OK, OK, I know we’re not quite there yet but seeing as the next two posts are lined up and they are also apt “year end” posts, I’ve decided to do this one now.
I believe that there’s a phenomenon on Snapchat called the Streak, whereby the app gives you a running total of consecutive days that you’ve messaged people. Streaks are so important to some Snapchat users that they even share passwords apparently, to have someone babysit their account when they might not be able to send a message. The youths / older people sending nudes find their streaks so important that they see it as a representation of the strength of the friendship.
I use Timehop, the app that trawls through your social media postings for that date back in time and shows you what you’ve done. My streak on that is 591 straight days. The reason for that is simply though – it’s something to do while I put off getting out of bed in the morning.
How ever long ago it was, I embarked on an effort to blog 30 straight days, and I achieved it. I also past a milestone in 2017 of having posted every day for 365 days. I was getting close and decided that I wanted to go for it. Once that target was reached, there was really only one more to go for – completing the calendar year.
My motivation for blogging was probably closer to the Snapchat streak reasoning than that of Timehop. I apologise for boring regular readers with this again, but I had a friend who blogged too. She also did the month of blogging which inspired me. We swapped a few posts once upon a time where a conversation would probably have been better. She then decided that she didn’t want to see me again roughly two years ago.
Despite that, I know that she read this blog for months afterwards. So for a long time, me posting here was a sort of therapy because it allowed me to think that I was talking to her. I’m sure some will say that that’s a bad thing, not least of all her, but that’s how it was at the time.
After that, I was just interested in how long I could keep it up. I have no idea why it is that a streak is impressive or important. I’ve been trying to research it online but I keep coming up against Snapchat! I guess it’s habit and personal pride in an achievement.
While I still haven’t decided on the why, there are probably two main things I’ve learnt from trying to do a full calendar year.
The first big one is that it’s hard, logistically. I haven’t actually blogged every day, I admit, but I have posted. I mean, think about it. All sorts happens in life that gets in the way of blogging. I work full time, I go out some evenings, I go on holiday, I sometimes have days at a time where I don’t have access to my computer.
When I’ve been on holiday or away for work, when I know I’m going to be away, I’ve been able to plan and sometimes I’ve done two or three posts a day in preparation. Finding the idea of the “Weekend Coffee Share” helped because it allowed me to work in arrears – with it being an easy to post to write and me doing it on a Sunday, I could usually write another post for Monday and always be a day ahead.
It’s the impromptu stuff that’s hard, so I’ve always tried to have a couple of posts ready to go where I just need to open the app on my phone and post.
The other aspect of it being hard is that there’s not always something to write about. When I’ve run out of contingency posts and all I really want to do is go out, or go to bed, or I only have 30 minutes and I have no inspiration or ideas, it becomes a chore to search the news for something that I might have an opinion on. I felt like I began to run out of steam around October and when I’ve had to really grind something out, it means that it’s not always great. Quantity got in the way of quality when it became a “have to do” rather than a “want to do” and for a non-monetised blog like mine, that’s not the way it should be.
To put “running out of steam around October” in to context, it meant I had to push myself in to writing probably 70 posts that I had no inspiration for up until the day or a few days in advance.
In trying to complete a calendar year and finding inspiration, I think the biggest positive is reigniting my interest in learning and finding stuff out. I read the news more, I’ve listened to more podcasts, I’ve listened to more people and I’v thought about what people are doing more. It’s often easy to let things pass you by and while it’s certainly possibly to over think, forcing yourself to write about something every day does cause your interest pique in certain things that you might not otherwise have seen.
I know there are a lot of people, certainly in the WordPress community, who run a few blogs all of which are updated everyday. However, if you aren’t one of those people, I challenge you to a 2018 of one post everyday, to see how you overcome the logistical and inspirational challenges and what you learn along the way.
To finish, I think the biggest lesson will come when my streak ends. As much as I’m looking forward to losing the pressure, if that’s the right word, getting my final number will probably be hard. I can’t see myself embarking on this journey again. I think I’ll also miss the point I alluded to earlier about talking to you people out there, whether or not one of you is the person I would still love to speak to everyday away from the medium of the blogosphere.