For a while now, Journaling has become a very useful practice for me. Taking a few minutes each day to write out some of the crazy stuff or thoughts swirling about in my head. When it’s out on paper or on the screen, it definitely helps with calming the mind.
On occasion, when I have thoughts or ideas that I’m keen to better understand, the process of writing these out really helps me formulate a position or create better clarity. It’s a practice (or a process), as a coach, and as someone that’s always keen to learn more, I’d highly recommend.
For 29 out of 31 days in December, I’ve tried to frame up the blog posts similar to my personal daily journal. The big difference is they’re published out for the world (or at least those connected to my world) to read. No pressure so!
Now on New Year’s Eve, to wrap up this month’s challenge, I decided to share this final one in a brain dump journal style covering as much of the learnings and takeaways that stand out from it. Hopefully they make sense and they’re useful. Here goes:
- Get super clear on the purpose of whatever it is you’re doing
- For this daily blog challenge, the purpose was to write a short piece that had a story and a key takeaway.
- To write more succinctly and do it all in around 25 minutes each day, yet still make it meaningful.
- To share some learnings and help others through the posts.
- Some days were better than others for sure but sticking to the purpose helped me follow through on many days.
- Planning helps
- The days when I took 3-5 minutes to plot out some bullet points that gave structure to the post made it easier to get the message across.
- The days when I just dived right in were much more of a struggle.
- The self-doubt goes down but never leaves
- Definitely the first few days were the worst. “Can I really post this stuff?” was often the question coming up!
- Just push through and remind yourself of the reason you’re doing it.
- Each day, when published, the sense of achievement made it worth while.
- Feedback & the 90-9-1 rule
- If you’re not familiar with this social media concept, check it out here
- As I looked over some of the interaction and views of the content, typically I’d get comments or feedback from around 1% of views.
- If you’re considering posting and blogging, be aware of this. It helps with the next learning.
- Lower expectations
- Don’t expect to go viral with what you share – not saying you it can’t happen but if you’re setting too high expectations, chances are you’ll lose interest if likes, shares, comments are your main motivations.
- Perfection v Good Enough
- Given the timebound nature of this challenge, perfection was never an option.
- Getting each post to a ‘good enough’ state and learning from each one daily was a parameter or ground rule set from the start – otherwise I’d probably never have got past day 2.
- Popular posts
- It would appear having a catch title and strong post image helps with engagement (no surprise really).
- Posts that share ‘How To’s’ seem to also catch attention better.
- Adding in real stories (everything I shared was personal btw) and emotion also helps to connect.
- The temptation to stop was always there
- Expect resistance when doing anything that puts you in the zone of discomfort
- For me, this was felt daily.
- Remembering the ‘why’ helped.
- Give yourself permission to take a break
- While I fought this for many days, when I finally did take a couple of days off, it felt really good.
- I’ve found over time that taking a break and switching off, for a while, with any endeavour, can give you much needed space that leads to new thinking and ideas.
- Just write
- Many quotes and insights from established authors all point to the writing process being very much about getting the sh1t out before the good stuff comes.
- This experiment for me was eye opening around this. Back to a previous point, some days were better than others.
- Getting it Social Ready
- I probably spent nearly as much time getting the posts online and shared out on social media as I did with the actual writing.
- One of the aims with this challenge was to streamline the process better and experiment with different post strategies just to see if it made any difference.
While the focus of this was all about blogging & writing, most of the learnings above could have come from a month practicing presentation skills, listening better, giving feedback, helping out in the community, or just being more physically daily.
Whatever it is you might be considering taking on in the new year, know you’ll gain a whole lot more from it than you expect. That’s the real beauty of committing to these.
It’s been a really worthwhile experience. I’m sure I’m better having done it. Equally though, I’m looking forward to replacing the blogging with a 5km run every day to get the physical fitness levels better for the year ahead.
A sincere thank you for sticking with me during the month. All 29 posts are on the blog page if you want to check them out.
And, finally, if you’re one of the 1% that did get in touch, a special thanks!
Till whenever the next post comes out, happy New Year,
PS - this one took the longest of all!!!