I have been writing this blog for almost 4 years now. Every single article has taken me anything from a couple of hours to a week.
Countless sparks of inspiration dissipated before I went through the whole workflow preceding the mighty PUBLISH button: SEO check, title, headings, proof-reading, readability, bolds, sharing it on social platforms….
Whatever spark was living in me, it went off without me being able to preserve it. With time, all this unrealized creative energy started to bubble up. Like a pressure cooker, it became hot and tense. Inside of me, there was anxiety, nervousness, dissatisfaction despite the seemingly harmonious and peaceful outer world.
So, I took this issue as a goal to one of my coaching sessions.
The big Aha
Do you know the nasty WordPress plugins that give you a score and suggestions?
– “There are not enough mentions of your SEO keyword.”
– “If you use emotional words in the title, more people will open the link.”
– “Don’t use 3 consecutive sentences starting with the same word.”
But I don’t care about the keyword density. But I don’t want to put emotional words in the title. BUT I WANT TO USE 3 CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES starting with the same word. This is a rhetorical tool, called a tricolon. It’s used for emphasis, it’s used to convey a certain emotion.
I had spent hours tweaking my text, so that it gets a high score, that it gets a green light instead of yellow or red.
Then it hit me: What if all writers/authors out there followed these suggestions? We would all be identical, boring, boxed, and unmemorable.
Yes, our titles will be compelling to click on them, but what would be the content of our words? Where’s the authenticity going? Down the drain, obviously….
Drop it like it’s hot
Now that I had the realisation, I decided:
- I will let go of SEO – I write for my own amusement and for other humans, not for search engines.
- I will not make the WordPress plugins happy at the cost of my precious time and energy.
- I will create a distraction-free writing environment that allows for playfulness and creativity.
I had to rebel against my own tendency to tick the boxes, to get a high score. The price is too high: not only the time spend, but also the authenticity, and all the thoughts and impulses that evaporate, cos’ I don’t have the energy to comply with all the stupid blogging rules.
Now I write this text in a simple Text Editor in one single breath. Grammar mistakes, dead ends, and all. Then I copy and paste it into bare-bones WordPress New Post editor where I edit. All the plugins are disabled and out of sight. It’s only me, the keyboard and the screen. The perfect trisome.
A blog post without a picture
I published a post without a header picture for the first time in the history of this blog. For you, it might sound like it’s not a big deal, but for me it was. For all the previous 91 posts I had meticulously found the matching picture. I had chosen and designed the right outline, put the right text, added it to the article, etc.
Was my message any lesser without a header picture? It was for sure less catchy. But what would I rather have:
A) an imperfect blog post or
B) release of creative energy despite the imperfection?
B. Always B.
I embrace fully the release of the creative energy that’s bubbling inside of me. All the rest will come into place. As the missing header image came into place, only a few days later.
Back to you
What are you over-engineering? In what ways are you subconsciously sabotaging yourself? Can you see the barriers you have put to your creative energy? What desperately wants to get out but you don’t let it?
What if you let it out there imperfect, incomplete, imperfect, and without a high score? What impact will it have?
I don’t monetize anything on my blog and I’ve never tried to attract readers. I just enjoy writing when I have something to say. I do strive for perfect grammar and punctuation because errors in those can become glaring distractions to a reader.
Kate App says
I appreciate your direct, straight-in-the-face type of writing. I’ve learned a lot from your articles on your corporate experience 🙂 Thank you for expressing yourself so authentically 🙏