Deadline Pressure

White Trees, Series 2, No. 3

White Trees, Series 2, No. 3

Time to share a little bit about my blog writing process.  I’m writing this blog post late on a Sunday night, after a full day of unrelated demands on my time earlier today and before another full day of unrelated demands on my time tomorrow, because it’s the only time I have to write and I’m under the pressure of making my blog posting deadline.

Blog posting deadline?  Well, okay, there’s no real deadline, just a self-imposed one.  No one is cracking a whip for me to get this blog post done, and the world certainly isn’t going to fall apart if this entry isn’t posted this evening.  All things equal, I probably would just as soon shut down the computer and call it a night.  So why am I doing this to myself?

I’m doing this because I want to write a quality blog, and to me, part of writing a quality blog is to keep it updated regularly.  In my own experience, nothing is disappointing in quite the same way as discovering a blog that has content you really like, only to find out the author only updates it once every six months or so.  I think that when you create a blog, you make an implicit promise to your readership to keep it updated.  That’s kind of what blogging implies – if you’re not going to update your content, you may as well just make static web pages.

So, when I created this blog, I did it with the promise to myself that I would regularly keep the content updated.  The question naturally becomes, what’s the right interval at which to provide regular updates, particularly in the context of a blog about photography?

On the one hand, I think it is possible to overdo it.  So-called “picture-a-day” blogs fall into this category for me.  It’s great that some photographers can post a new image every day, but invariably this volume of posts creates two problems for me as a viewer.  First, I find it’s rare that the photographer can maintain a high level of quality at this pace.  With only a few exceptions (see, for example, Gary Nylander, whose near-daily posting of very high quality images is quite impressive!), quality almost always suffers when the volume of output is high, in my opinion.  Second, even for photographers whose work I really like, I tend to get viewer burn-out after a while.  If I see too much too frequently, it tends to diminish the impact of any individual daily image.

Accordingly, it would seem that some degree of restraint in churning out blog posts is appropriate, but where to draw the line?  Again, with reference to my own blog-reading habits, if posts are too infrequent, I lose interest and just tend to stop following the blog after awhile.  Personally, I even feel a little betrayed by the blog’s author, who after all made an implicit promise to me, the reader, to provide content for the blog he or she created that caught my interest.  It’s almost like authors who don’t update their blogs are being inconsiderate to their readers!

(Now, before I get flamed by irate blog authors, I do recognize that most bloggers blog on their own personal time, out of pure passion for their subject, and therefore that they have no true obligation, in any real sense, to keep their blogs updated on any schedule but their own.  I mean it sincerely when I say that I am not criticizing anyone who writes a blog, I’m just sharing my own thinking as it informs my own writing of my blog.)

Returning to the subject at hand, when it comes to balancing too much versus too little, I’ve settled on posting about once a week or so.  A week is a nice even interval of time, and comes around enough to keep things interesting, without happening so often as to create overload.  When I say a week or so, I do keep things flexible for myself.  Throughout most of 2013, for example, I think I kept pretty close to the weekly schedule, but here in early 2014, I’ve had to back it off to about every two weeks or so due to some unforseen personal circumstances.

Still, I do my best to keep this blog on schedule, even if the schedule is entirely of my own making.  That’s why I’m here, typing away late on a Sunday evening.

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3 Comments

  1. Gary Nylander March 24, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Thanks for the mention, Misha! although I never intended my blog to be a “picture-a-day” type of blog, I’ve had a couple very strong years, particularly last year, I shot something around 800 sheets of 4 x 5 film shooting a variety of subjects, I could edit out a few of the more common pictures that I have posted but I have found sometimes photographs can touch viewers in different ways. Also on my blogger site I use the scheduler option so I can post a week’s worth of images for the week ahead, I don’t tend to be much of a writer, although sometimes I have posted a few articles that I have written and when I find willing participants I have featured an artist here and there.

    I hear you on keeping a blog updated, too much boring stuff and people lose interest and not updated enough then people forget who you are. I work in the newspaper business and have been a photographer for two different daily newspapers for nearly 35 years, so I know what the daily grind is like! in the newspaper business its often said that “You are only as good as your last published photograph!” I do try to keep the quality of my work up and know that not everything I post will get a “wow” reaction from everybody. How long I will keep this up I’m not sure, this all being my personal work, some years are better then others and soon I will be running out of 2013 images to post. That means I better get out and shoot some new material for 2014! Also from time to time I have posted images from my archive which goes back to 1985.

    I have just had a quick look at your blog, discovered it through my stat counter when someone clicked on my link in your blog, your photographs look great, informative and thoughtful writing, I will check it out more as time allows.

    All the best,

    Gary

    • admin March 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

      Hi Gary. It’s always dangerous to attribute motives to the work of others, lesson learned on the “picture-a-day” comment! I agree, though, you’ve had a couple of strong years and it’s been a pleasure to follow your work. I don’t use a scheduler myself, but I do bank images and draw on them as needed in order to keep my blog posts consistently updated for the times that I’m not able to get out and photograph. It also helps to have a constant, random, stream-of-consciousness thought process about photography, in order to have topics to draw on.

      That’s also a great comment on the “you are only as good as your last published photograph.” In looking over my own work, I tend to look for the weakest images in order to cull them. This tendency seems to carry over when I look at the work of others as well, which led me to the thought that when it comes to putting your work out in the world, “you are only as good as your weakest image.” Hmm, maybe I’ll write a blog post about that…

      Thanks for the comment, feel free to check in any time!

      Misha

      • Gary Nylander March 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

        Well, even Ansel Adams had some pretty weak and ordinary images! Now the pressure is on, I will have to equal or top what I did last year, but no, life is not like that and neither is creativity which comes from within ourselves as human beings. I will check your blog from time to time.

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