On February 1, I wrote my first ever blog post and set out to write a daily post for the remainder of the month. I am proud to have accomplished that goal and to be writing this, my 28th blog post on February 28. As a first time writer, the learning curve was steep and I know that I still have so much more to gain than to share. Nevertheless, for anyone else considering such a feat, below is a glimpse at 28 things I learned while writing 28 posts in 28 days.
1. Know your why. Above all else, be prepared to answer this question time and time again: why are you writing everyday? Most often it will be other people doing the asking but once in a while, usually while starting at a blank computer screen, you will ask yourself the same thing. Know the reasons why you’ve set out on this path and let those reasons motivate and encourage you along the way.
2. Set yourself a goal. Leading up to my first post, I was struggling with how to get started. Finally, I gave myself a start date and the goal of writing 28 posts in 28 days and was off to the races!
3. Plan ahead. Sometimes I would get overwhelmed by the idea of writing every day and not having enough quality content. It was a great relief to have a list with dates and blog topics written out for the next few days.
4. Write about what you know and what you love. They say it’s easy to tell the truth and the same applies for writing. When you write from a place of experience, the words flow much more freely.
5. Just start writing. If you’re finding yourself staring at a blank screen, remove the pressure of having to start at the beginning and just start writing bits and pieces of what’s on your mind about the topic. Slowly but surely, you’ll start to see your post coming together.
6. Write in batches when you can. Relieving the pressure of writing one day in advance makes the writing process much more enjoyable. Furthermore, when a post I was working on didn’t go as planned, it was a huge help to have a “filler” post ready to buy myself some time.
7. Write posts in a series or with a theme. This was mutually beneficial for me and the reader. It kept me from writing marathon posts on topics that I’m excited about (product reviews and baby wearing) and the reader is more likely to enjoy the full post when it doesn’t take them all day to read it.
8. Remove all distractions when writing. On the days that this was particularly difficult, I would turn off my phone and the wifi on my computer so that I had nothing left to do but stay focused on what I was writing. Writing without distractions is faster and results in a higher quality end result.
9. Write during your alone time. I quickly realized that there is a long list of tasks that I can accomplish while chatting or parenting but writing is not one of them. Nowadays, anytime I find myself alone, I write. Laundry, cooking, cleaning etc. can all be done with my family buzzing around.
10. Set aside time to write. With that said ^^, as a wife and mom to a 2.5 year old and 6 month old, alone time doesn’t spontaneously happen very often. I have learned to set aside specific time in my day to sit down and write – it’s more efficient and a load off my mind knowing that my post is done.
11. Get to the point. This was one of the first learning curves for me. I am chatty by nature and enjoy writing in great detail. I still find myself reading over my drafts and deleting full sentences that aren’t necessary.
12. Proofread. I still can’t believe how often I find mistakes in my drafts on the third or fourth time reading it through. Leave yourself time to review!
13. Ask for help. My family has been invaluable in this process of writing my first 28 posts in 28 days. They have listened, proofread, offered suggestions and encouraged me along the way. Fresh eyes and ears go a long way!
14. Read it out loud. Whether it’s to yourself or to someone else, reading your draft out loud is an integral part of the proofreading process. It allows you to step into your reader’s shoes and ensure that everything flows as you intended.
15. Take lots of pictures. We all know the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ Adding pictures to your post makes it enjoyable for your reader but also helps to illustrate your topic without having to write it out word for word.
16. Be picky. My favourite posts are the one’s that I took the time to read over with a fine tooth comb.
17. Share your posts. It’s hard work to write a daily post! Use various social media platforms to let your readers know that new content is up on your blog. Be sure to include a link to your site with your post.
18. Ask your friends and family for patience. Writing a daily post isn’t easy and requires a lot of alone time. Let your friends and family know what you’re working towards and ask for a little extra patience during your stretch of daily posts.
19. Take a break when you need it. After all, this is something you’re choosing to do and should be fun! Take a break when you need it and your draft will be waiting for you when you’re ready to write again.
20. Make notes all the time. Writing a daily post requires a large amount of high quality content. As soon as a concept or a sentence crosses your mind that would be a good fit for a current or future post, make a note of it for reference.
21. See the big picture. Writing a daily post can be daunting. Take a step back to look at the content you’ve already published and relish in the big picture of your ‘why.’
22. Partner with other people. One of my first posts was a product review and giveaway with a friend at Gooseandco Boutique! It was so much fun to write about and we were able to cross promote.
23. Hemmed and hawed. Just a fun fact we learned while proof reading! We all thought it was “hummed and hawed” but the correct spelling is “hemmed.” The things you learn!
24. Save your work. There is nothing worse than having to re-write. Learn from one of my first mistakes and save your work regularly.
25. Work hard. Making a commitment to write a daily post is a lot of work. Be prepared to work hard to achieve your goal!
26. Keep yourself accountable. So far, writing this blog has been a bit of a lonely endeavour. I know the time will come where I can write more efficiently and collaborate with other bloggers but for my first 28 posts, it was a lot of me holding myself accountable to my goal – especially when it was 11pm and all I wanted to do was go to bed but tomorrow’s post wasn’t quite ready. #justdoit
27. Cut yourself some slack. I assure you that the success of your blog will not hinge on one post. Holding yourself to a high standard is a great practice but perfection is unrealistic. If something isn’t coming together quite the way you envisioned, it’s ok! Complete the post to the best of your ability and move on to the next one.
28. Enjoy what you’re doing. It thrills me to say that at the end of writing 28 posts in 28 days, I still find great joy in sitting down to write.
The next goal for me at Reckies Raising Kids is to spend some time learning from others. I will be writing on a regular basis throughout the week but also devoting some time to connect with bloggers writing on similar topics. Comment below if you’re setting a goal for yourself in the month of March!