(Warning: Meta-content ahead.)
I feel guilty when I go a day without posting, and I’m not the only one. My friend Mark Riebling says that he considers skipping a day on his blog a moral failure, which gives him a lot to answer for, although in Mark’s defense he has book contracts to fulfill and a full-time job to hold down. Say what you like about Bill Buckley’s writing — the man, well into his 70s, still hies himself to the keyboard seven days a week to knock out the daily theme. We can all admire him for that, if nothing else.
Now why should I feel guilty when I don’t blog? Why, when my girlfriend comes home from work and asks, “Did you blog today?” do I feel compelled to mumble something about “working on a couple big posts,” all the while feeling cut to the quick?
It’s not as if I owe my readers anything. Don’t get me wrong: I love, I positively adore, every last one of you, but you get what you pay for, after all. Character is habit, as Aristotle says, and the task is the thing. You set yourself to write a blog. Mirabile dictu, a few people come to read it, but that’s beside the point. Maybe other bloggers are different, but I would feel the same way if I resolved to a keep a journal and then didn’t write in it every day (and I have) or if I tried to put up a shelf or assemble a piece of furniture and wound up punching some holes where none should have been (and I have). It doesn’t matter if nobody reads the journal or sees the holes. You know the holes are there, and it bothers you, or it should.
So will I be posting every day? Not necessarily. Poor Brian Micklethwait must rue the day he made that deal with the devil, although he has kept his end up impressively, if imperfectly, considering he runs another blog and contributes to a few more into the bargain. But I do promise you this: I will be wracked with guilt on the days I don’t.