By my calculations, this blog has just notched its 1000th daily post since I began it on February 19, 2010. It’s possible I’m a little off, since I’m writing this well in advance so I’ll have no distractions during NaNoWriMo (I was also an English major for whom even basic math typically required counting off on fingers). In honor of this arbitrary milestone, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on being able to keep to such a punishing blog schedule so long.

I Bank Posts in Advance
Stephen King and any number of other writers say you can’t do this, that you need to set a regular schedule with a regular time and never depart from it ever. I think it’s fairer to say that every writer is different and some feel they have to work that way. Not me. If I know that I’m going to be out of town or indisposed, I bank up posts and schedule them to automatically drop while I’m away.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but the dividends include no ugly interruptions and an increased sense of planning with regards to the blog. I’ll usually start out a month or so before the coming gap and “double up,” making two posts (one for today, one for later) when I’d otherwise have a singleton.

I Fill in Missing Posts When I Can
Even though I’m pretty good about keeping my schedule, there are times when internet outages, life’s unexpected vagaries, or good old-fashioned all-American depression keep me from posting. One of the great things about the internet, though, is the ability to manipulate date and time stamps. If I fill in the post I “missed” at a later date, it will for all intents and purposes be as if I made it to begin with. My relatively few subscribers still get a notification when the make-up is actually published so they can read the new content, and I get the satisfaction of patching up a “hole” in my schedule.

I usually don’t try to do this immediately. Nothing kills the urge to post more than a long line of old posts to fill in before I can write anything new. Instead, I keep the date in the back of my mind and fill it in when I have extra time or inspiration. If it’s a long enough gap it may take months to fill. But filling those gaps–heck, even just thinking about filling them–reinforces my commitment to my schedule. But I think that even if your schedule is once a month or once a week the same rules apply.

I Find Things in My Daily Life to Write About
Writing a fiction blog as I do, inspiration is a constant need. I’m constantly looking for little things to spin into stories, from an off-the-cuff remark to a news story to (this really happened once) a bumper sticker. Truth is stranger than fiction, and the best fiction has a grain of truth to it even if you take it to a place where elves pilot stealth bombers.

Most bloggers are nonfiction bloggers, though. But the same applies! Looking for things to write about (issues, events, peeves, joys) in what you’re up to everyday not only helps you invest yourself in your blog, but it makes what you have to say more unique. Most of my “fiction” posts are real life salted with disinformation and rendered in my own ever-evolving style. And really, how different is that from nonfiction these days?

Failing That, I Try Prompt Generators
Not every day is the most inspiring, and as often as not I have to dig elsewhere to look for something to write. Writing prompt generators are great and there’s tons of ’em (I detail some favorites here). There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs and forums that post daily prompts to help fellow inspiration-challenged writers.

But it doesn’t have to be an official generator to do the trick. Simply browsing Wikipedia can lead to some strange and wonderful places, each a great kernel for a story or essay. The daily news is the same, especially international or odd news that isn’t as well covered. You can always ask your friends and family too; some of the best prompts I’ve ever gotten have come about that way.

My Blog is a Means to an End
And no, that end isn’t selling things through the purchase link, which has netted like $20 in the 6 months it’s been active. In my case, the end is to improve my writing by doing a lot of it and by doing it every day. To a lesser extent, it’s also a way to trap the ideas that I have in amber so I can go back to them later and build a short story or a novel (something that happens quite a bit). So if I skip a post, I’m actively holding myself back from my goal.

Other goals may vary. Maybe your goal is to create and accurate record of how you feel about certain issues. Maybe your goal is to be funnier and more outrageous! In either case, linking your blogging to a greater goal can have the effect of a little extra motivation.

My Blog is an End in Itself
I know that’s a contradiction. But identifying myself as a blogger and the blog as a thing that I really care about maintaining is something I care very deeply about, even if in the end the only audience is myself. If you see your blog as a means to some nonconstructive end (like fame or fortune or book contracts bursting with lucre) it’s easy to get disappointed and discouraged.

Keeping a more constructive goal in mind helps, but also consider this question. Would you still keep the blog even if no one was reading? Are the posts there because they contain things that you want to be said, that you need to be said? It’s that kind of thing that’s led me to say that even the most wretched prose (or what seems to me like it) has value. Our writing defines us, and adds to the mark we leave on the world.

In Conclusion
I never thought I’d be able to maintain this schedule as long as I have, but I’m grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully some of the things that have sustained me in this pursuit can be useful to you, or at least make for a pleasant read.