writing more by writing less

One of my never-ending goals is to write more. To give myself more flexibility, I’ve expanded this to include blogging. In my mental list of endeavors, blogging had been separate from “real writing,” but no more. I’m trying to view all writing as real writing. As long as the focus of the activity is producing words by putting pen to paper or fingers to keys or voice to recorded track, it’s writing.

A strategy I think/hope will help me accomplish the goal of writing more is to write less. Specifically, I can write more if I write less but more often. Stay with me here as I ramble through backstory.

When I think about sitting down to write something, I feel that I need to write enough during that session to have Accomplished Something. While I might make tiny updates to my fiction drafts on my phone, my mind says a real writing session requires the commitment of a significant chunk of time. And if I don’t have that chunk of time or that seems too overwhelming, I simply don’t start writing. You’d think blogging would inherently take less time than working on a story, but here is the breakdown of what Accomplishing Something means to me:

  • Accomplishing Something when Continuing a Fiction Story Is:
    • brainstorming + outlining OR
    • brainstorming + writing OR
    • considering + editing
  • Accomplishing Something when Blogging Is:
    • brainstorming + writing + editing + creating featured image + publishing + social media announcement

You can see how blogging becomes a big time commitment. Unlike working on a story, each blogging session is only complete after publication. Now, I know that isn’t how blogging has to work. Some people will chip away at a blog for days or more, updating a draft until they have a publishable masterpiece. And while I do have a few drafts that I add to whenever inspiration strikes, in general I want to start and finish in the same session or I end up with a bunch of drafts and nothing published for weeks on end. Sometimes a draft is simply waiting for me to create the featured image so the Twitter announcement will have an attractive image that’s statistically shown to increase engagement. Of course, if it never gets published, engagement will always be 0.

I can automate or decrease the time sink of some of the blogging steps by using various tools, but it’s still a fairly long process. Circling back to the strategy of writing less, I am trying to convince my brain that it’s okay to write short blog posts. Posts that are like an expanded tweet. One idea with some comments. A rambling train of thought. A mini rant, even. Just write something to get in the habit of writing. And if I’m more motivated to write in a medium that lets me immediately feel connected with others, e.g. blogging, then do that! The goal is to write more, to write regularly. What I write about can change, but only if I actually write. So start there. Just write.

Are you going to try any new writing activities or strategies? What are your current writing goals?

2 Replies to “writing more by writing less”

  1. Thanks for writing this – I often feel the same way when it comes to my own blog. A blog is just for fun, right? All of those words are just throwaways, aren’t they? Except they’re not. As you say, it actually takes a lot of time to write a blog post and prepare the various elements, so it’s definitely worth valuing the process and accepting that those words are important. Plus, it’s a great habit to have! Here’s hoping we both derive plenty of value from our blogs this year.

    1. I’m not alone! You’re absolutely right. It can be so hard to value something that feels, when you come down to it, like a public diary. But in fairness to ourselves, it’s a pretty high quality diary! Not only is it a great habit, as you said, but it can be a platform to share knowledge and connect with others without potentially off-putting formality.

      I’ve been considering focusing a little more on content writing instead of meandering journal entries (not that they will ever disappear completely) to see if it will increase views and as proof of my abilities in case I want to branch out professionally. Not sure, though. This idea came to me around 3am this morning as I was considering my partner’s observation that I might be happier in a different career, so it hasn’t been well thought out yet!

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