Many years ago, American author John Steinbeck wrote a novel with the title The Winter of Our Discontent. Now, in mid-October, we have just ended what was certainly “the summer of my discontent”. I will spare you the personal details and simply say that this was a very long, difficult, and stressful summer for me. Through it all, I managed – with only a couple of exceptions – to publish a new blog article each week. But, increasingly, it wasn’t easy and, also increasingly, it wasn’t fun. I felt that I wasn’t giving my articles enough time for thoughtful writing, then careful revisions and editing before publishing them on the blog site each Tuesday. I want each one to be the best and most articulate writing of which I am capable. (See? I still remember the old admonition from my English teachers: Don’t end a sentence with a proposition. Otherwise, I might have written that last sentence as… “I want each one to be the best and most articulate writing I am capable of.”)
In our modern, digital world, we are continually offered new opportunities, new tools, and new directions. We are incessantly tempted by the “latest and greatest”. There is even a new internetspeak term for these distractions, “Shiny Object Syndrome”. This onslaught of newness requires almost daily decisions about what we use and how we spend our time. Indeed, there is a great danger that we will waste too much of our precious time in implementing something for only a minute improvement in our ROI (return-on-investment).
We should also consider the opposite side of the coin: Our days are already full. To take up something new, we must be prepared to give up something old. When we do find and select something new, it may be necessary to give up something old. But, perhaps that “something old” is a cherished ritual or a source of pleasure. Maybe it is a commitment made and kept over a long period of time, and we take pride in keeping our promises. Or perhaps the reason for resisting change has to do with ego; we don’t want to admit we are changing our mind. Especially as we get a little older, we often resist change on the general principle of “I know what I have been doing and it has been working okay; it is too much trouble to think about changing it now.”
Thus it was with my blog. Recently, I was amazed to discover that I had published 68 individual blog articles. It seems like only a few weeks ago that I began publishing those blog posts each Tuesday. I am the first to admit that 68 weekly posts is not record-setting… although it is far above the average lifespan of blogs. Joanna Penn, an icon in the self-publishing community, has been blogging and podcasting for over ten years, and David Lebovitz recently announced that he had been blogging about cooking and living in Paris for twenty years. Those two digital giants are admirable examples of endurance and persistence. But, for me, I think it is time to make a change at this time.
My reason for changing is that writing a new (interesting and relevant, I hope) article each week has become more onerous. This introspection lead, finally, to the early-early-morning questions of: Why am I doing this? Why do I feel I must write a new blog article each and every week? Is the compulsion to meet a self-imposed schedule so important that I should take what was once a creative pleasure and make it into dreaded work? Being the person I am – devilishly handsome, dazzlingly urbane, strikingly intelligent, yet inexplicably modest despite my occasional overuse of adverbs and alliteration – I concluded that I would rather write concise, coherent, and interesting articles less frequently rather than merely churn out a few hundred new words each Tuesday. So, beginning next week, I will be mixing new articles with some old blog posts from those 68 articles in the archives. For you newer readers, these will be original reading anyway.
Until it gets to be fun again, I will not torment myself with forced writing just to keep a rigid schedule that no one but me ever thought was so important, anyway. And, in exchange for giving up the new blog posts each week for a looser publishing schedule, I will have more time for working on my next book.
As always, dear readers, comments about the archived article or about my thoughts on changing are invited.