Understand, I’ve never actually done this. I’ve put in a month at a time of blogging daily before but not a whole year. I’m talking to myself when I give this advice. I’m on Day 20 of what didn’t so much start out to be a 365 project as it did to be a blog more project. Now that I’ve gone 20 straight days without missing a day of blogging–slightly more than 5% of a year–I’m full of confidence. Sure, I can do it. Why not?
Here are my tips to me on how to do it:
(1) Practice variety. The problem with writing on a particular topic for a whole year is that you run out of things to say, or you at least run out of things to say without doing more research which you don’t have time to do because you are busy holding down a job and cranking out a blog. Mix and match. Give yourself leave to write about anything you want.
(2) Do a series or two or five. It’s hard to write about one thing every day, but it’s good to write about a particular thing–like what you’ve been reading–one or more times a week. I’m starting to shape up some ideas for series blogging, but I need to do more of that. I’m trying to post a poem at least once a week and a book review at least once a week. Let me know how it works out.
(3) Cultivate cameramania. The camera, I think, is a superb addition to the blog. It gives me items to post that I don’t have to think out first, and it makes the blog on the whole more interesting and more artistically satisfying. I’ve wanted for a while to include more images with my posts, but that became problematic as soon as I started worrying about whether the images I found were legally available to be reposted by me. Taking my own shots solves that problem. It also makes the images I combine with my writing more meaningful to me. On the whole, it’s a huge motivator.
(4) Write with students. Anyone who teaches writing should make a practice of writing along with students from time to time. That’s a necessity on so many levels. I don’t know how many of the exact assignments I’ll do with my students, though I will do some of them. However, what I mainly plan to do is to write on the same topics I’ve given to them. This is the best way I know to help them think through what they are doing–join the struggle. I’ve chosen “digital ethics” as the class theme this semester for ENG 1123. This week I’ve been writing introductions to topics related to digital ethics for my students on a class blog. I’ll be adding more to that blog a little at a time for the next few weeks, but I also plan to write on the topic some here as my experience of it evolves along with the class’s experience.
(5) Set up mobile blogging. I haven’t done this yet, but my iPhone and my blog have the capacity to speak to one another. I don’t see myself doing much in the way of mobile blogging, but there will be inevitable days when I’m too busy to sit down in front of the computer at the end of the day. A quick note from the phone would, if nothing else, save me from having a blank day on my blog calendar in that situation.
(6) Save up posts. I’m obviously terrible about this. If the point is to post once a day, I might post three or four times a day. I could be saving extras as drafts to publish later on days when I had nothing. If I know ahead of time, though, that I’m going to have all day meetings or something of that nature that would interfere with blogging, I hope I’m savvy enough to save up something I only have to hit the publish button on.
(7) Participate in Twitter events. I started the weekly poem effort due to happening across the Poetry Tuesday Twitter event. I need to find more of those events to join because they are very motivating. Once you join a communal effort, it becomes a social activity, which keeps you pumped up to keep trying.
(8) Read more blogs of like-minded people. Nothing inspires writing more than reading.
(9) Blog experiences. One reason I’m loving the camera so much is because it is taking me away from my desk for at least a few minutes every day. That makes me feel like I’m out there living a life not just doing a job. Picking things to do so as to write about them is an excellent plan for the same reason. A. You’re actually doing something. B. You’re keeping up with your writing goals.
(10) Forgive yourself. This 365 thing? It’s not going to happen. Something will come up that drags me down, wears me out, demands all my time. If nothing else gets me, exam week will. That’s okay. Though I love to see the days fill in on the blog calendar, and I want to see as many as possible colored in, I have to accept that holes will appear. The point isn’t so much not to miss a day ever as it is to still be writing regularly at the end of a year. People even give themselves days off on their vows for Lent. The blog is not a vow. It’s just a hope. It can survive a few letdowns.