How I Learned to Stop Blogging Everyday

When I first started writing here at Becoming Minimalist, I posted something everyday. Maybe it was because I was so excited that I couldn’t help it. But more likely, it was because some of the blogs that I enjoyed reading followed that format. And I assumed it was the best formula for success. The thinking was simple: The more you write, the more others will read.

But over the evolution of this blog, I have changed my mind on post frequency a couple of times. Three years ago, I was posting everyday… One year ago, I was posting 3 articles/week… Today, I typically post 1-2 articles/week. As this blog has grown, the posting frequency has actually decreased.

Looking back, I can pinpoint a number of reasons why I made this intentional change to post less frequently:

1. Blogging is not my life. I still work a full-time job. I intentionally raise my two young children and work hard at being an unselfish husband. I seek faith, friendship, and family more than anything else in life and I value each of them far more than this blog. Posting less frequently has allowed me the opportunity to keep those things at the center of my life – even as this blog has grown considerably larger over the past year.

2. Results in better articles. In my humble opinion, as my posting frequency has decreased, the quality of writing has increased. I have been able to put more thought into preparation, more brainpower into writing, and more effort into editing. Posting everyday simply did not allow me the creative space necessary to produce quality content.

3. Writing can be mentally draining. I love writing. And I have learned to love it even more the past few years of blogging here at Becoming Minimalist. But it is mentally and emotionally draining. Good writing includes your heart, soul, and mind. It calls you to bare yourself for all to see. And emotional fatigue can be just as real as physical fatigue.

4. Pushes me to write something worth reading each time. As my posting frequency has declined, the pressure to write something worth reading has increased. If the next thing I post is going to represent my blog for the next 4-5 days, I want to make sure it makes a good first impression. I have found this pressure to be helpful, healthy, and life-giving. It encourages quality content.

5. Allows time for social networks to promote the work. Even in our fast-moving society, it still takes some time for influential online users to find and promote quality content. A less frequent post-schedule allows more opportunity for others to find my work, appreciate it, and promote it.

6. Nobody reads my blog everyday anyway. Well, maybe some of you check everyday… but most blog readers politely stop by when life allows, when a friend recommends, or when a search engine directs. This was an important lesson for me to learn. If readers aren’t stopping by everyday… but I’m still posting everyday… I’m writing a lot of stuff that isn’t even getting read. Not only did this understanding allow me the freedom to post less, it required me to post less (for both my sake and the readers’ sake).

7. Creates space to promote my work elsewhere. Posting less frequently on Becoming Minimalist has allowed me greater opportunity to write guest posts on other sites, respond to interview requests, and interact with other bloggers on their projects. Posting less frequently has granted me the mental and physical capacity to engage in these win-win scenarios all over the Internet.

8. Find other avenues to engage readers. Because I spend less time creating new content for this blog, I have been able to find more time to engage readers on other platforms. The Becoming Minimalist Facebook Page publishes quotes of inspiration and encouragement on a daily basis. My Twitter feed shares personal insights about my life to followers. And I use Tumblr to recommend quality articles that I find during research. Each of these platforms grants opportunity to inspire new audiences to live more by owning less.

9. Allows more time for idea generation. One of the most frequent questions I get asked about blogging relates to idea generation. It usually sounds something like this, “How do you keep coming up with ideas to write about?” The simple answer is that when you start living your life with an eye for writing, you’ll start finding ideas all around you. A more detailed response includes the fact that a simple notebook is also helpful. And the slower you work through your list of ideas, the more ideas you’ll always have in front of you.

10. Greater flexibility with important posts. I flourish within schedules. As a result, I have an ideal posting schedule that motivates me. And while I only publish articles that serve a purpose, sometimes I write a post that I feel is particularly important and carries a timely message. In those cases when I feel the writing is particularly important (or seems to strike a chord with readers), I like to let it live a little bit longer on the front page while the next post may get pushed back 2-3 days. When I lived by a strict everyday-posting schedule (or even a 3 posts/week schedule), I never gave myself that freedom.

11. Encourages e-mail subscriptions. Since making the decision to post less frequently, there has been a dramatic increase in email subscribers who receive the newest Becoming Minimalist articles in their inbox. Making every article worth reading has encouraged this response. And so has the fact that e-mail inboxes are not bombarded with new notifications everyday… cause I mean really, who wants to sign-up for that?

12. Helps me appreciate slow days on the blog. The temptation to check blog stats and comments can be very strong… especially on days when new posts are published. Every writer wants to see how their work is being received. As a result, I ask many questions on days when posts are published: “Is anyone commenting? Are comments positive or negative? Are people sharing it with their friends through social networking sites? Are a lot of people clicking around on the post?” Over the years, I have learned to appreciate the blessing of a slow-day on this blog. There is less temptation to check stats… and more opportunity to pursue the life right in front of me.

13. Allows life to get in the way. Over the past few months, I have been reminded how busy life can get. We are currently in the process of moving from Vermont to Arizona as I start a new job next month. We are working to make the transition smooth for our young children. We are saying good-bye to good friends. We are making preparations for a new life in a new part of the country. And maintaining a posting schedule of 1-2 times/week has allowed me the flexibility to successfully navigate both.

Interestingly enough, the readership of Becoming Minimalist has never been larger or more engaged. In fact, within the past 18 months, this blog has grown from relative obscurity to 400,000 page views/month and almost 10,000 committed subscribers. And most of this growth didn’t even start until I stopped posting everyday (somewhere around April, 2010).

Just to be clear, there have been some important fundamental changes to this blog in addition to just changing the posting frequency. And I’m not naive enough to think that just writing less translates into more readers. But, I do believe that writing/posting less frequently has been an important factor in this blog’s growth. If nothing else, it has created the necessary space in my life to accommodate its success. And I’d recommend the approach to almost everyone.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    Excellent, all of them! Somewhere in the back of every blogger’s thoughts is a bully, pushing. I try not to let that voice hold sway. No “OUGHT TO” posts! Enjoyed your thoughts on this.

  2. Bill says

    Nice to know you do not have to blog every day to be successful. Way to go. Congrats on your move. It should be a big adventure for all.

  3. says

    Great ideas, Joshua. Life has dictated many of them to me. I love writing, but quality is most important and it is great to let life get in the way. Then you say, hey, I need a post from another blog–let’s share. And that works. You create a network.

    Thanks for you ideas, Beth

  4. B says

    Everything is true except no.6 :-D

    Be interested to know if this is more an article to persuade/remind yourself or an explanation to your readers. I assume it’s both.

  5. says

    Well, I used to think like that, only that I have recently increased the frequency of my posts to five per week and I’m happy with the results, so far. Is there a magic number? I don’t think so; it’s all about our particular constrains and needs. Probably your blog did need frequent posts, but now you need to keep it alive and you need to keep amazing us, I guess.

  6. Steve Frisbie says

    Joshua, Here’s an early welcome to Arizona! You’ll be on the other side of the city from me, but the Phoenix metro area is a beautiful place to be. Plus, you’ll be near the edge (well, at least your job will be) so you don’t have to go far to see the more of the desert and mountain landscape. I have been an email subscriber for about five months and I do like the frequency of your posts (more often would be too often). Thanks, good luck at the church, and keep up the quality work. -Steve

  7. says

    Thanks for discussing this Joshua. We are a new blog and decided, perhaps too quickly, to attempt to write a short and sweet Sustainability Tip each and every day in 2011. It is tiring to say the least. We look forward to wrapping up the series in about 150 more days (and posts!) so we can focus more on our weekly lineup of articles. Handling both has added about the same amount of hours I spend at work to our site. 2 jobs.

  8. says

    This is probably the most sobering, even-minded list-post I’ve read. I’ve been in this frenzy of writing and posting. I always need to write, but spoken to something I’ve been neglecting: curation. Like good jerky or fine wine, solid prose needs time and a kind of fermentation process.

    I have been publishing too often. It’s spread my work thin. I don’t get exhausted. It’s part of the game, but I’m not channeling my energies well.

    “Becoming minimalist” is about finding time for relationship, family, and adding value to the lives of others. Minimalism in writing is perhaps a new frontier on this journey.

    This will stay with me for a long time. TY,
    M

  9. says

    I have been blogging for four years and post once a week. Instead of hastily throwing together daily posts to get something out there, I spend a lot of time each week on a single post. I believe I would rank higher if I posted more often. But, I am very happy with the quality of my posts. I love to put research and detail into my ideas.

  10. says

    Joshua,
    This is a great confirmation of what I have been feeling. I used to write 5-6 days a week, then cut back to 4, now it is 3 and one of those is usually a contributor post elsewhere. I am still waiting for it to all balance out. I do miss that I seem to get “more” traffic daily if I write daily, but I think it was a bit much for my RSS and email subscribers. I am also trying to carve out some time for some additional projects, which would not be possible writing 5 or 6 blog posts a week.
    Wow, good luck on the new job. Vermont to Arizona. That is an extreme, lol! I love the name of the church.. The word “journey” really resonates with me!
    Bernice
    I have a swiss cheese brain

  11. says

    THANK YOU! I have been posting a 5-6 times a week on my blog and I have been slowing down the last few weeks. It is so liberating!

    I need to keep this in mind and be more flexible about how many times I write. I think it also can make it more fun!

  12. says

    Hi, your post interested me a lot.I am currently posting daily, my posts are short. But I can see how over time it might be untenable. I do write a few at a time and then simply post daily too. You gave me food for thought. Thanks :)

  13. Nicole says

    I don’t blog and I don’t plan to so I was wondering if this post was in any way relevant to me (it doesn’t have to be of course, it’s your blog not mine!), just wondering though. However there are so MANY blogs out there and only so much time in the day to read them – so in a way this discussion is relevant to me as a blog reader. I limit myself to 3 or 4 blogs that I regularly visit and content and quality determine my preferences. I don’t need a ‘hit’ from a blog each day – just something to muse on when the mood strikes. I certainly don’t want to get caught up in the frenzy of checking facebook, e-mails and blogs just to validate my existence. I feel a reference to your post on solitude is needed here…

  14. says

    Totally agree Joshua, I have done two experiments where I posted daily for two weeks. This wasn’t to increase traffic, in fact was rather selfish as it was 1) A cooking from scratch cost experiment and 2) A Simple Eating Plan. My aim was to demonstrate the change to regular daily life. Both times I lost subscribers, the quality of the posts did diminish and also I found it tough to fit in with family life – and my aim is to have a ‘Family Life Simply Done’ – so way off the mark there. Sometimes however I get so inspired by something I want to share, but not everyone else feels the same. It’s tough when writing for a hobby to not overstep that mark where it becomes too much of a personal blog that it loses interest for others.

  15. says

    You know, I’ve been stressing myself out trying to keep up a five (and sometimes six!)-posts per week schedule. With everything else I’m doing at the moment – including working for/on others community blogs – this isn’t really realistic and is starting to suck the enjoyment out of blogging for me. Thanks for giving me something to think about! :)

  16. says

    This is great advice – thank you. I have several blogs and have been posting daily to one of them….it’s just too much and I needed this “permission” or encouragement to write less.

    Blessings to you and your family as you move from VT to AZ. We left VT 4 years ago and still miss it very much.

  17. says

    Coming late to this post just to say thanks – it validates what I’ve been thinking about my own blog. I started three months ago and set myself a schedule of three posts a week. I knew I’d never manage one a day. Even so, I’ve found this difficult to manage and quality has suffered. So has my peace of mind. I’ve just decided to go to two a week, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m determined not to panic if my stats show an initial decline!

  18. JP says

    Just another lesson about how to keep an eye on the excesses. In this case, regarding blog posting.

    Still enjoying reading the blog as 1st day -couple of months ago- and yes, the quality of every post keeps growing.

    Keep on doing it. Inspires a lot.

    regards, JP

  19. says

    Good post. I write because something is on my mind. I also write to help my clients. The posts are shorter minus any flowery language.

    Something else I discovered. Doing this allows me to focus on the macro. From that macro thought comes many ideas.

  20. says

    I share your sentiments. When I first started, I felt compelled to post daily and the result was that blogging took over my life. In monitoring stats – which I agree can become an obsession – I realized that fewer posts did not make an iota of difference.

    Thank you for sharing this article and articulating a response to those who ask: “What? no post today?”

    — Gaye

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