While I very much enjoy writing and blogging, I’ve not been doing it consistently over the years. And it’s not because of any kind of creative block so much as feeling stifled by the constraints of my employment (whether real or only perceived). But I think there’s a way out of that.
I previously used to blog on WordPress.com under Opus Magnus. There wasn’t really a direction for it, and I had no commitment to a writing cadence. Sometimes I’d think of something I wanted to write about. But because it was often inspired by the things I did at work, I’d second guess whether or not I could write about it without pissing off my employer. So, more often than not, I didn’t write.
There was a brief respite from that when I worked for Red Hat, and the spirit of openness there extended into writing. I wrote for them then under Red Hat Developer. And I’m writing for them again now, in a roundabout sort of way, through OpenSource.com. But my personal blogging efforts still languished, in spite of having some compelling things to write about.
My outlook on this is changing. If I want to write a blog that people want to read, there are some things I need to commit to:
- Write about things that people want to read about. I’m focusing this blog on my (admittedly infrequent) travels, as well as the photography and writing habits that support the travel blogging.
- Write on a consistent cadence. One of the things I learned from my time blogging at Red Hat is that an audience only builds when you speak to them consistently, on a regular cadence. I’m going to try to write something every day.
To that end, I’ve got a system going now, based on The Daily Post as my catalyst. I’m also making extensive use of IFTTT to populate my to-do list.
If The Daily Post publishes something new, like a daily prompt, a weekly photo challenge, etc. then a new task is assigned to me in my Todoist project for this blog.
If there is a new task in my Todoist project for this blog then a new draft blog is created in WordPress to get me started.
My to-do list becomes a mess if I don’t attend to these prompts. And since these prompts have nothing to do with my day job, and this blog has nothing to do with the work that I do during the day, I no longer feel stifled in any way. I’m free to enjoy a creative flow.
This blog is only getting started. I’m going to publish a little bit of content about a trip I took last year to Ireland. That will open the door to the as-yet unpopulated Travel category. Where things get really interesting is when I go to Paris (soon). I’ve set up some additional IFTTT plumbing for myself to create my own writing prompts around the experiences I have in my travels. I’ll write some more about that as I fine-tune how it works for me in the real world.
What tips and tricks have helped you to escape the sense of feeling stifled in your writing?