Writing for #vDM30in30

As November rushes to its conclusion, it’s time to start some introspection about #vDM30in30. Here are some observations I’ve made, in no particular order:

  • I was asked how I write so many articles in such a short time. My most successful pattern is to identify 2-3 related concepts I want to write about and write 5 or 6 sentences describing them in Evernote. When it’s time to write an article, go to Evernote, pick a concept, and give myself 1 hour to write an article. At the end of the hour, start revising it, but there’s no time limit on this. I’ve been able to do most articles in 60-90 minutes this way. The concepts stay focused, the editing is good, and I’m prevented from obsessing about perfection to the point that I never end up publishing anyway. This results in shorter articles, so won’t hold true for longer technical articles, but I like this pattern.
  • As a consequence of this pattern, my editing process is getting tighter and tighter. Write and finish, then edit, edit, edit. I’ve noticed fewer errors in my writing overall – hopefully that’s the reality of it.
  • Writing and editing is easy. Ideas are difficult. Having a stock to rely on isn’t a bad thing. I hope to end this effort with a dozen or so ideas banked for the future.
  • Thirty articles in thirty days is rough. Even with a decent process in place and much shorter articles, I don’t think I want to do this again anytime soon. I’ll stick to my once or twice a week schedule, thanks!
  • Fear is a killer. By publishing rapidly, I’ve overcome most of my fear. Previously, I would sit on a completed article for days, sometimes weeks, for fear of how it would be received. Now, I am more focused on writing for my own goals – I appreciate it when an article is well received, but it’s not the primary focus during writing and editing.
  • Even though I’m less concerned about the reception, of course I’ve looked at page view statistics. Whether I’ve published 0, 1, or 4 articles a day, page views – aggregate and per new article – seem to remain fairly consistent. There doesn’t appear to be a downside to publishing multiple articles a day. I also didn’t see any significant correlation between the day of the week or the time of publication and the number of views. This isn’t something I’ll worry about in the future.
  • I wrote about the writing process itself a few times. I found this useful to myself and I hope others find it helpful as well. The 30in30 exercise, after all, was about improving my writing.

While I said I don’t want to do this again, it has been a worthwhile exercise and I think I benefited a lot. I hope the readers enjoyed it, as well! Even though this 30in30 challenge is ending, it’s not too late to start your own 30in30 challenge.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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