And it’s over. 30 days of writing. 30 days of posting. Well, more like 15 days of posting for me. I started late with the challenge and had to do some catching up. By the 19th of the month I was on track to post once a day.
But hey, there’s a reason this little space on the Internet is called Life Takes Over. It happens. It’s a fact of, well, Life.
I lost five days in the last part of the month to
mundane important parenting responsibilities. (Feeding my kids healthy meals does take a lot of prep time and a certain amount of planning genius, especially when dealing with picky eaters.)
But here’s what I learned by taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge:
- The more I write, the less time I spend writing. This is a good thing because it basically means that my ability to write improves and I spend less time staring at a screen littered with words that need wrestling into workable prose.
- Write when you feel the inspiration. I might have two or three, sometimes even four posts, swirling around inside my brain some days. The key is to get them out of my head and onto the screen in good draft form, even polish them off completely if time allows, so that on days when there is no inspiration or my kids
suck the life right out of medemand more of my time, I can still schedule a previously written but not yet released post. This brings consistency to my blog and satisfies the expectations of readers that I’m not throwing things out there in random fashion.
- 30 days is not a long time. Because I started on day 12 and up to that point in the month I had only published one post, I felt overwhelmed at first because I had a lot of catching up to do. But like I said in #1, writing consistently helped speed up my writing. And the next thing I knew it was April 29 and I only had one day to go before the challenge was over.
- Joining a challenge is a good way to connect with others. Of course, that’s the reason people do these things; to meet others; to create traffic on their blog; to gain a following. But more than that, I found that, because I had to come up with content every day (and let’s face it, my kids don’t always do funny or cute things that result in content for my blog), I had to find other things to write about. And in so doing, I forced myself to cover a topic that I have long been writing about but have never published because of fear. With the need for more content to cover 30 days, I held my breath, crossed my fingers (toes, legs, arms and eyes too for good measure) and hit the Publish button. What I got out of that terrifying dive was a whole bunch of new, meaningful connections with other bloggers who write about that topic.
- There is always time for your passion. I love to write. I write even if I don’t publish. I write in my journal. I scribble on scrap paper and in little notepads that my kids get in birthday party loot bags. I write in the Notes app on my phone, on napkins in the car and sometimes on my kids’ craft paper if I can’t extricate myself from the craft table to grab my notebook from my desk. But what I forget (and what this challenge reminded me of) is that putting aside some time to dedicate to writing—not always just scribbling on the run—is important for my soul. It’s me time. I sometimes need it more than a good, hot shower (and I have even opted to write in the early hours of the morning before my kids get up instead of taking the time for a long, hot shower without children screaming for me to hurry up because one or the other of them is in desperate need of my assistance dressing their doll or running their train down their train track). And with signing onto 30 days of blogging, I had to commit to finding that time. And I did it. Sometimes it was late at night. Sometimes it was really early in the morning. But I always found time to fit it in. And now that I’ve done it for the Challenge, I have developed a pretty good habit that I think will stick.
So that’s it. Experience had. Lessons learned. Would I do it again? Probably. It certainly was helpful for my procrastinating ways to be held to a schedule by someone else. And the opportunity to find and follow other bloggers through the Ultimate Blog Challenge’s FB and Twitter pages was great.
What about you? Did you participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge? What did you learn from participating? Would you do it again?