When it comes to publishing content regularly and consistently on this site, I have a secret: I have a stockpile of content. I probably have enough content – if I were to work through all the drafts sitting in my folder – to last two months. I know this, but I don’t stop writing. I don’t quit stocking the pantry. I keep it full.
Why? One reason is that I’m a person who needs buffers. I prepare myself for any assault because I never know when a tornado might strike; i.e., I never know when life might go sideways. Maybe I’ll have extra client work for a few weeks. Maybe I have five projects that have deadlines all on or near the same day. Maybe I simply won’t feel well. Maybe I need a break. Hence, the buffer. It keeps me from panicking if and when those things happen.
Another reason I keep it full is that I don’t want to reach the reserves. I don’t want to live off Ramen noodles or crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I want to be able to pick what I eat for my meals. I also want to be able to offer the best meal I can to my guests, my readers and potential or current customers. I may be able to live on PB&J for weeks at a time, but my guests may not feel the same way. No, my guests deserve the best, so I keep the pantry full and my options open.
Similarly, I don’t want those reserves to reach completely empty. It’s a dangerous place because the temptation is to fill the empty spaces with just about anything. It’s like reaching Mother Hubbarb status and going to the grocery story without a list. Everything looks good; thus, everything goes into the shopping cart regardless of whether I actually need or will eat it. It’s either that, or I encounter a different problem: I buy far too much of one thing than another. The item goes bad because I can never use up that entire quantity all on my lonesome, and my guests absolutely refuse to eat another concoction involving some ingredient. They turn their disgusted faces away and refuse to come back unless I change the fare.
That final reason points to another secret: I know what’s in my pantry. I can look at it and see what items need to be put on the list. I can identify, for instance, that it’s time for another Write Right post. I can tell when the theme has been too consistent and needs to be modified or changed. I can set aside some of the reserves and focus on filling what is an immediate need. Why? Because I keep a well-stocked pantry, and it lets me know when and with what I need to restock.
Image: maureen_sill (CC BY NC 2.0)