I started my blog just over a year ago (and I still can’t believe it’s been a year already), so shortly after I got going I started seeing lots of Blogmas posts. The challenge, I soon learned, was to post every day from December 1 to December 25. I knew there was no way I was ready for something like that, but I read tons of Blogmas posts and discovered a lot of great blogs via the tag. This time last year, I figured that within a year I’d be posting a lot more than once a week, and that I’d be totally ready to give Blogmas a try. If you’re a regular reader, you already know that I never did get around to increasing my post frequency (life has just been too busy for me to get there at this point). So I decided against trying Blogmas this year…until this morning.
Seeing “December 1” on my calendar today immediately reminded me of Blogmas, and so I decided to take a few minutes to really think about the reasons I had chosen not to participate, and if the obstacles could be overcome. In the end, I realized I can do this. Or at least I’m going to try. It occurred to me that many of the things that made me hesitate to accept the Blogmas challenge apply to lots of other situations. So if you’re thinking about trying something new, here are some things to consider:
You don’t have to be perfect.
One of the reasons I don’t post more often is that I have pretty high standards for my posts, so they take a lot of time to write. I have a mental checklist that includes length, applicability, number of subtopics, and lots of other criteria. I think the list really improves my posts’ quality, and I plan to keep it around. However, there is absolutely no way I could write those kinds of posts for 25 straight days, especially since I did absolutely no prep work for this challenge. However, who says I have to do that? A lot of blogs I follow have short posts, and I enjoy reading them. If I’m planning to do six extra posts every week, there’s no reason they can’t be smaller, more focused things that I actually have time to write. I could even repost some of my holiday themed posts from last year if I hit a time crunch. This train of thought reminded me of one of my rules of productivity: avoid perfectionism traps by determining a minimum acceptable outcome.
Wanting to do something is a good reason to try it.
I originally took Blogmas off my to do list when the sky fell in at work a few weeks back. With so many things I have to do right now, I put a lot of things I want to do on the back burner. I’m all about priorities, but a blanket rejection of the fun in favor of the practical isn’t always the best call. I was excited (and a little nervous) about trying Blogmas, and that’s enough of a reason to give it a go. Even if I don’t complete the challenge, every extra post I complete will be a small victory.
You can do new things your own way.
One of my major concerns about Blogmas was the challenge of coming up with 25 holiday themed posts. Then I thought, “Wait a minute-do they really have to all be holiday themed? Is that a rule? Are there Blog Police who will come after me if I post about something else?” As far as my research shows, there are no official Blog Police (and isn’t that a relief?), and a lot of bloggers have said that it’s cool to post about other things. Besides, although I feel better that people have “given me permission” to participate through non-holiday content, it would be ok regardless, because it’s totally cool to be flexible when you try something new. My focus on Blogmas is posting for 25 straight days, and so that’s my ultimate goal, regardless of the topics of the posts. Speaking of doing things my own way, one of the things that really tipped me into the “yes” column was an idea for a theme that could tie a lot of my posts together, and help me get past the dreaded writer’s block. More about that coming soon (probably Tuesday).
It’s ok to not succeed 100%.
I don’t like making commitments and not following through, and I was really worried that saying “I’m going to do Blogmas!” and then not getting up all 25 posts would be a terrible tragedy. Then I hit the reality check button. For one thing, it wouldn’t be the first time I had to break a personal blogging promise. Early in my blogging experience, I promised myself that I would post at least once a week, and that I would be consistent with my “month in review” posts. Well, month in review is something I haven’t done in a little while, and back in September I actually missed a weekly post. You know what I discovered? Not only did I sneak past the Blog Police, but I didn’t even feel guilty about it. Overall, I think I’ve done very well with being consistent on the blog, and a few lapses because life got in the way are completely acceptable. On a philosophical level, I can’t get behind the idea that I shouldn’t try just because I might not make it all the way to the finish line. Goodness knows, I’ve tried and failed before…let’s not forget about my experience during The Great Blogger’s Bakeoff.
So for the next 25 days, be prepared for a lot more Amanda! (Be afraid…be very afraid.)
Anyone else trying Blogmas? Or accepting other challenges? Any advice for me as I prepare to massively ramp up my posting schedule?