What I Learned This Month

Not as much as I would have liked to.

I’ve heard a lot of wonder stories about blogging for 30 days in a row, or 100, or whatever. As I’ve said many, many times, I’ve already done the daily blogging thing for about five months. I didn’t experience anything exciting. I didn’t become more disciplined, or more creative, or more receptive to things. I didn’t develop the ability to focus better, or better critical thinking skills.

The only thing that really improved was my writing, and I attribute that more to William Zinsser’s On Writing Well than to daily blogging. “Practice makes perfect,” goes the aphorism. Not true. Perfect practice makes perfect. Likewise, poor practice makes for poor results. If I’m a garbage writer, I could write every day for a year and see no marked improvement unless I understand why I’m a garbage writer. If I don’t, all I’ll accomplish is the entrenchment of my bad habits.

Regardless, I went into this month with rather low expectations. I suppose they were met. Much like the last time, my life remained unchanged. Also like last time, the improvement in my writing came from external sources—my peers, certainly, but mostly from Dan Sanchez, my advisor.

I think part of this is a reflection on me. I have grand ideas for my posts. However, to execute these ideas properly, the posts would have to be worked on for a few days. Since I usually don’t have the time for this, I end up writing something easy and hitting publish.

Is this valuable? I don’t think so, at least not as valuable as what I could be doing. I understand the principle behind blogging daily. I think it’s important to get used to shipping. But I’d rather put out quality material twice a week instead of bare-minimum stuff every day.

I did learn a lot about time management this month, at least. I also learned the dangers of overestimating your own ability. Often, I’d sit down with a good idea, waste time for an hour, start writing, realize it was too late to do my idea justice, and write something lame. I can blame the pressure of shipping daily for my lack of quality content, but it all starts with me, and I learned that the hard way.

Were I to do this month over, I’d try to carve out more time for writing each day. I think I’d have been able to achieve the quality I strive for most of the time simply by dedicating more time to each post. As it stands, I didn’t learn a ton from this month. Like I said earlier, I’ll be continuing this until I can consistently defeat Resistance. Here’s to another, better month.

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