It was December 23rd 2011 and like every year around that time, I was thinking about new year’s resolutions. For the third year in a row, I found myself thinking I should really blog more often. I averaged about one article every three weeks or so and I always felt that there was more to say. More to share.
Thinking about this recurrent resolution, I suddenly had enough. And I thought: why the excuses, Daae (as I call myself when I need a good talking to)? Why not start blogging every day? EVERY DAY? For a year? (as some smart people pointed out this would mean blogging 366 times in 2012)
Because I use Twitter as a way to put my thoughts out there, I tweeted this resolution of mine. And suddenly, other people said they would join me. All of a sudden, it was not just me, but all these other people committing to daily blogging! I guess, like me, something in them was waiting to get out.
I started that day – I mean, why not? – and I’ve been blogging daily ever since. It’s been a month now. Minus one day when I was too jetlagged.
Daily blogging has been a great experience. The funny thing is, the benefits of daily blogging turned out to be very different from what I expected. Foremost, daily blogging daily has impacted ME rather than MY BLOG. Who would have thought? Let me explain… Here are the 10 ways in which daily blogging has changed my life.
1. From business blogging to personal blogging
I’ve always loved to blog. Nevertheless, it was something that resembled work. I blogged about marketing and business development here, and on blogpraat.com, and on Frankwatching.com. Although these are passions of mine, they are still about ‘business’. Not much ‘personal’ about that.
Daily blogging has changed that. When you have to blog every day [‘have to’? Admittedly, this is an internal force rather than an outside one] you’re writing becomes more personal. There is no time to think about your post for hours. You have to bathe the kids, tidy up, and get to bed but first you have to write that post. So you think back on whatever you saw or experienced that day, because it’s the quickest and easiest way to come up with a subject. You blog about what’s on your mind. And you don’t stop to rephrase a lot, either. You hit ‘publish’.
You posts become more personal.
2. Daily blogging has increased my awareness
My daily life gained a new context, a bigger context. I look at things and tell myself: I could write about this! I could share this with the world! There is a bigger picture all of a sudden.
I’m reading articles, looking at tweets, I see things in my Facebook stream, something happens at work, or maybe I’m just buying groceries. All those things have taken on a new meaning, they are part of a bigger picture. “Should I write about this?” “I should write about that company’s decision to do X”. “It’s funny, when you think about it, how …”. “I wonder if I am the only one who feels that they should really ….”.
3. I want to share. More. And more. And more.
I am not only more aware of what happens to me and wondering about it in the context of my blog. I’m also actively looking for things to write about. And when do, I want to share them. If not on my blog, than on Twitter. If not on Twitter, than on Facebook. In fact, I’ve had no problem coming up with interesting updates for my fan page.
I’m also sharing more about my personal views, life, experiences. I enabled the ‘subscribe’ feature on my Facebook profile. I just feel like sharing with the world. What can I say? Crazy.
4. I’m becoming a better writer
I’m getting better at writing, and it’s becoming easier and easier. Or rather, I think I’m becoming a better writer. Obviously, that’s for my readers to decide. But it certainly feels easier and more fun.
It’s partially due to a change in the way I write. A different way of putting together a story. Interpunction. Page breaks. Just a different style of writing, a different voice, a different tone. Personal. My own.
5. I’m making new friends and meeting new people
Where shall I start? How to begin to explain how many people I’ve connected with this past month? There’s the group of ‘daily bloggers’, who follow eachother closely and take time every day or every week to readup on eachothers blogs. I was never big on commenting on other people’s blogs (no time, and too shy). But I love it.
Sure, it takes time to read other blogs and even more time to leave a comment. But it’s deepened relationships that were already there and formed new ones. And now that I know what it feels like to get comments on your blog, I am changing my own behavior when reading updates on any social medium. I respond. I’ve gone from clicking ‘tweet this’ or ‘like’ to clicking ‘comment’.
I’m also meeting new people on Twitter, on my facebook fan page, here on my blog. There’s warmth, a need to connect, readyness to help and share. It’s, well, awesome.
6. Ideas are coming together
The more I write, the more I read, the more I interact, the more I share, the more my ideas are taking shape. As a self-employed consultant you’re always on the look-out for new ways to shape your future. I always had tons of ideas, but they just would not come together.
Blogging about them daily, committing my thoughts to ‘paper’, has shaped my ideas on the future. They are going from vague outlines to plans and steps and actions. Pretty neat, I think.
7. Daily blogging is my gift to myself
Daily blogging means taking time out of your day, every day, to sit down and write. As a mom of 3 small kids who’s her own boss, free time does not really exist. Self-employed people don’t have vacations or days off. I’m always available for either my family or my clients. And when I’m not, I’m too tired to do anything but sit and watch TV or aimlessly surf the depths of Facebook. So taking the time to write is like giving myself a little gift every day.
I told myself I was going to do it, so I must and I will. I take the time, and write. I can tell you the number of hours I spent watching TV has dramatically decreased. [note: I still watch Food Network in a sort of aimless way. I admit.]
8. Creativity is starting to flow
It’s not just writing that’s easier and ideas that are getting more tangible. It’s full-on creativity. You need to tap into your creativity to be able to write every day within the boundaries you set yourself (in my case, within the theme of marketing and business development and blogging and community). Actually, some of the other daily bloggers do not have those restraints. In fact, some of them write fiction! Every day.
Writing every day forces me to be creative. And once it flows, it does not stop. Daily blogging is a creative challenge! I love how that works.
9. I blog for me, not for you
You may have noticed that benefits 1 to 8 were all about me. Not about you, my reader. Funny, I know. I’m all about the other person, the customer, the client, the reader, the visitor. I’m in marketing, after all.
I used to be arrogant enough to think I could give my readers value every single time. My posts needed to be perfect. Provide real value. Have relevant, fun pictures to enforce the message. Etc.
I let go of that whole pretense. Let me be blunt (I’m Dutch, after all..). I don’t blog for you. I blog for me.
Letting go of this ‘thing’, this pretense, these demands, has been liberating. Li-be-ra-ting. Really. I don’t ‘have-to’ anything. Not any more.
Actually, I’ve found that blogging because YOU want to blog, does not mean you’re not providing value to your readers. But even if it does not do anything for my readers. It’s doing something to me. So I will keep blogging, regardless.
10. I’m letting go of perfectionism
I’m not big on details (as both my family members and my lovely colleagues will be able to confirm). Which is why I thought I was not a perfectionist. But when it came to blogging, I was. In the extreme. In fact, if you could see the number of posts I wrote on this blog BUT NEVER PUBLISHED, you’d be amazed.
In fact, just the other day, I had an idea for my daily post. I had it pretty much thought out. It was going to be pretty amazing. But in the end, I was too tired, could not get the whole story to make sense. I deleted the half of the post and clicked ‘publish’. Just like that. Unfinished. Un-perfect.
So I will gladly admit that my posts are not always as perfect as they used to be. Quality may have suffered here and there. But they’re (mostly) still good. Good enough.
‘Perfect’ went out the door. And good riddance!
Sooooo…. daily blogging. What do you think?
As you noticed, I’m really enjoying daily blogging. My goal is to keep it up for at least a year. After that, who knows. And I do recommend it. It’s great. I’m challenging myself, and it’s bringing me new friends, new thoughts, new experiences, new skills, and more.
And guess what: there are no rules. You CAN skip a day. Or even a week (when you’re on vacation). Some people ‘blog ahead’, they write a couple of posts and schedule them. Some people feel that by doing that, you’re missing the point. Me, I don’t mind one way or the other. For me, it’s all about setting yourself a challenge, enjoying what you do, and going with the flow.
If you want to join in, do! Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to post the URL to your blog so other daily bloggers can find you. Or ask others for tips, inspiration, tools, whatever you think you need. But foremost: enjoy the process! You know what they say…it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. :-)
I bet some of you are wondering about the impact on traffic to my site. Can’t help yourself, huh?? Personal development not enough for you? Luckily, I just checked Google Analytics. First time since I started this daily blogging ‘project’. Turns out views and unique visitors both doubled compared to the month before I started. The number of pages per visitor did not increase that much but the average time on site increased with around 30%. So. There you have it…quantitative benefits, too…
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