400. The Five Stages of Blogging, and Other TMTF Trivia

TMTF will be taking a three-week break, during which it shall republish old posts on its usual schedule. The blog shall return with new content on November 30!

Today we celebrate four hundred posts on TMTF with a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the Five Stages of Blogging.

These describe the creative process experienced by people who write blogs. (They are unrelated to the Kübler-Ross model and its five stages of grief.) Of course, some bloggers may experience more than five stages. Some may experience fewer. The stages may vary from person to person. After all, every blogger is unique!

In writing posts for this blog, I have experienced five distinct stages. The easiest posts took only one or two, whereas the most difficult ones demanded all five.

In this extra-long and extra-special blog post, we’ll take a quick look at the Five Stages of Blogging. (This post took me through all of them.) Then I’ll share a few bits of TMTF trivia before concluding with grateful acknowledgements and a couple of announcements.

Here we go!

Blogging Stage One: Optimism

Blogging Stage 1, OptimismI enjoy thinking of ideas for new blog posts. It’s the effortless part of blogging: the deceptively easy warm-up to sitting down and, y’know, actually writing something.

Blogging Stage Two: Annoyance

Blogging Stage 2, AnnoyanceAt some point, I struggle to translate the exciting ideas in my head to words on a computer screen. Ideas are elusive. They don’t like to be pinned down. Sometimes, when written down, ideas change and grow in alarming ways. This is sometimes an amazing thing to see—except that by “sometimes” I mean “roughly 0.086% of the time.” It’s usually just annoying.

Blogging Stage Three: Frustration

Blogging Stage 3, FrustrationAt some point, annoyance escalates to frustration. I scowl at my laptop, mutter under my breath, brew another pot of coffee, and wish I had chosen a better hobby than blogging. I could have been a cyclist or amateur voice actor, after all. TMTF was an awful idea. At any rate, whatever post I’m trying to write is clearly a stinker. I should really just give it up.

Blogging Stage Four: Depression

Blogging Stage 4, DepressionFrustration darkens to depression, anguish, and bitter regret.

“I just… I just wanted to have a blog, y’know? I didn’t ask for this. This is impossible. I’ve put so much time and stuff, y’know, into this post, this one flipping post, man, and it’s a mess. It’s such a mess.

“Even if I fix it, and I’m not sure I can, it’ll take hours. Hours wasted, man, for one flipping blog post. Then I’ll write another post, and another post, and another flipping post. It never ends. Nothing new under the sun. It’s like that poem, y’know, about the mariner and the albatross. ‘Day after day, day after day, we stuck, no breath nor motion, as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.’ I’m stuck, man. This blog is my albatross.”

Then I stare into my empty coffee cup, crying on the inside.

Blogging Stage Five: Talking to Plush Toys

Blogging Stage 5, Talking to Plush ToysI can’t afford counseling. Don’t judge me.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About TMTF (but Were Afraid to Ask)

Moving on, here are a few pieces of TMTF trivia in celebration of four hundred posts.

  • This blog was inspired by Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like. His blog used humor to say meaningful things about culture, religion, and side hugs. I wanted to do the same kind of thing as Acuff, but with less hugging and more coffee jokes. I also wanted to build an audience (or as the publishing biz calls it, a platform) for my novel. Although the novel bombed, TMTF has stuck around.
  • At first, I treated blogging the way I treated creative writing. I constantly fussed and tweaked and revised, going so far as to edit old posts long after their release. It took me time to realize that a blog isn’t really a work of art, but a journey. Blog posts are footsteps. They represent a writer’s changing experiences, moods, beliefs, and opinions. Instead of worrying about the past, a blogger should keep moving forward.
  • For every hundred posts on this blog—not counting Geeky Wednesdays and creative writing—I try to do something extra-special. The hundredth post coincided with the release of my ill-fated novel. For the two hundredth post, I collaborated with Kevin McCreary (video and podcast producer) on an EPIC RAP BATTLE. (I had never rapped before, and it was a learning experience.) The three hundredth post featured an original animation by Crowne Prince (self-described rogue animator and antagonist) in which I sought counseling from DRWolf (YouTube personality and literal wolf) for my blogging problems. (The good doctor was a much better counselor than any of my plush toys.) I had planned something more ambitious for today in celebration of four hundred posts, but as Robert Burns reminds us, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” (Translation: Stuff happens.)
Frolicking

I love collaborating with creative people!

  • The format of this blog has changed gradually over time. (I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive about it, actually.) In a recent experiment, I’ve put key points in bold type in an attempt to make this blog more accessible. The idea is to let readers skim through blog posts, reading only the bold text and getting abbreviated versions. I’m honestly not sure how well this is working, and I could really use some feedback. Does the bold text help? Is it annoying? Distracting? Let me know in the comments!
  • My jokes about typewriter monkeys, as well as the name Typewriter Monkey Task Force, began on September 10, 2010 in an email to my family. My monkeys quickly became a running joke. When I decided to start a blog, I settled on typewriter monkeys as a consistent motif. It’s nice to have someone to blame when things go wrong.
TMTF clean (paper)

My dad, God bless him, handles most of the original art for this blog—monkeys and all.

Grateful Acknowledgements and Obligatory Threats

Speaking of typewriter monkeys, I have a few words for my blogging assistants, who have just set fire to a corner of my desk. These words aren’t appropriate for this blog, however, so I’ll have to settle for threats: If you monkeys don’t start behaving and put out that fire right this instant, I will end your employment and donate you to the zoo. I mean it this time.

Besides my usual threats, I guess I owe my dirty dozen a reluctant thank-you. Here’s to you, Sophia, Socrates, Plato, Hera, Penelope, Aristotle, Apollo, Euripides, Icarus, Athena, Phoebe, and Aquila. Thanks for working on my blog. I love you guys. At any rate, I’m trying.

As always, I owe my readers many thanks for their support and encouragement. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, liking posts here or on Facebook, writing guest posts, taking part in Be Nice to Someone on the Internet Day, and generally being wonderful. I appreciate every one of you.

You are awesomeSpecial thanks to my parents for their support over the years. My dad deserves an extra round of thanks for all the kind emails and monkey pictures. Thank you, old man. Special thanks also to JK Riki for being the most thoughtful and supportive reader in the history of people who read things. Seriously, JK, thank you.

As always, as I write about Disney villains, chain mail bikinis, and other nonsense, soli Deo gloria—to God be glory.

What Next?

TMTF will be taking a three-week break, during which I will republish old posts on its usual schedule. The blog shall return with new content on November 30!

In other news, TMTF will sponsor a Christmas fundraiser this December for charity! I’m still working on the details, but it will be very similar to last year’s fundraiser, with donor rewards and whatnot. I’m open to suggestions for rewards and fundraising, so feel free to share ideas via Twitter or the Contact page. I’ll release more information about the Christmas fundraiser at the end of this month.

We’ll be back!

11 thoughts on “400. The Five Stages of Blogging, and Other TMTF Trivia

  1. I like having key points in bold. But, to paraphrase Syndrome, if everything is bold then nothing is bold. I’d suggest a maximum of one sentence per paragraph or 20% of the word count per paragraph, whichever is less.

  2. First, your coffee mugs are *ON POINT* (I hear the kids say that and I only assume it means that they are fantastic) but what is that beige colored thing you have in your coffee pot? It concerns me. Maybe you should schedule more time with your plush toys.

    Second, I like the bold. It makes things easier to read I think.

    Third, thanks to you, and although I have never IRL met him, I’m a fan of JK Riki’s fanness. He’s got to be the most encouraging and optomistic person in the world. I’m assuming these things since, as I said, I have never met him, so I am allowed to internet-pedastol him.

    Fourth, I loved your book. Always have, always will. I recommend it to people all the time.

    Fifth, (wow I didn’t realize I had this much to say until I started just saying things… sorry), YES to the process. over. and. over.

    • First, I do rather like my coffee cups. (Heaven knows I use ’em often enough.) The beige-colored ring at the bottom of my coffeepot is some sort of discoloration from the burner, I think. It’s an old pot.

      Second, thanks for the feedback!

      Third, JK is an awesome dude. I have yet to meet him in real life, but he’s done so much to support this blog, from sharing encouragements to helping out with image editing. I owe him a lot. As it happens, I was a fan of his work before he read my blog, so I could hardly believe it when he began supporting TMTF!

      Fourth, thanks so much for your kind words about my book. You’re very sweet. 🙂 I want to rewrite it, and to write its sequels, but I can’t seem to find time for both blogging and creative writing. I’ll finish that story someday, I hope.

      Fifth, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who finds the blogging process challenging. 😛

  3. DAW, YOU GUUUUUUUUUUUYS. Making me feel all warm and ego-bloated inside! 😛

    Ha ha, oh, you just happened to meet me at the right time. If God hadn’t changed my heart, you would not be singing such praises now. As a matter of fact, just give Him the credit, yeah? I’m just finally getting onto His plan instead of my own, and it’s a fantastic one. 🙂

    Ah, 400 posts! What shall I say about this milestone of TMTF?

    I am so blessed to have found this amazing little site not even a year ago. I remember with fondness that I discovered it while you were on one of your hiatuses, and that allowed me to go through and read literally every single thing you ever wrote here. Good times. I enjoyed every minute.

    Then that magical thing happened where you had written a book, and for some reason I realized then I could totally write a book, even though I had always had that dream. I don’t understand exactly why that crystallized the way it did, but I guess I’ll chalk it up to The Big Guy again for putting an amazing writer in front of me at just the right time. Or should I say… WRITE time. HO HO! (I’m not sorry.)

    I have said it before, and will continue until you are so sick of hearing it that you shove me into a ditch and tell me to leave you alone, but you are definitely one of the main reasons I have a first book published and more on the way. For that I will be always grateful. When you get to heaven and God is going over all the stuff you could have done better in this life, as He does with us all, make sure you point out that little note in the big book and mention how much you helped me.

    And, like any good criticism sandwich, I’ll toss the critical part in the middle here: Go easy on the bolding, ha ha. It’s more of a distraction that a help. Just use it on your major points, maybe twice or thrice a post. I know it’s a popular thing with bloggers, but it’s best in moderation, I think.

    I shall end with a quote by C.S. Lewis, who is a favorite of all who frequent this blog, I believe. It seems fitting at the 400th post, as we look forward to the next 400:

    “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    (PS. This is also a great example of why you should leave Book 1 as it is and just dive into Book 2 so your fans can read what happens next instead of waiting, which is torture for us. 😉 )

    • “WRITE time.” Ow… your pun physically hurt me.

      On a less painful note, I shall be forever glad that you found inspiration in my little book. I’m thankful that good came of it after all.

      I’m thinking of using bold type less frequently, but probably more than two or three times per post. I have to squeeze the most out of my black ink budget, after all. 😉

      I award you ten bonus points for quoting C.S. Lewis.

      As for my little book: I feel the need to rewrite Book 1, if only to give 2 and 3 a better foundation. If I ever get around to writing this thing, I’m going to do it right… or “do it write,” as SOMEONE AROUND HERE would say. 😛

      • Did you ever consider perhaps the best things are built on shaky foundations? I do believe a certain three-times-denier was the rock upon which the church was built. Just sayin’. 😉

        • Someone once told a little story about wise and foolish builders who built on good and bad foundations, respectively. As I recall, it worked out better for the builder with the good foundation. 😉

          • Bah, your foundation is fine. You’re worrying that it isn’t perfect, not remembering that nothing but God is. 😛 He will use anything. Any foundation. Good, bad, somewhere in the middle. The key is to trust in that, and in Him, instead of ourselves.

            But I won’t argue. It’s your book, we’re just your fans, weeping and gnashing our teeth that the adventure has not yet continued…

            Such weeping…

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