Batch Blogging

Almost all of the articles I’ve posted this year – or ever, actually – were written on the same day they were published. It’s been my blogging style for the past 16 years to write and edit posts in a single writing session and then to publish them when they’re complete.

This year is unusual because it’s the first year that I’ve made a commitment to publish a new post every day of the year, so up until this point, I’ve been writing every day of the year. Very occasionally I’ve written two posts in one day, but nearly all of my posts were published on the same day I wrote them.

Last week I decided to do something different. On Tuesday, August 4th, I opted to try batch blogging – basically to spend my whole workday writing and editing blog articles and queuing them up to be published on subsequent days.

I shunned this approach in previous years because I always felt that when an article is done, I should share it immediately. Why make people wait?

With this year’s daily blogging, however, I see this differently. I don’t think people need (or want) multiple articles in a single day. I’m already writing and publishing faster than some people are able to keep up with the reading. So a faster rate of publication seems like overkill.

I also like that if I write multiple posts in a day, I can take some days off from blogging. I don’t necessarily need to do that, but I’m curious how it will affect me. As a side note, somehow I picked the best possible year for this daily commitment – gotta love the power of trusting intuitive signals.

I’d always intended to test batch blogging sometime during this year, which is why I framed my daily blogging commitment as daily publishing, not daily writing. After doing 7+ months so far, continuing to blog every day for another 5 months seems pretty easy and straightforward – maybe a bit too easy – so I’d like to play with different approaches to see how they suit me.

I think batch creation is easier (and faster) to do with videos or audios, but I’m pretty fast at writing, so I felt I could make it work. I could make this easier by favoring shorter posts, but generally I like to let the content itself dictate the length. Writing flows through me like a river, and I find it best not to try to control it too tightly.

To speed things along, I brainstormed enough ideas for 8 new articles the day before my batch blogging day, so on the actual writing day I could just focus on writing articles instead of coming up with topics. I also jotted down a few keywords or quick ideas for each article, like 20-50 words to help me frame and capture each idea.

Additionally, I posted about this experiment in the CGC member forums and invited members to share additional ideas for new articles. I’m easily able to come up with new ideas on my own, but I figured that more abundance of ideas is better. I figured that it would be easier to do batch blogging if I could select ideas from a pool of 20 or 30 rather than a pool of 8. This gives me more flexibility in picking topics to match my inspiration and energy levels. Most of the time it felt like the next article choose me rather than vice versa. After finishing one article, I’d look back at the ideas list, and I’d pick up a clear signal to write a certain piece next.

My initial goal was to write 5 posts in a day. I thought that was conservative and that I’d likely be able to do more. This is more than I’ve ever written in a day though, so in that sense the bar was high, but I also felt that it should be achievable.

This batch blogging day was an off-day for exercise, so I got an early start. I wonder if it would be have better if I did my usual 5-mile run to start the day though.

I made a large green smoothie, cleared out a few minor tasks first, and wrote the first article of 1022 words (Is It Unethical to Have Pets?) while sipping the smoothie. I published it immediately since that was the post for that day.

Next I wrote a second article of 1219 words (Pre-Consent in Relationships) and queued it for publishing the next day.

I took a break to have more food (some grain-free cereal with fresh strawberries), and then I wrote a longer piece on entrepreneurship called Your Giant Pumpkin (2163 words).

I finished that one around 12:30pm and queued it for publishing.

I took a longer break for lunch with Rachelle and went back to writing around 2:30pm.

Next I wrote Fragile Habits (1055 words), took a short break, and wrote Your #1 Priority May Lead You Astray (1101 words).

By this time I was getting a bit bleary-eyed, so I took another break and chatted with Rachelle for a bit. I was pretty happy with 5 posts done since that was my goal.

I felt it would be nice to wrap up the day with an infrared sauna session, so I switched it on to heat it up. It takes about 45 minutes to heat up to 145º F. I figured that I could write at least one more post, maybe two short ones, while the sauna was heating, so I challenged myself to write some more.

I wrote Ass-Kicking Frames during that time. It’s only 608 words, but it took extra time to brainstorm and look up relevant movie quotes for it. I didn’t mind the extra time it took since I really enjoyed writing that piece – it was my favorite one of the day, probably because it was the most playful.

I finished around 6pm with six posts written, edited, and queued for publishing – 7168 words of new material.

That Tuesday writing marathon created enough articles to cover daily blogging through the following Sunday, with all of the posts queued to be automatically published in the morning of each day.

That meant I wouldn’t have to blog again till the following Monday (which is actually today, the day that this post is published).

I found the challenge lively, stimulating, and fun. It gave me a nice sense of accomplishment too. I’ve never written that many posts in a day before, so now I can say that my new record is writing six posts in one day.

The sauna session afterwards was really nice as well – a relaxing way to transition out of the blogging marathon.

At the end of the day, my brain was mush though. I could barely speak intelligibly when talking with Rachelle while we made dinner together that night. I tripped on my words a few times, as if trying to say tongue twisters. It felt like my language circuits were pretty fried.

Quite often when doing a long work session, I don’t feel the fatigue while I’m working, but I really feel it when I stop or take breaks. I felt the fatigue most strongly after writing. While writing I felt great.

I think that with more practice (or shorter articles), I could do more posts in a day. All but one of these were over 1000 words, and one was over 2000 words. I could mix in some shorter posts around 500 words.

I imagine that blogging daily for 7+ months made this easier since it keeps me warmed up for writing, but I also think I could have done this in prior years. What really helped was to make the commitment to give it a real test. I also think that generating article ideas the day before made it significantly easier. In the past I casually pondered batch blogging but never really committed myself to testing it seriously. This time I cleared my plate for the day and committed myself to write as much as I could before dinner time.

I could have written more if I did more writing after dinner, but my intention wasn’t to completely exhaust myself. I wanted to containerize it within a workday that ended before dinner. I wrote everything within a span of 12 hours but with ample breaks; that was sufficient for a decent personal proof of concept test.

I also did some other tasks along the way, including interacting in the CGC forums, handling some emails, and resolving a minor tech issue on the website, so technically the day wasn’t fully cleared, but I had enough space to make writing my primary focus for the day.

I think with some practice I could get up to doing 8-10 posts in one day. But I’d love to see if I can sustainably write 7 posts in one day since that would cover a week. Then I could dedicate one day a week to blogging and batch write all my posts. That would give me 6 days off from blogging every week. I’m curious how that change in workflow would turn out.

I also wonder if I continue to practice this way, will my writing circuits build more endurance, so I don’t feel as fatigued afterwards?

I actually wrote this post the day after that batch blogging day, in the morning on Wednesday, August 5th. I wanted to write one more post to cover Monday the 10th, so if I do another batch blogging day, I can do it on Tuesday the 11th. That’s because Monday wouldn’t be suitable since we have a CGC coaching call that day. I want my batch blogging days to be free of appointments, so I can stick with writing and not have to switch modes.

I do feel that my writing circuits are a bit off this morning. I feel very warmed up from yesterday’s marathon of writing, so in one sense the words are flowing easily. But I can also tell that some parts of my brain feel foggy and overworked and could use more rest and recovery. I feel like my eyes could use a break from staring at the screen too. I don’t feel fatigued per se. It just seems like some parts of my brain are still offline, as if I can’t get my mind to think properly in certain directions. I imagine that many people who’ve done very mono-focused work sessions can relate to this sensation.

Anyway… I consider this experiment an interesting success, so I’m going to lean into it further and see how well it goes.

You can be the judge, but I don’t feel that batch blogging negatively affected my writing. Writing this way is extra stimulating, fun, and challenging, so I feel this approach may inject some extra positives.

Writing one post a day feels a bit underwhelming by comparison – way too easy. I can be a bit of a stimulation junkie when it comes to creative work, so I like the freshness of this approach. I like that this could be an interesting way to push myself again, especially in terms of writing endurance.

I see batch blogging as an interesting tool to add to my creative toolbox. I can use it when I want, and I can also write individual posts outside of batch blogging sessions when I feel inspired to do so.

My daily blogging commitment is just for 2020, not something I intend to continue in future years. But I like the potential for batch blogging in future years since I may be able to write a month’s worth of articles in a day… or perhaps a calendar quarter’s worth of articles in a few days. That could create some interesting workflow rhythms since it would free up more space for creative projects in the space between. I could potentially go a few months at a stretch without attending to blogging while still providing the value that people like.

I supposed you could say that this article (2010 words) was part of the same batch blogging session, just carried into the next day. In that case the session amounts to 7 articles (9178 words).

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