Well, I did it! With the publishing of this post, I’ve officially written 20 posts in 20 days. I came across a lot of really interesting realizations doing this that I’d like to record now.
The first is worrying that I wouldn’t know what to write about. Coming into this challenge, I had no idea how I would generate interesting content for twenty days in a row when I was barely posting once a quarter. But once I got to the computer and opened up WordPress, I wouldn’t leave until something had been written. In my early posts, I wrote about whatever I wanted. When I started publicizing my posts and blog traffic increased, I started to worry about what all the readers were thinking. Does what I write matter at all to those anonymous readers? I started filtering out ideas that I think I wouldn’t be able to express clearly or wouldn’t be interesting to the average Facebook viewer, which I think stifled a lot of creative potential. I really had to work to overcome that fear of anonymous judgement.
The second is that I noticed I’ve been a lot more expressive since I’ve started this. Like I have less of an issue being able to articulate a point I’m arguing for or trying to get across. It seems exercising writing ability has opened up thought flows in my speech. I think it’s because struggling to write something that every member of an anonymous audience would like and failing to do so made me care less about what others think.
Third, writing a blog post was always on my mind, so I kind of turned on an internal radar that always searched for interesting things to write about. It was kind of like a devotion of a certain kind. Am I be able to unleash other kinds of creative potential by doing something similar to this?
Fourth, that writing every day for 20 days is just not feasible in the long run at all. I can’t count the number of times I’ve posted past 12PM – it’s been far too many. However, I really enjoyed being able to express myself here, so I’ll probably continue to post consistently, just less frequently.
Fifth, I think I kind of went through what it takes to form a habit. It supposed to be about 21 days, right? I had a gap in the last week, but I’m just gotten so used to writing one post a day now that it’s no longer the huge burden on my mind that I described it to be in my initial 20×20 challenge post (linked above). If this challenge made writing a lot easier, I could probably use this same concept of a daily or weekly challenge to kick start other things I want to start doing on a regular basis but “never find the time to,” – I certainly found the time to do this. Perceived social pressure from an anonymous audience turned out to be surprisingly strong motivator.
Overall, I’m really glad I decided to do this challenge. The next question to tackle is: what other skills I’ve wanted to make time for could be improved by another long-term daily challenge?
For now, though, I’m taking a break. It feels good.