I have written this blog since 2005, and haven't missed posting at least weekly since 2012 or so. Writing this blog has had a massively positive impact on my life, both directly and indirectly, and I can't imagine what would stop me from continuing to write it indefinitely.
I enjoy the actual writing of blog posts. Writing is fun, my blog provides me with an outlet to connect with and provide some value to people, and doing so helps me clarify my own thoughts. The only thing I don't like is the looming deadline.
Between travel and other projects, my weekly blog post has become something that gets slotted in after everything else. I usually start thinking about it on Wednesday, but will accept just about any excuse not to post it then. On Thursday I feel a little bit of urgency, but I know it's easy to just do it on Friday. On Friday I really try to get it done, but if I have a busy day, I will allow myself to do it on Saturday. Once in a very rare while I don't get to it until Sunday.
I don't like the lack of consistency, and I like the looming ambiguous deadline even less. For half of my days, I have my weekly blog post on my mind.
After writing fairly consistently for thirteen years, the idea of not having to think about writing my blog seems like ultimate freedom. I admit that it's a very small burden, and is more like a pebble in a shoe than anything, but who wouldn't empty their shoe if they had the chance?
So I decided that I would just pre-write an entire year of blog posts in ten days. I could brainstorm some ideas in advance and then just plunk down, get in the zone, and do the work.
But would they be good? That was my concern, and I wasn't willing to do it if quality would suffer. So I decided that I would make the plan, but would be okay with breaking it if it didn't seem like it was working.
To do it I asked a few friends and readers for blog suggestions. Leo Babauta pulled through big time and suggested nearly half of the topics that I ended up writing about. I put them all in a list, along with a few ideas I'd come up with but hadn't found the time to tackle.
I booked a cruise with some friends and decided that I would write five posts per day on the ten sea days and one each on the port days.
It was surprising to me just how well it went. I felt so inspired by writing so much that sometimes I actually wrote more than I was supposed to. Despite being so wiped out by one port day that I didn't write anything, I actually finished one day early. The average length of the posts I wrote is much longer than usual, since I had no time pressure, and I think the quality is very good.
I will still write throughout the year, as time-sensitive stuff comes up. I actually expect that my year of posts will last about a year and a half. Obviously I can't write the gear post in advance. This also frees me up to do longer blog posts that might take a few weeks to do properly (like the Home Gear post I've been promising for a year).
My goal is to do this exercise at least once per year. Throughout the year I will write down any post ideas I come up with or that are given to me, and then I will write another year of posts. My hope is to eventually have a huge log of posts queued up, so that even if I die my blog will continue for a long time.
This is the last of the 52 posts I've written, but I will schedule it for somewhere in the middle, so that by the time you read it, you've been reading pre-written posts for months and can judge for yourself whether the experiment worked. Now my next task is to figure out how to queue them all up.
Photo is a Calder mobile it SF MoMA. Did you know he invented the mobile?
I'd be really interested in hearing thoughts on how you think blog posts have been in the past six months. I think my new process produces better posts, but I am open to other opinions. I'm also very interested in any topic suggestions to add to my list.
The last paragraph was fun to experience. Felt like a glitch in the matrix. I had no idea. Great job. The last few months seem more polished and professional to me.
Have been following you blog for about a year and been happy with the content so far. I don't know if I would have noticed the articles were all prepared, but this revelation gives a different feel to it. However I understand your motivation for this. I think in the future I could live with a mix of prepared posts and a spontaneously written post once in a while.
P,S, Something I would like to read about: How you can keep your current lifestyle after marriage and having kids.
Actually, I'd say that I've felt your posts in the last six months or so have been been lacking in something. They've felt somewhat canned and seem to have had less spirit than usual. I figured you were getting stale or were stuck in a singular rut.
your posts during the last months did feel a bit strange to me. Like - not really connected to you and your life. This may be the case because you wrote many articles on topics that other people suggested which may not be exactly the ones that you are hyper excited about. Also not those "I have figured out this thought concept of mine that I need to write about now" type of articles which seem kinda random at first but usually are very inspiring. I also noticed being less interested in your blog as a result of this. That said, the quality of the posts was good, but I guess I prefer excitement and urgent thought concepts over well written articles. I hope that for the next year of writing blog posts, you will collect your own topics that you feel an urge to write.
All the best,
love this. Interesting way doing things differently. Trying new things again Tynan. I appreciate your hard work and willingness to take big risks.
I can relate to this article. I am aiming for one new article per week and I have the same experience that I have a nagging voice in the back of my head when the deadline arrives. I think it's important to publish regularly, especially if you just starting to build a following like myself, but it's equally important to manage your mental energy. Right now I am editing a documentary about Medellín and I don't have time for anything else. As a temporary compromise, I am writing a short weekly update to my most committed readers (newsletter subscribers), but it's not the same as a proper article.
I already have collected around 50 article topics in a google doc and I am going to block 10 days in January to write blog posts. Normally I need two days for a blog post all things considered (outline, research, draft, editing, formatting), but I am going to try to bring that number done to one day. With this strategy, I only have to buckle down 5 times a year and can work on bigger projects in between. I love this kind of action-oriented articles and I am going to replicate your experiment. Thanks for the great idea!
I loved the Tiniest Mansion and have followed you on and off since then. My husband and I love to think out of the box and have recently downsized from a $400,000 home to a $50,000 -1400 Sq ft condo. We bought a second condo in the same building for kids and/or guests. Don’t think I would have wanted to do it had I never read your stuff. Anyway, sorry for rambling. I would love to hear your ideas on general travel throughout the US. Next summer we plan to buy a 21’ RV/travel van and hit the road. Not sure how to plan this. Ideas? Other topics: more on simplifying, organizing, dealing with overwhelmedness.
Life has been crazy lately, and I haven't seen my daily writing habit in months. I have a hundred blog posts written, but I forget exactly where they are, and I remember thinking none of them were amazing. So I'm in that position that I created that habit to get out of: it's the night before a post is "due", I'm unwilling to skip a day, and I've sat here for an hour writing intro sentences for a million different posts.
I wanted to write about how, when giving advice, I used to always just tell people to do exactly what I do. In time, I realized that the best way to support someone is to give the advice that will bring them closer to their goals and desires, rather than what you'd do with their resources to get to your own goal. I think I already wrote that post, though, and I'm not sure if I posted it or not. Then I realized that I spent about four hours today explaining to my friends why they should buy bitcoins and possibly buy a plane. So maybe I'm not so good at that, after all.
I scrapped that post and came back to an empty box. What am I thinking about these days, I asked myself?
Well, I have one cool project I'm doing, but it would ruin it to talk about it before it's done, so I have to wait on that. I know exactly what the blog post is going to be, though, and I can't wait to write it.
I can tell you one thing: I'm definitely not writing a blog post tomorrow.
Two years ago I agreed to be accountable to a friend for writing a blog post every single day for two years. If I failed to do it, I would have to pay $10,000. I could skip once per month and I could "buffer" one post by writing two on the first day.
I'm finally done. I never used a skip, but I used the buffer on two or three occasions. I was always terrified of using the skip because I thought that I might absolutely need it in the thirty days following its use. I'll use my first one tomorrow, as it's technically the last day of the challenge.
Overall the challenge was a very positive thing. The speed with which I can write a blog post has increased dramatically. A decent post can be written with few or no edits needed in about seven to ten minutes. My writing has certainly improved to some extent, although it's very hard to gauge that. I guess the best empirical evidence is that I've gotten very positive feedback on posts that I thought were a six or seven out of ten.