Fighting the Urge to Avoid Progress

hever-castle-lake

It’s easy to slack off.

That’s been especially true when it comes to this blog.  I’m not really accountable to anyone and there are no set deadlines.  I’m doing this for myself.

Still, I enjoy interacting with you all and want to put out a good product.

Two months after typing the first word, I finally posted about our November visit to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Part of the delay was due to slacking off and another part was the result of something else that can get in the way of progress just the same.

I was trying to be perfect.  And I’m not even the perfectionist type!

I’ve been testing different writing styles recently and each time I wrote that particular post, it didn’t feel right.  I’d write one iteration, go back to it a few days later and write another.  Before I knew it, several weeks had passed and I was left with a jumbled mess of cut and paste paragraphs with no flow.

Finally, I realized something.

On a post like that, no one really cared about the words.  Most readers would do a quick skim to get a basic idea of what they were looking at.  Their focus would be on the pictures.

With that in mind, I cleaned up the post last night and clicked publish.

This same basic concept has been plaguing my writing lately.  Instead of just writing and seeing what comes out, I’ve been looking for the perfect topic.  Something that doesn’t exist.

I end up writing nothing.

On the other hand, on days when I actually get a post out, I’ve had no real plan for what to write.  I just start typing away and letting the words flow.  These posts come out naturally and are written in no time.

I read an article a few days ago about journaling.  I think this would be good for me.  And not electronic journaling.  I’m talking about going old school, pen and paper style.

Even just a few minutes a day.  Nothing big.  Simply scribing my unfiltered thoughts.

I’ve got a bunch of old notebooks lying around.  Those will do.

For too long now, I’ve been trying to get out the perfect message and, in doing so, have paralyzed my creativity.  Moving forward, I’m going to be more mindful and let my thoughts flow.

I think journaling will be the perfect way to do just that, which hopefully will lead to some interesting posts.

 

 

18 thoughts on “Fighting the Urge to Avoid Progress

  1. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor says:

    I can definitely relate to your struggle with trying to write the perfect post, and ending up with nothing. Sometimes I have topic ideas that I can job down and sit down to write later. But I find the fastest, best writing happens for me when I’m just in the mood and the ideas are just coming. Fortunately as a recreational blogger I can get away with this approach!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mrspickypincher says:

    When I first started blogging it was torturous to create regular content on a schedule. I finally set aside an entire weekend to write, write, write. At first I had a backlog of a week’s worth of posts, but nowadays I have a two month backlog. That way I only write when I feel motivated or particularly interested in something. And that means better stuff for the readers. 🙂

    Mr. Picky Pincher started journaling and he really loves it. I’ve been doing meditation for the past few months and it’s been great for feeling focused with my thoughts, too. I just do guided meditations I find on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Wow, that’s quite a backlog. I’ve adopted the “just in time” method, writing posts minutes or hours before I publish them!

      I’m excited to start journaling and glad to hear about others finding it helpful.

      I’ve thought about meditating. I read several book on Buddhism and meditation last year and have adopted some techniques while walking. I’ll check out some YouTube videos as well.

      Like

  3. Mr. SSC says:

    I get that. I can’t get myself to sit and write for hours on end and create lots of idea lists or half blog posts. I just don’t have the time. Well, I have the time, but I choose not to spend the time between 7:45pm and 10pm working on content for the blog, lol. Weekends, ha – life sure gets busy with kids. 🙂

    I find the best posts I write are the ones that come out of me sitting down and barifing out what’s on my mind. Sometimes it turns out like you said and I end up with 3 articles worth of different ideas that I start cutting and pasting to separate word doc’s. Then I finish the one I’m most passionate about that day. Most of the time, I find it wasn’t even what I thought was in my head that I wanted to write about. Funny how your subconscious does that to you.

    My favorite post is still my April Fools post about going to the racetrack and betting based on my monte carlo simulation for horse racing. It took about 20 minutes total to write and I smiled the whole time.

    I don’t hand journal, but our blog is the closest thing that comes to that, especially all my posts on anxiety surrounding FIRE/FFLC and all of that stuff. I still find it therapeutic, but maybe a handwritten journal would be better for some of that stuff and spawn more post ideas.

    Good luck with yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Thanks. You’re right, with kids free time is always at a premium. There’s constantly something going on. Sometimes you just want to zone out!

      I’ve had a couple posts like you mentioned where the words just flowed and I smiled the entire time I wrote them. Those ones are fun.

      Like

  4. happytortoise says:

    I get my best ideas when I’m making breakfast. I don’t know why, maybe focussing on the day helps or maybe something I see in the kitchen triggers a thought.

    For me, I love the feel of pencil on paper… but I have scraps of paper everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      I often get ideas as I’m falling asleep. The only bad part is that sometimes I get too excited thinking about them and before I know it it’s 2 AM and sleep is nowhere in sight!

      I can relate to the scraps. I have little notes and things I’ve jotted down for myself all over the place, too!

      Like

  5. Graham @ Reverse The Crush says:

    I can definitely relate to your writing process. There have been a lot of times where I simply couldn’t finish a post because I was trying to write better than the previous post. It could be that I was looking for the perfect topic, or that I was overthinking the introduction. However, similar to your experience, I’d end up writing nothing.

    You are totally right about how very few readers care about the words. Most just skim through so there is not reason to stress about it. As long as the blog makes you happy, and it helps you improve at writing is all that matters.

    Hopefully the journal helps. I’ve kept a journal on and off at times and am happy I did. It’s interested to read your thoughts years down the road. Thanks for sharing the candid post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Thank, Graham. It’s easy to get trapped in your own thoughts and end up doing nothing. For me, it has been a lot better just to start typing away and let the words go where they want. Then, partway through I usually start figuring out what the heck I’m writing about and I can get focused from there.

      And writing is definitely one of those things you have to keep practicing.

      Like

  6. TJ says:

    I have to say that I haven’t felt much inspiration to write in the past month or so. When I started my blog, it was so easy to pump out several new blog posts per week. I’m not sure what changed. At times, I think of shutting the whole thing down. Time will tell…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mad Money Monster says:

    I feel you. Trying to be too clever or creative can sometimes hinder our progress. If we just let ourselves be, well, ourselves, we will produce something with ease that others want to read. I look forward to following along on your journeys this year!

    Like

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