What I Learned While Blogging Like Crazy

Finish Line

I almost did it. #BlogLikeCrazy has come to an end, and I came close to meeting the goal of posting something every day for 30 days. Here are some lessons I learned in that time:

 

  1. Being a diligent blogger made me a bad housekeeper and a bad student. In other words, something’s got to give. I think I’m a slower writer and reader (and cook and dishwasher) than most, and perhaps because of that, I found it impossible to keep everything going during this challenge. If the blog was on point with both writing and photos, something else in my life—usually classwork or the dishes, as I don’t really do anything else—was being pushed aside. The days I just didn’t get around to blogging were days I decided to give my homework the time I really need to give it to complete it. All of that means I probably can’t be a student again and expect to keep up with my writing unless I’m a writing student.
  2. Living makes my writing better. #BlogLikeCrazy creator Javacia Bowser supplied us with writing prompts, but I didn’t need to use them if I was out living because life supplied material. Many of my favorite posts from this month (like this one, this one, this one, oh, and definitely this one) happened as a result of life happening, not of me reading, tweeting, watching television, or listening to the radio.
  3. I miss a lot when I don’t read, tweet, watch television, or listen to the radio. You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to develop into a blog post a thought that formed while I was being a good student and reading. (The #BlogLikeCrazy post I’m most proud of happened when I did just that.) Traditional and social media also provide loads of material (resulting in this post, this one, this one, and also this one), and they are some of the main ways people interact these days. Even though the topics often are worth some investigation and my readers would be interested in what I have to say about them, I usually catch on to hashtags too late to participate in them. Nevertheless, while I want to participate in the conversation, this challenge has also taught me that …
  4. I want to be original instead of reactionary. I don’t mind using a post to respond to a reader’s question or comment, but I want to get to the point as a writer where I’m generating the subject and the buzz about it instead of responding to responses or chiming in because everyone else is. I started this blog with an idea I hadn’t seen anywhere else: personal essays about family history that honor women and matriarchs, and it was meant to be by and about anyone who wanted to contribute. I found it too difficult to keep up on my own, and I got a guest writer only once.
  5. I need moral and domestic support as a writer.
  6. I can do this for me, but I would rather have readers and have an impact. I feel good that I took on a positive challenge and truly gave it my best, but on the days and nights when I didn’t want to post, I thought, “Well, no one’s reading it anyway.” Maybe I don’t have readers because outside of #BlogLikeCrazy, I don’t post regularly, but when it’s midnight and I’m trudging through a column due for National Catholic Reporter, I push through not only because there’s a check and an editor involved, but because I know there are readers expecting my content in their inbox, and I don’t want to disappoint them with silence or with crappy writing. I feel less accountable to my own blog.
  7. Wait a minute. Why am I doing this anyway? One of the blog prompts was “why I blog.” I didn’t do that one. I think it’s about time I did.
  8. I miss writing everything else.

 

So what’s next? I’m going back to being a good student. The project that counts for 70 percent of my grade is due Dec. 13, and I’m going to finish strong. I may be back before then to share bits of my project, or some of those discoveries I mentioned above in number 3.

 

The blog’s purpose, and my purpose as a writer, are in flux, but I am not abandoning my blog baby yet. For the last two weeks of December, however, I am returning to my other baby: my memoir. I saw something this month in a writing group on Facebook about posting six lines from a piece you workshopped. I’m thinking of posting six lines per day, perhaps every day in December, from whatever I’m working on that day. Hopefully it stays within the realm of Faith, Family, Feminism, Femininity and Food, but if I digress, at least you know I’m being productive.

 

Thanks for crossing the finish line with me! Do you have  a favorite post from this month? Did you take the same challenge? Tell me in the comments below.

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3 thoughts on “What I Learned While Blogging Like Crazy

  1. Hi, I’ve just found your blog through a link on Feminism and Religion. I really enjoyed this post, it made me laugh in rueful recognition. I also found your post about the Jesus in your grandmother’s sitting room both moving and thought provoking. Thank you for all these and I hope December’s assignment went well.

    Juliet

    1. Juliet,

      I’m so glad you found the blog and enjoyed what you read! The Jesus in Grandmama’s House post was difficult to write, but necessary, I think. Thanks for reading.

  2. Hi Mariam
    I do love your writing and always read you in NCR. Have shared your blog with a couple of similarly minded folk a bit more your age than mine. (I am a grandma but not a normal one.)
    I started my blog last year, after always wanting to write for an audience, but never seeming to have enough time to pursue thoughts at length. when my children were young, I wrote in January during my school holiday break. Just let them run loose really. I wasn’t a normal mother either.
    Blogging is great for focussing the mind and paying proper attention. the process is always revelatory for me. Sometimes I hardly recognize my own work later, but that’s nice when it is surprising because it is good. (Ahem).
    By the way, I am writing this on a hot night in Adelaide, South Australia, which has the ignominious title of the driest state in the driest continent.
    The dishes are still in the sink and will keep till tomorrow.
    Cheers
    Pauline

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