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How do you find the time to get this stuff out? October 24, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben encountered this comment this morning on our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac. Unfortunately, WordPress’s Akismet filter had filed it as spam, doubtless due to an odd return address, so the following sentence, “I struggle to be productive these days but you’re going from strength to strength!” is probably some strange sort of form comment making the rounds in spam these days rather than legitimate praise. (We encountered the ultimate example of this type of form comment, also this morning, and are sure you’ll love it as much as we did when we post about it tomorrow.)

Spam or legitimate comment, our friend Ben thought that “How do you find the time to get this stuff out?” was a perfectly reasonable question. I suspect many of you must wonder the same thing. “How on earth do OFB, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders ever find the time to write all this ****?! Where do they come up with these post ideas?”

Well, it would be obvious to a stone that we—well, at least Silence and OFB—love to talk, and in our opinion, writing is simply talking in two dimensions. But writing as frequently as we do (this is our 1,527th post) requires a bit more than just the gift of gab. And, like all of you, we do have actual lives, so we can’t spend hours on end thinking up and composing blog posts, much as we love them. So here’s what we do:

Silence and I aren’t exactly what you’d call morning people. In fact, the aforementioned stone probably has more mental activity in the morning than we can muster. But between our black German shepherd, Shiloh, and our work schedules, there is truly no rest for the wicked, or even us, most mornings.

So we try to rise with the dawn (or a bit earlier, these days, since it’s dark here ’til almost 7). I take the dog out while Silence fires up the teakettle and coffeemaker, and then we go online, read the news, check our mail, and then head on over to Poor Richard’s Almanac. After viewing our stats and responding to any comments, whoever has chosen to write the day’s post gets going while the other prepares the tea and coffee, gets the paper, and etc. If it’s Richard’s turn to post, he’ll typically e-mail us a file the night before, so all we have to do that morning is cut, paste and publish.

If we’re not morning people, why don’t we just write the post the night before, save it to draft, and publish it in the morning? Well, sometimes we do. But generally, we find that beginning our day with a post is a soothing and pleasant way to ease into the rest of the day. It gives our brains a chance to warm up in a fun, low-stress way. By the time we’ve finished writing, we’re (comparatively) functional and alert, ready to tackle our chores and prepare ourselves for the day ahead. Okay, that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t really love to crawl back in bed. But at least we’re up, thinking, and communicating, and somehow we manage to resist the urge to collapse and instead keep on going. (Silence’s trick of making the bed the second we’re out of it really helps here.)

But why do we try to post at least once a day, and how do we manage to find enough things to talk about? Well. We try to post once a day (and more if more than one of us has something they really want to say, or something unexpected comes up after we’ve written the first post) because we find it good discipline.

We’re all writers, and writing a post is basically writing an essay every day. The discipline of writing an essay every morning that people will actually want to read—er, hopefully want to read—puts us in the mood to write on our own projects the rest of the day. Creating and polishing those little post-essays helps us hone our writing and thinking. Whatever we give to our readers, we get back a hundredfold by keeping our skills (and brains) sharp. 

Finally, how do we think up all that stuff to post about? Well, we try to keep a sharp eye and a sharp wit about us at all times. We’re lucky since our blog is an almanac, allowing us to post about anything that takes our fancy, be it Silence’s latest recipe or our neighbors’ bizarre lawn art misadventures or new research in the health field or, of course, anything about nature, pets, gardening, and history, especially if said history relates in any way to our hero and blog mentor, the great Benjamin Franklin.

Sometimes a conversation will yield a blog post topic, or an overheard remark, or an ad on a billboard, or a book or movie or song. Sometimes it’s a news item, sometimes an insight, sometimes simply a useful tip we’d like to pass along. Sometimes it’s just plain silly, but we can’t resist. If something appeals to us, it may or may not appeal to you. Sometimes our very favorite posts go virtually unread; sometimes our least-favorite posts get 10,000 views. But fortunately, because we post so often, you like enough of the posts we like to keep us going strong.

So, if you have your own blog and are trying to find the time to “get this stuff out,” not to mention come up with enough “stuff” to get out in the first place, we’d say this: A regular routine is a lifesaver. Like folks who write in their journals daily or record their dreams first thing every morning, getting in the mindset that you will write a post every day at a certain time will help you do it.

Second, keep your eyes open. Anything at all can turn into a great blog post. You just have to recognize it. A sense of perspective and a strong sense of humor, not to mention serendipity, often come to our rescue here.

Finally, if you’re going to do it, love it. Unless you’re trying to blog for your business or are hoping to strike it rich through blogging*, there’s no other reason to “find the time” in the first place. We love blogging because it’s interactive. We write, people tell us things—so often, things we don’t expect—and that gives us even more chances to think and interact. It’s stimulating and fun. And it’s always fascinating to us to see what people read and respond to. (Thank you, WordPress!)

Well, that’s what keeps us going. What keeps you blogging?

* If you’ve found the secret to this, please let us know. We’d really love to turn our thermostat up to 62 this winter!

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Comments»

1. Blogging Blueprint - October 25, 2011

Great post today thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it.

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2. Alan from Roberts Roost - October 25, 2011

Thanks for the reminder! It’s easy to let life run you over and stop. I miss so much when I’m not part of the conversation

I agree, Alan! The interaction is the most fun part!


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