Thirty days ago I took on a challenge to write something of value every day for a month. I wanted to improve my capacity as a writer as well as learn to write fiction. Doing this exercise has helped me rediscover my love of writing and shown me that I can create something new and original every single day. Here’s what I’ve learned in thirty days of writing.
Everything Has Value
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, there is always something to take away from the experience. Trying to keep my writing interesting and evocative led me to find deeper value in all kinds of things I always took for granted, and some new topics sent me down strange and interesting rabbit holes. Looking for new topic ideas opened up my awareness of the world and how I can affect it, and gave me the courage to attempt doing so. Finding something new and interesting to write about every single day is definitely the hardest part of this challenge, but also the most rewarding.
Writer’s Block Is a Myth
It’s true! When I couldn’t think of a topic for a daily post it wasn’t because I didn’t have any in mind, I just didn’t have any that felt fleshed out in my head enough to start getting down on paper. I found that the remedy for this was to pick a topic and run with it for as long as I could. Getting down the first thing that came into my mind would usually give me a core on which to build the rest of the post, even if I didn’t end up using much of the first draft. More often than not the topic I was writing about wouldn’t end up being what I ended up publishing, but invariably just writing whatever nonsense popped from my head would give a new topic, if not two or three.
Trim the Fat
Just writing whatever I felt like wasn’t enough for me, I wanted to write something others would read. Turns out reading takes a lot of attention, and most people (myself included) don’t have much of that to give away. It’s not enough to just write about a topic, you need to sell it quickly and bombastically. This means cutting long-winded tangents and pointless diatribes, be direct and as consumable as possible.
Content Drives Discovery
During my month of blogging I created 30 new and unique pages of interest on my website. Many people I know have found something interesting in what I wrote and shown it to someone else, and traffic on my site has increased to be more than just people I expect. By producing daily content I’ve been able to get my name out there and get more for SEOs to prioritize on google.
Getting Published Is Difficult
When writing for a real publication instead of your own personal website, it’s important to write to the company’s style. Getting published means being recognized as an author of work, especially when it’s one of the larger publications, and can be a huge boost to a writer’s career. I unfortunately have not been able to get any of my work published as of now, but I refuse to give up in that endeavor. I’m going to continue the daily writing challenge until I’ve been published, so keep an eye out for me.
Everyone Has a Voice
Writing well is just a matter of finding what interests you and how you like to convey it. Some like to be blunt and to the point with their arguments, while others prefer a more investigative style of writing, and still, others use humor and shock to capture the audience from the word go. Everyone has a way of writing that just gets them going, and having fun with it is what helped me stick to it during these thirty days. When I was forcing myself to write in a particular style I found that I hated trudging through those words, but writing the piece the way that came naturally to me made the piece both more enjoyable and more popular with those that read it.
No piece of writing is perfect. Whether it’s typos and grammatical errors, or an idea being both wrong and uninteresting, every post has something that it can improve on. Hell, I’m 100% certain I missed something in this post even after reading it half a dozen times. The eyes of my Praxis cohorts was a godsend during this challenge, helping me keep on top of writing every day and giving me advice on how to make myself better. I learned to take criticism as something impersonal and focused on improvement rather than something to cringe at. If I was told I made a mistake somewhere, I fixed it and moved on, and this has made me more conscience of my habits as a writer and the habits of others I read.
It’s Actually Possible
I was skeptical at the beginning of this month. I thought for sure that I was going to run out of interesting things to write about that weren’t already written somewhere else. I wasn’t convinced I would fail, but I didn’t expect to be interesting every day. Now I look back and realize that my least interesting posts were when I was just starting out. Not only is this challenge possible, but it’s addictive. It just feels good to get something out there and done every day, and unlike working out I could see my progress day to day from the beginning.
I think everyone should try this challenge if they’re looking for a way to improve themselves. Writing for someone other than yourself has a side effect of improving your awareness and your ability to express yourself, valuable attributes for anyone. Go for thirty days straight, put yourself out there, and maybe find a new hobby as a bonus.