Ditching the Schedule

blogging schedules

For a few years now, I’ve scheduled my blog posts to run every morning at 6:00am Pacific time, five or six days a week. Sometimes, I wrote several posts all at once. Sometimes I sat up late at night, trying desperately to finish something to run the next morning. But I did it, because I feel pretty strongly that in order to get better at writing, you have to write. The other reason I did it is because schedules work for me. I’m a planner by nature, and knowing what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it creates the sort of order that I enjoy. It’s freeing to me, in fact.

Recently, though, things have changed. For one thing, I’m writing a lot more for work. A lot more. I enjoy it very much, working as a writer and editor. However, it’s leaving me feeling a little bit lost when it’s time for me to sit in this chair and write for myself. Sometimes, to be honest, I’m all written out. On top of that, having the structure of a specific editorial schedule to adhere to in my working life has more than filled my need for structure. My planning cup runneth over, and at this point having yet another writing obligation to fulfill is just a little bit too much. And so, I’ve decided to ditch my blogging schedule here.

I will still write here, more days than not. I will still sit in this chair and think out my thoughts and write things simply because I want to write them. But I will do that on my own schedule, and in my own time. I guess you could say I’m giving myself the gift of freedom. The freedom to write, or the freedom to not write, as the muse dictates. Or as my energy level dictates.

At this point in my life, my biggest fantasy is to be able to tuck my kids into bed, then head downstairs to do whatever I want. This isn’t a reality for me, for a couple of reasons. The first is that my four-year-old Jacob is giving his father and me a workout every night as he gets out of bed for one more drink of water, one more hug, one more thing he has to tell us. I’m getting my daily exercise running up and down the stairs every evening, more times than I care to count. The second reason I can’t just do whatever I want when my kids are in bed is that I don’t have enough time during the day to finish all my work. But by streamlining things, maintaining focus, and making sure that I meet my basic needs so that I’m efficient, I do better.

My hope is that by easing up on the requirements I set myself, I can cultivate a greater sense of ease and spaciousness in my life. I can spend more time being present in the moment, rather than thinking about all the things I “have” to do. I can spend my evenings reading, or watching TV, or meditating, or taking a yoga class, instead of forcing myself to follow an arbitrary schedule. I have a long way to go, but it’s a goal, and it’s a big part of why I’m easing up on myself.

So, if you’ve noticed that my schedule has shifted, you’re right. It has. I’m not going anywhere – this space means to much to me to do that. But sometimes, I may be too busy living to sit in this chair and write. And you know what? That’s okay. In fact, maybe it’s even better than okay.

I’ll let you know how this new approach to blogging works out for me. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Do you set schedules for yourself, or do you find them constricting? And if you blog, when and how often do you write? Tell me!

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Comments

  1. Yay! Enjoy your evenings!

    I basically write when I have time and post right away with no thought to timing or anything practical. I have no schedule per se. I’m also writing a ton for work so forcing it just seems ridiculous.

    That said, I do believe that the more you write, the more you write and its corollary: the less you write, the less you write. So every once and a while, I try to blog a lot just to see what emerges. I also want to have a record through photos so I do a lot of photo posts, which really are just for us.
    harriet Fancott’s last post … Good stuffMy Profile

  2. I used to have a schedule and stay up late to meet that schedule as well. But once I started working at my company, Cursive Web, as well as an editor elsewhere, I found that schedule constraining and that is was difficult to write for my blog. The only problem I’ve found with writing whenever wherever on the blog is that over time it’s become easier and easier to push the blog off to the last thing I do. It’s freeing, but it hasn’t done my blog any favours.
    Marilyn’s last post … Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt PopsiclesMy Profile

  3. After a long time of wanting to blog more than I really have time for and then feeling disappointed for failing to meet unrealistic expectations, I have finally settled on a doable schedule: links post on Monday (which I missed yesterday, though; in part because it was a holiday here and in part because these posts can be difficult to put together), written post on Wednesday, and photo on Friday. I prefer having a schedule, because then I’m less likely to worry about when should I post and am I posting enough and so on.
    Rachael’s last post … {this moment}My Profile

    • I totally understand the value of having a schedule. And the truth is, I will likely keep an informal one myself, because that’s how I work best. I’m just going to spend less time beating myself up if I don’t meet it. Or, at least, that’s the theory. We’ll see how it actually works out.

  4. Exactly how I have felt the last 3 years: “At this point in my life, my biggest fantasy is to be able to tuck my kids into bed, then head downstairs to do whatever I want.”
    Jenny B’s last post … 2nd Visit to the Naturopath: food sensitivity diet resultsMy Profile

  5. I’m actually at the place you probably were when you started that schedule – I need consistency and structure for my writing, but I’m having a hard time sticking to it! It’s inspiring to see though that someone has gone through it, learned what she needed to and is ready to pull back a little. This motivates me to start a writing schedule!

    I’m usually anti scheduling and feel like I can’t write when I’m “forced” to or it’s on the calendar, but I need to get over that if I’m going to grow as a writer.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Raj
    Raj’s last post … Disney Sail Away Soiree & Weather WoesMy Profile

    • I think that we all have different responses to schedules. Some of us thrive under them, and some of us feel stifled. If they stifle you, they may not be the right fit.

      Although, it is true that sometimes you need to work through your resistance, whatever you’re doing.

  6. Good for you Amber. I love reading your blog and I will love it just as much when it’s done on your own time. Since returning to work full time almost a year ago my own blog has suffered a tragic decline in posting. I just don’t have the time. And the time I do have, I would rather spend it with my kids. I used to write when they were at school or napping. But times change and we have to roll with it! Enjoy your freedom.
    Heather’s last post … Girl TimeMy Profile

  7. You probably know that my blog has no consistency of posting and I’m mostly ok with that, but it does often get pushed to the very very back burner. I think I would like to have a bit more of a schedule. I can definitely see how your schedule would get restrictive as your other writing duties have started to ramp up. I’ll be glad to keep reading regardless.
    Alison @ BluebirdMama’s last post … To The New ParentsMy Profile

  8. I hear you.
    As I’ve been writing more, I’m writing less.
    I’ve also been wondering if it’s still OK to kvetch away on the blog about the same old same old – I can hear certain readers (yes, you know who you are) muttering, why doesn’t she just get on with getting a job/ditching the husband/sorting out her life already – and I feel a certain amount of shame that I can’t give the happy ending quite yet.
    Yet on the other hand I also wonder if being happy fits my blog too, when all the early stuff was about depression, frustration, relationship woes and so on – is happy really me?

    But I miss my blog. I do have a kind of weekly editorial calendar so it is easy to dip in/dip out.

    And as an artist I can get away with posting visuals and really vague esoteric inspirational message shit posts.
    Win/win IMO.
    pomomama’s last post … spt30may13: looking up?My Profile

  9. I’ve long been in awe of your schedule (read: jealous of your committment to it!) and would have crapped out on it a longggg time ago. You are the person who springs to mind when I think “that woman needs a break already!” Good on ya.

    Now I recently did start blogging again and have decided to post every day for 100 days but my posts can be as small as 100 words..a few photos with captions on a lazy day. I used to have the luxury of time to just sit and let inspiration float by but now I have to go after it with a butterfly net and trap it until I can sit at my computer and write it down. For me, writing breeds more writing so quality schmality; getting the words on the page is the goal.
    clara’s last post … Seven — And CountingMy Profile

    • I agree with you on the writing breeds writing front. The more you do it, the more entrenched the habit becomes, and the better you get. Luckily, though, I’m doing plenty of writing, even if not always here.

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  1. […] I’ve made a decision. I am re-claiming this space, and owning my lack of focus. I’ve ditched my blogging schedule. I took down my “Advertise Here” buttons. I have eased up on my podcast, interviewing […]

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