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On blogging, writing and giving myself time

Yesterday was the first session of a ‘Build your social web presence’ course I’m teaching at New Writing South, and the common question of how does one find the time to blog came up. Fellow bloggers, how would you answer this? Do you set time aside to blog, or just fit it in when you can? Do you have a schedule, or simply blog when you’ve got something to say?

As we talked about it, I said that actually not only do you find the time, you enjoy finding it – and that blogging and tweeting has helped improve my writing and my writing process. (I suppose it’s not always the case – it depends whether you’re blogging on a topic you feel strongly about. I’ve blogged on behalf of clients in the past and it’s not always easy to find enthusiasm for pallets or lanyards.)

Although it’s not a great idea to stop blogging for months on end – it might look like you left the country, or the world – I don’t think it’s worth stressing about things like how often, or how long a post should be, etc. But we all like rules, even if they’re rules of thumb.

I’m really enjoying writing this current book, a handbook on the theme of ‘blogging for writers’. Already I’ve made contact with many brilliant writer-bloggers and it’s great fun pulling together all the wisdom and ideas out there. I’m two-thirds of the way through and on target to deliver the bulk of it by Easter. After that  … another book! So it’s all about blogging at the moment.

BUT I’m making time for poetry too. I’ve been thinking about how I need to step back a bit from submissions-fever and spend time working on (DUH) writing better poetry. Just chill out a bit. Take my time. Read the greats. Resist reaching for the notebook or getting on the laptop. Enjoy the writing I am doing, even if it’s not poetry. This is a very new feeling for me, and I can only put it down to the joy of having created a pamphlet and a permanent home for my ‘first wave’ poems. All my ideas now are not ‘poem shaped’ but ‘collection shaped’, which feels more substantial and worth taking time over.

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  1. I’m sure what you say about your pamphlet is very true – it takes away the pressure, it is something substantial to rest your elbows on (!). Before the pamphlet you must prove yourself. I am very grateful for your blogs, helpful, amusing, inspirational and so many times there is that recognition thing. Thank you.

    • Hello Meg, thanks so much for commenting and for your kind words. It’s nice to know there are people reading this blog and finding things that resonate. Robin x

  2. Fascinating questions! I reckon that blogging findeth the blogger and that one comes to see the world through a bloggers eyes. Inspiration is everything and the posts will follow but then again, it undoubtedly is a habit too and the more one blogs about things one finds interesting, the more it is just a ‘natural’ part of the day or night!

    • Ah yes, that’s a good way of looking at it – once it slips into the ebb and flow of daily life, and not something you ‘set out’ to do, it’s not an encumbrance… thanks for adding your thoughts, Jean 🙂

    • Thanks Antony, I see what you mean! That’s a nice post …the feeling of being ‘in the zone’ is indeed priceless.

  3. ‘Not only do you find the time, you enjoy finding it.’ Spot on, Robin.

    Blogging is the only writing that I do (at the moment), and it usually squeezes into the hours between 8pm and 1am. With two young children it couldn’t be any other way, but I love those quiet hours and, when I go to bed, Facebook and Twitter are often starting to react and I am elated and excited to see how people will respond to the post.

    When we had only one child, I would take her for an afternoon drive and, as she slept in the back, I would prop my laptop against the steering wheel and post from the car.

    I guess that this goes to show that the time finds itself. Last month was hellishly busy at work and I simply couldn’t post. There were withdrawal symptoms!

    Nice post 😉

    • Hello John, and thanks for your comment – I must admit the vision of you posting to your blog from the car with the baby asleep in the back is quite funny (presuming you weren’t driving at the time!)

  4. As others have said, an interesting post, Robin! I sometimes worry that my “writing energy” is being used up by blogging and so isn’t there for poetry, but I would miss blogging if I gave it up. I made a decision to post at least once a week in 2014 and I’ve stuck to my resolution so far, even when I haven’t always been too confident that my post was ready to be published (but I always have that feeling, with any writing!). I fit blogging in between household chores – I tend to write by hand first of all in an notebook which I carry with me at all times. I jot down ideas while I’m waiting for onions to soften in the pan or while I’m in the car waiting for my daughter to finish a dance class! I often edit a post once it’s been published, usually because of clumsy grammar and I rather enjoy looking for suitable images to accompany my posts – or creating them myself. Good luck with your books – I’m sure I’ll buy them! 🙂

    • Ah, another in-car blogger! I admire your diligence in editing your posts, I’m far more casual, which results in plenty of typos, but I kind of view blogging as being closer to conversation than the written word, I’m not sure why. Thanks Josephine, always fascinating to hear how others do it.

      • I think you’ve said that before and I find the idea of allowing myself to make mistakes liberating – but difficult. We expose ourselves by making our writing available for others to read which is terrifying but also exciting.

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Robin Houghton 2021