Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I learned from May's Blogathon

Hi, friends.

As you all probably know at this point, I took part in (and narrowly missed successfully completing) the 2010 WordCount Blogathon.

Here's what I've learned:

1. Blogging is serious business. 

I started a blog because I like words, I think I'm funny, and I thought it would be good to make myself write.  When I joined the Blogathon, I thought I would find lots of people like me--people who make fun little observations about life and release them to the universe. And I did find some people like that.

But I heard a lot about branding, a lot about traffic and analytics, and a lot about acronyms that meant nothing to me (like SEO, for example). And I realized, these people are taking this SERIOUSLY.

I also got a lot of blogging advice. If I do decide to get myself a domain name and commit to this blogging thing, I don't know that it will be here. I love this blog, and I love doing it, and I love that you (yes, you, specifically) are reading it, but I don't know that I would ever call it a serious venture. I feel like this is like my think- and play-space, and I am incredibly honored that anyone would come along for the ride.

2. Someone has already written about this, and done a better job. 

I am a good writer. I'll even stick my nose out and say I have talent at it. But there are a lot of good writers in the world, and there were a lot of good writers taking part in the Blogathon. But here's one part of the encouragement of this realization. The fact that what I'm doing may not be 100% original or completely the greatest thing ever committed to language/thought/webspace doesn't mean I shouldn't do it. The fact is, I do have a unique voice, and people enjoy hearing it. Now, many of those people may be friends and family (who, really, unless they're jerks--and they're not--kinda have to like me), but many others were strangers to me on May 1, and are strangers still. And people are reading, and saying hello, and I get to get stuff--the silly stuff, the scary stuff, the serious stuff--out of my head. Everybody wins.

3. People are really nice. 

This one maybe isn't rocket science, but it's nice to be reminded. I have been so impressed by the amount of advice, support and encouragement I have received over the past month. Whether it's support in regards to jobs, like I posted yesterday, or encouragement when my life deflates, or even just direction on what to use for blogging and how to use it, people have been really helpful and kind. And so thank you, gang.

And just for fun, here is my favorite text message I received today (the sender shall remain anonymous):

I am drawing a shark in a business suit. Please kill me. 


  1. The blogathon was intense. I'm so worn out from writing every day.

    I started my blog for the same reason you did, just as an exercise in writing and to have a space to play. There is no way I can keep up the 1 post per day that we had to do all May. It's crazy trying to make high quality posts every day on top of a full time job.

    It was an interesting experiment at least. If I decide to do it next year I'm going to write a bunch of posts in advance.

  2. Heather, good thought about not being the best but being funny and finding your voice. This whole thing was new to me, too. I wished I visited more during the "thon" but I was just working on keeping my head above water.

    Congrats for doing it!

  3. A comment on number two. You nailed it right on the head. While somebody might have already wrote on your topic and even have a similar thesis, the fact of the matter is that each person has a unique voice, and thus the article will be different. In fact, one of my favorite and most challenging professors told us never to be afraid to take an existing thesis and run with it - as long as we do so in our voice, and not just rehash what has already been written.