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What 31 days of daily blogging has taught me (23rd March, 2017)

Well, to be fair, this is day 32.

I started writing about Rayo Vallecano daily on the 16th of February, 2017. In 36 days, I have uploaded 32 posts on this very blog. 32 times pushing the "Publish" button. 32 times sitting down and asking myself what I should write about. 32 times creating something - a story, an article. a rant. Something.

More than a month ago, I remember wanting to start a daily blog, as an impetus to write more, as a way to compensate for an almost disastrous writing in the second half of 2016 and as a way to be more connected and aware of the subjects I was writing about.

I remember reading countless articles on the pros and cons of daily blogging - the arguments for and against essentially boiling down to quantity and quality.

But I also remember thinking how blogging daily and accept the inevitable drop in quality was just not me. I remember thinking how most of my previous work were long-form pieces that wove sad, forgotten, under-reported and chilling stories.

I wasn't a daily blogger my any means. My best work took time and patience. How was I supposed to come up with something everyday?

But I did. And it's been amazing.

Lesson #1 - Daily Blogging is more than just about writing everyday 

A daily blog is not just a collection of posts written everyday. It is a laboratory of ideas, and somewhere down the line those ideas can bloom into something better. A small paragraph in one daily post somewhere can blossom into something better.

Quality content. Helpful narrations. Amazing stories. You name it.

That is not to say that individual daily posts can't be good - I'm genuinely proud of the one where I look at the political leanings of Vallekas, or the ones I wrote about the propaganda machine that is Marca (the Spanish sports daily).

But most daily posts aren't polished, and unpolished means that the story may not flow just as well. My best work is on my other blog, 19spains.com, or on blogs I feel obligated to write for. And on days I write there I'll just link it over here.

Lesson #2 - You will scramble for ideas

I mean, I'm writing about daily blogging rather than blogging about Rayo.

But it's true. You notice the small things, you think about how you feel about a certain topic, you dig deep and research - you'll do anything to find the impetus that helps create a blog post.

Writer's block will become just a myth.

Lesson #3 - Keep the subject matter open

If you're daily blogging about a very specific topic, you're going to find it hard to write about it everyday. You can still do it and it has its advantages - you learn more about the topic and you'll become more capable at writing about obscure topics.

Just know that you'll probably end up doing a blog post like this.

Lesson #4 - Do it even if only to learn how to write quickly

I schedule my posts for 10 am UK time, and I remember exactly seven days into blogging looking at the clock and seeing it was 9:45 am, writing an entire blog post by 9:58 am - just in time to 'schedule' the post for 10:00 am.

Lesson #5 - See lesson #1: daily blogging will probably NOT be your best work. So don't promote it if it isn't.

If you're a writer with writing commitments keep posting your best work there and daily blog for the mental sharpness or the impetus to create. And even if you're not I highly recommend maintaining another blog for your best work.

Obviously, if the post is genuinely good by all means go for it - don't be surprised if every post isn't a gem.

Lesson #6 - If you're a perfectionist daily blogging may actually be for you

Daily blogging helps put the pressure off your shoulders and write without anyone seeing it - just don't promote it and you'll be fine.

Lesson #7 - Quality

If you're keeping another blog for high-quality posts/writing for others, you'll find yourself posting more frequently on those sites. Because the writing process becomes easier, you have more time to polish, edit and submit more quality articles.

Lesson #8 - Ways to make sure you don't procrastinate

I have two - one positive and one negative:

  1. Create a page where you write all the days you've missed. I call mine The Hall of Shame, and because it's public it's embarrassing and it keeps me from missing a post each day. I've missed four so far and I have a genuine excuse for each of those four days. But I failed on those four days and that will never go away. 
  2. Write the date in the title of each post - that way, there's a sense of accomplishment once you've finished writing it. On some days, I'll put the date in the title before I've even started writing - it serves as surprisingly effective encouragement. 

Lesson #9 - Don't stop

I'm not stopping.

And neither should you.

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