With the end in sight, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned by taking part in a 30-day blogging challenge.
In terms of the three reasons I had for taking part, my experience was mixed:
- Community – I didn’t allocate enough time and energy to this aspect of the challenge and I got back exactly what I deserved – not much community interaction. I did enjoy a BlogHer NaBloPoMo Twitter chat fairly early in the month. But I found time to visit other blogs only a couple of days. When I tried to cross-post one of my entries to BlogHer, the process wasn’t intuitive, so after several minutes I gave up. And after about day 5, I even forgot to add my posts to the BlogHer linkup. All of that does a pretty good job of explaining why I had only 20 blog visitors come from BlogHer during the challenge. I think we need a NaBloCoMo (National Blogging Community Month) where the focus is on visiting other blogs, leaving comments, creating/updating blog rolls, cross-posting and re-posting, guest blogging, etc. At the very least, I’m planning to allocate a day a week to this type of activity.
- Accountability – This worked exactly as I’d hoped. Adding 30 new posts brings my year-to-date total to 86 posts. Thanks to NaBloPoMo I’m convinced a regular posting schedule is the way to go. I’m going to fine tune things in December with the aim of having a regular blogging rhythm in 2016.
- Speed – Posting every day meant I had to focus better when writing. I’ve found that writing a quick outline before getting started particularly helpful and I’m planning to make this a habit.
The tools I planned to use worked as I’d hoped. My editorial calendar for November is full. On travel days I usually managed to schedule posts in advance. I didn’t have to use any of the BlogHer NaBloPoMo prompts, but I did mine my draft folder a few times, including publishing one post that I started 2.5 years ago!
Even though I didn’t use any outside prompts, I still felt like I strayed from my sandbox this month. My visitor stats for November show that of my 10 most viewed posts this month, only two were written during NaBloPoMo (the rest are hiking posts). Of those two, the one about urban poling was a natural fit for this blog. The other, not so much. Conclusion? Stick to hiking, biking, out and about, photography and related content.
But the biggest reason I don’t plan to take part in NaBloPoMo next time around is that balance went out the window! I let other priorities slide – even exercising went by the wayside a couple of times. I definitely could not blog every day during hiking season. Going forward, posting two to three times a week should allow a fairly regular blogging rhythm AND let me keep all the other balls in the air.
If you took part in NaBloPoMo (this time around or any other time), I’d like to hear how your experience went. What were your top takeaways?