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5 Blogging Lessons from NaBloPoMo

This guest post is by Karen Andrews of Miscellaneous Mum.

As problogger.net reported earlier this year, November is traditionally National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). This year I decided to set myself a personal challenge by giving them a try. Yes, together. In the spirit of imparting some tales of my intrepid adventures, I thought I’d share with you some important (and surprising) things I learned along the way.

1. Don’t be afraid to cut away the safety net

Is your blogging routine as old and worn as your favorite pair of slippers? Do you post at the same time on the same day, week in and out?

I see the comfort this can provide, and usually prescribe to the method, but on the other hand might this negate a thing blogging is often known for—the spirit of experimentalism? What if an alternate time, or topic, or way of publicizing your content happened to work even better? Isn’t it worth trialling?

2. Application cultivates discipline

It’s an old adage that the more a muscle is exercised, the better it performs and is strengthened, and I think this applies to writing. I found that by making the commitment, I found the time I needed to perform my tasks—in batches, I will add, as I have a child at home—and I sat down to work guilt-free and purposeful. This more positive mindset really helped.

3. Creativity rises in the ranks of precedence

It would take a remarkable talent to post thirty straight days (or more) of absolute winning content: talent, planning, assistance, and even a little luck might be closer to the mark. Even the most serious and best of us have silly off-the-cuff days, and I, personally, find them refreshing to both read and write.

It gives you the chance to share a part of yourself that a different kind of reader will identify with and appreciate. If your blog is more business or niche orientated this might be trickier, but I can cite some instances here on problogger.net where Darren has done something similar with great results—like an April Fools joke post which stated that ProBlogger had been acquired by Google, or a special guest post by his son.

So I’m issuing a challenge: post your own photographs instead of sourcing them from creative commons, write some flash fiction. Do you draw? Show us!

4. Determining your blogging future might just be made that much clearer

Once the month is over, stand back and take a breather. You’ve earned one. But what’s next? If you’re like me, worrying about traffic and subscribers takes a backseat when you’re in the middle of the task of laying down words until you emerge from the fog. Lucky there’s a wealth of information waiting to be looked over via Feedburner or Statcounter or Google Analytics (if you choose to do so).

Sometimes you’ll be able to tell what worked “better” by commenter count or good old gut instinct. The question now is: which way will you go? Will you apply your new tactics or chalk them up to mere play? It’s never an easy question to answer, but think about it this way: you’re better situated to do so now than you were a month ago.

5. This above all: life happens. Make peace with the fact

Did I finish NaNoWriMo? No, I barely cracked the 3,500 word mark. What happened? Illness, end-of-year school concerts, events, errands. You know the usual excuses. Still, those 3,500 are better than nothing—which might have happened if I hadn’t signed up at all. Besides, I still met the NaBloPoMo goal.

I believe above all else that the best thing you can offer your blogging is the best you. This might mean taking a rest or postponing such challenges if they become too untenable. The best thing of all is, you’ve got the next thirty days, you can begin again. Go solo if you want, you’ve already got the practice in. Maybe recruit some blogging buddies, and make it a community project. You can do it.

Karen Andrews is an author, publisher at Miscellaneous Press, award-winning short story writer and poet. She is also known through her personal blog as ‘Miscellaneous Mum‘. She is on Twitter as @miscmum.

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Comments

  1. Faizan Elahi says:

    All good and valid points. And I have to say that writing for ta new post for thirty straight days is very hard.

  2. I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time this year and started a blog during it. I have to say one of the things it made me realise is how much free time you really have – 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, it all adds up!

    What’s more I completed NaNoWriMo – I’m really proud of myself. Anyone up for NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo together next year?

  3. Drewry says:

    Blogging can possibly become a very comfortable lifestyle. However, there are many things in which can motivate the blogger to stay positively motivated for blogging success. for instance, if a blogger is normally used to blogging at noon, they can stay motivated, by posting first thing in the morning before they do exercise and cardiovascular activity.additionally, bloggers can also stay motivated to succeed in the online blogging efforts, by making spontaneous blog posts after midnight. This way, they positively trick their minds into posting at different times, thus, staying motivated for blogging success on the World Wide Web :-)

  4. Bougie Girl says:

    Last month, I wrote for 30 days straight for NaBloPoMo. After blogging for 30 days straight, I felt this overwhelming sense of exhaustion. By Day 18, my creativity was in jeopardy of completely drying up. I managed to pull through both times but, I gotta tell ya that I was one happy camper on 12/1/2011.

  5. katepickle says:

    It’s been a while since I attempted NaBloPoMo because it falls at a crazy time of year for me… but I love the idea of just breaking out of the routine and being motivated to write something every day and seeing what happens. I may just have to do my own version at a slightly less hectic time of year!

  6. Tom says:

    I’ve found it refreshing to use my own pictures. I don’t need to worry about a copyright, and I always get exactly what I want. :)

  7. Marcie says:

    Congratulations on your successes and thanks for sharing your experience. It does help to step out of your safety zone. I participated in Blog2Print’s 24 Hour Blogathon last year. I was sooooooo sleepy the next morning, but I did complete the book in 24 hours that I said I would complete by the end of the year.

  8. Ashokkumar says:

    Thanks…These are the essential way to improve our blog…alll bloggers should follow such rules…There much more details are provided in short form….thanks Problogger.

  9. Daniel says:

    Karen, I remember something very similar sounding from my time over at the Absolute write water cooler forums(I was hiding out in the screenwriting section—I think they changed the sub forum name).

    Was it Nano-write? Anyway, I do recall it was a very popular event that challenged the writers to push themselves beyond their comfort zones(Needing to pump out a work(Novel) of a certain number of words in a short time frame.

    There were a number of screenwriting events that revolved around a similar concept(Produce a work in a limited amount of time).

    I think the positives are the challenging aspect, along with the opportunities afforded to build bridges within your particular craft.

  10. Tina says:

    The tips were really interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Karen.

  11. Mathanas says:

    Blogging becomes interesting with time… I first had a great desire of becoming one of the best bloggers but, most were the times that I was giving up. I used to try to commit myself in achieving the target by the end of the day and with time I came to regain the highest speed.

    With the help of this blogging lessons, I believe I will continue keeping my speed at a pace.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  12. A nice, refreshing read. I personally can relate to #3 – writing great content for 30 consecutive days is a feat I have yet to accomplish.

  13. Ling says:

    Taking risks is important for development. But of course we need to asses and study the situation as taking risks blindly will only definitely mean suicide.

  14. I was supposed to give it a shot in 2011, but it didn’t work out, but one of my resolutions is to make NaNoWriMo 2012 happen for me!