In 2017, as part of the Writing Cooperative’s challenge, I vowed to publish something once a week. In the end, I published over seventy stories. My writing game was on fire.
2018 has been different. Publishing has been sporadic. I’ve opted to release stories as I completed them rather than on a schedule.
So what’s better? What works?
The answer is, it depends.
There’s no question that regular publishing results in more exposure. Last year I averaged 300 new followers a month. I attributed the increase to constantly having fresh stories available for new people to discover.
However, constant exposure is not always a good thing. Followers can grow tired of the same ideas being repackaged and republished by the same person.
This year, I’m averaging 80 new followers a month. Sure, it’s less than last year but it also proves that consistency isn’t always necessary to gain a following.
And what is a following worth, anyway? I appreciate the people who follow my writing, but it’s just a number. Why is a following count the metric we always use when determining success?
We’ve all heard quality is more important than quantity. This is true in almost every instance, including publishing.
Last year, some stuff I published just wasn’t great. I poured myself into and was proud of each story I published, but when you’re shooting for quantity, some things fall through the cracks. Like editing. Or typos. Or the point you’re trying to make.
So chalk this one up to quality over quantity, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes quality sneaks through among the crowd. I wrote one of my most viewed stories of all time in a haste to meet the self-imposed weekly deadline. But should views or claps determine success?
Last year I felt accomplished. I was churning stuff out. I was publishing! This year, not so much. Except for things I’ve written for work, it’s been over a month since my last story published. The month-long dry spell felt like an eternity.
Throughout the summer I’ve sat down, wrote, and within moments decided everything coming out of my head was utter and absolute garbage. While I felt accomplished last year, there was also pressure. Pressure to publish. Pressure to develop ideas.
Looking back, the pressure might have been a motivating factor to continue writing and publishing, but I also don’t miss it. I feel less stressed. More relaxed. Maybe a bit too relaxed since ideas are elusive?
So what’s better, publishing regularly or irregularly? Like I said at the top, it depends.
It depends on what your goals are. It depends on what you’ve written and what you want to put into the world.
With the two different methods, I’ve learned there is no right or wrong way to publish. There’s no model you must follow to be a successful writer.
Follow your instincts and do what works for you. That’s the only path to success I know.