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6 Lessons Learned from a Month of Blogging

6 Lessons Learned from a Month of Blogging post image

You may have noticed that June was a pretty busy month here around the blog. At the beginning of the month I privately challenged myself to post every day, and I’m really proud to say that I did it! Obviously, posting every day isn’t my normal routine; I’m more of a three to five times a week sort of blogger because that has worked for me. But May was a sort of a slump — I didn’t read or blog as much as I normally do, and I felt like I needed a challenge to get me back on track.

I’m really happy to say that I think the challenge worked. I’m feel more inspired about the blog, and I think I picked up a few good practices I can incorporate when I shift back to blogging slightly less frequently. I think I can sum up what I learned in six lessons:

1. It’s hard to write long posts all the time. I’m damn wordy, but if you’re going to blog every day sometimes you need to lighten up a little bit. I liked starting my Off the Stacks feature this month because it gave me consistent, interesting, and short content to post once a week. I hope other people thought it was interesting anyway!

2. Editing can suffer if you’re writing too much. I felt like many of the posts I wrote this month didn’t quite get the heavy editing and re-writing I like to do because I was busy coming up with other content or responding to comments. In the future, it will be nice to post a little less and have more time to focus on quality.

3. Community interaction can be put on the back burner, which isn’t good. I have a normal blogging practice of trying to comment on every blog that leaves a comment here. That means if a post gets 16 comments, I have to write 32 — respond to each one here, plus leave a comment somewhere else. When I was trying to write and edit posts for every single day, I sometimes had to skip that second outreach step, and I was a little disappointed in myself because of it.

4. Organization is key. When I planned to blog every day, I had to really organize myself. I had a list of posts for each week and checked them off as they were written and edited. I liked feeling organized like that, a little less “seat of my pants” than blogging has been recently. It’s a practice I’m going to try to continue.

5. Keep things fun, experiment with your writing. Blogging every day means you have to keep things interesting for yourself and try new things. For me, that meant playing with my reviews a little more. Instead of doing a straight review of Tolostoy In the Purple Chair, I turned my thoughts on the book into a discussion post. I got a lot of great comments, and many people said they were curious about reading the book even though they hadn’t considered it before. That’s a much better response than some of my “standard” reviews, which I really liked.

6. Write when the mood strikes. If you have an idea for a blog post, get a piece of paper or open up Google Docs and get some ideas down right away. Even just a rough sketch of your thoughts will help later when you go to flesh out the idea. Trying to force posts when I wasn’t in the mood to write was torture, so writing them when the creative juices were flowing was a big help.

unpluggedAnd with that final note, I am officially unplugged! I don’t technically leave for the lake until tomorrow, but I’m starting my blogging break early. I still have comments to catch up on, but I won’t have a new post up until next Tuesday. Have a fabulous 4th of July, everyone who celebrates!

Photo Credit: The Queen of Subtle via Flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Amy June 30, 2011, 6:23 am

    Great lessons! I’m big on planning in advance myself, I’m not good at all with seat-of-my-pants blogging 🙂 I do enjoy posting more frequently (if only because I feel like I keep having things to say!) but you are right, commenting can decrease and editing can decrease, sadly. Enjoy your time away!!

    • Kim June 30, 2011, 5:16 pm

      I go back and forth. I usually have some posts planned and some I throw in on a whim. I’m not really good about prewriting a lot though, which I did more this month.

  • Jon June 30, 2011, 7:24 am

    #5 is like the most important no? Have fun with it! Love the lessons gleaned. I can’t believe you respond to each comment, whoo, that is a lot of work!

    • Kim June 30, 2011, 5:17 pm

      Yes, absolutely. Having fun is the whole point! And I try to respond to every comment — it is a lot of work, but I like the community of blogging and comments are a big part of that.

  • Florinda June 30, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I swear by #6 myself. In contrast to you, my blogging has been a lot less regular this month, and part of that’s because I’m just not getting the ideas for posts – but when I do, I usually open up a doc for them right away and start on the notes.

    It IS hard to write long posts all the time! But when that’s what you’re used to doing, it feels like cheating to do short ones (in my experience, anyway). And I agree that the writing time does cut into the interacting time – that’s a big challenge for me when I’m in a writing-focused phase.

    And I’ve meant to tell you that I like the Off the Stacks feature – I’m considering “borrowing” it, actually, if you’re OK with that :-D.

    • Kim June 30, 2011, 5:19 pm

      #6 is the biggest lesson, and I always have to re-learn it when I get lazy about writing ideas right away. And yeah, I agree with it feeling like cheating — but at the same time, quality doesn’t always mean length, which is a good reminder.

      Absolutely — feel free to borrow Off the Stacks and put it to your own uses 🙂

  • Joy Weese Moll June 30, 2011, 4:50 pm

    Yay! I blogged every day in June, too. Fun experiment.

    • Kim June 30, 2011, 5:19 pm

      Nice job! It was a lot of work — I’m looking forward to the break 🙂

  • Kathleen June 30, 2011, 5:56 pm

    These are good tips. Thanks for sharing. I have been all but absent in the blogosphere lately but will reference these for use during my “comeback”!

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:08 pm

      It’s always good to stage a comeback!

  • softdrink June 30, 2011, 8:06 pm

    Much as I love the community interaction (it’s my favorite part of blogging!), that’s the piece I struggle with the most. There’s just not enough time to read all the blogs I’d like to read, let alone leave comments.

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:09 pm

      I struggle too. It’s so easy to prioritize our own blogging efforts and neglect acknowledging the work of others. It’s really, really hard.

  • Misha June 30, 2011, 8:18 pm

    You’ve made some great points! I used to try and post everyday, but I am more relaxed about it. Also, I try to comment on more blogs.
    Enjoy your blogging break! 🙂

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:09 pm

      I rarely post every day — only when I challenge myself like this. I just don’t always have t time of things to say to post that often 🙂

  • Belle Wong June 30, 2011, 8:23 pm

    These are great tips. And I liked the way you did this, as a private challenge to yourself. I always find the moment I announce on my blog, “I’m going to do X this month”, my chances of success in meeting the challenge plummet. So perhaps a silent personal blog-more-frequently challenge will work for me.

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:10 pm

      I’m terrible about announced challenges too — something about making it public makes me less excited to do it 🙂

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) July 1, 2011, 5:06 am

    I have gone through stages of posting every day, but although I like the challenge and the innovating you have to do I found it too much. I think the interacting is almost as important as the content and so I think it is good to leave time for both. I also think you make a good point about the editing. I notice that if I try to write too much I don’t have the time to go back and improve each draft as much. Congratulations on completing your challenge – I think this and Blog Post Bingo should be done more often 🙂

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:11 pm

      I agree — posting everyday is too much, and it makes me miss out on important things like interacting, which I also enjoy.

      And yes — more blog post bingo. We should chat about sponsoring that some month this year!

  • Linda July 3, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I would love to blog…someday. Until then, I’ll just enjoy reading yours.

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:11 pm

      If you need any tips to get started, feel free to e-mail! I’m happy to share any advice I can.

  • Books are my Boyfriends July 3, 2011, 5:11 pm

    Way to go you! I love your lessons!

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:12 pm

      Thanks! Not especially new, but good reminders.

  • Sheila (Bookjourney) July 4, 2011, 9:27 am

    This is awesome. I like your #3, I try to choose random blogs on blogs I read’s side bars and click and visit… I love to encounter new blogs and challenge myself, like you to comment back. I used to be a lot better at it but as life gets crazy… I get around when I can 🙂

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:13 pm

      That’s a great idea. I love that as a way to find more blogs. I like the comment/comment back strategy because it “rewards” interaction. However, it does keep my blogging circle pretty small, so branching out would be good.

  • Vasilly July 4, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I decided a few days ago to dedicate July to posting something everyday, so this post is coming at a perfect time for me. I’m going to keep all your lessons in mind. I hope you’re having a great weekend.

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:13 pm

      Good luck, I hope you’re able to complete your goal!

  • Andi July 5, 2011, 5:15 pm

    GREAT tips! This is something I’d like to challenge myself to in future, but I’d definitely have to get better about writing posts ahead of time!

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:13 pm

      Writing ahead of time was huge. That’s how I got through the last week of the month when I was crazy busy getting ready for vacation.

  • Rebecca Reid July 7, 2011, 1:04 pm

    great lessons! I’ve also found that if I keep a schedule of posting it’s much harder to do the outreach on other blogs. Blogging and social media connecting are just both so time consuming.

    • Kim July 12, 2011, 7:03 pm

      Yeah, trying to do all of it can be very time consuming. There’s only so much “blog” time in my life, and it has to split a lot of ways.

  • Jennifer July 10, 2011, 9:56 am

    Thanks for sharing what you learned. I am thinking that I might try this practice out for a bit. I have hit a bit of a blogger impasse/slump. My posts are rather inconsistent and my reading practices haven’t been the best. I think that might be because I have just been focusing too much on reviews and not incorporating enough of other kinds of posts. I’m hoping that if I really delve into blogging and reading and get organized about it, I might be able to formulate some good habits of my own that will help me become a better blogger.

    • Kim July 12, 2011, 7:03 pm

      I did like the challenge of it. When you’re not expecting yourself to do something every day, it’s easy to make excuses. The challenge made me really allocate time well and make blogging a priority, which I liked.

  • Ash July 10, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Quantity versus quality is definitely an issue when you try to blog every day. I just to try to blog every day and I rarely edited my posts. Now that I’m cutting back on the amount of posts I write I’m trying to think a little more about how I write things and editing them.

    • Kim July 12, 2011, 7:04 pm

      Yeah, that was something I didn’t think about when I started. Also, length. I can only produce so many words at a time, and blogging every day was a little exhausting in that respect. I like having some days off to let ideas percolate more than I was able to in June.