I can’t believe that this is my final blog. Well, it’s not the last one that I will ever write. I have actually enjoyed this experience, and I feel like someday, I will come back to these thirty-days of blogs, and I will be reminded of this time in my life. Overall, it was an outstanding experience. I encourage anyone out there reading this to sit down and write daily.
Over the course of the thirty days, I have begun to realize how varied my tastes are. I wrote about everything from art, to ballet, to books, to studying, to family, to food, and bars. I like not being pigeon-toed into writing about the same topic every day.
I tracked how many people clicked and read the blog, and the numbers, shockingly enough, did not create any real emotions. I was shocked that a few people read every single blog post. I didn’t expect to have many readers, and I sure didn’t expect anyone to actually take the time to read every day. The blogs that were the most challenging to write got the fewest number of readers. The blog with the most words had the fewest readers of all. I guess that’s how inverse relationship work sometimes. We get nervous about saying the right thing, doing the right thing, thinking that people may judge us, and the reality is – no one is really paying attention. People are too focused on their own busy lives to be judging what we write.
The blog forced me to do things that I may not have done otherwise. For example, I would not have gone out to listen to live music if I wasn’t desperate for some content. Yet, I am glad that I made the effort, and I am glad that the blog held me accountable. I also didn’t write much about running, and I had anticipated having three to four blogs about my favorite hobby.
I also learned that even solid plans need adjusting. There were many times that I would list out some topics for the blog, and either it didn’t feel right, or I just couldn’t find the right words so I had to adjust my plan and had to find another topic. I am a planner, and it’s an important life-lesson to know that plans can change, and the new plan may actually be a better one.
The blog was a good distraction from other hard things in my life. The GRE studying has been the most challenging thing I have done in a while, and writing was a good break. Our family is going through some big changes, and writing gave my brain a break from the decision-making or the anxiety attached to the changes.
A couple of times, the blog took me away from family or friend time, and everyone seemed to understand and was very gracious with me. I think knowing that this exercise wasn’t really about a silly blog that no one reads. Instead, it was about finishing something that I started. It was about being disciplined enough to follow through. It was about consistency and commitment. Giving me a little quiet time to show some discipline, commitment, and consistency was what it was really all about.
My goal was to write a minimum of 600 words a day. I fell short three times. Exhaustion from traveling will do that. This also means that I exceeded my goal twenty-seven times. I think I’ll focus on exceeding and not falling short. This is another challenging thing for me. I am really good at focusing on all the things I do wrong or fall short on when I should be celebrating the things I do right. I averaged over 900 words a day, and that far exceeded my expectations. I wrote over 28,000 words over the course of the thirty days. (To put it into perspective, novels are typically 40,000 words or more.)
I had readers from 18 countries. I got most of my readers from sharing the link on Facebook. Shockingly, I had more clicks from LinkedIn than Instagram, and I quit sharing on LinkedIn a few days ago. (One of the things I learned through this process is that I don’t have to be on social media sites that I don’t like, and I don’t like LinkedIn.) I also realize that if I actually wanted more readers, I would have to spend some time promoting the blog. Other things that would help get more readers is if I asked people to share it, if I posted to groups who would be interested in what I was writing about, and if I tagged people and used more hashtags. Since getting readers wasn’t the purpose of this exercise, I didn’t take the time to do those extra steps.
Writing took me an average of an hour and a half a day. Some blogs took me longer. I fell asleep writing another blog, so the laptop was on my lap MUCH longer than 90 minutes that day. Some blogs I could pull together very quickly. I preferred writing on my laptop than my phone, and the laptop blogs took longer, were better written, and were higher quality. There is a direct correlation between time and quality. I am also more focused on my laptop than I am on my phone.
The real reason that I started this exercise is because when I apply to a PhD program, I want to be able to walk into an interview with their admissions people with confidence. I want to be able to go in and say that I am disciplined with my writing. I know that I like to read. I know that I like to write. I will learn to be a disciplined researcher, and they should accept me into their program because of these things. I meet with the lead Advisor tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!
I am often times a little sad when I finish a goal, and I am actually a little sad to finish this project. I plan to write on Monday’s again, and I plan to focus on my GRE studying for the next couple of weeks. I am grateful for anyone who had anything nice to say about my writing or my topics. For those of you who read the blog, thank you. For those of you who said something nice about it, THANK YOU! I am so grateful for friends, family, and even strangers out there who took the time. I am signing off until next Monday with deepest gratitude and appreciation.