Well, it finally happened. I missed a week of posting last week. It happened to me last year as well, but back then, I let it go without catching back up, the result being some frantic posting towards the end of the year to try to get to my artificial goal of 100 posts. This year, I’d mapped out to post twice per week – Wednesdays and Saturdays. But last week I was again on the road, this time on the East Coast, and I just didn’t have time to prepare the posts the way I like to.
I’m traveling this week also, and also back on the East Coast – so the results could be the same, to be honest. It’s good and bad for me. It’s good because I need to see that when I don’t post, views don’t happen. It’s a good lesson to learn and remember – in order to be successful, I will need to be consistent. There’s a lot of people out there writing these days – and our public has a penchant for new content. They don’t want to come in and look over what you’ve done in the past. It’s just like my day job – what have you done lately? It’s bad because seeing that the numbers are so tenuous means that followers are pretty fickle. It also means that I pay attention to the numbers way more than I should. I’m still only really posting on WordPress, so unless someone is finding my work through the WordPress blog roll, they won’t come across it. I don’t write things that will show up in Google searches. Perhaps I should.
I still did stuff
I still wrote last week. I still did all the things I normally do except those two – prepare two posts to go live. It’s not like I don’t have the content. I just didn’t have the time to clean up things the way I want to and to find pictures to post. That whole process of posting takes about 30 minutes to an hour, not a huge commitment, but I had early meetings, and I just ran out of time.
I have plenty of time this morning to post. I’ll probably try to squeeze in a third one this week just to keep on track. But my point today is that no matter how great your plan, things will get in your way that derail you eventually. There will be days where the words don’t want to come out, where the car doesn’t start, where the dog shits his bed, the cat wakes you up playing at 2 AM. Life still happens. The hardest thing for me to deal with is the interruption to my creative life. Mine is a constant stop-start and I’m not as resilient as the fancy new motors that do that automatically. I take time and have to transition from one to the other.
Forgive yourself when you slip
There will always be obstacles, I can either beat myself up over missing two postings last week, or keep going this week. Dwelling on what has happened is almost as bad as worrying about things that won’t happen. I’m not going to beat myself up over being imperfect. I’ve pretty much figured out that I’m not perfect by now in my life. So I forgave myself this omission, regardless of what it did to the neat bar graph I’ve been watching since January 1st of this year. Each week exceeding the previous, each month exceeding the previous. I killed that momentum, that pattern. And it’s OK. I’m almost halfway to my million-word goal – you know, that mythical number that others writers tell you is the ante to becoming a writer? Yeah, that. I’m almost halfway there, which after only a year and two months is OK by me.
I already know that nothing good comes easy. At least, it never has for me. If you’ve found success easily, I say congratulations, that’s incredible, please share your secret. Because life hasn’t been that way for me. I’ve had some lucky breaks, but they’ve only been successful because I’ve been doing the work. And I haven’t had any of those breaks in my writing life. Not yet. But when I chose this journey a year ago, I knew that this was a long-haul effort. This wasn’t something I could put a few weeks into and get off and running. I committed ten years of my life to learn how to write, to increasing my reading significantly and trying to find my voice. It’s working. I’m finding it, even though it’s not really what I wanted it to be. Who of us are exactly who we want to be? At some point, you have to decide whether to play to your strengths or keep swimming upstream, against the current. I haven’t decided yet, and to be honest, I can’t say I know my strengths when it comes to writing. I know what I enjoy reading.
Self-discovery is a slippery slope
One of the problems with self-discovery and self-knowledge is you may not like what you find. A healthy dose of forgiveness and acceptance is needed alongside those first two. Otherwise, bad things will happen. I accept who I am and what my thoughts are. I’m working on the bits that really annoy me. And I’ve found a great way to open my mind to new ideas daily, and it’s slowly helping, I think. I’ll only know by looking back at these writings at some future date and determining if I made progress or not. The journey of a writer is one of self-discovery. You have to be ready for that. It’s an examination of your biases, your beliefs, and your likes and dislikes. There’s a common thread, typically, but some stuff is there just because it is. It’s nature and nurture and everything that’s happened to you throughout your life bundled up into one big jumbled ball of string that you get to untangle on the page.
I’m OK that I’ve missed a week. I have bad news, it might happen again. I’ll try like hell to not let it be this week. Once is an accident, twice starts to be a pattern. I suspect there will be a week where I post more than two times in the near future in my attempt to “fix” the hole that the pattern causes. I might be slightly OCD, that’s still a work in progress.
Just keep going
Either way, it’s OK to miss once in a while as long as you get up, dust yourself off, and get right back towards the goals you set for yourself. That’s the part that makes you different. Most people slip and fall and just lie there in the mud and don’t get up and try again. I can’t be like that. I have to go down knowing that I did everything I could to keep moving forward. I may not be successful in this endeavor, but I will not give up. Yet. I may give up someday, but that would be because something else has caught my attention and fits my personality better than writing. Being that I’ve always tinkered with writing, there’s only one other thing that could supplant this, and it kind of goes hand in hand with writing – that’s music. But for now, I’m writing every day, I’m not playing music anymore, and I’m not drawing (although I really want to get back to it).
So here I go, dusting myself off and getting this posted – in the same week I wrote it, which is also something I rarely do. Maybe that equals out the miss last week?
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6 thoughts on “I Missed A Week – and It’s OK”
On the road is a good thing! At least you’re not sitting around moping. We do enough of that in our spare time anyway. My belief is write when you can, when you are motivated. Otherwise you’re not teaching, you’re not learning, you’re not sharing. You’re just babbling. Looking forward to more when YOU are ready!
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“I don’t write things that will show up in Google searches. Perhaps I should. ”
Take it from someone who gets asked about how to rank on Google all the time (via my consulting company) … writing for machines, i.e. Google, is not something anyone should do unless they really, really feel sure it is the right way to go. Or get paid to do it. The SEO imperative sucks you in and diverts your focus. And your style feels like a far cry from the kind of listicle BS that (still) gets a lot of hits on Google (but probably not too many deeper reads). So maybe this is not a path for you. But I don’t know – just thinking out loud.
Personally, I gave up blogging with SEO in mind a long time ago. Actually, I also gave up blogging (no, really) and only have sort of a placeholder blog now to be allowed to go around and find other cool blogs and interact with people. (Okay, and notify anyone interested when there is news about my writing, yes. But *aside* from that … !)
Anyway, I’m not saying you or anyone else should do as I do. And if one wants to make a career out of writing anything at all, one should probably not. But as a finally-out-of-the-closet-hobby-writer it was a huge relief to me after years of
1) delving into self-publishing and marketing, and
2) all kinds of smart blogging ‘formulas’
… to just let go and bloody write!
And then put a few notes out on my blog when I feel like it.
And otherwise just stroll around virtually and visit other blogs via WordPress.com’s amazing search engine, profiles, recommendations and whatnot.
I feel so much better now both about writing, and chatting up others who write – about anything, really.
But again – there really is no best way to go about this. The mix between marketing and production, networking and working alone … it’s unique for each of us.
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Thanks, Chris. This is what I had assumed, and I’m glad to know it’s true. I did some SEO writing a long time ago, and if felt so unnatural, I just gave it up.
Some people can do it, but to make a living, yeah. I doubt it makes their hearts sing.
I found you through Quora
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