A guest post by Larry Brooks, of Storyfix.com
Regarding the title… it’s just a saying, no penis required. It’s not your father’s media anymore. Hard to cull the gender-based colloquialisms out of the language sometimes.
She who blogs less blogs best is every bit as gender-biased… but let’s move on.
When we begin our blogging journey, we are overwhelmed with advice.
Most of it terrific, some of it downright confusing.
Like ash from a nearby fire, it all settles on the emerging structure of our blogging dream, and what remains after the first stiff wind tends to infuse itself into the content-driven infrastructure upon which we are building.
A little purple, I’ll grant you. Let’s just say we need to filter what we read and make our own way. This is why blogging is always a lesson in life
One of the best pieces of conventional wisdom for newbies is to saturate your site with quality content as quickly as you can.
If you can begin your branding with a muscular archive in place, credibility ensues. And because that can’t really happen, what does happen is that you find yourself putting up a new post each and every day. Sometimes for months.
It works at first. And then, after a few months a dark day arrives, usually completely unannounced, when you stare at a blank screen and realize you have nothing.
The well is dry. You’ve said it all.
It’ll be temporary, followed by a guilty flurry of contrived and slightly redundant takes (you’ll call it spin) on previous stuff. Or someone else’s stuff. Or completely irrelevant stuff.
Much of which will suck. Thus deepening your emerging sense of depression.
But even then – especially then – the blank screen will return, inevitable as your forthcoming middle age double chin.
I’ve been there, suffered through that.
And got the chin lipo to show for it.
Then suddenly – also in alliance with prevailing blogging wisdom – after 15 months online, I rounded an equally inevitable corner into Phase Two of the blogging journey.
I cut back. Stopped posting daily. Stopped demanding too much of myself.
I no longer felt I had to sweat silver bullets to make the team. My spot on the roster was secure, at least if I continued to show up and Play Big.
So I reduced my output to a twice-weekly pace, and obligated myself to doing so by announcing it in my News Post beneath my banner.
Nothing says commitment quite like something shown in bold red ink.
Great fear accompanies this transition from insecure, ambitious newbie to confidently cruising-forward niche guru. But with great fear, mixed with the requisite desire, comes a sort of courage you never knew you had.
And courage, tempered by the right kind of confidence, almost always rewards you.
Here’s what happened.
My subscriptions had gone flat. Same with my daily visits.
Flat as the Neilson ratings for American Idol. Flat as Heidi Montag’s forthcoming breast reduction. Flat as Whitney Houston’s latest televised version of I Will Always Love You.
Soon after my Great Awakening, the numbers quickly, if not markedly, reversed. Subscriptions and visits began to grow. Pingbacks began to ping. Guest post proposals began arriving from both directions.
All for one reason that had everything to do with the scaling back of my output.
Somebody once said that less is more. In fact, many wives declare this the day they hit menopause.
Other than making money, this advice is golden in any context. Ironic, because sometimes that’s precisely what it takes.
It was quality trumping quantity.
The transition had nothing to do with my enthusiasm, commitment or ability to deliver value. It had everything to do with allowing what is perhaps the most potent essence of value to work its magic – I allowed time to enter the equation.
Fewer posts can mean better posts.
Such a strategy – functional only if your site does indeed offer a hefty backlog of archived content – rarely fails. And you’ll know it’s time when your ability to conquer that blank screen makes you want to go do something else. Like exercise.
After a day or two of power walking the mall, you’ll be itching to get back to it.
It’s like sex in middle age. Less really can be more. Nature steps in to jack up the stakes. Anticipation is the sweet torture of impending passion.
With or without a penis, you can take this advice to the blogging bank.
Write less. You just might find yourself writing better.
Larry Brooks writes about storytelling on Storyfix.com. His book, “Story Engineering: Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing” comes out from Writers Digest Books in February. As you can see here, he’d really rather be writing about sex.