My 2018 challenge is to blog 5 times a week. I made this decision during Christmas when my brain was frazzled and I was looking for a release. In desparation I turned to my laptop, started typing, and instantly felt calmer.
I’m sure many people will identify with this: seeing your thoughts on paper can make them seem seperate, controllable and managable. Having this distance means you can look at them more clearly and be less irritated by them.
It’s a win-win.
But you work in communications, right?
Right, but I’m not always overly communicative about what’s I’m thinking, and often feel frustrated at not having made myself clear. Plus I’m often writing about other peoples’ thoughts and visions, not my own.
Regular blogging would provide my own little kingdom where my ideas could scurry about unfettered.
My previous blogging activity was always put to the end of the to-do list, while the priority was naturally to earn a crust.
But it often nagged at me that this is the very opposite of what I preach to others — that you have to make time for regular blogging as part of your communications strategy if you want to develop your message and widen your audience.
So I realised that blogging more would not only make me happy, but would also be more authentic. Therefore I should do more of it.
Challenge laid down
I might have thought about this for a bit and then let other things get in the way, if it hadn’t been for a piece by Tom Kuegler on blogging platform Medium headlined: How I Went From 0 Medium Followers to 14,000. His secret, he said, was volume, persistence and consistency. Blog 5 times a week and the followers will flock.
I was intrigued by this. I love Medium as a reader for its breadth of commentary, its beautiful design and ease of use. I’d blogged on it twice, and knew I should be doing more with it, but I wasn’t sure what. But the idea of gaining a wider readership suddenly made sense.
Then I read in Tom’s piece that ‘Only 0.5% of people will do this.’ ie, regularly post 5 times a week. Well that was it. If no one else was going to then I would — challenge accepted.
Hopes and fears
My main worries were: What if it took too much time? What if this forced routine took the fun out of it? What if I ran out of ideas? The truth was I already had 57 ideas lodged in a file somewhere, so I decided to give week 1 a go and see what happened.
It was a blast.
One month later
It’s still a blast.
It’s also often hard work.
Sometimes what you thought was a brilliant idea goes nowhere once you start writing about it.
This is disappointing.
Sometimes you’re hungover, or just don’t feel like it. Sometimes even if you do, everything you write seems awful.
But you crack on.
And it’s that discipline that gets you through to the other side. And once you’re there you realise that whatever you’ve learnt, you would never have learnt otherwise.
Sometimes it’s actually really easy
An idea sparks something off, you get it down, and it’s the best thing you’ve ever written. You’re in ‘flow’. You plonk a headline on and set it free…
Whether anyone reads it is always a bit of a minefield — but that’s where the learning comes in. It amazes me that the pieces I think are ok seem to go down really well and others I think are amazing get a ‘meh’ response.
My brain now thinks in blog topics. I rarely leave the house and have no friends.
Ok – a slight exaggeration, but while it’s time consuming, I am getting quicker. And without it, I think I’d really miss it.
I’m not sure if I’ll make it through the year, writing 5 times a week, but if nothing else, regularly blogging certainly makes me happy and for that I shall always be thankful.