Thirty days ago, I accepted a challenge,
egged on encouraged by the cool folks over at yeah write: one blog post per day for 30 days. NaBloPoMo, the blog challenge that lives at BlogHer’s house, was in full swing, and I have succeeded at the challenge: I have blogged every day during the month of November.
*curtsy* *wave* *blow kisses* *look humble*
I blogged on a holiday. I blogged after I got engaged. I blogged about getting engaged. I shared poems. I shared tummy troubles. I blogged even when I had nothing to say. I blogged about not wanting to blog.
And after that kind of consistent blogging, I’m ready to make a few personal observations:
blogging communities rock
Without yeah write to fuel my sense of competition and accountability, I don’t know that I would have made it through 30 days of blogging. I’m not skilled enough or motivated enough (in my opinion) to be a professional blogger, so 30 days of blogging was actually really difficult at times. But the sense of community at yeah write really kept me going. We read each other’s work, we commented on each other’s work, and we got to know each other. I found several new blogs to follow, and I likely wouldn’t have stumbled upon them if it weren’t for that blogging community.
forgive yourself for the throw-away post
When you’re new to the daily blogging routine, it can be hard to generate content. Part of the challenge of blogging is to be perceptive and thoughtful about your daily life, mining each day for writing opportunities, ideas, small (or large) revelations, problems, comedy, etc. I didn’t realize it fully before NaBloPoMo, but I’m out of practice with that kind of writing life. I recently had an essay accepted for publication that I thought about for a year. Not spent a year writing. Spent a year thinking about it. That sort of long-term marinating isn’t sustainable in blogging. So sometimes this month, I did throw-away posts: posts where I just shared a poem or even worse, blogged about not wanting to blog. (Which, to me, is like “I have to talk to you but I don’t waaaaaaaaannaaaaaaa.” No bueno to my new blog friends.) All because I couldn’t think of anything else to write.
Ultimately, we have to forgive ourselves for those throw-away posts. In the long term, we’ll write so many posts that those throw-aways won’t matter. And rather than feeling bad about them, we can just let our brains breathe and try again tomorrow.
i crave writing everyday
I blog frequently, but it’s been a long time since my job has been solely to write everyday. Now that I’ve done it, I can see where it can fit into my life. After dinner, in the early morning, on a weekend afternoon, sitting beside Amanda or holed away in my office. Where I once thought, oh no, there’s no time and I won’t be able to focus, I can now see that focus and time are available if I make them available. And I crave writing everyday. I’m working on a novel (have I told you that, new friends? Yes. I’m working on a novel), and I miss being able to take time everyday, or almost everyday, to write. Or think. Or daydream.
a december nablopomo? not again….
As positive and edifying an experience as NaBloPoMo was, I don’t know that it was always tremendously valuable. Because I’m out of practice with blogging everyday, and because I wrote throw-away posts (which I fully forgive myself for), I can look back over the past 30 days and say, “Okay, some days, we did not need to hear from me.” And that’s okay.
I checked in over at BlogHer, and I was astonished to see that they’re revving up for NaBloPoMo again in December, with the theme “work.” Another one? Already? Wasn’t November supposed to be the month when we all challenged ourselves in the areas of writing and hair-growth?
The theme, however – “work” – is appropriate for me, as that is what I intend to do with my December. School will be finished, and I’ll have a lot of time stretching out in front of me. I’ll take a few days to relax and watch Top Chef on the DVR, but then, I’ll get up and I’ll work. I’ll start moving my novel forward instead of re-writing the chapters over and over again.
Overall, I’d say NaBloPoMo was a very positive experience. It was a great personal challenge, and it taught me about where I am in my writing life, and where I want to go. So here’s to me for making it through a month of blogging daily. Here’s to continuing the work. And here’s to taking a day or two off.