My Year-Long Blog Challenge: Lessons Learned (Part 1)

By Lori Culwell
Credit:  BigStockPhoto,

Credit: BigStockPhoto,

In case you don’t know me, almost one year ago I committed to writing a blog post every single day of this year (2013).  I chose my blog “Funny Strange” to write on.  That blog has been around for about eight years and gets good traffic, but I was trying to see how much better it could get it if I put a daily effort into it.  After all, I wrote a whole book called “How to Market a Book,” so I wanted to lead by example.

I am now approximately two weeks away from completing this goal, and I’d like to tell you about how it’s been going! I will of course share the “final final” results and lessons learned after the year is over, but I thought I would give you some preliminaries now.

Part of the reason I undertook this challenge was so I could be informed when I talked to authors who “simply do not have the time to blog 2-3 times per week.”   I always suspected this was a BS statement, and so I set out to prove that keeping your blog active is something you not only SHOULD do, but that it can become something that is a natural part of your life.

Here’s how that’s been going:

1.  Yes, it was hard to get into the habit.   I run this business, consult for several companies, write books, and manage this website.  I was trying not to make excuses, so I downloaded Wunderlist (an awesome to-do list app thing) on my phone and iPad.   I made “blog post” a line item that recurs every day, and I actually get great satisfaction in checking it off.

2.  Pre-scheduling is your friend.  When I was really on a roll with writing, I found that I could write about five posts on different topics.

3.  Pictures can sometimes be just as good as words.  A couple of times a week, I put a funny photo up on Instagram.  I set it up so the photo then gets pulled through my blog and goes out through social media, and sometimes I go back in and write some thoughts about it.  These photos often lead to funny comments and conversations, so my readers stay engaged.

4.  You don’t have to WRITE every single word.   Sometimes I get an idea for a post while I’m out and about, and since I was under the gun to produce every single day, I forced myself to learn the “voice record” function on my iPhone.  That has actually been a life-saver, although I will say that I have to go back through and edit almost everything, because the dictation function can only do so much.  This definitely helped with the fear of staring at a blank screen every single morning.

5.  Practice makes perfect (or at least better).   It’s true, I was cursing myself for this challenge a few times throughout the year, but it really was a great tool for just making me write every single day, whether I was in the mood / inspired.  I think that making writing a daily part of our lives is really important, and I’m glad this challenge did that for me.

So– that’s it for today’s update.   I’m thinking about a new challenge for 2014, and I would love to know yours!  Are you going to blog every day?  Produce a book?  Now’s the time to start thinking about it!

 

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