There is I believe a saying that “Nothing concentrates a man’s mind like a hanging. His own.” And while I can see how facing one’s own imminent demise might concentrate one’s thoughts, I’m honestly less than sure how useful deadlines really are to writers and bloggers. I know from experience that if I wait until the last minute, I will certainly pull some rabbit out of my hat and write something so as not to blow the assignment. Yet I can hardly say that the pieces I have cranked out just to meet a deadline are always my best work. For this blog, I have taken to writing the articles in advance and scheduling them to go live just after midnight in the server’s Australian (I believe) time zone. As a result I am, as always, typing these words three days before the calendar date that appears to the upper left.
One suggestion I always make to new bloggers who are going to try to be serious about sticking to a schedule is to write a couple of “Emergency Posts”. These are posts that fit your blog’s niche and are are of approximately the same length as your other posts. You write them and get them all linked and tagged. And then save them as drafts. And you just leave them there all ready to go, so that if you have an emergency, suffer a case of writer’s block or have to rush to your child’s school and just don’t have time to write a blog post you can schedule your emergency post and your readers will never know that you encountered a personal problem. (Unless of course you choose to write about it in a subsequent post.) I actually do have an emergency post standing by for this blog. I wrote it and submitted it to a friend as a guest post for her blog. She never replied to me about it an when I went and re-read the post I realized that the tone and theme were just not right for her blog. I suspect that her ignoring the submission was a question of tact rather than a slight or mis-understanding or a Google glich, any of which she might blame if I ever asked her about it.
While I advise every blogger to get a few emergency posts written and on hold before they begin blogging on any regularly announced schedule, I know from my own experience that coming up on a deadline does not necessarily inspire a writer to great creativity nor fill the mind with things to write about. I know that posts I crank out just because the deadline is nearing, rather than because the words are flowing through a secret channel from my soul where the things I care most deeply about reside are not necessarily my best ones. I do believe the fact that I can crank out an acceptable post just because I’m on deadline, makes me a real writer.