Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, is a festival of blogging, a celebration of content creation of the written word variety, and a community-building activity for people participating in a medium that many consider to be dying or already dead. Although Blaugust awards are granted for established blogs who put out at least five posts during the month of August, I’ve set my sights on the Rainbow Diamond award, and am planning a post per day for the entire month.
Whether this is your first time participating in Blaugust or you’re a grizzled veteran with many years and badges under your belt, if you’re going all in and aiming for 31 posts in 31 days, the next few weeks are probably going to feel a little bit rough. Some of us struggle with even small disruptions to our schedules and routines, and – at least for me – this requires more dedication than I normally give to my blog.
Personally, I like to offset some of that by laying myself a strong foundation, but I’m a planner by nature. Other people will take one look at my prep work and dismiss it as being entirely too restrictive, and for them it very likely would be. There’s just too many types of people for me to give you a “one size fits all” strategy. What I can do, however, is give some pretty general advice that might make it easier to identify and avoid your personal pitfalls.
Set A Reasonable Goal for Your Life
While it’s true that some people thrive when they have something to keep them occupied for every waking hour, for most people, this is the bullet train to burn out. If you’re already struggling to find time for yourself after taking care of all of your must-do’s, chasing rainbow diamond might not be in the cards for you this year, and that’s okay. If you still feel like it’s something you need to strive for, then your other option is to figure out what else in your life is somewhat less mandatory for the next month.
Maybe it’s worth it to you to give up a standing social engagement for a few weeks. Maybe you have a supportive spouse that can pick up a little extra housework, allowing you time to write. Maybe you already know exactly how to steal back an hour every day (or a larger block of time a couple times a week).
But if not, there’s nothing wrong with choosing an easier load this time. It always feels better to exceed your expectations than to fall short. You might also choose to focus less on the raw output and more on the community building aspects by knocking out a handful of Blaugcheivements instead of measuring your success strictly by post count.
Take the framework of Blaugust, and figure out how you need to adapt it to fit your life. You absolutely get to do that.
Give Your Inner Critic A Month Off
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “Good, fast, and cheap – pick two” but you might be wondering how it applies to what I’m talking about here. Well, for most folks, when it comes to writing a blog, you get slightly different options. Of course, one of your three options is still good (in other words, high quality posts), but the other two are frequency of posts and reasonable time investment. Since what constitutes a reasonable time investment is completely subjective, it might not be impossible to ever have all three, but it’s a really hard road, and ideally, you don’t want to be hating your blog or yourself before the end of the month.
Unless you’re relying on your blog to make money that you need to survive (and if you do, you probably already dedicate more time and energy to it than your average blogger), if you really want to make sure you’re hitting your post counts, and you’ve already set aside as much time as you are able to, then you should get comfortable with the idea of the quality of your content taking a small hit this month.
Now, I’m not saying you should subvert the whole concept and post a single word or sentence and call it a post (although sometimes subversion can be just as much work and outrageously interesting). But if you only have time to write or to edit, let it fly unedited. Don’t hesitate to post a fluff piece or two. Skip the pictures if you need to. Toss off a stream of consciousness post that doesn’t fit under your typical content umbrella. Give your thoughts on one of these philosophical questions. Write a quick paragraph or two based on one of the available prompts, or find one of those “blogger award” questionnaires to answer. I promise you, the world won’t end.
As a recovering perfectionist, I realize that this might seem scandalous. In fact, a year ago, I would never have given this advice. But what I took away from Blaugust 2021 was that none of us should be letting the idea of perfect be the reason we can’t reach our goals.
It probably was never going to be perfect anyway.
Be Kind to Yourself and Your Work
I’m going to be blunt: when you break everything down, there’s only three good reasons to do a thing. The first, because we live in a capitalist hellscape, is if it makes you money because you need money to survive. So again, this is where this post really isn’t for the bloggers (and I know they’re out there) for whom this is a job, be that a primary income source or a supplementary but necessary one.
So if you’re not writing for financial rewards, you’re likely doing it for one of the next two reasons: either because it brings you satisfaction, or because it brings you joy. The luckiest folks among us have things in their life that bring them satisfaction, joy, and money, but for most of us, we settle for one or two at a time. On my best days, blogging brings me both satisfaction and joy, but it’s rare that put in the effort and I don’t get at least one or the other. When it is no longer serving me in either capacity, I do something else until I miss it. So far, I’ve kept on coming back sooner or later.
If, during Blaugust or at any other time, you realize you’re banging your head against the wall and you’re not making money, or feeling good about what you’re doing in one way or the other, well, then it’s time to either release some pressure or stop entirely. Winning – whatever that means to you – is never going to be more important than having an outlet for your voice, and if you let your ambition kill your love of blogging, then we have all lost a little bit too.
If you find yourself starting to dread opening up your blogging software of choice, please quit before you hate it. There are already too many things we have to do in this life. I’m giving you explicit permission to only do it as long as you are excited about it.
As an added bonus, feel free to make an entire post giving your absolute best piece of advice about blogging in particular, writing in general, or avoiding burn out. You know, just in case you need a topic because you’re planning to do a lot of posting this month or something.