- Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Reflecting on the 21-Day Blog Challenge

sneak peak: as the challenge of 21 blog posts in 30 days comes to an end, it's time to reflect on how it went, what worked, what didn't, and what I learned


celebratory guinea pig, Reflecting on the 21-Day Blog Challenge, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk
celebratory guinea pig


Woowweeeeeeeeee that was a lot of blog posts in not a lot of time. There wasn't a lot of time between having the idea and deciding to run with it (interestingly, I had the idea whilst running...). I think the gap was actually about two hours, so not really long enough to a) properly think it through or b) talk myself out of it.

And now, 30 days later, here we are!

The idea was to publish one post every working day and have weekends off, doing the blog alongside my 9-5 as a properly structured ~side hustle~. That's not what happened. Because I live a normal person life, there were some evenings where I had stuff on and I couldn't cram in time for a blog post (of presentable standard), and there were some morning where I was tired from a late night so used my extra time for sleep instead of productivity.

And then there were some days of supreme productivity, when I wrote not one but two or even three blog posts and planned a whole lot more. I wrote on train journeys, I wrote in spare moments, and I did end up writing at the weekend - but it's what I love, so it doesn't matter. I still got my 21 posts in 30 days, didn't I?

Things that worked
1. Writing in the morning is a revelation and I will do it more. So much motivation, and the time pressure of knowing I need to leave the house in half an hour makes me squeeze a ton of writing into a short space of time.

2. Recipe posts without specifically photographed dishes are also a revelation and I should have learned that a long time ago. An instagram-quality photo is perfectly acceptable for a recipe post, especially when instagram-quality means really good these days as opposed to the slightly grainy and heavily Nashville filtered photos of yore.

3. Posts don't have to be perfect, and sometimes the ones you write quickly and without reading back through over and over again are the best.

4. Short posts are okay, good even. Conciseness (concision???) is a very useful tool.

5. Bulk-writing and scheduling posts takes the weight off massively. Sometimes you write one post and feel pooped by the end, and sometimes you feel like you could keep writing blog posts forever and ever nonstop - if you get that wave of energy and motivation, ride it and schedule your posts to go up in advance.

Things that didn't work
1. Telling myself I would write only on weekdays was unwise. My blog is a hobby and I love writing it, so naturally I would want to write on weekends. Equally, busy weekday evenings meant some days were un-bloggable. As long as I write, it's all good - it doesn't matter exactly when.

2. I felt like I needed to be blogging whenever I had an ounce of spare time, so other things got sidelined - I haven't picked up my guitar, I'm waaaayyyyyy behind on my journal/planner, and I haven't read a book in weeks.

3. I hoped it would up my Instagram following: it didn't. Or maybe it did, but by about 10 rather than the hordes I had imagined.

4. The turnaround was too short for any more time-consuming posts. The recipes I published are ones I had already created, tried and tested, and coming up with new ones would likely have taken more time than I had. Likewise, Spellbound posts require creating a graphic, and while that doesn't take a humongous amount of time, it's longer than dropping a photo in.

5. I wasn't able to promote the posts individually as much or as extensively as I usually would, on Instagram for example. One photo and a post on my story was about as much as I could fit in before the next post was up and needed sharing.

Things I learned
1. I can actually do it! I'm not really sure how much I expected myself to manage it, but here we are.

2. Some people have a natural sense of balance. I do not. I do, however, have a natural enjoyment of writing. (Arguably fewer practical day-to-day applications of this than balance, but since it's arguable I will argue it.) Writing is what I love and am good at and I want to make it a career and a lifestyle.

3. SEO. I learned more about search engine optimisation because I wanted to read up on it and I asked people around me who know about it to share their wisdom with me.

4. More people read my blog that I realised. Like, lots and lots. Random strangers on the internet who I've never met actually make my recipes and have opinions on the things I write, and I love it a lot. So hello to you specifically and thank you for being here and thank you for coming back because I appreciate it ridiculously much.

5. Consistency is really important. So from now on (unless it changes, and I will tell you about it), I'm going to post a new blog post every Thursday morning (starting next week, because I think I've earned a break tomorrow (EDIT: it's tomorrow and I just published this post on the EP's news about single-use plastics; looks like I have successfully developed a habit I can't stop!)). Why not sign up to my newsletter (you may need to visit my blog on desktop to see the sidebar to the right, I'm working on this) so you get notified whenever there's a new post?

And so ends the 21 posts in 21 days challenge. Sad face.

Did you see all the 20 other posts? Here they are, for your convenience!
#1 - The 21-Day Blog Challenge
#2 - Five Steps to Get the Most Out of 24 Hours
#3 - Keeping Fit on a Budget
#4 - Eatery Hopping: Wulf & Lamb, London [Vegan!]
#5 - On My Bedside Table #1
#6 - Vegan Kitchen Essentials
#7 - The Importance of Ignoring Advice
#8 - "Where Do You Get Your Protein?"
#9 - The Thing Is, Is...
#10 - Pinterest: The Wholesome Social Media
#11 - Corporate Jargon and What It Really Means
#12 - Eatery Hopping: Good Belly Pizza, London [Vegan!]
#13 - 10 Things to Make When You Can't be Bothered to Cook [Vegan!]
#14 - When Less is More; Let's Stop Glamourising Burnout
#15 - Three TED Talks You Should Listen To Today
#16 - Vegan Spicy Cheesy Sauce: Perfect for Pasta
#17 - Harnessing Momentum in Your Creative Projects
#18 - Dad's Perfect Groovy Porridge [Vegan!]
#19 - Five-Minute Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding [Vegan!]
#20 - The American-British Food Dictionary

I'd love to know which was your favourite post, and would gratefully receive any suggestions for future ones!

- post #21 of the 21-day challenge -

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