re an overzealous and opinionated brat like me.
As far as that second concept goes, some days, I know my blog post before the sun even rises. Other days I’m walking out of work at 6 p.m. and still am not sure what I’ll write. But, I keep a list of potential ideas in the notes section of my phone for the truly desperate times. If I know I have to write that night no matter what, I make it a point to have something on deck.
Blogging shouldn’t be a chore; it should be an outlet. It should not be an obligation; it should be your happy place. It shouldn’t bog you down or stress you out. If it does, you’re doing it wrong. Make it your baby. Make it your brand. Nurture it and when you feel yourself getting bored, keep going. Building something is sometimes tedious. It’s sometimes difficult. And a lot of your hard work will go completely unnoticed. That’s how it is when you’re laying the foundation. Even so, don’t make it just a blog; make it a piece of you. A way for you to sort your shit out and keep your head above water. Make it yours. You created it. And anything you created is always worth your time and energy.