On Writing Every Day

I’ve been in a solid groove of writing a new article five days a week for quite a while now. I like it a lot, but I sometimes wonder if it’s best for the site.

Publishing a new article every weekday is a terrific challenge. There are days when a new post flows from my finger tips, and there are days when it’s a struggle to even come up with an idea. If “a writer writes”, though, then consistency is an important part of the process. Showing up every day also helps me develop trust with you, the reader. No one wants to read a site that gets updated sporadically every couple of months.

From a personal perspective, I feel proud seeing my own article at the top of the page each morning; it gives me a sense of ownership and accomplishment. The daily schedule also keeps me disciplined and holds me accountable; I never want break my promise of posting Monday through Friday. I want you to be able to depend on finding something new here every weekday.

On the other hand, I fear that my output may be overwhelming to some readers. I know how difficult it is to find time to read during the day, and I don’t want to contribute to “Instapaper guilt”.

Many of the sites I read post multiple times per day, with the majority of posts being links and full-length articles being sprinkled throughout. Given the site’s focus, I feel publishing an original article every day is a better fit. I don’t really have a news cycle to keep up with the way tech blogs do. This site is about introspection, and so I think the personal touch of original articles is most appropriate. Some might consider my articles to be long, especially when there are five of them each week, but there’s also the guarantee of no more, no less. I like to think of QLE as a dependable website.

Some of the blogging blogs declare that three times a week is the “ideal” posting schedule, under the assumption that less quantity yields more quantity. I suppose that’s true for some people, but why not try to create quality every day? In a lot of ways, I think quantity begets quality. It’s a “practice makes perfect” sort of mentality.

Still, I’m reminded of an old saying my karate instructor used to tell me when I was little: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” Flapping your arms around a thousand times won’t give you better punches, but concentrating on making each and every aspect of your punch perfect will. In other words, mindlessly churning out hundreds of words each day won’t automatically make you a better writer. You have to consciously work to create great stuff, and choose to develop an attention to detail.

While I may be biased, I will say I make an effort to write and publish things I feel are worth reading. I don’t want to waste your time, and I want you to look forward to reading the site each day.

You may have noticed I’ve cut back on link posts, and this has been a deliberate decision. I’ve relegated them to the Tumblr because I want QLE to be a place for my own writing. I like to dig deep with the topics I cover here, and since QLE is not a “news” site, I feel less compelled to clutter the page with block quotes.

Of course, there are many brilliant writers out there, many of whom I read every day. Lately, though, I find myself preferring to collect links on Tumblr or Twitter instead. It may not be the most minimal solution, but keeping links and articles separated as two distinct entities feels good right now. There’s also the chance I may find something so inspiring that I will quote it and use it as a basis for my own article, as I did with Mike Vardy’s night owl post.

So for now, I’ll be sticking with an original article Monday through Friday. I find it at once challenging and rewarding, and it makes me feel like a writer all the time, rather than just a few times a week.

I willingly admit — and history has shown — that I won’t always knock it out of the park every day. But, I take great comfort in Ev Bogue’s mindset that if an article doesn’t connect, I can and will always try again tomorrow.

Quarter-Life Enlightenment is still a young little corner of the Web, but by writing it every day, I hope to instill a sense of legitimacy and dependability for myself and for my readers. I want to be a writer, and so I will write.

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