Every now and then in my blogging career, I’ve created a buffer of future posts. Why has varied; sometimes it’s been having an idea that took four or five and then getting inspiration while those four or five were going up, sometimes it’s been deliberate attempts to get ahead, sometimes it’s been a post I doodled up but just plain couldn’t post yet because it was going to tie into something that would connect with something that hadn’t happened in game yet (since at this point most of the readers I know I have are my game group, spoilers are a very valid concern.), or something that I did as a series but wanted to space out because it was a topic I didn’t think people would want spanning a whole week, like my paranormal romance riffs. Either way, I’d have a few posts that were just waiting to be put up.
That’s when the trouble would start. I know what it’s like not to have a post ready, and to be in a complete and utter state of deadline panic; eleven pm and I’d be running around in circles because my friends had all signed off and my sweetie didn’t have any good ideas and it was late and close to my deadline and I had something like four post titles but none of them would write and work was tomorrow… yeah, not interested in that. It’s logical to want to save the post topics for days when I’m not going to be getting home until late, or when I’ve got online social commitments most of the day, or just to have one or two in abeyance for a panic day like that.
The problem comes when the deadline isn’t Right There. Usually, it’s a pretty straightforward evening setup: I’m ahead on whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing, I’ve got plenty of evening in front of me, so I figure a post should come easy and I’ll be free to do other things by nine. Then life gets in the way—there’s walking, I’m distracted by another writing project, some new webcomic intrigues me and I want to figure out if I like it or not (and hey, reading is easier than agonizing about a post or whatever I’m supposed to be writing), and next thing I know it’s close to the time when I was supposed to be going offline and doing whatever I was going to be doing, and I have no post and no satisfying ideas for one. Good time to throw up a buffer post, right?
There are a couple reasons why every instinct in me shrieks “Heck no!” at that point. The first is that it feels like a waste; if I use the buffer post now, I’m not going to have it sometime when I really really need it. The second is that I always think that at some point I’m going to be struck by the rapid inspiration that often hits me in situations like this when the deadline is Right There: I’ve often had posts that were done up in twenty minutes at the eleventh hour and much better-received than the ones I’d taken half a day on. (This post, in fact, was written on a day when this situation mattered—then stuffed into the buffer to replace a post that it referenced.)
Most of the time, the post remains in the buffer, and the cycle of panic-panic-dash-something-together continues. I’m getting better at releasing the things, though, and sometimes at even planning to put up a buffer piece and do something in the evening instead. Small progress, right?