Tuesday, December 8, 2015

5 Lessons I learnt from #NaBloPoMo - the blogging challenge

Yes! I am back! I had planned to write this post on December 1 under the delusion that since I could write 27 posts in 27 days, continuing the streak would be easy peasy! But yeah! I learnt a few lessons about blogging 'after' I finished the challenge. So here are all my lessons from the blogging challenge put together:

1. It takes a challenge to kick us into action: It is so easy to rest on the laurels of past work! We need to constantly challenge ourselves to keep the blog going. And I think that's what the challenge is - finding time amidst the overwhelming chaos of everyday life. So, keep your motivation going. Set the least possible goal - say once a week - so that it's not too much and anything more is an achievement! And take up challenges once in a while. They really revv up your blogging mojo!

2. Plan your posts: I can't emphasise on this enough. I also mentioned this in my post about beating writer's block. By plan, I don't mean have an elaborate editorial calendar with due dates and ideas etc. If that works for you, great! But I sure haven't stuck to any calendars so far. But I have started jotting down ideas in my little book for some time now. And then I put them in the drafts of my blog. So now, I don't have to hunt for ideas - in my head or my little note book. I just go to my blog and see what I'd like to write about on that day. If I have ideas on some topics, I jot them down to so that I can develop them when I choose to write on it.

3. Prioritise - Is writing really important to you? Or would you rather do something else with that time? During the challenge, writing was absolutely important to me. I am a stickler for sticking to plans and schedules, well, in some ways! So, I wrote consistently and squeezed in time during the challenge. But after that, other things took priority. So, if I connect this point to the previous one, decide your post idea for the week and ensure you find time through the week to keep working on it. This way, writing is at least in the schedule of your week and you will find the time for it.

4. My writing has gotten better - I have been writing for a few years now and have always felt inadequate. I toiled to put together words I'd be impressed with and felt that others had a better way of putting things together. But with this writing challenge, I have actually noticed my writing get better gradually. We are usually unaware as we move from consciously incompetent to unconsciously competent. I struggle a lot less to string words together now. Earlier, it was an effort to put an idea into a perfect sentence that would convey the same message as my thought. But surprisingly, practice did make me, well, close to perfect. So, write more to write better and faster.

5. Passion sustains all: When I first missed posting for the first time on 28th November - I faulted on points 2 and 3 - I let it go thinking it's okay to miss one day since I was traveling and had limited net access. But once I stumbled, it became easier to skip the next day too. I think there's something about letting our guards slip. Every time I skip gym for a couple of days, it just becomes easier to do more of it. (Any research behind this?). And it just gets harder to get back. I never thought I'd not be able to write for an entire week after the challenge! So, yeah, keeping the passion going and staying focussed on your reasons for writing are very important. Forced commitment is hardly a commitment. You need fuel to keep going. Find the reason for yours!

And before I finish this post, I will shamelessly use this space to promote my blogging workshop for beginners. Do let your friends know about it. Please find the details here:

I'd love to learn from your blogging experiences. Share them in your comments and lets help everyone learn from here.


  1. Lovely post.. Learn more about blogging and yes with every post and idea we progress.. Keep writing :)

  2. Those are very good lessons and everything I can relate to... am so proud of you for doing it!

  3. Thank you Shalini and Ankita for your lovely comments! :)

  4. Suman this is true. I always find myself telling that challenges kick us into anything and that constant writing always improves you. I can myself see the journey I have made over the years.

  5. Thanks for your wonderful words, Richa!

  6. Hi Suman. This is truly a wonderful post. So many points I could relate to - 'We are usually unaware as we move from consciously incompetent to unconsciously competent.' and 'But once I stumbled, it became easier to skip the next day too. Every time I skip... it becomes easier to do more of it'. These are things which I have experienced or rather we all have at some point in time. I went through these phases with regards to my writing. And also, yes, there is research on it. I think it has to do with how habits work and how our brain learns new things (i.e. how neural pathways are formed). And here is a beautiful video which summarizes this well - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEwg8TeipfQ . So if you consider the bridge built towards the end of the video as a habit, skipping that habit on one day would be something like detaching one rope or removing one wooden plank, so if you skip the next day another rope is disconnected and if you keep doing this the bridge weakens and then to rebuilt (or resume that particular habit) it takes more effort and time. The video depicts this phenomenon quite well and a book I recommend reading with regards to this is 'The Power of Habit' by Charles Duhigg. It is filled with inspiring examples and practical tips on how we can use our minds more effectively, along with how several people and organizations are already using this psychological insight into human behavior for their own benefit.

    p.s. By the time I finished reading this post I was really inspired and I didn't even have to think twice about attending your blogging seminar. Then I remembered that I won't be here for the coming weekend which is from 19-20th and few days after that. I would have loved to be there, but I can't. The least I can do now is ask some friends who are into blogging to attend your workshop.

  7. Thank you so much, Omkar for taking the time to comment here. I appreciate it!