366/366 – One Blog Post A Day, And What I Learned In 2016

And so, we’ve reached the end. The last shot of the movie, the stuff you see right before the credits roll, before you feel like you’ve gotten to through a feature in its entirety.

365 days ago, I committed to writing one blog post per day for the entirety of 2016.  The reasons were various, from trying to find my writing voice and creativity to simply seeing if I was capable of producing that level of consistent content for a full year, and while there were some days in which I lagged a little when trying to think of things to write about, I’ve succeeded in writing one for every day of the year. The amount of content I’ve created on the blog the past year pretty much dwarfs any writing effort I’ve done before – I have quadrupled the amount of posts I’ve ever written in a single year. It’s pretty nuts.

As promised, a lot of the topics I wrote about were geek-related but they had a great amount of variety, including:

From a stats perspective, I wrote the most about gaming topics (over half), and the longest post I wrote was about 1400 words (the aforementioned volatility of the games industry entry). I wrote the most words on a per post basis, not surprisingly, on Community Management (average of 1000 or so words). I spent at least an hour on each post from conception to completion, so at 366 hours minimum, that’s 15 days out of the year thinking, writing, and publishing in this project. These are the kinds of numbers that you only can get to after completion of something like this and they never fail to be fascinating on some level.

But what did I learn? Did I meet my goals? Did going through this exercise show me a few things? It definitely did.

I learned that  quality control in writing every day can be as varying as the roll of the dice without some level of  standard attached to it. Many times some of the posts I wrote just didn’t feel like they came out right, like the either sputtered at the finish line or didn’t have enough sustained content for an actual post. Other times I was able to write a post that was hundreds of words in a matter of minutes, when the topic and inspiration were natural to me. As I practiced and repeated, I learned to come to a consensus as to when a post was good enough to publish after editing, but that didn’t make some of the things I wrote to be a bit of a miss in terms of satisfaction.

I learned that writing and having the task to write every day was a sort of creative therapy – that despite some of the bad things that happened this year, I was able to lean on a rock of simple consistent posting as a form of temporary escapism or as something that felt solid in life in 2016. Even though I’d studied and read and created a lot of writing projects, I gained a greater understanding of how and why people’s feelings and emotions sometimes manifest themselves in their writing, and how those things can affect others.

Most of all, I learned that consistent creativity is probably one of the most difficult things to put together, and is a massive endeavor just from a mental perspective of thinking and conceptualizing. For the people who not only blog every day but also create media content consistently, I gained a greater appreciation for just how much work goes into it. I like to write, and don’t have a problem writing tons of words and walls of text, but I’ve discovered that something like this daily is probably not sustainable for a thoughtful, detail-oriented writer like me. Shortening my posts so they were readable tidbits was difficult, to say the least.

As with anything that you learn, the most important thing is that you extract something that you can take with you, long after you’ve learned it and long after the memory of what exactly you did learning it is distant and fading. For me, I think it’s important that I realized the power that writing has – that the written word, whether it is spoken from a prepared speech, in a 140 character tweet, on a script, or online on a forum, can and will have an impact on others, if not yourself. The internet just has this convenient way of never forgetting what you write, which makes blogging not just a creative effort but a historical one.

It’s unlikely that I do this again, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be returning to the blog more consistently. Between this and the repeated process that I’ve learned in creating content, I have a feeling that when I do set my goals for 2017 (and by the way, I met about half of mine in 2016 and hope to improve on that) that I’ll be doing it feeling a bit richer having engaged myself in writing every day for a year. For even though these posts never were intended to receive much traffic or reading, the important part is that for me, it was a worthwhile effort for my own growth, that I learned something to correct any mistakes, and that I did it successfully for my own fulfillment and satisfaction.

If you can say that about anything that you set out to do that is an effort that takes an extended amount of time to complete, then you’ve succeeded.

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