Some of you might recall that I’ve been struggling with blogging after a crazy-busy August. Not with ideas or visitors, but with time and energy. This week, I’m feeling the best I’ve felt physically and mentally in the past two months, but I only have one post scheduled instead of two. So, in a way, the results of that “burnout” are starting to show.
I’ve also been thinking about the time I spend on this site. I already cut back on my blogging schedule earlier this year because I couldn’t keep up the aggressive pace I’d set. Back then, I figured, “Blogging twice a week should be fine.” And for a while, along with writing every other month for DIY MFA, it was.
The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back, So To Speak – and What I Learned from It
Then came August. I went to New York City for my second Writer’s Digest Conference (and loved it!). I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding, and was hurrying to prepare myself amidst last-minute changes. I visited with family, got together with friends. And, being fiercely protective of my novel-writing time, I kept up with editing my WIP. Then other sources of stress and uncertainty swooped in… and by the end of the month, my energy level had shattered. (So had my brain – well, it felt like it had.)
And what suffered most during that time? The blog.
In hindsight, I should have taken a hiatus. But I had so many posts already prepared for the month that I didn’t see the point. Again, I thought it would be fine to take a week away from the site while I was in NYC, and I’d be able to catch up. But once the fatigue set in, I could barely focus. I almost didn’t finish Character Evolution File No. 12 on time, and have only recently found my groove for No. 13. I also got a late start on my next DIY MFA article (though I submitted it before its deadline). Somehow I dug myself out of the hole… but not without exhausting myself further.
I know. I’m a repeat offender of a lack of self-compassion. This time it comes from my high expectations for myself, and now I know to take things easier. But how can I do that without backtracking on this site’s growth, and when it’s still growing each month? (FYI: This year’s blog stats have already passed last year’s. HUH?!)
I’m also a believer that everything, even misjudgments and failures, happens for a reason. Sometimes they prompt us to reconsider things by forcing the issue. And after some reflection, I think that’s the case here. Even as my offline life returns to normal and my energy comes back, it’s no longer a “maybe” that blogging twice a week was too demanding. It’s a definite.
Blogging should be fun. It should be enjoyable and rewarding not only for your readers, but also for you. It shouldn’t be taxing or have that obligatory, disengaging feeling of “homework.” I learned a while ago that when something starts to feel like homework, it’s time to either change things up or move on. But I’d never dream of closing this site now. So if it’s not the latter option, then it’s the former.
What Does This Mean for the Blog?
Starting on October 18th, new articles will post every Tuesday. Newsworthy items will go up as needed, and guest posts are always welcome. I’m still figuring out other specifics, like how to notify readers of new DIY MFA articles or writing worksheets. But for the most part, I’m relaxing my schedule so it’s easier to maintain without compromising quality, and so I can be more open to new opportunities. (I actually have news on the latter coming on October 11th, hence why I’m delaying the start of the new schedule until after then.)
Unfortunately, this means certain monthly series will be going away. This includes Recent Reads (book reviews), Time Flies (monthly wrap-ups), Beautiful People (character interviews), and most blog awards and/or tags. I feel bad letting these go, but these are the most logical choices if I’m going down to weekly posts. Plus, I’ve learned what kinds of posts I enjoy writing most, and I’d like to give myself more time to bring those ideas to fruition.
That being said, some of these departing topics might be revived in other ways (i.e., keep an eye out for a survey launching on Thursday, October 13th). Plus, I’m always happy to talk about books and other things on Twitter, Goodreads, and blog comments. So feel free to chat with me about them anytime in those spots.
What can you look forward to reading here in the future? The main themes will be:
- Writing (tips on craft, musings on the writing life)
- Reading (discussion posts about literature, reading habits, and interesting or common themes in books I’ve read)
- Fantasy Literature (another angle on the first two bullets, and since it’s my genre of focus)
- Character Evolution Files, since they’re among my most popular posts (hopefully on a monthly basis again, too)
- Chronicling The Craft, since I love that series too much to end it (FYI: WIP progress reports and craft-related posts will still post separately, on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- General Creativity (inspired by ideas or questions posed in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, Gabriela Pereira’s DIY MFA Book, and other places)
- Miscellanea (I have several ideas for editorials, so now I’ll have a chance to work on them *big smiles*)
In truth, this isn’t a brand new focus. It’s a revision of the previous one; the vision I have for it is clearer and less sprawling, but its heart is the same. It’s funny, because I used to be opposed to having a true blogging niche. I thought it would confine me too much. Now I finally understand – and accept – the value of a blogging niche; and I’ve realized it might not be as bounding as I’d assumed. In fact, these changes might be quite liberating.
Thank You for Your Continued Support and Enthusiasm
Like I said the last time I downscaled my blogging schedule, I hope these changes won’t deter readers from coming back. Your encouragement, shares, and input mean so much to me; and everything you do has made this blog the success it has become. (I’m not joking. I take very little credit for it.) I’ll always be here to interact, ask and answer questions, and learn with you. If I believe anything about blogging more than “Quality trumps quantity,” it’s that the greatest asset of any blog is the human connection between blogger and reader. And that connection, when it’s present and maintained, is a beautiful thing.
What are your thoughts on the new blogging schedule and revised “niche”? Have you ever needed to rethink or adjust your website’s direction to fit your personal schedule, energy level, or desired direction?
Also, if you like reading my DIY MFA articles and other posts outside this blog, what would be the best way to notify you of new ones: via italicized text on my normal weekly post, or a separate quick post of its own?
Original photo credits: Anthony Tori (banner)