I initiated a 28 Day Blogging Challenge on Feb 15th in my NessLabs community, and was delighted when a dozen or so people wanted to participate. The idea was to write and publish a post on our blogs every single day. To be honest, I was inspired to do this by a paid blogging challenge, Ship30for30, which charges $200 to participate in their monthly challenge. I was thinking, why do I need to pay for the challenge? Why can’t I find accountability partners for free?
Initially, I viewed the challenge as a way to motivate myself to publish content on my blog, and it absolutely worked! I missed a few days of posting. I don’t even know why — I’ve also been working on a photography class and a twice monthly newsletter, so perhaps I just ran out of time. This past week my mother-in-law died (non-Covid related), and there were a few days I just didn’t feel like writing.
As part of my new kinder, gentler approach to myself, I’ve been okay with that, with my not actually fulfilling the requirements of the challenge. I still wrote twenty-three blog posts! Given that the previous twenty-three blog posts on my website took me four years to write, I’d say that’s a huge success!
Another goal I had with the 28 Day Blogging Challenge was for us participants to cross-promote each other, by commenting on each other’s posts on Twitter and so on, like the Ship30for30 group does. Ship30for30 says on their website, “Writing weekly blog posts is the worst thing you can do your first year of writing. Slaving over a hot keyboard just to publish something that six people (three of which are your family members) will read? No thanks!” That seemed like a pretty convincing argument to me!
However, the 28 Day Blogging Challenge wasn’t well suited for cross promotion. Initially, some of us posted our new posts on Twitter and others would comment, but it ended up feeling really self-promotional to post your own blog posts. Ship30for30 uses the Twitter platform for content, i.e., the mini blog post publishing happens on twitter threads, so it’s easy to comment on everyone’s posts and get the buzz going.
However I’ve still been absolutely delighted by the results of the challenge! It’s been massively successful in terms of motivating all of us to create content for our blogs, even though there were just a few that managed to post every single day.
And it’s been so much fun, to read the unique and powerful voices of the other participants in the 28 Day Blogging Challenge. I’m realizing how personal and intimate writing is, pulling words out of thin air to try to communicate ideas and feelings that you have. We’re all so different, we’re at different places in our life journeys, and yet we share this love of words, and this desire to communicate and express ourselves. And when you have to do it every single day (theoretically), it’s really interesting to see where people’s minds go.
More important than creating the content — which, as Ship30for30 noted, may not even be read — is that blogging regularly reconnected me to my writing voice. I loved to write as a child, I loved words, they way they could conjure worlds into being or reach through time and space to connect with others — to comfort or inspire or entertain or share. Plus it’s a way to sort out your thoughts and impressions, to understand yourself better.
Because the participants in the challenge are from all around the world, it was pretty much impossible to set up a coworking time for everyone. That would have been nice I think, to cowork with them, maybe a little chit chat before settling in for some pomodoro sessions. Fortunately, I found a wonderful online community, the London Writer’s Salon, that I joined instead every morning at 8 am. It really helped me to start my day trying to write my blog post. I rarely finished within the hour, but it got me started and then ideas could percolate on the back burner in my brain until I had a chance to sit down in the evening and write some more.
So what’s next, now that the challenge is over? I know I’m not interested in publishing a blog post every single day. That was really difficult! And sometimes I felt a little rushed to a conclusion, or to wrap up a post in a tidy way when I really wanted to explore it some more. However, I AM interested in writing every day, so I’m going to follow my curiosity with that. One to two hours a day, with some of that time spent writing content for my blog and newsletter, but also doing morning pages, writing short essays, maybe trying my hand at poetry or short fiction.
And maybe I’ll do a 14 Day Blogging challenge once a year, a bit of a sprint to jump start my blog each January. We’ll see!
MY 28 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE POSTS
28 Day Blogging Challenge Results (this post)
OTHER 28 DAY BLOG CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS
Anna Havron, AnnaHavron.com (life, productivity)
Ev Chapman, EvChapman.com (life, Notion app)
Haikal Kushahrin, Haikal Blog (life, learning)
James Knight, 28 Days (life, philosophy)
Karin, The Pilcrow (life, brainforest)
Massimo Curatella, Curatella.com (life, systems thinking)
Rob Drilea, Diffracting (life, technology)