Man, it was a great month. It really was. Except for the last ten days of the month in which this entire household was run over with the World’s Worst Stomach Bug, writing daily left me on a high.
- Frequent writing is good for mental and emotional well-being. I found myself less distracted and more focused during the day knowing that I had successfully created with words the night before. I was more present with my children and less bored with my daily tasks.
- That said, blogging every single day is just exhausting. It takes me, on a good day, two hours to put out a post. I don’t have that kind of time. Other things suffer if I force that time. I actually like to go to bed at the same hour as my husband.
- Blogging is a social exercise. The interaction with readers is invaluable; intelligent, non-toddler-based conversation is always nice. However, while I’m close to being an extrovert, introversion will always win out by a few percentage points on all those personality tests and blogging every day for 31 days drove me into a dark cave where I’ve been sucking my thumb for the past 2 weeks. So if I’m a-gonna keep blogging, some balance needs to be found!
- There is a difference between writer-based prose and reader-based prose. I mean, I knew this. But this month helped me clear up the lines.
- Blogging/Writing is a legitimate use of time. These weeks showed me that I cripple beneath a fear that my desire to write is illegitimate–that it’s silly, and not responsible. Somehow having a “blogging challenge” in which I was required to write made me feel that my desire is legit, and gave permission to all the words smashed up inside. I’m displeased that I would need permission, or validation, but it does clue me in to the value of setting goals.
- Goal setting is not my strong point, but I’m willing to try. I’m still toying with how that might look as far as blogging is concerned.
My husband and I had a great conversation the other day about owning the work. I don’t think we used those words exactly, but I shared with him how in the first week of the 31 Days I really took ownership of my commitment to the writing challenge, and had no problem saying “well, kids, you need to go play for an hour because Mama needs to write” or “Hey, Babe, would you mind putting the kids to bed so I can finish this post?” I felt like the challenge was a legitimate use of my time, and it was a completely positive experience. But by the second week guilt began creeping in– “this is just a silly challenge, husband probably doesn’t see it as important, I have more legitimate things to do with my life, why am I kidding myself?”–and so I began to put off the writing until the late hours of the night, granting myself only the time after the rest of the house was asleep. This was exhausting, and the experience far less empowering. I learned that if I’m going to take this seriously I need…to take this seriously. It’s OKAY to take it seriously, my friends.
A few other lessons the month provided:
- Procuring images takes up far too much time. I’m telling you, this is not my strong point. I’m never going to be completely Pinterest-friendly because preparing and attaching images to each of my posts takes as much if not more time than writing the post itself. This is an area in which I would like to see some definite growth and simplification.
- All those other bloggers out there who do “real” 31 Days series must prepare at least some of their content beforehand. Because, whoa.
- It is possible to carve out time in my busy life to write, however. I’m staggered. Who knew.
- If you write it, they will come. This is mind-boggling to me. You set about to blogging every single day, and before you know it, your stats are skyrocketing. Readers are popping up from all over the place, and you have no idea how. Totally encouraging but a little bit scary, too!
- And on that note, the connections made with other bloggers were the real take-aways from the 31 Day challenge. It was such a privilege to interact with new (and old) friends. Thank you for reading along.
(A final wrap up to the 31 Day Writing Challenge of October)