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When Not Posting is a Good Thing for your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 11th of February 2006 Writing Content 0 Comments

Wayne’s hit the nail on the head with his post Posting desperation: When anything won’t do where he examines a good strategy for beating bloggers block…. Posting Nothing at all.

‘Instead of letting some slipshod meaningless post fill that taunting empty posting box, it would be better for you and you blog to skip a day. I know, I know, that is probably blasphemy to the ears of many. Not posting at all is also a solid blogging technique that is rarely discussed.’

Wayne goes on to talk about some of the consequences of feeling you have to post about something and as a result posting substandard content. The crux of his argument is that your blog is your brand everything that you present on it to readers becomes part of this.

In a sense, every post you write has the potential to add to your brand or take from it. Substandard posts written just for the sake of posting something might give you temporary relief from the feeling of having a slightly out of date blog – but they could also do you serious damage, especially if it becomes a regular thing.

Of course if bloggers block settles in for the long term you there are always strategies for combatting it – but one to consider is as Wayne suggests – ‘do nothing’.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Bout all I can say to that is Amen. I don’t know how many times I’ve had blogger’s block but felt I should post anyway, even when I didn’t really have anything to say. Letting it go a day is not a big letdown to the blogging community, and it gives you a chance to develop new ideas and experience other things to blog about / find to blog about later. If you put preassure on yourself to constantly putout no matter how good the content is, you’ll only develop burnout anyway.

  • Lemme get am Amen!

    On Monday I just felt dried up, and all I could muster was to post a few links. At first I felt guilty, but I realized that I’ve been creating new content m-f non-stop for six months!

    So I’ve taken a mini-break for a few days to brainstorm & regroup, and now I’m ready to start again.

  • Tom

    What I do to counter act this is have a secondary blog that is really not known to the world.

    I post the crap posts there. Ones that are too political, obnoxious, stupid, annoying, crappy, idiotic, and fallacious. No one reads it, and it tends to clear the pipes.

    For me, I always have stuff I want to write about, but often something is so lodged in my brain that it forces anything else out that could be effectively a brand enhancer.

    And the great thing is, once the post is up and out, I can start writing again. Also, these posts tend to turn into good ones later on when the pressing weight of them are lifted from my shoulders.

    Hope this helps someone out there.

  • AK

    I would agree, with one caveat: for a beginning blogger, it is important to maintain the rythm of writing every day. That means write something every day, even if it’s not good, and even if you don’t post it. Bloggers who have been doing it for years (I would imagine) can break out of this routine and not post something for a day or two, because they have the routine down – especially probloggers, whose day job is blogging. For us newbies, however, it is all too easy for a one day break from writer’s block to turn into two, then three, then four…
    Write something!

  • I’ve found there’s nothing like taking a break to get the creative juices flowing again. If I’m struggling with a post that should be easy, or if the material just isn’t there, I’ve tried to remember that it’s a good time to take a day off. I feel that I come back stronger than ever with a fresh perspective and the realization that my blog didn’t die just because I skipped a day.
    It’s interesting to watch the ebb and flow of the quality of posts at other blogs and know exactly what that writer must be going through.

  • I may sound like an ass here, but if you get writer’s block, you probably shouldn’t be trying to be a writer. I think Charles Schultz (Peanuts) said “writer’s block is for amateurs.”

    I don’t mean burnout, which is different. I mean if you literally can’t think of anything to write about. I see a lot of people struggle trying to come up with content and a lot of blog posts like this one telling people how to figure out what to post about – the answer is simple – either you’re a bad writer or you picked a bad topic for your blog.

  • Bow to the master of not posting, people, bow. ;-)

  • I certainly have days when I can’t write, though it’s hardly ever for lack of inspiration: lack of time is more likely. If I have too many days tied up with other things, then I might temporarily run out of inspiration, though more likely whatever has dragged me away has filled my mind with plenty to write about.

    The only time I really lack inspiration is when I’m sick – knock on wood, that’s not very often. Healthy diet, regular exercise: you know the drill.

    But regardless, I always have a backlog of stuff I’ve already written that is ready to post. The depth of that backlog varies, but it usually has at least a few days worth of posts, and often a week or more. I use those when I have no time to write.

    I disagree that it’s no big deal to miss a day: your readers expect regularity. If you normally post every other day, that’s OK, but if you post every day you should keep to that schedule.

  • You’re right. quality is > than quantity ;)

  • I don’t think because Charles Schultz said “writer’s block is for amateurs” that it is. I love writing, but there are times when there is just nothing to draw from and you need to step back and breathe a little.

  • One of my favourite websites is A List Apart. They post 2 quality design-related articles a month (well it seems like that anyway), and it keeps me coming back.

    I’m always checking my feed for new articles, because I expect them to be insightful, current, and most of all interesting.

    Perhaps it’s the old “limited edition” mentality, where you’re more excited about something the less of them there are? And the opposite is true for me also – if I come across a blog with a billion posts a day I quickly lose interest.

    Limiting my posts to a pre-determined number is certainly an approach I’m considering when I get around to taking my blog seriously :)

  • I definately agree. If a blog has about a bazillion posts on it, how are you supposed to read one and develop and opinion about it and digest / comment on it in the right way, if you’ve got so many other posts to read.

    I think if you feel that you need to post a hugermongerous lot to keep your reader’s happy, then you have forgotten yourself. While I want to make money and keep my readers happy at the same time, I’m not interested in making myself feel like I HAVE to do something. I want to WANT to do it.

  • I remain unconvinced.

    First, yes, of course there will be times when you cannot post. Keep a backlog of posts available to fill those slots.

    Second, I don’t necessarily say that you have to post daily. I think you *do* have to post consistently. If your readers expect weekly posts, that’s fine – but make sure you meet their expectations.

    Third, of course you shouldn’t post junk just for the sake of posting. We should always do the best job we can, because obviously quality is better than quantity just for the sake of quantity. That said, however, there is an argument to be made for quantity if at least part of your motivation is income: the more real estate you have to sell, the better.

    Consider Blogger A and Blogger B. Our friend A writes much better than B. B does her best, but there is no way she is ever going to attract the volume of readers that A does. However, what she does write attracts a little attention here and there, and on average, a hundred of her articles earn her $5.00 a month. Pretty sad, we might think, except that she has 15,000 articles and is adding to them constantly. Blogger A, on the other hand, has 30 simply incredible articles and each pulls in $10.00 a month. Look who makes more money.

    Yes, that’s extreme exaggeration to make a point: quantity *can* be a substitute for quality. Again, I’m not advocating posting junk: always do the best you can, but also do as much of it as you possibly can.

    I’m much more a “B” type than an “A” type. Some of my stuff attracts a lot of attention, most of it doesn’t. I always do my best, but I think of myself more as a plugger than a star: nose to the grindstone, keep plugging away, never give up.

    Few of us get to be “A”‘s. Most of us are “B”‘s or “C”s. The only way we can compete with the superstars is to outwork ’em. They are sensitive and can’t work with a headache? Too bad for them, but we can. The kids are making too much noise? Buy earplugs. Your fingers hurt from so much typing? Yeah. *that* I can sympathise with.

    It’s easy to make excuses: “writer’s block”, “My muse is in Las Vegas for the weekend”, “I’m tired”, and so on. To my way of thinking, “quality is better than quantity” is just another excuse for not doing the work.

    Do the work. Don’t make excuses. Don’t post junk, just do the work.

  • While I suggest not posting if the blogger lacks anything good to write, it’s presented as an option to consider. The blogger can choose not to post. For purposes of the posting, the assumption was made that the blogger was established and not a new blogger. For the novice, I always suggest posting on a regular timetable, with that frequency level increasing over time to include more blog post days.

    While it might be good to have the nose to the grindstone, one must also consider the possibility of the dangerous post. That type of post is often a personal attack, a discussion or depiction of a topic very unsuited to the blog, or even a post that could do serious harm to the writer’s personal reputation. Rather than publish a post like that, a non-non-writing day is preferable.

    In the post on non-posting, there is an imbedded link to another of my postings, where I suggest ways to post when the blogger has severe time or health issues. Many of the suggestions provided in these great comments are included in my recommendations as well.

  • Oh ~ I am in TOTAL agreement with that philosophy (click my name for my reasons) // If I’m your “flavour today” that makes you subscribe to my RSS feed one day and unsubscribe the next day .. I can live with that.

  • Joe

    Hey Darren,

    I seem to remember a post you did a while ago (I don’t remember when) about having back up, non-date sensitive posts at the ready.

    I tried that but it seems that when I do get to the point of having backup, I end up posting them as well.

    Maybe that’s because I haven’t been at it long enough to really build a stock pile of posts.


  • “I tried that but it seems that when I do get to the point of having backup, I end up posting them as well.”

    Been there, done that :-)

    Sometimes I’ll write something for backup and then decide I just have to post it now.

    But: my system is usually a back log – I pull from it, newest first, and add new posts to the end, so nothing stays in backlog forever.

    I do believe that you can post too much in one day, and turn off your audience. I know that when I visit a blog that just goes on and on and on, I tend to stop coming back – I have only so much time to read blogs and I can’t spend it all in one place.

    That’s one of the reasons I like this blog (Darren’s) over many others: he always has something new, but he never has too much. So I come back every single day. For example, I like Jensense, but she doesn’t update every day – so I often forget about her for long periods. There have been some others, now totally forgotten, who assaulted me with too many posts – I stopped reading them completely.

    I may be unusually fickle, but I doubt it..

  • hehe – I like the ‘idea’ of a backup post but I always find myself posting it :-)

    Having said that I currently have 6-7 posts ready to go for the coming week, but that’s more about an upcoming series than anything.

  • I call it When good blogs go bad! As an avid reader of so many blogs it hurts, I concur that there is nothing worse than meaningless posts that divert remarkably from a blog’s usual quality. If your blog has been built on thought inducing reflective posts don’t start posting small newsish items in lull periods. Chances are I’ve already read it a couple of times and don’t need another unoriginal reiteration of the same item clogging up my feed reader.

  • While not posting can be good, since as Darren mentioned the majority of people on this site are just starting the blog, they (and me) need to get into the rhythm of blogging daily.

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