ON NOT FORCING CONTENT

Blogging is hard, and I am struggling. Not for ideas, but for words to fill each idea – words that sound like words that come from my heart. Despite slaving over draft after draft, I’m left with a beautiful casing, and an empty shell; words with no meaning, that don’t really sound like me.

I have always struggled with writing. Not in the sense that I don’t enjoy it, but in the sense that I struggle (particularly with blog posts) to find my voice. I pour over drafts in minutes, to be left with words that, though they sound and feel like me, I can’t help but hate. So I doctor them into clinically ordered paragraphs and sentences, and make them sound impossibly perfect, but I can’t help but remember the draft that I loathed, and wonder if it was as terrible as I previously thought, because this new, impossibly perfect version, doesn’t feel so great either.

ON YES WHALE AND FORCING MY OWN CONTENT

I want this website to reflect all of me – my quirks, my idiosyncrasies, all of the nooks and crannies of my heart (that are mainly taken up by YA, Taylor Swift and Lin-Manuel Miranda) – and so I don’t want to force content that has the base of my heart, but doesn’t have the layers that make up my overly excited, overly passionate, earth-shattering ability to feel.

I think it is an inherent part of my anxiety to remove raw feeling – to cut down on bursts of passion, and make my writing orderly and readable. Yet, there is often so vast and noticeable a difference between draft and finished product, that I question which is me, and which isn’t; whether both are me, or both are not. In addition to that, I often have to sacrifice a conversational tone (that I have come to admire in other bloggers) for order, and it only now occurs to me that the sacrifice isn’t worth it.

As I said, I love writing, despite this entire post appearing as a testament to all of the reasons that I hate it. I love the act of creating. I love my own words morphing into sentences that establish characters that waltz right into my heart. I love writing posts that reflect my passion; posts that might lead to the purchase of a book otherwise left unread. Yet, when I doctor each word, I lose a small amount of that passionate, and (though my need to create still burns), I am reminded of the reason I write this post:

 

FORCED CONTENT IS NOT ENJOYABLE, and it doesn’t reflect any part of me. It is simply there because I need it, and not there because I want it.

Where does this leave me?

I am not abandoning this blog. Far from it. I have just realised that blogging is very difficult, and is not simply a case of write and you will grow. It is understanding yourself in order to write content that you enjoy, and putting thought and love into every post. And though it frustrates me that in learning to do so, my posting might be a little sporadic (though hopefully I will have one post a week at the very least) I feel it’s something I have to do.

Even though I’m frustrated, I am excited to learn. I want to find a tone that suits me, learn to take better flatlays, and learn to promote my work. If that happens to take a lot of posts that don’t make the cut, 3,000 pictures not posted, and losing followers before gaining them, so be it. I want to work at this and make it a space that I’m proud to call my own.

Despite not having the schedule that I may have wanted, I do know one thing: there will be no more eighteen times drafted book reviews, or posts that I have read through four-hundred and thirty-two times and am starting to hate with a vengeance. There will be passion, and adoration, and words that are completely, and utterly from my heart.

I know this isn’t going to be easy. I know there will always be a voice there to say, you need to rewrite that sentence, or, you need to cut that carefree paragraph, until that sentence has been rewritten four dozen times, and that lovely paragraph has been chopped. But I will try as hard as I possibly can to make my work mine. To give you the second drafts, the pieces of my heart, and not the doctored, orderly snippets.

And who knows, they might be awful, but they might still make you smile.

Why am I writing this?

I write all of this, partly to get all of this angst out of my head (so congratulations (and thank you) if you have made it this far), but also to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the need to force content. My frustration with my own writing inspired the first draft of this post, but this (only the SECOND draft, I promise), was inspired by a post I uploaded earlier today, that has since been reverted to drafts. I knew in my heart of hearts that I didn’t enjoy it; that it was there simply to fill a space that I needed to fill.

After hours of stewing in that dislike, I had a wild thought: I could, you know, take it down. Write something else I enjoy. Wouldn’t that be crazy!

I did it, and felt immediately better, and wanted to come straight back into this draft to tell you all about it, and to remind you that you are perfectly inclined to take a break – long or short. The readers that matter will be here when you return. Don’t post to fill a space, or a schedule; post because you enjoy it, because it means something to you. Your writing will sound better for it, I promise.

Thank you for baring with me if you have read this far!

If you have had a similar experience, let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading!

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40 Comments

  1. July 24, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    Girl, I am WITH you on this. I recently had to pull back from 4 blog posts a week to 1 because they were all turning into fluff that I couldn’t stand. Now I take a week to compose 1 long form post that’s a compilation of all my thoughts from the week before on my journey to self-discovery, hoping I can expand and make something of it. You’re a REALLY good writer, btw. Please keep it up :).

    • Emily
      Author
      July 24, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      That’s amazing! I think it’s so much better to write what you love, no matter how long it takes. I’m glad you’ve found a style that suits you – it sounds brilliant. Heading over to check it out now! Thank you so much – that certainly means a lot after today. 💛

  2. July 24, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    I use my blog almost as a diary of days out with the kids and then hopefully others might read them and get inspired. If not, I haven’t lost much as they are there as an aide memoir for my children. Obviously I would like lots of people to read them as I’m proud of them otherwise I wouldn’t have written them. I’m trying not to get hung up about it as then nothing I write seems to work.

    • Emily
      Author
      July 24, 2018 / 8:47 pm

      Not getting hung up on my posts is definitely something I need to improve on! I write to hopefully make others smile, but the real key should be making myself smile, and making sure I’m happy with what I’m posting. I love blogs like yours – I find the diary style super endearing, because you can tell it comes from the heart. Especially on family style blogs. 💛

  3. July 24, 2018 / 10:34 pm

    True! Forced content is not enjoyable, neither to the writer nor to the reader. Unfortunately, there are times when we, bloggers, force content to meet deadlines and goals (web traffic, brand collaboration etc). Good post!

    Thanks,
    Anjali

    • Emily
      Author
      July 24, 2018 / 10:39 pm

      Definitely! I just hope I never have to put out content I’m not proud of. Thank you! ☺️

  4. July 25, 2018 / 12:03 am

    This is a heartfelt post and I can totally relate to you. Blogging is not as easy as you think and also regarding the drafts I have 10+ drafts outstanding and have been pushing it back for how many months. I hope you get to find what really makes you happy and continue on being yourself. You have my respect ❤️

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 8:04 am

      It makes me feel a lot better to know that I’m not alone. It definitely isn’t easy. Thank you! I hope when you get to sorting those drafts, you enjoy it. ☺️

  5. July 25, 2018 / 1:42 am

    This is a great post! It’s my daily struggle too. Constantly asking myself is this too personal and fighting with my inner demons.

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 8:05 am

      Thank you! I had that with this post, actually. It’s always best (I think), to go with your gut – if you really want to share something, you should just go for it. 💛

  6. July 25, 2018 / 3:07 am

    As an INFP, I understand the struggle. My whole writing process depends on inspiration. So I try to write as much as I can in those bouts, even if they result in me furiously typing away at 2 am on my phone.

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 8:06 am

      Inspiration is key! I hate trying to force out ideas. The originality and enjoyment is worth the 2am furious typing. ☺️

  7. July 25, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    This a great post. It’s all about finding your rhythm and staying true to yourself. It’s so hard when you want to create tons of content but it’s not always what’s best for you and your blog, quality over quantity always.

    Shay x aseatwithshay.com

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 3:27 pm

      Thank you! I couldn’t have put it better myself! 😊

  8. July 25, 2018 / 8:10 pm

    More people need to read posts like this (which, by the way was BEAUTIFULLY written, we need more voices like yours), because honestly, it’s how I felt a lot in the beginning. It’s so easy to lose your voice and start to sound forced, and making sure you’re not forcing content becomes incredibly important. Loved this!

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:30 pm

      Thank you so much! That means so much to me! It’s also wonderful to hear that other people have felt like this. That’s my favourite thing to come out of this post. Everyone has just been so supportive! Thank you for reading. 💛

  9. July 25, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! 🙂
    I was uploading a video a day on my youtube channel, now I’ve decided to cut that down to only uploading on Mondays & Fridays 🙂

    Fab post x

    El

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      That’s amazing! I’m subbed and have loved your latest posts – especially your study with me! I LOVE study videos. 😊

  10. July 25, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    I can relate to this so much! I’ve gone through several times when I’ve felt like I was forcing myself to create content, and it was making me unhappy. Sometimes taking a step back and giving yourself time to recharge is the best thing.

    ~ Paige

    https://currentlylately.com

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:32 pm

      Couldn’t agree more! Even when you want to create, if all that’s coming out is stuff that you’re not happy with, a break is definitely the best option. 💛

  11. July 25, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    I totally get you! For me, blog posts and anything creative can be quite draining, even though i love doing it. It’s so important for me not to put too much pressure on myself, and just stick to what i know with small increments and goals. Great post!

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:34 pm

      YES! It isn’t that we don’t love it – it just takes a lot out of anyone to be constantly creating, and bloggers/vloggers are pretty much doing it 24/7. Not putting too much pressure on yourself is key – definitely need to take a leaf out of your book. Thank you! 💛

  12. July 25, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    Great blog post keep up the great work


    Jack Deyes
    jackdeyes.wordpress.com

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you! 😊

  13. July 25, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    Great post! I struggle with this too. sometimes it flows, sometimes I struggle. But It’s actually true that we should write what we enjoy and in a way it reflects who we are. Thanks for the honesty.

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      Completely! It’s nice to hear that other people struggle with this too. I feel far less alone after writing this. Hopefully we can all help each other through. 💛

  14. July 25, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    I completely get you. There are times where I like what I write and other times where I just write because I think I have to. Now I only write when I really want to and I’m so much more happier for it.

    • Emily
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 9:37 pm

      That’s so good to hear! I’m sure your brain (and your content) thanks you for it. 😊

  15. July 25, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Loved reading this. I’m just getting started after spending the last twenty years wishing I could write so it’s really heartening to know that I’m not the only one who struggles.

    • Emily
      Author
      July 26, 2018 / 10:09 am

      You’re certainly not! I believe in you. Just had a read of some of your posts, and you’re a fantastic writer! Hope you’re enjoying it. 😊

      • July 26, 2018 / 12:08 pm

        Thank you. I am enjoying it and getting more enthusiastic the more I write

  16. July 26, 2018 / 10:18 am

    well done you for sharing this! We should deffo only be posting when it’s something we’re proud of, or else blogging becomes a bit of a chore and we might grow to resent it! x

    G

    https://www.teawithgi.com

    • Emily
      Author
      July 26, 2018 / 10:43 am

      Thank you! Exactly, and that’s something I never want to happen! 💛

  17. July 27, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    Ah I couldn’t agree with you more! While I’ve only been blogging for a short period of time, I’ve already started to feel the pressure of having some sort of schedule with my blog. However, the posts wouldn’t be half as good as I’d want them to be, and I don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. At the end of the day, I blog for me, because I love writing and because I want to offload my thoughts and opinions whenever I feel like it. Us bloggers shouldn’t feel that we have to force content. The best posts are the ones were you can tell someone has completely put their heart into it, not because they ‘needed’ to upload something. Great post! x

    Evie x | https://eviejayne.co.uk

    • Emily
      Author
      July 27, 2018 / 2:11 pm

      YES! This comment is wonderful. I blog for myself, and even if having a schedule might increase my traffic, I won’t be happy with the content that I’m putting out. I’d rather write freely and enjoy it, than put constraints on myself that drive away the fun – that might mean that one week I have four posts, and another I have one, but at least I’m enjoying it. You’re completely killing it at the moment, so whatever you’re doing, stick at it. I absolutely love your blog! 💛

  18. simplymeSMC
    July 31, 2018 / 1:11 am

    I agree with you!! you really cannot force a contest! Relax, take it easy and just have fun.

    I started y blog 5 years ago or so, but it only this recently that I reached 500 followes.
    I also couldn’t commit to regular blogging because I always run out of post-worthy content!

    But hey, all my posts came from the hearat and I post only those satisfy me.

    You go girl! You are not alone. Sending you virtual hug!

  19. August 27, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    You nailed it!

    I love your writing style and I hear your voice in your words plain and clear. Please remember that you are always going to be your own worst critic.

    I challenge you to write a post in which you only edit the typos and grammatical errors. I think you might find the response will beat your expectations. Treat it like an experiment!

    • Emily
      Author
      August 27, 2018 / 11:06 pm

      Thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment. It really warmed my heart! You know what, I might just take you up on that idea. Thank you for the challenge! 💛

  20. August 29, 2018 / 7:49 am

    This is so true. Ive been beating myself up about not posting regularly. But I know this that my best writing is the one that comes to me when I’m least expecting it. Whenever I TRY to write it sounds so bland and forced to me. The battle between quality and quantity is real!

    • Emily
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      My writing works just like yours! It’s best when it’s spontaneous. Trying to force content never works – I completely agree. It feels like a battle that will never end. 😂

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