From November 26th through December 25th I did a thirty days of blogging challenge. It was a self-imposed challenge. I wanted to improve my writing skills and my ability to produce content. I only know one way to get better at something and that is to do it a lot. Practice makes better.The rules were to write a new blog post every day on any topic. It just had to be over 500 words in length. Below are some of the lessons I learned from writing every day.
You Don’t Know What You Think Until You Write it Down
This challenge helped me grow an appreciation for writing. Writing isn’t about solely producing things for others to read. It serves a purpose for the writer as well. The process of writing helps you to formulate and organize your thoughts.
I believed everything I knew could bean be expressed coherently and effortlessly. This was arrogant and flatly untrue. You don’t really know what you believe until you have to put it on paper. The process of having to build an argument step by step, and making it clear forces you to evaluate what you believe. Furthermore, it shows you your weaknesses. Writing reveals the weakest link in your arguments and beliefs.
With this knowledge, writing reveals where you need to do research and where you need to think about it more. But the process makes you formidable. After this challenge, I will not be writing as much publicity as I was, but I will still continue to write as an exercise to solidify my beliefs.
Some Days Are Just Rough
Over the thirty days, I wrote some things I’m proud of. I also wrote some things I’m not proud of.
Because this was a “force myself to just do the work” type of challenge, I won’t be too hard on myself. But it’s clear the posts where I used media or external products as a crutch were my least favorite. The ones I enjoyed the most were the ones where I was learning something new or was fleshing out an idea I already had. I enjoyed learning about the Rosary and it was great to work through my thoughts on marketing.
I learned about my faith and solidified my marketing philosophies this month.
However, any content that revolves around a book review or a list did nothing for me. I learned I don’t get much joy out of using a contrived content formula. That’s something to keep in mind as I continue blogging.
Looking back a lot of these blog posts are rough. The point of this month was to create content. It was not to create good content. That’s the exercise that comes next. My plan is to take the pieces I’m proud of and edit them.
During this month I read a book on writing content. My main takeaway from the book is the magic of writing comes from the editing. Perhaps that’s something that’s obvious to most, but to me, it was news.
The pieces I wrote this month were pretty much all rough drafts. I wrote them in one go and then published them without a second look. While this method works for increasing output, it doesn’t work for increasing good output.
Editing is essential and I’ve learned that lesson. The days of writing the post and publishing it on the same day are over.
Writing is not that hard
Finally, when I started I was worried 500 words a day would be too difficult. But that turned out not to be the case.
I remember in college struggling to write papers that were at least five pages long. I never understood how people could write so much or would want to. The trick as it turns out is to keep asking questions.
I developed a bit of a writing/outlining strategy. It’s not much, but you ask a question make it a header. Answer the question, and then delete the header. You do this enough times and you’ll get yourself a long enough piece.
Took me thirty years to figure out this insanely simple solution. Public Schools really are terrible.