What I’ve Learned from Blog Like Crazy

carrie looking vaguely annoyed holding coffee mug

At the beginning of this month, I decided to take on a writing challenge — to blog every day in November. I did it because I hadn’t blogged in a long time, because blogging had lost its spontaneity and fun for me, and because I missed the rhythm of regular blogging. So here I am, late at night on the last day of November, barely scraping through and getting my last post in under the wire. I had some grander plans for today’s post, and they didn’t pan out — but one of the important things I’ve learned this month is that not being able to say things perfectly doesn’t have to mean not saying them at all. Here are a few other takeaways I have from this month:

I Can Post without Promotion

Yes, my blogs still get more readers and more traction when I add photography and promote them on social media, but that doesn’t mean I have to promote every single post I write. Sometimes I simply don’t have time to promote. Sometimes I’m afraid to, and it takes all the courage I have to write about a topic in the first place without blasting it out to everyone I know on Facebook. I think it’s okay to blog without shouting to the rooftops that I did it, at least sometimes. It might not be the best for blog building and engagement, but it is the right thing for me and my writing.

People Like My Blogs

The best thing about this project is that so many readers reached out and told me they’d missed my blogs. I got texts, DMs and comments from people I knew and people I didn’t, and I realized I had a wider readership than I thought — and that my posts meant more to people than I’d imagined. This was incredibly humbling, and it really helped me to know I’m speaking to people who care, not posting into a void.

I Can Write at Inopportune Times

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to optimize my writing time over the years, and I’ve done a good job at that — I know when and how I can write quickly and efficiently. But I’ve also gotten stuck in a pattern of only writing at those times. During Blog Like Crazy, there were lots of times that I realized late at night I’d forgotten to blog, and even though I was tired and lazy and I knew I couldn’t produce my very best work, I pulled out my laptop (or my phone, in one case) and got to work. I’m proud of doing that, and it’s important for me to remember that I can be productive as long as I put my head down and do the work, even when I don’t feel like it.

I Need This

I sort of hate when writers say they write because they can’t survive without it — it’s so melodramatic and it always makes me want to roll my eyes. But I have to admit that I feel much better when I’m blogging, or at least when I’m writing. My thoughts feel more ordered. As cheesy as it sounds, when I publish my writing, I feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to do. That’s important, and I’ve missed it.

Thank you for everyone who came along on this Blog Like Crazy journey with me, both as fellow writers and as readers. Thank you so much to Javacia for creating the challenge. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed every second (there were lots of times I dragged myself grudgingly to the keyboard), but I can say I’m so glad I did it.

Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist, a book about buying from locally owned stores and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Communications Director at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.

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