When I first started this blog, I did so because I genuinely loved the writing. I’d leave my apartment every day, look around, and think to myself “Jesus, I live in Japan! I wonder what kind of crazy adventure awaits me today?” I’d explore my surroundings while always thinking about how I could possibly put my experiences into words later that evening. It was a hobby in the true sense of the word: something I looked forwards to doing, and did out of pure enjoyment.
But lately writing has grown to be more and more of a task than a pleasure, something I strive to eliminate from my “To-Do” list rather than look forwards to starting after the list is already empty. I now write because I feel like I should – both for my personal records, which I know I’ll appreciate further down the line, and to keep my friends and family posted on my whereabouts. Perhaps this shift is apparent to the readers as well, indicated by how the tens of thousands of monthly visits have dwindled little by little to barely two thousand.
I can think of three possible reasons for this change. First is due to a lack of time. Although I’ve always worked hard to keep myself busy and challenged, this is the first time I’ve ever had absolutely no control over my own personal schedule. I’ve worked full-time jobs, part-time jobs, enrolled in university schedules well over the maximum unit limit, and committed myself to periods of no less than 10 study-hours a day. Yet I’ve always been able to arrange my time in a way that I knew would produce the best results with the most efficiency. Until now. And without that ability, fitting in hobbies that require mental concentration becomes quite a challenge – especially when trying to fit in several at a time (studying Japanese, writing a blog, programming projects, daily workouts…)
Second is quality. When I first started this site I would just sit down and crank out whatever thoughts entered my head, more like a personal journal than a public blog. But as the hit count started rising I began to obsess more and more over quality – proofreading repeatedly, post-processing my photos and choosing just the right ones, etc. I don’t claim to be a good writer by any means, but if thousands of people I’ve never met are getting to know me from this website alone, of course I want to make the best impression possible, right?
And third is timing. I used to love writing because I’d come home still hyped from an event or experience and write about it with the passion fresh in my mind. But lately I fall so far behind that by the time I get to writing about a trip, the initial shock and wonder has faded and it becomes a simple race to catch up.
So what’s the solution? Not to stop writing, of course! But since there’s nothing I can really do about the first problem, I think I need to focus on the other two. I need to put my time more into writing and less into correcting every little grammar mistake. I need to stop worrying about having big, “proper” posts and just crank out my thoughts as they occur to me. And now that I have the Photo of the Day section, perhaps it’s alright to release more articles without first populating them with photos – a process that nearly doubles the length of time required to prepare each.
Can I really force myself out of my obsessive tendency to proofread? Let’s find out 🙂