So, I’ve reached the end of my 30 day blogging challenge through Praxis.
It’s a brilliant challenge, and the core of the Praxis curriculum in month 2 of its professional bootcamp. It’s designed to help Praxians become better writers, develop their thoughts with clarity, and create the foundations of a valuable digital paper trail with a basis in honesty and authenticity. There are a number of serious practical advantages to this:
After a month, I’m far more comfortable writing than when I began the challenge. Writing can be a scary thing. Writing about personal things is even scarier. I feel pretty comfortable with it all, now.
I now have even more evidence that I can deliver on interesting, valuable projects. Blogging for 30 days is hard. Valuably blogging for 30 days? Even harder. Completion of this project and creation of valuable content says a lot about a person.
I’ve developed a far deeper framework for my personal brand. After spending about 10 minutes visiting my blog, a total stranger can gain a damn good idea of my interests, values, and personality. As a creative type with ambitious professional goals, specificity in my interests and activities has far-reaching benefits. There are seven billion people in the world, the majority of whom are connected via the internet. Developing a deeper framework for my brand increases the chances of meaningfully connecting with like-minded people that have similar values, interests, and goals.
As you can see, my most recent post on a breakup and what it did to me was my most successful… it had almost a thousand hits in a day, far more than any of my others throughout the past month. Also, my least popular post was my reflection on my first week of blogging. I think that’s funny (it was a waste of a post… I needed something to write about that night).
It’s been a journey – by working hard at openly and honestly sharing with others, I’ve had a challenging and rewarding month. Here are more specifics on what I’ve learned and gained through the process:
I worked hard at being truthful and authentic in my writing. As a result, I’ve identified the roots of a truthful and authentic voice within myself. This is deeply liberating.
People need more authentic and honest communication. The outpouring of support I received throughout this process was mindblowing. I deeply feared putting a few of my posts out there, and after publishing them, the number of people that went out of their way to let me know that my words really resonated was so heartwarming. I intend to continue writing from the heart.
If you’re being truly, brutally honest in your writing and your thoughts, you will polarize people. Your words will sting some of your readers, and they’ll resonate deeply with others. This is good. Human beings grow through challenges. Writing openly and honestly about personal topics gave me the chance to connect deeply with people. I was even reduced to tears after writing a post one night. Overall, It’s been a cathartic, emotional, spiritual, enlivening process. Who knew smashing away at keys on a keyboard could be so exhilarating?
People really like it when you write honestly and openly about relationships with the opposite sex. This post (on a breakup and what it did to me), and this post (on why girls cheat and what to do about it) were my two most popular posts this month, by far. None of my other posts even come close. I think that’s interesting.
If you’re writing to provide your readers with value, speaking from personal experience (particularly personal experience that’s close to the heart) often hits home for readers. This seems to be universally true for myself and for my fellow Praxis participants who have also undergone this month-long challenge.
Trying to provide serious value using the technique in #4, every single day, for thirty days straight, is an emotionally and mentally draining activity. For me, it’s important to know when to retreat, and when to aggressively move forward. There were days throughout this month where I just did not have the emotional and mental capacity to write a truly valuable blog post (in my mind they wouldn’t have been truly valuable). As a result, I failed to reach my initial goal of 30 blog posts. That sucked. On the bright side, by allowing myself a few nights to mentally recuperate, I gained the clarity necessary to produce some of my best work in the days following.
Let’s be real, sharing intimate details of your life can be scary. as. fuck. In the beginning of this challenge, I really struggled to do it. My ego was a huge barrier to overcome. I naturally don’t want to share my struggles, or that I’m struggling. I don’t like giving an indication that I don’t have my shit together, despite it being totally normal and a very human quality. Human beings naturally try to save face. There is a way to overcome it though, which brings me to my next point.
I believe that our struggles are gifts, and the process of sharing those struggles becomes far easier when we’re human enough to admit them, and generous enough to share how we overcame them. As TK Coleman recently shared with us, the intimate details, experiences, and trials that we experience are what make us unique, interesting, and valuable as individuals. Without trials and tribulations, without struggles, without successes, and without drama… we’d be boring and we wouldn’t have stories to tell. Those stories deserve to see the light of day. Those stories can be our gifts to those around us.
By openly sharing our struggles & triumphs over those struggles, we encourage people to “come out of the woodwork,” and reach out to us. Candid and honest blogging has connected me with people I never I’d be connected with, and I’ve been fortunate to form extremely close and honest bonds as a result. How incredible is that?!
Regarding post analytics: I publicized all of my posts on facebook, but the posts that I didn’t publicize on Instagram and Twitter tended to do the worst. When I posted stuff to my instagram story, and shared stuff to my twitter, they tended to do better. This is obvious but interesting, nonetheless.
I’m not done blogging. It’s 11pm as I write these – tomorrow at 6am I’m waking up to begin a two day long drive to Charleston, South Carolina. I’m moving to Charleston for my job with Praxis. The process will take the next few days, so I won’t be writing much in the very near future, but I have a hell of a lot more writing I’d like to do. This has been fun. Thanks for following along. I’m stoked to continue this journey. Much love.