What I Learned From Blogging Every Day In November
Today is the last day of my 30-day blogging challenge. I set out to write and publish on my website every day in November. Some days, this was easy. I had a concept, I scribbled down an outline, then cranked out a blog in twenty minutes. Other days I realized at 11pm that I hadn’t written anything for the day, and I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep. I stayed up and wrote anyway.
Overall, this was a fantastic experience. Here are the main things I learned by doing this.
I got a lot better at writing.
I don’t think I “became a better writer” but I got a lot better at writing. That is to say, I learned to state my opinion instead of qualifying it with “in my experience” and “often times”. It’s my blog. It’s all my experience. I also got better at saying things right the first time. Instead of dancing around an idea for two paragraphs and then cutting it down later, I got better at stating my ideas in three sentences the first time.
I realized it’s easier to do something every day than once a week.
We don’t need to floss every day. Realistically, we only need to floss every five or six days. I know this because each time I go to the dentist they ask me if I floss every day. I tell them “about two times a week” and they say “oh that’s fine”. They tell everyone to floss every day because it’s easier to floss every day than it is to remember to floss every five days. It’s the same with writing. It’s the same with anything. If we can make a daily habit of our goals, we’ll be much more likely to achieve them than if we try to work on them once a week. Technically, doing something once a week is easier, but when it comes down to it, doing something once a day is actually easier.
I learned to be a professional and show up anyway.
Seth Godin often expounds on the idea that creative people let themselves off the hook. Doctors, and pilots, and baristas all have to show up and do their job, even if they don’t feel like it. Meanwhile, creative people only produce when they’re in the mood, or when they have a muse. In his new book, This Is Marketing, Seth says, “If all you do is follow your (make-believe) muse, you may discover that the muse is a chicken, and it’s steering you away form the important work. And if the authentic you is a selfish jerk, please leave him at home.” I want to avoid the experience-focused trap of only creating when I am feeling it. I want to show up day in, and day out, and get better at my craft. Even if Reese has nothing compelling to say, he’ll find something compelling to say.
I achieved a lot this month.
I had almost 600 different people visit my site in the 11 months of 2018 that we’ve experienced so far. A third of them visited in November. If I keep writing and this trend continues, I could have almost 2500 unique visitors in 2019.
I wrote twelve thousand, four hundred and eighty two words. 12,482! All those little posts sure added up. If I did this for two or three more months, I’d be within spitting distance of a full length book. Writing a book no longer seems like an impossible vapory idea. That’s a great discovery.
I think I’ve realized that blogging every day in this format is not something I want to continue doing in December. However, committing to another daily discipline next month is something I do want to continue. The learning curve I’ve climbed over the past 30 days has been amazingly insightful. I want to do 30-day challenges like this more often. What’s next? Running? Creating videos? Writing songs? Networking? Drawing?
I’m not sure yet. Tonight, I’m spending the evening alone to relax, enjoy content that’s already been made, and figure out what’s next.