With this post, I'm completing the blog every day for 30 days challenge. It's been really tough, but so rewarding. Here are the three main things I learned blogging every day for 30 days.
1) How to write better
It may sound obvious that you will get better at writing if you do it more. But there is a reason why the challenge is not just "write every day for 30 days". There is actually something special about blogging that beats other forms of writing, like journaling.
Don't get me wrong, journaling definitely has its own merits, particularly for your mental health. But blogging is very different. With blogging you can't just sit down and start writing about anything you want. I mean, you could, but unlike your journal, your blog is actually going to be public.
Anybody in the world could go over to your website and read what you wrote, including your friends from high school, your future employer, your mentors and any other random schmo that feels like it.
This adds an entirely different dimension to your writing.
It means that you have to write to an audience. You have to write to sell. You need to be aware that there are thousands of other things competing for the reader's attention. So you can't get away with writing whatever you want.
If you just write out your thoughts without any structure, a shapeless stream of consciousness without a real clear point, chances are you'll lose a large part of your audience real quick. You have to respect the reader's time.
And you also need to realize that what you write in public is going to affect your public brand.
Think about it this way: your journal is like your therapist. You can tell it absolutely anything. But you wouldn't repeat everything you say to your therapist at a first date or a job interview. For the same reason, you can't treat your blog like a journal. You need to raise the bar.
2) Why consistency is key
A smart person once said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.
The power of compound interest is that something that improves consistently over time yields exponential growth. And exponential growth beats any other kind of growth in the long run.
If you write an article every once in a while, people may remember that you wrote about something once. But if you write consistently, every day or every week; and you keep it up; people will know you as someone who writes.
Consistency is what makes the whole more than the sum of its parts.
People intuitively realize how hard it is to do something consistently. Not only because life always gets in the way (which it certainly did for me), but also because writing about something consistently actually requires you to think about something deeply and consistently.
Anybody can write out their opinion on the most recent current event every once in a while; but it takes a thinker to write about ideas consistently. This ties in perfectly with the last point:
3) How to be a creative machine
Blogging every day forces you to be creative.
It's hard enough to keep anything up for 30 days straight. Think of how hard it is to eat healthy or to go to the gym every single day for 30 days in a row. Blogging is even harder than that, because in addition to the every day part, blogging is also a creative endeavor. You can't just force yourself to go through the motions when you don't feel like doing it.
When you're feeling wiped out after a day of hard work, it is probably still easier to drag yourself to the gym or to go for a run; than it is to open up your laptop and write up something creative. Especially considering that it can't be just anything, because it will be publicly available and your name will be right next to it.
So you have to do what you can with what little time and inspiration you've got.
There are two really cool effects of this. The first is that you really learn how to be creative on command, instead of only being able to write when inspiration strikes.
But the second, and arguably the most awesome part about it is that you start looking at the world around you differently, throughout the day.
You start to look at everything you experience with a sense of wonder; asking yourself questions like "what is interesting about this? What does this make me think of?" in order to find something you can blog about. You stumble upon so many new and intriguing insights that way.
The proof is right here on this blog. There were so many times that I thought I was really going to run out of ideas this time. But I never did. And now I'm sure I never will.
There you have it, the three main things I learned blogging every day for 30 days. As mentioned before, I found it hard but very fulfilling, and definitely worthwhile in the end.
I learned how to be a better writer, how to be consistent and how to become a creative machine. You can too.
Or can you?
Consider yourself challenged.