What I Learned From My Blogging Every Day Challenge
Summarizing a Month of Publishing Blog Posts Daily, Sharing Some Numbers and Tips
30 days ago, I set myself on a challenge to write a new blog post every single day throughout October. The purpose of the challenge was to write shorter posts, and write about topics and projects I wanted to cover for some time.
So how did the challenge go for me? Did I achieve my goals?
Writing Shorter Posts
My posts were indeed shorter. The longest one was a 10 minutes read (actually, two of them: Optimizing Embedded Python Code and Designing 3D Printable Mechanism). The shortest one, however, was only a 2 minute read.
I aimed for 4 to 6 minutes long posts, and I wasn’t very far off: my average post length was 6.2 minutes read. Just like I hoped when I started this challenge, I learned that I can write shorter posts and still provide much value for the readers.
Comfort Zone? What’s That?
When blogging, I’m usually trying to steer away from my comfort zone, and write about a variety of topics, such as Neuroscience. This month was no different — I wrote about a variety of topics, including problems in Statistics, Data Visualization in Python, and How Not To Design a WiFi Router.
The fact I wrote on a daily basis gave me the ability to experiment and not worry too much about choosing non popular topics, or not being able to reach the right audience. It also gave me the ability to describe things as they were happening, such as reviving a fried Espruino board, answering a question I received from a reader who asked why I blog and speak on conferences, and telling the world about my favorite new feature in Angular 7, as soon as I discovered it.
The Star Of The Show ⭐
Speaking of Comfort Zone, my most popular blog post was about Android, a topic which I am usually not writing or speaking about. “Writing your first Android App, in Assembly” was read more than 5,000 times and received 162 claps to date. Initially, I didn’t even know how to spread the word about this post, as I am not member of any Android-related Facebook groups.
Before and After
Though it wasn’t my primary goal, it is interesting to see the increase in traffic my blog has received thanks to the daily posts:
Top Writer 🥇
Writing on a daily basis had an interesting side-effect — I became a Medium Top Writer in two categories: Technology and Inspiration. Getting the email announcing this was a nice surprise, though I am not entirely sure what this means.
What Did Not Work So Well?
When I took on this challenge, my intent was to spend one hour or less on each blog post. Actually, I was far off. I spent between two to three hours on most of the posts, with some of them even longer, such as the post on how I taught myself Spanish, which took me about 4:30 hours to complete.
I started writing most of the blog posts late at night, usually after 10pm, often leading to sleeping very late (sometimes after 3am). One exception was the blog post I published on my wedding’s day, which I finished by 1pm, keeping it short and sweet (it is also the 2nd most popular one).
There was one day where I was too tired and couldn’t finish the blog post, so I completed that blog post the following day and skipped one day (it was a pretty long one, as you can see). I also had to stop 3 days earlier, as I had to finish my Trumpet Playing Robot demo for the Chrome Dev Summit.
So, Would I Recommend It?
Definitely yes. One thing I would change though is taking weekends off. Constantly thinking about what topic I will write about today, and staying up late to finish the posts became really exhausting after the second week.
I feel like I achieved the goals I have set, and managed to write about some topics that I wanted to cover for a long time, such as the list of equipment I have in my lab, announcing my Community Hours initiative, and sharing my journey to learning Spanish.
I learned how to let go and not try making the posts perfect before I publish them. After all, what matters is the value the content gives to the reader. Therefore, small typos don’t make a big difference, and I can also go back and fix them after I publish. In fact, this is a way for the readers to give something back and let me know if they spot a mistake (and there was at least one in each post).