It’s been one of those days. Or weeks.
The days have blurred one into the next. Emails and meetings and calls and appointments and commuting has filled up my time so much that I have no time to think, much less be creative. And here I sit, on the day this post is to be published, with nothing to say.
If you’re curious, we usually plan out the posting schedule for our travel blog a few weeks in advance. We know when travel is on the calendar and will pencil in posts to coincide. We also write bigger, research-y posts from time to time and while those take a lot of work to put together, we can plan for them pretty easily. (For instance, we’re currently researching the best ice cream in London for a post in June, but still need to visit a few more places for delicious research.)
In and around those planned posts, we rely on life in London to get us through. On any given weekend we will usually do something worth writing about. Or we’ll specifically plan to visit a new museum or a new market with the intention that it might be a good topic for the site. Cheeky, but it keeps our weekends packed with interesting outings, for sure.
But last week the plan didn’t work.
I went to Oxford for a work event and brought the nice camera with the plan to get up early in the morning and capture the beauty of Oxford (I’ve done this before, love those photos). But then it rained. And I had too much work to do. So my experience of Oxford involved the hotel, public bus, and office. Nothing worth writing about there.
But no worries. I had a Plan B all lined up. Over the weekend, we went to an annual boating event in London, to see a collection of decorated canal boats and to get some interesting boat-related content for the site. But the event wasn’t that interesting. The pictures aren’t that great. I certainly can’t entertain you with a funny story, other than now that we’ve been to a boat show, I kinda love the quirky narrow boat community of the UK and would like to live in one forever. Drew, ahem, doesn’t agree.
There was no Plan C.
Last night I even had a dream about this. In my dream, I wrote a post for our travel blog all about the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. Except I have like 4 pictures, in total, of sunsets (one is below, taken a few weeks ago). And really, do I even remember the best sunsets I’ve ever seen? Absolutely not.
And that brings us to this moment.
I find that in creative pursuits, I work much better on a deadline. I like knowing that we post on the blog three days a week, no matter what, screw inspiration and all that. Knowing I have to write, so to speak, sparks ideas. If I had to wait for real inspiration to strike, well, see you again never.
There are many, many opinions about how to manage writing and inspiration and blogging. I love reading posts from people who write once a month and only when they have something epic to say. Ten thousand words on street art? I’m all in. I also have the utmost respect and awe for bloggers who write five or six days a week year after year. Yes, these people exist and no, I have no idea how they do it.
About a year ago, Drew and I decided that three days a week works well for us. We trade off who writes more based on our schedules and interests. But we’ve posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday religiously ever since.
One big argument against the way we manage our website is that if you’re writing just to write when you have to, is the writing any good? In my opinion, I can’t really tell a difference in quality between those posts that have been planned for weeks and slaved over, and the ones that are written the day of. I sometimes do catch a few more grammar errors on the quickly written posts, but that is likely due to lack of editing time.
But one big reason in favor of writing with such regularity is that we constantly have new content. For a blog, content is king, and as we are a growing site, we don’t want our voice to get lost under a pile of other interesting content just because we haven’t put it out there. I may not be the best writer or photographer but I am a steady workhorse and if that’s part of the puzzle for success, well that part I can dominate.
If you’re someone who needs to be inspired to create, fantastic. If you, like me, need your creativity to feel a bit like homework, that’s fine too. It’s a lot less sexy, but so be it.