What to Do When the Post is No Good

What to do when the post is no good? That is the question.

It’s great to have a regimen, a set routine to give you consistency and responsibility and which constantly defies you to fail. The repeated non-failings are little victories which can be treasured. But sometimes the regimen can become the problem.

Take the blog here. I write every week, hail, rain, or broadband problems. I get it done. Every week, I’ll produce a post and get it on here. Every week, I’ll produce ‘something’. 

But what about when it’s no good? What about when it’s complete crap or, worse, only average? What should I do then? Post and be damned? Leave it and fail the regimen?

This question arises because, yes, this week’s post was no good. It was a well meaning thing about trees and leaves and why all the leaves don’t just fall off at once and why some hold on for longer than others. It made a lukewarm attempt to tie the leaves to a metaphor for our own lives and how we should struggle to cling on as long as we can even though inevitably we must all fall in the end. See what I mean? Well-meaning but crap nonetheless.

This is when I envy the bloggers who only blog when they actually have something to say. Look back over their body of work. It’s inconsistent in regularity of posting, obviously, but the content is of a high quality. They become motivated to post about something and that motivation is the spice that makes the result palatable and interesting.

Maybe that’s the way forward. Maybe I should only post when I have something well above average to write about. In that way, the aimless prattling about leaves and such could be omitted altogether.

It’s a thought.

But it’s not that easy. Not for me anyway.

You see there’s a bit of ‘chicken and egg’ action going on here at the blog-face. I reckon I come up with an okay post sometimes. Not always but now and again. These ‘okay posts’ wouldn’t come if I sat around waiting for them. It requires the pressure cooker vibe of the blogging regimen for the ideas to coalesce and form into something. Sometimes something okay.

So, yeah, I’ll probably have to keep posting the lesser posts as well as the slightly more resilient ones, just to keep the old pressure cooker steaming. Unless it’s a really crap one about leaves. When that happens, I may just write a replacement post at short notice. Something about the difficulties and challenges of weekly blogging.

Wait, I’ve just burned that option, haven’t I?

Maybe I’ll use the leaves one next time…

Joking. I’m joking.


Elisabeth said...

I'm all for posting once a week as they come to you. And in between times, you'll put up brilliant post while for the rest of the time, you keep your readers and your regimen happy.

Jim Murdoch said...

A couple of months back—maybe three months (you know me with dates and times)—I fell into a bit of a slump. Now that’s okay; I plan for that. I always have a stockpile of posts, enough to last usually about three months. So I can afford to have a bad week or a fortnight and even a month isn’t anything particularly to get myself in a tizzy about but when that bad spell starts to drag on then I begin to worry and this last patch really had me sweating because I was down to three posts in hand. Three! For the first time in over seven years I was facing the prospect of having nothing to post come the weekend. But then I got better, got stuck in and I currently have a dozen posts ready to go and two more I’m working on. So I can breathe a big sigh of relief. Crisis averted. For now.

Of course if I didn’t post it wouldn’t be the end of the world. You’d notice and a handful of other people’d notice but I do seriously wonder how soon anyone’d notice. I mean nothing bad by this but I expect like most of us you rely on some automated thingy telling you: “Oi, buggerlugs! Jim’s got a new post.” I usually learn about your posts in two ways, once through Feedly and then via Facebook; I am actually one of those people who does get told when you’ve posted something new. I never go looking for a new post from you. I’ve delegated thinking about you to computers. And so I do wonder, if they stopped doing their jobs, how long it would be before I thought: Hmm, wonder how that eejit Armstrong’s doing?

I now have, of course, my other blog, the McVoices one. I informed people about it at the start but I don’t exactly go out of my way to publicise it. My friends on Facebook get told—at least one assumes they get told—when there’s a new post—I actually post on the first and third Wednesdays of the month—but maybe they don’t. Few people pass comment so maybe no one knows I’m blogging there. The posts there were intended to be a bit of an experiment, shorter and more personal. Still not quite sure how comfortable I am but I committed myself and I don’t like to let people down. I think one of the comments I made on your—or someone’s blog—ended up as a post there and Carrie said that I should do something with that last one so I’ve saved it in Evernote and I’ll stumble on it eventually in six months or a year’s time when I can look at it with fresh eyes.

I don’t like to be rushed. That’s when we say things we wish we hadn’t. That’s why I like having a stockpile because I never have to make do. I really would rather post nothing. As it is—and you may find this hard to believe—but the vast majority of my posts come under the good-enough-for-government-work tag. If I ever was to think about publishing some of these as essays in print form they would need a lot of work done on them to satisfy me. They’re not nearly as polished as I’d like them to be and most are—even at three thousand words plus—too short. I’ve just written an article on J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello and it comes in at about 6500 words and to my mind it feels like a draft for something four or five times as long but one needs to be practical. Few are going to read the whole 6500 word version. I can't think of anyone who’s not writing their own thesis on Coetzee reading anything 26000 words long even though I read a helluva lot more than 26000 words in preparation for my own article.

You’re not me. That’s what’s interesting about you. I spend every day in my company and so it doesn’t really matter what you talk about. I just enjoy the change of mindset. If we met on the street what would we talk about? What shopping we’re doing? What we watched on the telly last night. “Had you worked out who Missy was? No! Really!” (I had by the way, totally sussed that right from the jump. Hadn’t a clue about Bad Wolf though. And the whole Melody Pond/River Song. Well you could’ve knocked me over with a feather duster.)

Karen Redman said...

Oh dear ... you don't "get it" do you? You see, even when your posts are no good, they're invariably brilliant, readable and enjoyable! And you keep on doing it ... consistently, week after week. I admire you and I envy you!

Claire Boyles said...

I admire your discipline, a weekly blog post is not something I am able to achieve.
The only good blog posts I've written are when I have something to say- when I have a "bee in my bonnet" about something, and I feel I can share information that could be useful to others.
I wish I had your writing skill.

What to do if your post doesn't cut it? Well, when you are writing each week, aim for writing two blog posts if you can, that way you'll build up a few "in stock" for publishing during times when the creative inspired genius that we normally read in your blogs isn't in abundance.

Btw- reading this post last night inspired me to write a blog post of my own, although I need to find/create an image to go with it before I publish it.
I share 4 steps which I believe are the foundation to my own happiness, it's probably the shortest blog post I've ever written. But then, I haven't published it yet, so it could grow before I do :)