It always happens around this time of year. I get the itch to start fresh, to scrap the blog and begin again. Photos need updating, layouts need changing, and golly I could sure use a splash of color.
Part of this desire is good, I’m sure. It’s right to ask, “How can I make my work good and beautiful?” However, there’s one little problem that lingers at the back of my mind: More time fussing about the layout and design means less time writing.
Let me just give you a small glimpse into my world as a blogger. About a year ago, I was publishing an article once a week. I was really pleased with myself—consistency as a writer is key, right?
But that’s not the full picture. See, although I published one article a week, only a third of that time was spent writing. I spent the other two-thirds editing, formatting, calling out quotes, finding the perfect image, making sure the article appeared on my homepage screen correctly, posting on social media, optimizing my SEO, and sending an email to my subscribers.
Somewhere between the image hunting and SEO, I got tired. The cycle happened this way over many years, and it always resurfaced when I would get an itch to reformat. If I just redesign my blog, then my articles will be more appealing. If I focus on getting the aesthetic just right, I’ll be more satisfied.
The trouble is, that didn’t work in the past, and I’m finally catching on.
Toward Simpler Blogging
I’m very thankful for Tim Challies in calling out this trend a few weeks ago. As a writer, I can get so lost in trying to make my writing look good that I forget the importance of just sitting down at a keyboard, pounding out a few hundred words, and hitting “Publish.” When I saw bloggers like Trillia Newbell doing the same thing, I knew I needed to follow suit.
In 2019, I want less flair and more substance. More time spent writing and less time spent trying to justify my words with a good design. God has called and gifted me as a writer, and that gift will never grow without focusing on the work itself.
So what does that mean for this blog? I hope it means more benefit for me—and for you as well.
- It means you can expect to hear more from me and less from the version of me that tries to make every post sound as polished as a Desiring God article.
- It means I’ll continue writing about the things that give me passion, namely, my relationship with Jesus. In addition, I’ll probably sprinkle in a few more personal stories and experiences.
- It means I’ll be stripping down the design and homepage to adapt for a simpler, more straightforward blog. No more pop-ups asking you to subscribe. If you like my work, you can always subscribe on your own!
- Finally, I hope it means more community. Less time worrying about formatting means more time interacting with others online, reading other blogs, and encouraging others.
Here’s to simpler blogging in 2019.
What about “Simpler Blogging” appeals to you? What expectations do you place on yourself that can take your eyes off the craft of writing itself? And how does changing your focus not only serve you, but your readers better?