Today I am celebrating...
I have completed the 30 Day Blogging Challenge!
30 days ago I asked myself 'Blogging - What's the point?' and then explained 'Why I am doing the 30 Day Blogging Challenge'. Along the way I shared the '30 Day Blogging Challenge - What have I learnt so far'?
1. That I CAN commit to a short intense challenge and see it through to the end. And that despite this, and having so many other commitments during this time, I was able to carry on regardless.
- There were times I wanted to despair, because I have had so many technological problems a long the way.
- Other things got left. Like housework, but often more important things.
- I spent far more time than was needed on this challenge because I wanted to make the most of this opportunity. This was nothing to do with the challenge itself, it's more a case of me being enthusiastic and doing more than is expected or needed. This means I can sometimes fail to reach the goal I set myself because it takes me longer to get there! This is something I continue to work on...
- My draft box has lots of half started posts and this left me feeling overwhelmed. One idea led to so many others, and as I write here I am tempted to say more, but no, I will come back to this another day as it is a post in itself. See what I mean?!
3. That I have a lot more to learn! A daily email arrives at 6am every day from Sarah Arrow and with her husband Kevin you are provided with ideas and suggestions on how to become a more effective and efficient blogger. There are links to other blogs where you can learn more and be inspired, as well as a supportive FaceBook group where you are invited to share your post every day.
Some of these tips I already knew in theory, which was confidence building:
- There is never a good time to take on a challenge that is demanding. I'm sure YOU can relate to that. This meant I might be inspired to put theory into action or carry out a task but did not have time at the present. Besides which, if it is a lot of new learning, I like to gather information and then digest it, to let it germinate or go back to later when ideas have assimilated. Is this a downside I wonder? I don't think so.
- This means even more learning! It feels daunting and I will need to put on my big girl knickers, but I feel more prepared and confident now.
"Perfection is an ideal not a must have. If you are caught in the trap of perfection you’ll not enjoy this blogging challenge".
This was reassuring. Sarah also tells a classic story of how one of her most successful posts was full of errors. I need to keep reminding myself of this!!
I learnt a lot from this course but it also increased my confidence, showing that some ideas were already being used. Like making lists, or having a plan for posts. But it also confirmed that some days it is good to go with a gut instinct and write from the heart.
6. One reason I set out on this challenge was to visit other blogs more. I had gotten out the habit as Facebook had become more of a focus. I have done this, and it is lovely to reconnect and also to meet new people. My blog has received new followers and lots more comments. In fact I have been really grateful and touched by some of the comments, for some people have spent a lot of time and thought in responding to my posts and this has been revealing, I can learn from this.
- I can't think of one! Unless you count the time that I plan to spend reviewing these comments in more depth so that I can learn even more.
"I have enjoyed the variety of posts that you have done. Some very serious some more chatty".
"..and I think most of us like reading an authentic voice who sometimes posts long and sometimes posts short. So that's a win, win. And yes, I like to find out about the person behind the craft too. It's interesting: I'll google to find out how to do something and yet blogs which are all tutorials aren't the ones I add to my Reader".
"I'm with you on the type of blogs you like. Personally the very 'professional and sponsored by all and sundry' lifestyle type blogs do not appeal to me, it is the lack of connection to the real person. I might as well be reading a high street store blog.
Thanks for sharing your story AND for the links"
7. From doing this challenge I have become more clear and confident about my 'niche' and while I want to develop my skills as a blogger I like my current style.
But interestingly, while I started my blog to share and connect with other artists and creative people, I observed that these
posts do not get as many comments as posts where I share other thoughts or ideas, even though we share a common interest.
And some bloggers have said the same about what posts generate most comments that they receive.
This is something to ponder...
My posts about travel received comments that I have inspired others to visit places. Talking of murals I had posted about:
'Even though they are in my neighbourhood I've never looked at them all together like that - a fine case of familiarity meaning I hardly see them - I must go an have another look with fresh eyes'
In the same way, I have also been inspired by others. I heard about The Kelpie sculptures from a blog posted by a friend.
I also learnt that it is never too late to post something, even when you think the time has past. And there are always reasons to be grateful.
'Thank you for your thanks - there's no time limit on gratitude'!
I learnt that posts can prompt others to share or remember, and sometimes you learn that a small gesture has a bigger meaning than you realised:
'A delivery like this can really lift a day, or more. I still think often of the day your envelope arrived and how much it meant to me'
8. When I last looked at what I had learnt so far, I wrote:
'That sometimes there is a focus on developing
a blog to promote a business or product. That's great.
But it is not what I want to do'.
Well, I got that wrong!! I realise now that Sarah uses this term to include the people you want to reach out to and it is not about marketing and selling products. Though obviously this would be the perfect challenge to improve your blog if you did!
Not having enough time to think about how ideas related to me personally, because I was driven to write my blog post so I could keep up with the 30 day challenge. Perhaps this is not the right way to do it. But I knew if I carried out the idea in each email I might
never get any further. Some people do take longer or have breaks, and Sarah is quick to say there is no right or wrong way to do this. We all have to do what is right for us, even if that becomes another learning experience.
So, what now?
First a big thank you to Sarah and Kevin, who are very generous in their teaching. I have thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and am pleased to learn that I will continue to receive emails and be part of the group. Because this is the start, not the end for me. I now want to take a breather and give myself time to go through what I learnt at my own pace. This will allow me to make a plan of action and develop the skills I need to improve my blog and set up WordPress. But first I need to sort out my computer problems, because there is no need to make life even more difficult.
I also want to thank each and every one of you who has been with me on this journey, visiting my blog and leaving comments that have meant so much. It's been an interesting time and I know it has inspired others to sign up and take part. A long the way one of my readers wrote:
'I felt that I didn't have time for the 30 day challenge - but this post has made me think that maybe I should MAKE the time'
So if you want to know more, go check out the free 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
As for me? I'll be signing up and doing it all over again. But first I'm going to celebrate my achievement and have a few days break from blogging! Thanks for popping by and I will not be back tomorrow!