Lessons learned from writing every day for a month

For the last 30 days, I wrote and published a blog post every day. For someone who had a problem writing one post a month, going to 30 posts in 30 days was a big leap forward.

Here are the lessons I have learned the hard way by writing every day for 30 days.

Writing helps organise thoughts

I found writing as an excellent tool to clarify what’s going on in my head. When I put words on a paper (or on a screen), I have to put thoughts into some kind of a structure and bring them into existence. This process forces me to think about my thoughts, examine them and sometimes question them.

And then there is the process of writing down my opinions and ideas. I have to write them in a clear, simple way, which adds another step in examining my thoughts.

This challenge has become at some point a therapy. I was cleaning thoughts in my head. I did not expect this but it was something I did not know I needed.

Just write. Ideas and words will come

There were times when I knew what I want to write and there were times when I had no idea what to write about. I started at the empty page, growing frustrated on my inability to write anything.

I found a way to overcome this - just write. Anything. Start with a thought, build a sentence around it, then a paragraph and eventually, a post emerges.

The very beginning is the hardest. An empty page is full of possibilities. It can either free you to make anything or terrify you because of the infinite possible outcomes.

Resistance

Forcing ourselves to go outside the comfort zone turns on our resistance behaviours. Are you checking your phone? Watching YouTube? Or maybe you’ve got a sudden urge to clean the floors? We all do that because we resist what needs to be done.

During this challenge, I’ve not only examined my thoughts but also my resistance. I noticed all those small things I do to procrastinate and it gave me an opportunity and ideas to counter them. Just another unexpected outcome of this challenge.

The lack of preparation

I jumped into the challenge straight away. Looking back, I see that as a mistake. I should have prepared some plan instead of “write every day for 30 days”.

If I started this challenge today, with the experience from the last 30 days, this is what I would do.

Block 1-2 hours every day for writing

I was writing mostly at the end of the day and it was the last thing before going to bed. I’d put writing as one of the first things I do in the morning. Even if I haven’t finished the post in the morning, I would still have an entire day to think about it and come back later to do final edits.

Make a list of ideas to write about

This comes in two levels of details.

The first level is a word or a sentence. It is just so you can easily recall the high-level idea.

The second level is a rough expansion of the first level. It can be a paragraph built from the word or sentence from the first level. This adds more substance to the idea and refines it.

Then leave the ideas. They will grow in your head. Maybe you will get a new perspective or a new insight. When that happens, go back to the idea on the second level and refine it.

Every day, I had to come up with an idea to write about. If I had a list of roughly refined ideas, the entire process would be much easier.

It would also give more time to research more complex ideas.

Almost every post I have written in the last 30 days reached only the second level. Some of them have the potential to be a decent post. I’d like to get back to them, refine them and turn them into something much better than they are right now.

Just publish it

In the end, this challenge was about quantity. I went from 0 posts per month to 30 in one month. Even if I felt this post could be so much better, the goal was to publish something every day. Polished or rough, it needs to go out.

What’s next?

I like the idea of monthly challenges. I don’t feel like the quality of my writing improved dramatically in the last 30 days but I have learned how to organise a process to write for 30 days. And I also learned a couple of ways wrong ways to approach such challenges.

Would I recommend doing this challenge? Yes. If you are thinking about it, just do it. You will learn many things and some of them might be unexpected.

I need to find another challenge so if you have any ideas, feel free to send them over.