Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on how what I write about has changed.
Firstly, I’ve found that a lot of my posts have been about the pandemic whether it is about working from home or the way our day to day lives have changed. Secondly, there is much less playfulness in the way I write because everything going on in the world is quite serious.
Overall I’ve been quite current, writing about things happening now. But at the same time I also want my posts to be evergreen so that they’ll still be useful to the person reading them 6 months from now.
However, the posts I’ve written about this pandemic are something I’ll probably be glad to look back on as a reflection on this current time. To know not necessarily how I was feeling but instead what I thought mattered at the time. That’s what I’ve been writing about.
Prior to mid-march 2020 my writing time consisted of my journey to and from work, my lunch break and in the evenings after dinner. I’d do my best to plan ahead and have my posts scheduled for 7.30am each morning.
But once lockdown started my day to day life changed significantly. I was no longer travelling to and from work each day, my work and home life were blended.
Over the past couple of months I’ve stopped planning ahead, almost never schedule posts in advance and I’m no longer posting in the morning. Instead I write and post on my blog in the evenings as my day is winding down. I’m still posting the same amount but I actually find that it’s a lot easier.
It’s much simpler and less time consuming which means I have more time for everything else that i enjoy.
There are 2 ways of working.
The first is in batches, a couple of hours one or 2 times a week.
The second is bit by bit, day by day.
Many people find themselves picking one of the two ways thinking that it’s the best way of working.
But it turns out it depends on the work you’re doing and also the way you feel like working.
Last year I was focused on scheduling posts and there were times when I’d be scheduling a week of blog posts in one go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing and publishing a blog post at the end of my day. At first it felt strange and I was frustrated that my batch blogging habit had fallen away.
However, from taking the bit by bit approach I’m enjoying blogging more. I spend moments of my day thinking about what I want to say and then I type it up at night. It feels like I’m creating a better writing practice because I’m clicking publish each day.
It’s not to say that the bit by bit approach is the best way of working. But what I can say is that it’s going pretty well for me right now.
I’ve been writing a little different lately and trying to figure out the best kind of things to share during this time.
My aim is to be relevant but whilst still maintaining my usual style and core themes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about science, history, people and fear. From that I’ve had so many ideas for things to write about and once piece in particular (that is currently just a few words and phrases) has brought me joy.
There’s a thing I do when I write where I put little thoughts and ideas together then try and make some sense out of them. It’s so fun, it’s almost like a game, trying to see how I can fit things together.
Right now I’m having a lot of new thoughts and thinking about things in ways I never have before.
And so even though things are very unexpected and a little challenging, I guess right now I’m just enjoying my writing process.
Now, is the perfect time to find joy in doing the things you love.
After a week or so of struggling to write I got my flow back, the words began to pour.
I began to think about how difficult it had been to post everyday that previous week, until I caught myself and realised why I hadn’t been able to write as easily.
I’d stopped writing.
In that week or so of struggling to write I’d gotten caught up in being busy and I chose to do other things with my time instead of write. And so I suppose I created this story in my head about struggling to write because it was easier than admitting the truth.
Plus, at times it’s almost cool to have ‘writers block’ just so you can shout about when it’s over.
The sound of the music,
The touch of your skin,
Yet I still feel hesitant,
To just let you in.
I originally planned to share a full poem today. The above is part of a poem I started just under a week ago. I have 3 other verses but none of them feel quite done yet.
I need to remove words, change words and say it out loud to ensure it flows in the way that I like.
I love writing poetry. It might be simple and incredibly amateur but it’s also a true labour of love.
Like a lot of the writing I do, my poems capture moments, experiences and thoughts. I look back on old poems like photographs.
I don’t write poems very often but it’s refreshing to sometimes do something a little different.
A few days ago, I wrote a post that did well numbers wise and I knew it would.
It was the kind of thing that people like to read whilst also being useful.
I don’t advocate for writing for people as you’ll never find your own voice or style that way. But in my previous post I managed to find the overlap between what I like to write and what you like to read.
That bit is the sweet spot because that way you’re not sacrificing your creativity or your chance to explore.
Shortcuts might be enticing but you can’t escape doing the work.
Write more than a post a day
You’ll have days when its easier to write so take advantage. I’ve had days where I’ve written a weeks worth of posts which is a stark contrast to the days where writing a single post feels as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree.
Dedicate a set time in your day to write
If you make it part of your routine it’ll find it’s way into your subconscious and then you’re set. My writing time is the journey to and from work. It’s around 90 minutes daily and I find it easier to use that time than make time before or after work to write. Granted I can and often do write at other times in the day but never as consistent as I do on my journey to and from work.
Don’t aim for perfection
You have to put more importance on having something to publish instead of it being perfect. I often refer to this blog as a writing practice because that’s what it is a place for me to practice writing. It isn’t a place for me to be perfect. I understand that perfection is a falsehood. Focusing on trying to make every piece perfect is a waste of time when you can just write something better tomorrow.
That’s all you need to successfully daily blog. There’s no trick to it. Sure, it might he hard to come up with ideas sometimes but the more you do it the easier it gets.
It’s hard to balance tense and triggered aspects of self with the softer more malleable bits.
My anxiety makes me tense and rigid but it also deeply influences the way I write. But my softer more malleable side deeply influences my writing too.
It is often through writing that my anxieties subside and I am able to go with the flow, follow the words and not worry about the order or things making perfect sense but to instead stay inflow allowing the words to pour.
To be able to follow the flow no matter how brief or specific is something worth cherishing. When you’re tense and rigid or feeling overwhelmed by life it seems impossible that there’s any other way, but there is.
The flow is always there whether you choose that path or not. You can go back to it at any point because the moment you realise that what you’re doing isn’t working or should be different is the moment the solution becomes available.
Sometimes I find myself caught up in trying to be a blogger instead of simply just being myself. And in the process I find myself being drawn to creating content that I don’t love as much as I could.
When I first started blogging 8 years ago I was just sharing stuff that I was interested in which mostly included fashion and personal style. But over time instead of following my own flow of creativity I started trying to be a blogger. I ended up falling out of love with creating stuff to share online because I’d sacrificed my sense of self in order to try and fit it and do things ‘the right way’.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I lost my creativity. Not to the extent that I was unable to create because I haven’t really stopped blogging since I started. However, what my content lacked was passion, consistency and quality.
For the past few years I’ve ticked along in the lifestyle blogging space not improving, sharing, connecting, experimenting or expanding as much as I could have.
But starting this blog almost a year ago (can you believe it!) helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. Despite not having designed a fancy header or logo and the fact that this site contains no pictures, I feel more creative here than I’ve felt on wordsbygemm for the majority of the year.
On The Daily Gemm, I don’t get to hide behind content that has been done 101 timed before. As a result I’ve made up characters like Betty and Debbies brother, I’ve explored my feelings, wrote about my work life, shared my experiences with having anxiety, shared things that I’ve learnt and even written about current events like fires, abortion laws and politics.
The year is not over yet but I’m proud of all that I’ve managed to share so far and thankful to you for reading.