I've learned several things from this year* of blogging. Today, I'll share what I've learned with you and set forth a new goal for the next year.
First, I learned that "it's harder than it looks". Not all of my blogs have been great. Most of them, if I'm going to be honest, were pretty mediocre but that's okay, it was more about just putting something out every week consistently. It was hard. Many times, I didn't want to do it at all. Most of the time, I had no idea what I'd write about until the morning I actually wrote it. I tried to be current but thoughtful and hopefully, on occasion, thought-provoking. I wrote a lot more blogs that I didn't end up publishing for one reason or another. Many times, I would think "I'll write about this thing" and then, once I started writing about it, the wind would leave my sails and it felt like "if I don't care about it, who else is going to care?" The majority of the time, I found it very difficult to rein myself in. I tend to write sort of "stream-of-consciousness" so I would sometimes sit down and start writing and find myself losing the thread of what I was intending to say because I ran down a rabbit hole or followed a butterfly or something. This happened a lot. It was hard for me to prune my thoughts like I would prune a bonsai tree to maintain its shape. It also got much harder for me to write every Thursday because my schedule got busier and I no longer have Thursdays off, so writing changed from something I "got to do because I have the day off" to something I "have to do in addition to working". Not as pleasant and I'll definitely need to work on reframing that one.
Second, I learned that its really good exercise. I have written about how doing hard things is good for you. This blog is an excellent example of perseverance. I'm not trying to congratulate myself or anything, I'm just saying I did what I said I was going to do--write an entry every week --and I've done that for a whole year**. I found that having a "deadline" helped me to accomplish the task. I've thrown around the idea of giving up the blog (because its harder than it looks!) several times especially in the past 2 or 3 months. Had I not decided to have a weekly post, publishing every Thursday, and instead had I decided to do it "whenever I felt like it", I'm certain it would have simply faded from my consciousness. I made an agreement with myself to keep my promise for at least a year and I have now done that.
Third, I greatly prefer writing the Skill of the Month than the actual "blog". The Skill of the Month was something that was far easier for me than blogging. In the Skill of the Month, I wrote about things that I know a lot about and I love sharing information with others--especially things that one can do to help oneself! In the blog, it was more about how I, as a psychologist, view things that come up in the world. Interesting to some perhaps, but much less comfortable than the "teaching" role I prefer.
Taking from these three major insights I gained from my stint as a blogger, I'm changing my goal for the coming year. Going forward, I am going to relax my "publish something every week" standard. I think I will write better blogs when the mood strikes me as opposed to forcing myself to write whether I have much to say or not (which is what it feels like sometimes). I am fully aware that I run the risk of allowing it to fade from my consciousness, but I will make a concerted effort to write at least one blog a month. In addition, I'm going to keep up with the Skill of the Month, to be published at the beginning of each month as before (although I may play with the exact day it is published possibly preferring to publish it on the 1st of each month instead of the first Thursday).
If there is something you'd like me to talk more about, please, let me know in the comments section below!
*Technically, my first blog was published on February 12, 2015 but it wasn't much of a blog entry more just a "I'm going to start blogging" announcement. My first "real" blog was published on February 17, 2015.
**with the exception of the month I took off in November for NaNoWriMo.