At the core, that's why I'm doing National Blog Post Month, but I'm also starting to see blogging as a chore rather than the escape that it typically is for me, and that's why this NaBloPoMo post is going to be an examination of why I'm doing NaBloPoMo in the first place and whether or not (slightly over halfway in) I think it's worthwhile.
Let's start with the positive.
- I've written. A lot. There are some posts that were kind of insightful for me personally that I don't think I would have written at all if it weren't for that pressure of having to fulfill my promise to write every day.
- I remembered that I really like blogging. Prior to NaBloPoMo, I hadn't been blogging very often for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I was finishing my dissertation, and it took literally every spare second of my life. Secondly, I'd sort of fallen off of the blogging chart, feeling like I had overstayed my welcome in the "mommy blogging" camp when a lot of my mommy blogger friends vanished from the blogosphere. Thirdly, blogging has changed. I've been in the game for just about six years, and it's a different landscape. The rise of other sharing platforms and commenting tools (everyone comments on shared Facebook posts rather than the blog post itself these days) and the demise of other platforms (RIP, Google Reader) have changed how blogging is done, shared, and intertwined. Any one of those things alone wouldn't have been enough to have me questioning whether I should still blog, but all three of them together definitely did. But NaBloPoMo has taught me that I do, truly, still like it, and it still serves a scholarly, professional, and personal purpose in my life.
- I've set up some structure. I normally blog whenever I feel like it and can carve out the time. At the height of my blogging days, that was sometimes multiple times a day. At the lull of it, that was once a month. But those posts came sporadically and without any thematic planning or real consideration of audience. Doing things like Wordless Wednesday (which I really kind of love) and thinking about possible features like Teaching Tuesday or even just subtly trying to make a post with a specifically feminist bent once a week made me think about how much more intentional I could be with my writing.
- I've declared my existence again. I know I lost a lot of regular readers during my long hiatus and months of sporadic posting (that was mainly about my dissertation). I completely understand, but I think that posting every day this month and sharing the posts on my blog's Facebook page (which I did manage to keep up this whole time) reminded potential and former readers that I really do exist.
And then the negative.
- I was writing anyway. I know a lot of people turn to blogging as a kind of daily writing exercise for the sake of writing. I don't need that. I write all the time. I have no worries that I'm going to suddenly stop writing and lose my craft. What I don't always get the chance to do is write freely and about topics that I thoroughly enjoy. But writing every day doesn't ensure either of those things since it becomes more of a chore and less of an exploration.
- My posts aren't as good. My forte is (for better or worse) long form pieces that combine personal experience with research and analysis of broader cultural phenomenon. This is where I feel most alive as a writer and, at least according to the feedback and commentary I get, it's why most of my audience reads my work. I can't do that every day, and that's a good thing. If I felt those kind of bursts of passion often enough to write a post like that on a daily basis, I wouldn't have any time to do my dishes or feed my kid.
- Existence does not community equal. Maybe it's because of those aforementioned changes to the blogosphere or maybe it's simply that I have a lot more work to do to re-establish myself within that sphere or maybe it's even that I really am washed up as a "mommy blogger" and have no more to give, but I miss the community that used to exist here. I miss the frequent commentary (but not the death threats) and exchange of ideas between readers. I haven't seen much sign that NaBloPoMo is helping that resurface. (But I'll hold out hope that I'm just being impatient).
Overall, I can say that I definitely will not try to keep up blogging every day once this challenge ends (and I have even toyed with the idea of declaring the challenge a failure and calling it quits midway). However, I do think that this process has made me rethink what it is I am doing here. I do want to blog, and I do want to do so purposefully and regularly. I plan to commit to at least 2-3 posts a week from this point forward, and I will hopefully implement some of the structure that I've enjoyed finding in response to the task of writing daily.
That's enough to make this task, however frustrating it may feel, worthwhile in the end.