Sometimes you just have to write…
I’m nearing the end of two blog challenges. The Ultimate Blog Challenge is to post every single day for the entire month of April. The A to Z Challenge specifies posting a blog for every letter of the alphabet, with Sundays off. Today is Sunday, so I’m only blogging for the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I have two more days to post for both challenges: Y on Monday and Z on Tuesday.
On other days I chose topics that were much too big for a single blog post, so I had trouble limiting what I wrote to a reasonable length. My I post (Immigration) and one of my Sunday posts, about teens and violence, are examples. I’ll probably return to both topics again in the future.
Sometimes I had trouble finding the time to write. This month has certainly not been a typical one for me; for most of the month I’ve been away from home, accompanying a group of adult students on a study trip here in the US. That has meant that I’ve had fewer obligations than normal – no teenagers to deal with, either at school or at home – and fewer assignments to grade, appointments with parents, teachers, students, meetings, and so on.
At the same time, I have been accompanying the students on all of their scheduled activities, which sometimes fill the whole day. Then on some days I shopped – I had a whole list of things to stock up on – or did some research, and every day I returned to my host family. Being home with my host family meant a lot of very pleasant talk, and often an evening of games – mostly Mexican train dominoes – but it also meant not much time for writing.
I was already blogging before this month, but less often: perhaps once or twice a week. With my normal schedule, that’s about all I can manage. What’s been great about these challenges is that once I committed to doing them, I was determined to finish, and it looks like I’ll succeed.
But what do I get out of this? Both challenges are billed as ways to increase my readership. That has certainly happened. I tweeted the link each day, and announced each post on both my personal Facebook page as well as the Facebook page for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. People read my posts and some of them became followers on Twitter (You can do so too by clicking on the right where it says “Join me on Twitter.” Or you can enter your e-mail address to subscribe to receive my posts via e-mail.)
More importantly for me, though, has been the practice it’s given me. Even though it’s been just a month, I seem to be writing much more quickly and fluidly. I don’t agonize over finding the right word, and I only reread each post a couple of times before posting. It’s made my writing better, I think.
On the other hand, if you clicked on the O or the U posts above, you’ll see that I also posted some pretty useless stuff. I’d rather that every post had some real significance: a political opinion, or a personal reflection, or a review, to name just a few examples.
So that’s why I don’t think I’ll continue to post every day after this month. I’ll post when I have something to say that I think is worth saying, and no more.
If you’re interested, here they all are, in order:
Jet lag! (a Sunday post)
Odd Little Things in America (a Sunday post)
Teens and violence (a Sunday post)
At the same time, I want to keep building my readership, so I’d love for you to post or tweet my blog to your friends and followers if you enjoy it! There are icons on the top right of this page that will let you do that easily.
And any suggestions for future topics would be greatly appreciated! Post ideas as a comment below.