Dealing with consistency

August 11th 2016

I've been writing pretty consistently here for a few months now, but only because I've set up certain (helpful) constraints for myself:

  1. I don't write on the weekends.
  2. I don't write while on vacation.

For the last 10 days I've been on vacation, at home with the family, and there was a lot of temptation to get online and just write one little post. It was important to not fall prey to that temptation – I created my constraints for a reason, and to break them would be undisciplined and lazy.

Over the last 8 years of my life I've maintained at least three daily-post blogs. One about design, one about music, and now this one. But the problem with daily blogs is that they a) put a ton of pressure on you to always be online and b) rarely survive longer than a month.

I learned a while ago that to solve these problems you need to either a) front-load the hell out of your posts in order to take multi-day breaks when you need them, b) get help from other people, or c) set constraints on when you won't post.

For my first design blog, I would front-load a week's worth of posts at a time on the weekends, and then spend the weekdays focused on other projects and gathering new resources.

For my music blog, I got help and worked with over 50 friends around the world who were also passionate about music to make sure that we were posting every day. As a result we posted over 6,000 blog posts during the course of a few years.

Throughout these experiences, I've met with many people who want to start blogging every day – I love that, but just know from experience how rarely it works out. Daily production is really fucking hard. Like working out, it can be painful at first and slow to see results – the perfect prerequisite for quitting. I've also found that when working on daily production, missing one day feels like failure and an excuse to quit.

To solve this for myself, here on my third regularly-updated blog, I've slightly modified my own definition of daily publishing. For me, daily publishing means weekdays-only, and not when my mind should be present elsewhere (e.g. vacation). In some ways, this feels like cheating. But in execution it's the only reason that I've now written hundreds of blog posts in 2016 on this journal. And I'm still having fun with it.

This amount of production, with constraints that create a stress-free schedule, is unbelievably fulfilling.

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