On a typical morning, my alarm clock (read: cell phone vibrating on the nightstand) wakes me up at 5:30. By the time I shower, iron clothes, brush teeth, etc., it’s 6:00, which is blog-writing time. I hit “Publish” around 6:40 and dash out the door to make it to work by 7.
(By the way, if you’re wondering about the timestamp, today’s an exception because I got up early for non-blog-related reasons. But moving on.)
Occasionally – like with the blog comment gender experiment – I do some prep work ahead of time, but most of the time I don’t. Generally I just pick a topic from my idea list the night before, mull it over a little as I’m ironing, and then I have forty minutes, give or take, to bust that sucker out. I don’t have any extra posts lying around for days I can’t come up with anything, so basically it’s publish or perish. Of course, I do occasionally cop out, but I can’t do that too often, now can I?
This forty-minutes-or-bust mentality is a deliberate choice. I’ve actually had two other blogs before this one, and with both of them, I wrote posts the afternoon before I published. It turned into a real problem because I would end up taking an hour, two hours, or even more, fiddling with the post and trying to get everything exactly right. (Also I used to try and find an image for every single post, which takes longer than you would expect.) The blog devoured my free time like a hungry titan.
With this blog, I have a hard deadline every morning, which is actually very liberating. Forty minutes and done. Not sure if it’s good enough? Too bad. Publish and move on. You’ll have another chance tomorrow.
(What’s that? Based on the quality of my posts, you would have estimated four minutes? Hypothetical reader, why would you even say that? That is hurtful and entirely nonconstructive!)
People talk a lot about knowing when the time is right to “let go” of a novel, or a story. Two competing forces – your own drive for perfection, and the necessity of publishing the damn thing before Ragnarok rolls around – battle it out and eventually compromise. It’s tough to get the hang of this battle, to know when a work isn’t ready yet and when you finally need to just kick it out of your house, to accept that sometimes the answer is both of the above.
One really good thing about blogging, especially on a time limit, is that it forces you to face that battle in microcosm every day. The stakes are lower, so it’s a good training ground. You learn to get comfortable with hitting “Publish.”
If you blog, do you have a time limit?
And if you don’t blog, uh, do you like almond butter? Cause man, that shit is tasty. You know what I’m saying?
In conclusion: almond butter.