Zen and the Art of Blog Maintenance

The last three weeks have been emotionally weird. At least, that is my excuse for my incredible lack of blog entries during this period.

need to blog.

At least, that’s what they tell us that we need to do if we seek to build an audience. They. Or  Them. That is, the successful, Blogger-Elite of the Blogosphere.

Step 1: post regularly.

Step 2: make your posts interesting.

And it is this step, my friends, where I fell flat. For the past three weeks, my mind has failed to conjure up anything interesting to write about. Step 2 is inextricably linked to Step 1. If I cannot think of anything interesting, I cannot write. If I cannot write, I cannot post. If I cannot post, then regularity BE DAMNED!

For three weeks I have suffered with Blog Irregularity. Mental constipation. Writer’s block. For those of you who have suffered in the past (and I suspect all of you have) you will be all too aware of the dangers of succumbing to the enduring numbing of the mind.

Listening to this album, whilst enjoyable, did not help. Image

My gentle numbing peaked when I realised that I had officially surfed the internet.

My work is lacklustre. That is not to say that I am bad at my job, but rather that my job is bad at keeping me engaged. I am used to a high-high pressure working environment. I need it to keep motivated. Therefore, my current engagement in which my tasks lack complexity or time sensitivity, has left me rather unfulfilled. Coupled with an unlimited access to a firewall-free internet connection, I have spent a lot of time browsing the internet.

A lot of time.

For those of you who think this sounds like workplace heaven, I can assure you that there are only so many weeks that daily internet browsing can sustain one’s attention. I have navigated the World Wide Web and I can confirm that, whilst it is ever-expanding, there is also a peripheral End to the Internet. I believe that I have circumnavigated that periphery. Possibly twice.

What does one do each day when they feel like they have taken all that can from the glories of the internet?

Use that time to write. To blog.

It seems logical, right? It is logical. Unfortunately, logic rarely dictates human circumstance. The more time I had to write, the less inclined I was to do it. I couldn’t get motivated. I didn’t need to rush with a quick thirty minute lunch time post. There was no pressure to keep me concise, sharp, witty. Plus, with the endless hours of internet-trawling, my mind had turned to goop.

This kind.

Not this kind.

Although, both are arguably just as bad for blogging.

Instead of blogging, I maintained my daily routine of checking the usual news sites, Reddit, LolCats: the important stuff. All the while, my neglected blog started to creak and rust, warding off any readers, new or old.

And then, one day while familiarising myself with the daily news events back in Australia, I happened to chance upon this article. The story reports on an anti-gay marriage rally that was held outside of Parliament House in Canberra on 15 August 2012. At the rally, Pastor Peter Walker preached to the audience:

“I’m convinced that homosexuals (re)produces themselves by molesting children”.

I was outraged, and not just by the Pastor’s poor grammar. As a gay man, I am used to ignoring baseless and ignorant intolerance. Bigots are usually easy to spot because they sounds like idiot and most people has the sense to ignore them. I usually do. However, I had a surprisingly emotional reaction to this statement; something hit a nerve.

The Insolence.

The Injustice.

It is obviously insulting. I mean, I am pretty sure that I was not molested as a child, nor do I intend to go out and “create more gays” by hanging out at the local Primary School. However, the insult itself did not solely upset me, but the context of how and where it was being delivered. The statement was made by a Community Leader, in a public forum, with the brazen intent to promote prejudice. I believe in Freedom of Speech, however I also believe that people should be prohibited from the unmeritorous incitement of hatred toward a group of people.

The article sparked my ambition and fueled my mind with ideas. I decided to write an article of gay marriage and the current laws of freedom of speech. I was a writer, possessed. I wrote pages of notes. I researched article upon article.  I had an story mapped out. Two, three, four days went by.

Blog readers continued to pass me by.

I still failed to enter a post.

What happened?

Hvar, Croatia.
(Taken by ME)

Sun. Sand. Sea. Bliss.

Croatia happened.

JD and I had previously booked a holiday for a little R&R time in Hvar, and the leaving date crept upon us in the heat of my frenzied activism. Four days of relaxation later and the steam powering my indignation had all but dissipated and I couldn’t get myself in the mind frame to finish my article.

All the while, my blog grew virtual cobwebs in its abandonment.

I didn’t blog while I was on holiday as I didn’t have access to the internet. However, I did read three books. And I wrote. The books really helped open up my mind to writing, stories and techniques. Inspired to write, I sketched out the opening chapter of a novel while sailing from Bol back to Hvar. A day later, I wrote ten pages of notes for the outline of an entirely different novel. Then I started writing a screenplay. I was unstoppable!

I returned to London, happy, brown, relaxed, inspired.Weeks passed before I even even thought of writing a blog post, however I have continued working on the other writing projects I started.

What am I driving at?

If you want to maintain your blog, you have to write. Unfortunately, all writer’s are faced with writer’s block from time to time. How do we fix it?

If you can’t write, then you need to allow yourself to have a break. Don’t chastise yourself: we all get burnt out. Take a few days off, or even a couple of weeks.

If you still can’t write after a short break, then seek inspiration by reading. All writer’s have something to learn from other writers and reading is the best way to help you find your voice.

If you still can’t write, then write anyway. It doesn’t matter how mundane the topic is, just write. Trying to make dull topics interesting is a great way to develop your skills.

And remember, at the end of the day, if you genuinely feel like you have nothing to write then don’t hesitate to use the dirtiest blogger trick around: write about your writer’s block!

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6 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Blog Maintenance

  1. And remember, at the end of the day, if you genuinely feel like you have nothing to write then don’t hesitate to use the dirtiest blogger trick around: write about your writer’s block!

    Um … (raises hand) guilty …

  2. I can’t even…I can’t even think of what to write. That is how bad my writer’s block has been these last few weeks.

    I am so glad and sad that we are experiencing the same level of writer’s block at the exact same time. All I know is, when I did the daily blogging back in May, that was the best thing I could have done for my blog. Forcing myself to write SOMETHING every day kept my mind constantly in that mode. Not all of it was great, but some of the posts that came out of that time were not all that shitty. Anyway, I have been thinking about spending a month this fall doing the daily blogging. maybe you should do it too.

    PS: I’m glad you wrote this as we have the opportunity to notify each other that we are still in fact alive.

    • I was a bit worried you had joined a cult or something. Then I had a PG rated dream about you with sexual references. Then I realised that I hadn’t written for just as long as you hadn’t and you were probably just taking a break.

      (I think I am becoming The Creep).

      It’s simultaneously weird and wonderful that we can worry about people who we have never met before (moreso on the weird side from my perspective, apparently). Yay for blogging!

      I am glad you are alive. I am sad that you have writer’s block. However, if I can manage to muster up over 1,000 words of crap, then I know you can do it to!

  3. Pingback: The Zen | Pixelturf

  4. Pingback: I Broke ALL the Rules and Now I’m Freshly Pressed! « Ex-Patria

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