In Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, she compares writing for television to “laying down more track for an oncoming train.”
“You keep writing, you keep laying track down, no matter what, because the train of production is coming toward you.” ~ Shonda Rhimes
That’s what blogging is like. You can’t just stop — your readers expect you to keep churning out helpful posts.
In Shonda’s case, her crew begins preparing a new episode every eight days. It takes eight days to find locations, build sets, design costumes, plan shots, and then, after that, eight days to film a new episode. And her job is to “damn well provide them with” a new script. Grey’s Anatomy has been on the air for 13 seasons. Laying down more track.
As bloggers, our job is to “damn well provide” our readers with another blog post. A brief break is fine, but you must keep going, or the train will fall off the tracks. Whether you keep going or not is the difference between putting off writing and putting away writing.
Putting off writing
When you don’t make writing a daily habit, it becomes less of a priority.
It’s like signing up for a gym membership — you go faithfully for a few days and eat only healthy food. But then, after a stressful day at work, you’re not in the mood to cook a healthy meal, so you order a pizza. That mouthwatering meal tasted better than ever before, and before you know it, your diet and exercise take a back seat, and you’re back to your old habits.
“You fail only if you stop writing.” ~ Ray Bradbury
Neglecting your writing is the same. You can commit yourself to it, but when you put it off, you make up excuses and begin doing other things. Days or weeks or months go by and and you haven’t written a dang thing. That results in a bunch of unfinished blog posts, missed blog post deadlines, inactive social media accounts, and a lost desire to catch up.
You’d have to recommit yourself all over again, which takes way more brain power than if you had kept up with it all along. And that’s plain exhausting. (Remember how painfully sore you are the day after you’ve gone back to the gym after a six month hiatus?)
Putting away writing
As writers, our brains aren’t fountains endlessly flowing with ideas. At some point, your battery of inspiration will become low, so you need a recharge by taking a short break. At times like this, put your writing away and look at it a few hours later or the next morning with fresh eyes.
Recharge by reading books and blogs or by doing something to take your mind off of it for a while — exercise, meet up with friends, take a shower, work on your yard, play with your kids. Then, continue writing until you’re finished.
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it….Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.” ~ William Faulkner
It’s equivalent to exercising and eating healthy consistently. You’ve developed muscle tone, your body fat percentage has dropped, and you’re proud of your results.
So, which will it be?
Are you going to put off writing or put away writing? It’s based on your work ethic and resilience to come back to it or not.
“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds are you will never do it.” ~ John C. Maxwell
If you’re feeling stuck, uninspired, burned out, or like you’re forcing your words out, stop and take a break, and do something else for a while. Is there another blog post you can start working on? Another unfinished blog post you can continue drafting? Let these other activities rekindle your inspiration to move onward to the blog post finish line.
But when you do take a break, make sure it’s only temporary — like a few hours or a day or two. Take multiple breaks if you need to, but set a deadline to come back and finish it. You’ll feel much better about yourself if you do.