As the growing season develops, and farm work becomes more and more demanding, I need to re-evaluate the content and scheduling of this blog. I’m pretty happy with the publication schedule and content balance I’ve settled into over the winter; shooting for a new post every morning with a healthy mix of on-farm information, national agricultural issues, and food/cooking over the course of each week. I feel like it’s a decent product, if one with a narrow audience.
I’ve been able to maintain this schedule by sitting down once a week or so, usually Sunday evening, and writing up the week’s worth of items which are then automatically queued for publication. It generally takes a couple hours to do the research, writing, and editing for a week of columns, not counting the time I spend each week reading the multitude of print publications and online news sources from which I draw my ideas, opinions, and information.
Given that time commitment, though, the increasing day length and rising demands of the growing season have been eating into my ability to generate content of an amount and quality that I’m comfortable with. I have far more items, perspectives, and subjects rattling around in my head than I can write about, and blogging does not pay for the time it would take to do justice to these topics. I love to write, but it doesn’t raise any product or money; this is not a paid column. And as daylight hours expand, I find my computer time pushed earlier into the morning or later into the night. Once we start milking, that will really be true. In addition, I’m spending a fair amount of time in the background maintaining the websites of the Columbia Farmers Market and the Pavilion Campaign, both of which also suck time from the day (although I’m paid a bit for the former).
In addition, once we start up at Market, I intend to use the blog more directly as a customer relations tool, posting variety information, product availabilities, recipes, and direct farm updates. This will either double my writing workload, or cut deeply into the policy and politics content that I most enjoy researching and writing. Really, it’s the classic dilemma faced by virtually all bloggers eventually, and web-based media in general; how long can you go on producing a good product for no return, especially if (like me) you abhor advertising?
So right now my inclination is to cut way back on the policy & food writing, and go down to a several-posts-a-week schedule that really focuses on farm products and market news. That may end up killing much of the value for out-of-town readers (of which there are many), but I’m not sure what else to do given the demands on my time from now through October.
Thoughts? Feedback? Crickets?