In November, I participated in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), a challenge to write one blog post a day throughout the month of November. I found that, although I have been writing daily for quite some time, it is quite another thing to put something out there for public consumption every day.
On my regular schedule, I create new content for my blog twice a week, with regular guest contributors adding a third. Shifting to a daily schedule — even for a short time — posed a significant challenge for me. But it also created an opportunity to learn how bloggers who make a practice of daily posting get it done, and to discover if I had the stuff inside to rise to the occasion. Here’s what I found out:
1. Motivation matters
I heard about NaBloPoMo on November 1st and decided immediately to do it, that I must do it. My reason for swan diving in so precipitously: I was on empty. I had run out of writing steam, so I started a daily writing challenge. I know, sounds crazy, right? Except it was exactly what I needed. It met me at my point of motivation. I hadn’t given up on being a writer. I just needed a “boss” to get on my case, to get me going again, to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for me to write/follow after. NaBloPoMo fit the bill for me.
2. Time isn’t the issue
This has been said a gazillion times before, and I’m sure in more eloquent ways. But the fact is, everyone has twenty-four hours in a day, and we each make choices about how we will spend our minutes. What we do with our time is a reflection of what matters to us (back to the motivation bit). So, yes, it is more of a time commitment to post daily than weekly, but not in a one-to-one ratio kind of way. But how much more time it takes is not the point. The point is that it mattered to me, so I carved time out of a busy pre-holiday, full-time work, family-project packed schedule to participate. If it didn’t matter, I surely could have done something else with those minutes.
3. It helps to have a plan…
Plotting out daily and weekly themes, a strategy for blocking out content, and methods for breaking through the writing wall in advance would have been useful. After a few days, I did come up with an ad hoc scheme for keeping ahead of the calendar. I considered what was happening during the month (hmm… something about a turkey), and planned accordingly. That was useful. I would do that again.
4. … but you don’t have to
As mentioned in point 1, this was a bit of a whim, so I didn’t really have time to plan it all out. And in some ways, that was better, or at least not awful. I realized (remembered) I could write on demand. My friend Andrew Lazo told me something Bono once said, “You write about what’s going on… and when nothing’s going on, you write about that.” So I did. One Saturday night mid-way through the month, I drew a blank. So I typed the first thing that came to mind: “I don’t know what to say.” And then I wrote several paragraphs that connected in a profound way with a few of my readers. And that was nice. So, thanks for that, Lazo (and Bono)!