Procrastination is a killer, we all know that. I have been asked if we, the EP bloggers, write our posts in advance “when the topic comes to us.” And most of us have responded that we write the week of, the day of, even the morning of.
For the record I’ve never written my posts ahead of time. Maybe a brief outline the night before, but in general I enjoy the slight adrenaline rush of popping out 500 words before our morning deadline. Though my fiancé dreads those mornings when the alarm goes off at 4:45am.
Here’s why this blog can be a little more difficult for amateur writers like us. First of all, it’s not a personal blog where you can give yourself a pen name, write whatever you want and live in complete anonymity of the consequences. Here, we not only have our names attached to our work but our picture and bio. We can be found. We have to (and do) stand by our writing – and that comes a certain amount of discretion. Because we are young in our careers and architecture is a tightly knit community, we are wary of putting anything up that would jeopardize our current or future jobs.
“Should I write a post about the 2011 AIA Compensation Report and how low the industry’s salaries are compared to the public perception? Well I have an interview tomorrow…what if the principal reads it and thinks I’m unrealistic and greedy?”
Secondly, no one likes repeat information. Somehow my long list of blog post ideas from last year went down to nothing in less than a year. Oh wait, I know, because there are five other EP writers wanting to write about similar content! When I sit down to write I have to do a little research into what everyone’s written in the past year so as to strive to find something original. There are only so many times I can write about Mentorship before feeling like a broken record. “Get a mentor with similar interests. Schedule time to meet with them. Let the magic happen. Okay…now how do I fill in the next 484 words?!?!”
Sure, there’s good stuff that comes from writing for our little blog. For one, EXPOSURE. It’s nice having colleagues text “Nice blog post!” just hours after posting and giving us feedback while walking over to Starbucks. We sometimes post our writing on AIA Knowledge Community forums and LinkedIn groups, which in turn start amazing discussions and increased hits to the blog. Beyond that, a few national publications have even been inquiring if we’d contribute content to them. (We’ll let you know as soon as our stuff hits the presses.)
Another good thing is PRACTICE. How many young people do you know who are out of school, not professional writers, and who write 500 word essays every three weeks? Filling in the other 484 words takes creative writing skills I hadn’t used since my Master’s thesis! We’ve also got a schedule and strive to stick to it. When someone is late posting or misses their day completely, there are a slew of emails from the other five of us that follow “just checking in.” All-in-all, it’s a good experience.
So here’s my early new year’s resolution: to start writing my posts at least two days before it’s due. Here’s hoping I can make it 6 months.
If you’re an AIA Associate member, and I didn’t discouraged you from blog writing, click here for more information on how you can join our blogging team.