I know it sounds terrible, but I am beyond excited that this challenge is over - but elated that I actually put my nose to the grindstone and did it. Proud, I guess. :) There were more days than not that I pushed the post off for part of the day, not even thinking about it and then the day got away from me... and I had no idea what to write! I would sit down at 10:00pm sometimes with a blank page staring me, wondering if I could produce anything anyone wanted to hear while I was so un-inspired and under the gun.
Sure, some of the posts are ones I wish I could go back and fill the space with something more meaningful - others were WAY too long or too preachy, but I did it. I did it. And that makes me happy.
So, what did I learn?
1. The obvious, I am way too wordy. :) Sometimes, I would love to put something out there that is high on impact, but low on the word count. Jasmine Star, another of my favorites does this swooningly well.
2. Post early on a weekday. Like, 7am. That seems to be before most people get up on the East Coast and start looking for something to read to fill that space between a full coffee cup and an empty one. So, basically write one and post it the next morning. :) And plan ahead - don't just sit there and try to think of something! Be proactive and relevant!
3. People want to hear about everything! My sessions, but also a little glimpse of what is me and what is behind what I do. What motivates me to get up every day and what I see from behind my camera. This one surprised me. I really thought no one would care about what I'm about - but the feedback I got was super encouraging - and I thank you for it! You know who you are! :)
4. I found out that there are readers who want to know how to use their camera better... There are so many levels of skill with a camera from full-on amateur to heavy pro - and so many tips and tutorials can be aimed at everyone! You don't have to be a serious pro to take great pictures, and the feedback I got on these types of posts were inspiring! So, look for more on this type of thing in the future. :)
5. I know now that I can post two times a week, at least. The 30 day challenge, an every day, in-your-face monologue from me can get tiring, don't I know it! :) So, I will aim for 2xs a week; over-saturation will never be a problem for me any more. :) So many people told me they love reading my blog every day, so I was a tiny bit tempted to continue with an almost daily (weekday) thing, but I just can't. And it may have just been my Mom that says she likes reading it every day. Maybe. :)
6. Not too personal. The post I put up about my son was an extremely personal one... and while the response from it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, (I thank you all again for the lifting up of our little family!) it caused a little ripple at home. I have always been ok with having a lot of my life out there... but I have to realize I share a house with others that I am putting out there at the same time - and they may not be so comfortable with it. Point in fact, they weren't. At all. So, I have to be aware that I can share, but I have to be respectful, and share only me - my perspective - and stop there.
7. Sessions are actually quite time-consuming to put up - I had no idea they would be that hard to prep for viewing! I found that I need to find a more stream-lined flow to make sure they are easier and faster to get ready for the blog showcase. :)
8. It's like therapy. Many times I have thought to myself that writing things down seems to solidify them. Putting them on paper helps you to focus better, make things more clear, make things more obvious and can identify issues you didn't even know were forefront. This whole exercise has certainly brought things out for me that were previously somewhat muddled, and I am thankful for some of the revelations it brought me.
9. A schedule is necessary for work to be done. :) Around here, anyway! I know now that if I didn't have a scheduled post to do every day, it would not have gotten done - I would have done other things that seemed more important at the time. So, it's important that I schedule my posts for the week and keep myself accountable for them. That way, I know the blog will never get away from me again, collecting dustbunnies and cobwebs from constant neglect.
10. I set my mind to something for 30 days and did not waver. When I think about my life for the past few years, that's huge. So now, the excuses I have always had for not exercising... do not hold water. This month's 30 day challenge - exercise. :) Now that I know I can do it, exercise every day, even just a walk around the block... it doesn't seem so insurmountable anymore. And that's a huge lesson.
It was an exercise I was glad to have participated in, and I am proud of some of the posts that came out of it. But mostly, I feel way more connected to people - the people that have been reading and commenting - I have felt your support and love the whole way through. To be honest, it's what got me through on some of those rough days. I can't thank you enough for sticking with me through it all - I feel loved and grateful to have so many caring family and friends out there who truly want to see me succeed, who really want to be a part of it. So, I'm blowing a great big kiss out to all of you this morning. Catch it and know you are loved right back. ♥
Here's to another successful 30-day challenge! :)