This probably isn’t that uncommon. I’m sure a lot of people come up with interesting art because they are bored. However, these days I have had such a perfect illustration of how this applies to me and I’m very surprised.
Let me share my experience.
Like a lot of people, a few years ago, I started working entirely from home. I did not think this would affect my blog much. If anything, I figured I would have more time to work on it.
I have been writing a post a day for many years. Generally speaking, I haven’t struggled much to find something to blabber on about. Now we can argue about how interesting some of my posts are but from a writing perspective, I was always able to maintain my posting schedule fairly easily.
The way I did it was that instead of reading on my commute, I would write on my phone. Usually, I would get half a post done on my way to work and finish it up on my way back home. Sometimes, If I hit traffic or there was a lot of snow and the commute would take double the time, I could get more than one post done. That way I also slowly accumulated and bank of prewritten posts I could schedule ahead of time. This means that I could relax and write on my own schedule, and it was no big deal if I skipped a day here and there.
For instance, I tend to not write anything during my vacations. Because I’m on vacation. I’m either somewhere enjoying the views and stuff, or solidly parked on my couch, enjoying a very questionable diet and playing video games for unreasonable amounts of time. Obviously, I’m way too busy to write a post under those circumstances!
So when stay-at-home orders started to be issued, I figured this would be a breeze for me. Without all that time lost in transit, I could spend more time writing. I would often have so many potential posts in my head that I just didn’t have time to write them all out. I thought to myself, I could easily write a whole post in the morning before work and another entire one during my lunch break. I get up at five, so if all I have to do is go to the next room and write, I could still start work at 6. Easy breezy!
On top of that, I could spread out the housekeeping chores throughout the week. Go grocery shopping on an afternoon, do a load of laundry on a Wednesday morning, clean the kitchen on Tuesday at noon. And the instant return home meant that I could start cooking at 4p.m. instead of 5:30 and have dinner ready by 5 to eat whenever I feel like it. That opened up my evening so much.
I was gonna roll in the posts.
And then something weird happened. I would instinctively check my emails as soon as I opened my computer so morning posts became rare. The time I had previously spent commuting, I was now just working extra hours. I didn’t feel like writing in the evenings either, so I ended up just writing at lunchtime, and I had to really discipline myself to do so!
What was even more surprising, is that if I didn’t have a specific anime or manga that I had recently finished and wanted to review, I often found myself really struggling to find something to write about. I didn’t worry too much about it. I have written over 2000 posts on anime, so I figured I was bound to start running out of ideas at some point. Even before that I accidentally wrote very similar posts without realizing it.
So, I made myself a schedule and stuck to it but I found it much more difficult to keep up with my blog than I had before. I occasionally had to repost older posts to fill in some gaps or because all I had written for months were reviews and I wanted to diversify. I had all this extra time but with the distractions and entertainment all around me, I often just found myself doing something other than writing posts. I did still watch a lot of anime though, so that kept me solidly connected to my blog and the anime blogging community. It may have been a different story if I had lost my enthusiasm for it.
You might know that I have recently started going back to work in person. You would know that because I whine about it so much even though it’s not that big a deal. Although cases are really starting to soar here and I won’t lie, it does make me worried.
I currently work 3 days at the office and two days from home. And I have posts spilling out of me. Because most other offices still haven’t made their employees return and because we don’t come in on the same days, I’m often alone at the office, Most stores are closed which means I spend lunchtime in my work office either finishing up work and/or desperately trying to kill time.
On top of that, our transit system is currently undergoing an overhaul which has made my daily commute quite a bit longer than before. Roughly two hours a day. And the buses are largely empty. This means that I can comfortably write 1 or two posts on the bus each day and still have time to read a bit of manga.
More importantly, though, the ideas are just flowing. I have been reading other blogs and going through anitwitter regularly for the past two years. Much more frequently than I do now in fact. And although I would occasionally get an idea from it, it was fairly rare. Now I go through blogs and Twitter while I’m waiting for the bus and I pretty much always sit down with a new subject to write about in mind.
It’s crazy. I find myself just rushing to my phone to jot down post ideas because they are coming to me left and right. Whereas I was writing 4 or 5 posts (not counting my episode reviews) a week for the past two years, some weeks less. I’m now up to 7 or 8 and I could go for more.
What I’m realizing it’s that I probably couldn’t be one of those work-from-home professional bloggers. I love working from home and I can do it very well when I have a clear objective and task, But I’m just not the creative type. You know the type that just has a vision and they have to share it with the world! If I have to create something as vague as a post, I need to basically be isolated.
When I strip away the possibilities of doing other things, then I focus on writing posts and that unlocks my ideas. It’s funny but in practice, it means that the busier I am, the more productive my blogging is which really should be the other way around.
This is my current secret. Almost two hours a day where I really have nothing more interesting to do than write posts. So, I write them! It’s worked out pretty well.