What’s More Important? Quality or Frequency of Publication?

Writing or editing versus publishing daily

Dawn Bevier in a recent post disputes three bits of writing advice we find frequently in writing tips: Don’t use synonyms. Don’t write long sentences. Write and publish every day. I’m sure you’ve all read them somewhere. I agree with Dawn in questioning all three, but especially the advice to write and publish every day.

Writing is my side hustle. Most days I do it because I love to express myself. When I’m not in the mood to write I do it for brain exercise. I do some form of writing every day, but I don’t publish something every day. I’m lucky if I have time to publish a blog post once or twice a month. Here’s why I don’t publish more often.

My writing simmers in draft form

I agree with Dawn that writing needs to simmer a bit before publication. Most of what I write simmers for days or weeks. Some sit on simmer for months or even years. There were some content sites and even one of my blogs where I tried to publish daily, but they were for simple thoughts. Anything I really care about simmers at least overnight.

Posts for my City Daily Photo Blog, Paso Robles in Photos, were based on a picture a day with almost no words required. I usually wrote at least a couple of hundred words anyway. For over two years I posted to that blog every day, even after I started other blogs. I hardly have time to touch it now. It hasn’t been daily for a few years. I’d rather publish something I’m not ashamed of occasionally than force myself to publish something I know is inferior to meet a daily schedule.

Yet I do some form of writing or editing daily, whether it’s for Medium or one of my own blogs. (My drafts folder on Medium contains over eighty unfinished posts.) Sometimes I submit long posts to Instagram or another social media site. And sometimes, like today, I expand on a comment I started in response to another Medium writer’s post.

I usually don’t publish until I’ve proofread a piece of writing so many times I never want to read it again. Sometimes it’s weeks or months before I hit the publish button.

I’m almost eighty. My brain isn’t as quick as it used to be. I’m sure sometimes when I look at something I just wrote, or wrote last week, that my keyboard had a mind of its own. I can’t believe what I’m seeing and wonder how I, a former English teacher, could have written it. Sometimes I blame auto-complete when I’m on my phone, but it sometimes even happens on the computer. I have to edit many times and then edit what I’ve edited. Sometimes I still miss something.

Writing practice isn’t worth publishing

Reading, writing, and editing are all good for the brain. That’s one of the main reasons I do it. All writing helps build skill, but not all of it is worth publishing. Sometimes I will kill pieces I’ve started rather than finish and publish them.

Am I too picky?

I rarely believe something I publish is as ready for my readers as I’d like it to be. I know there’s always a way to improve it. I know my limitations, but I don’t want to publish shoddy work just to publish more often. I hope to publish the best writing I’m capable of in the time I have as often as I can. That is not likely to be every day.

How do you determine your writing schedule?

Christian, bereaved adoptive mom, blogger, amateur nature photographer, voracious reader. Married 56 years. Central Coast of California. https://barbrad.com

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