Blog every day!

I don’t have a bike so in lieu of riding bikes every day, for the month of March I plan to blog every day. My previous monthly challenges have been about not doing certain things, so I’m excited to start one that has a more positive aspect to it.

I went to an event during Social Media Week entitled “How Blogging Has Changed My Life”. The panel—made up of high-profile bloggers from Londonist, Going UndergroundDomestic Sluttery and Tired of London, Tired of Life—talked about how they had got their start in blogging and what kinds of positive impact it had on them. This ranged from ful-time jobs and book deals to friendships, personal fulfillment and meeting the queen.

I don’t intend to turn into a full-time job but just being around those successful bloggers and the many others who attended the talk made me want to put more effort into it than I have done in recent years. Social media, whether you’re talking Twitter, Google+, blogging or anything else, is just more fun when you contribute instead of just consuming.

I started blogging nine years ago, in January 2003. Initially I blogged every day. Back then creating a post meant manually updating a static HTML page to add new content to it and uploading it to my university internet society’s FTP server. Paradoxically, as the systems I used to edit and host my blog got faster and easier to use, my posting frequency went down. My hope is that blogging every day for a month will give me some momentum that will carry on after the month is over.

This challenge is different from my previous ones in one very important respect: it requires me to actively do something that I wasn’t doing before. I’m happy that I can phrase this one as a do rather than a don’t do rule. Hopefully it will stop people from asking me, “What are you giving up next month?” But I’m also aware that it will have a significant time cost. Writing a blog post that’s more than just a few lines long takes time, especially if I take care not to completely disregard quality.

But I choose to look at this a good thing. If I can manage to spend 30 to 60 minutes a day writing then when the month ends, as it inevitably must, and I scale back the flow of posts I can put some of that time to other uses. Maybe even to other challenges.

To prevent myself from copping out and posting nothing but link posts and quotes, I will only be counting posts that contain at least 300 words of my own writing. That number pretty much came out of the air, but it seems like a reasonable length for a short blog post, and it means the final total for the month is likely to be near or above 10,000 words.

If you want to follow my output for the month you have a few ways you can do that. There’s an RSS feed, which is probably the best option if you use a feed reader. In case that’s not your bag I’ll also try to link from Google+ and Twitter whenever I post something new. I have Twitter set up to post to Facebook automatically, so that’s another way.

Whatever way you choose to read, I hope I manage to make it worth your while.

6 Replies to “Blog every day!”

  1. Why not using the most ubiquitous way for people to follow you, email? That is, set it up so people can sign up to receive emails when you post. There are several ways to do that. If you are on, they manage it for you, you just have to add the widget.

    If not, you can use feedblitz or mailchimp to automatically turn an rss feed into mails sent to the subscriber. I don’t get that many subscribers but some people just like getting an email.

    Oh… and best of luck with posting every day! I find it hard to post every week, so I’ll be watching you. No pressure!

  2. That’s a good idea. I expect I’ll be making a few changes to the site during the month anyway, so adding email subscriptions might be part of that. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Hmm… Feedblitz costs money even with only a single subscriber, and Mail Chimp is such a UI catastrophe I wasn’t even able to create a signup form. I think people might just have to learn how to use RSS.

  4. I looked at Feedburner, but I didn’t see any option to do email subscriptions. Doesn’t it just do RSS analytics? I should know this really, it being a Google product.

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