I have a friend who has posted on her personal blog every day for 9 straight years. She told me that not every post is very long, but getting into a daily routine had helped her post more and be more consistent.
When I first heard that she had posted every day for 9 years, I was floored. I know a business blog and a personal blog are different, but still – to me, posting every week was huge, and posting once a month was still pretty good. I took several months off completely at the end of my pregnancy and during the first few months of my daughter’s life, and I was pretty proud of myself when I started posting again at all.
But I just kept thinking about what she had said, that every post doesn’t need to be that long. I began to wonder if I was approaching blogging the wrong way.
I knew that long, well-written/organized posts are critical for SEO, but I also knew that not every post needs to be 2k+ words in order to make a difference. After all, many posts on my favorite blogs aren’t perfect, but I still read and enjoy them because they’re engaging and helpful for me.
I realized that I have been trying too hard to make every post perfect. Not every blog post needs to be the Mona Lisa of blog posts. In fact, what I really need to work on is pushing myself to write more, even if not every sentence is perfect. So I decided to give myself a 21 day blogging challenge: I would publish a post every single day for 3 straight weeks and see what happened.
Of course, I chose the worst possible time to do it: in December, right in the middle of the holidays. We had 3 different out of town trips planned, plus holiday parties, Christmas shopping, tree decorating, and more.
But I’m the kind of person who gets excited about something and wants to do it immediately, so on December 9th, I jumped right in with my first post: Why You Need An Email List.
And then, against all odds, in literally the busiest time of the whole year, I somehow managed to publish a blog post every single day for 21 days.
Here’s what happened when I blogged every day for 3 weeks:
I got better at blogging
Simple, but effective: the best way to get better at blogging is to blog more, and that’s exactly what happened.
My writing improved; my organization improved; I found it easier and easier to compose a well-organized and engaging blog post.
It still isn’t easy and it still feels like work to write each blog post. But it is definitely easier, and that has made a huge difference in my daily energy level and enjoyment of work.
I wrote things that made me nervous
When you’re committed to publishing a post every single day, you can’t censor yourself like you normally would. You have to get things out there quickly and honestly because there’s no time for agonizing over the perfect, most tactful way to say something, or wondering who you’ll offend, or trying to be authentic without revealing any vulnerability.
I just had to be real and write what I thought, and I won’t lie – that was scary.
But I think it was also good for me to realize that not every sentence in every post needs to be something I am 100% okay with. If I make a mistake, I’ll admit it and apologize. If I change my mind, I’ll explain my new way of thinking. If I’m embarrassed about admitting something that’s hard for me, hey, I’ll survive. In the end, letting go of perfectionism made me a better blogger, so it was worth it.
I had more creative ideas
Creativity is a funny thing. You’d think that you should use your new ideas carefully, because you don’t want to run out. But the reality is that the more you use your creativity, the more you have. It’s like a muscle that is strengthened every time you use it.
I started my 21 day blogging challenge by brainstorming a list of 30 or so topic ideas, but over the next three weeks I added more ideas frequently. And when it came to outlining the content for each topic – often the hardest part for me – as the weeks went by this process came easier and easier.
Before starting I had worried that I would use up all my blog post ideas. Now I have more ideas on my “to write” list than I did when I started.
I was more organized
Because I was pushing myself to do this blogging challenge during the holidays, I knew I wouldn’t be able to physically write and publish a post every single day. During my ski trip (with no internet for 3 days) or on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, while visiting family, etc. I could brainstorm ideas in my journal but I probably wouldn’t be able to get in front of a computer long enough to fully write and publish a blog post.
So I was forced to be a lot more organized than I’ve been about blogging in the past. I outlined 5 or 6 blog posts at once, then wrote 2 or 3 at a time and scheduled them to publish each day in advance. That’s how I kept up my blogging streak even while I was out of town or on holidays, and I realized that this approach made the whole thing a lot less stressful. In other words, I should have been doing this all along, regardless of whether holidays were coming up or not.
I loved my personal 21 day blogging challenge so much that I’m planning on rolling out a 21 day blogging challenge for my subscribers too. So stay tuned! [Edit: The 21 day challenge is now live – click here to sign up!]