Things I learned during a 30 day challenge

And thus ended my 30-days posting exercise. A challenge, as some would say. I do not like that word: it represents that something great happened and now I am done with it and will never look back. Exercise, on the other hand, means that I did some meaningful progress and learned something that will stick with me.

At the beginning of this 30 day period, I was anxious about not having anything to write about every day. Sometimes I didn’t, my mind was blank, but I still wrote. Often it would end up something way longer than I thought. Fundamentally, this was still just an exercise: to get out of overthinking, to get back into the writing habit, to trial myself if I even still enjoy doing it.

There were some bad moments:

  • I don’t like how this blog has become my diary. I want to help others, not just talk about daily nonsenses.
  • I don’t have enough to say. Or anything new, anything that wasn’t said elsewhere.
  • I am not as much as a writer as I thought.
  • Maybe writing isn’t what I am meant to do. But this is still an important skill, I still enjoy it. But it’s hard… I read so much good stuff and mine is just …

There are some things that came out of it:

  • I want to have more time and research my texts, learn new things and share something useful. I can’t write quality content while still having a full-time job and prioritizing physical and mental health (exercise, walks, sleep, meditation, cooking, social time).
  • I do not like deadlines. Nobody does. Despite the dislike, having a deadline made me post daily. It’s too damn easy to postpone things forever and ever, but I just couldn’t allow myself to give up.
  • When for a moment I thought I might lose my freedom to write, I felt how important it is to me. Maybe it’s not as I want it to be, but I have the wits, I have the smarts and I memorized an English dictionary. That’s gotta be worth something!
  • The very last post of my 30-day challenge appeared to be copied on some newly build website in India, which is stealing posts from various blogs. So I spent all day working on the security side of things, looked at Analytics, learned more about SEO… I spent hours without looking at the clock or asking my water kettle if I can have more tea now. This makes me feel that I am ready to share my thoughts with people.

Here comes fulfilment

As I look back now, keeping up with daily posts wasn’t difficult – I allowed myself to make them whatever they need to be without thinking about the audience, brand, novelty, helpfulness, and all other things I am supposed to think. Writing initially is a form of expression, self-discovery, twisting your own thoughts and making new ideas, not just a business… At least not now.

These 30 days brought purpose and fulfilment into my life after work, which can easily be spent in front of a TV during the lockdown. I felt a sense of accomplishment, even if I haven’t shared my blog with anyone yet. After writing for 30 days freestyle, I start to notice patterns and areas which pull me the most. I want to grow as a human and want to help others by sharing my experience and insights.

Passion requires skill

When it comes to being passionate about something, it is all about skill. Learning or doing something new is exciting! You dive deep, you talk about it constantly, you learn so much in such a short time and feel how much better you are getting at things.

But then improvement stops. Now you have to spend so much more time to learn something new or maybe that something new doesn’t come all that often, like in a job, when you’re already a few months in. Learning is slow or non-existent, but you got to work at it every day to get the experience needed.

And then one day, you start to improve. Maybe you get a better job with more opportunities for growth and more exciting activities just because of the contacts, experience and grinding you put in.

Enjoyment graph

I asked someone this week: when did you start enjoying running? He gave me a good thought and said: “After my first 5k. It meant that I can now easily run for a long period and still be ok, it didn’t hurt as much”. The moment this person became good, he fell in love with running. I love my job when I realize that I have the skills and people trust my judgement, but all this takes time.

I don’t have the writing skill yet. But that is not the reason to quit and look for something new, what is again – very exciting at first, but will probably be dropped at the very first sight of difficulty and lack of improvement if I keep feeding this habit. One thing I picked up from various writers and creators: write daily. Improve. Do not give up when you suck. Everything takes time. And it is so damn true.

What’s next?

I don’t hate writing. I hate that it’s not good. So my mind is telling me to quit, try something else… But that’s the problem. People quit before they become good and to become good is not a month’s or a few task. I have enough interest and desire to keep writing until I am good or even great. Or at least until I feel that something is not working and I need to find a new outlet.

From now on I will not post daily, but I pledge to write daily for at least 5 minutes. Sometimes that might turn into a blog post. Sometimes into rambling. But writing is something that is dear to me, my natural expression, my meditation.

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