Yesterday I completed 8 months of daily blogging. Somehow, every day since October 30, I have hit publish on a blog post.
In case you’re counting, that is 244 days.
Here are some insights and things I’m learning.
The Hardest Daily Practice
Over the past several years, I have created and sustained a lot of daily practices. Publishing daily has been the hardest.
Publishing daily has required more discipline than fitness first, more patience than meditation, more dedication than keeping a journaling practice, and more devotion than walking 10,000 steps each day.
One of the reasons it’s so hard is that it’s public. You know if I’m doing it.
It Builds on Other Practices
A decade ago, I had a vision of being a daily blogger. It felt out of reach for me and I shelved the idea. It took me several years even to get this site up. When I first launched this site, I tried and failed to get some consistency.
What I lacked was not the discipline to maintain consistency but the foundational rituals and practices to support a daily publishing practice.
You can’t publish daily if you don’t have a regular writing practice, and it’s hard to create a regular writing practice if you don’t create space for yourself to write. Each of my established rituals contributes to my daily blogging.
My morning workout produces the feel-good chemicals that focus my attention and energy. Meditation gives me clarity and perspective, and helps me stay rooted to my intention. Daily journaling allows me to flesh out the cobwebs and chatter in my mind and process emotions. It’s often the case that I need to “write through” something before I can write about it coherently.
When I feel stuck in my writing, nothing helps more than a good, brisk walk. When I’m moving I tend to make connections that I don’t make while sitting down.
The Cycle of Creation and Destruction
On the surface, a daily blogging practice looks like a lot of doing and creating. But the cycle of creation and destruction applies here too.
Of course I am creating a body of work.
And also there’s another motivating force: to let go of perfectionism.
The driving mantra is “published over perfect.” I confess that sometimes in practice it’s more like “published over proof read.”
For me, the win is not in “going with good enough,” but in publishing even when I feel it is not even remotely good.
It’s Not Just About Discipline
Many people tell me that they admire my discipline. That’s nice to hear, but this isn’t all about discipline. At a certain point the pull of the daily streak takes over for discipline.
The streak keeps me on track when I feel most tired and want to give up. It’s tempting in those moments to say “I’ll publish tomorrow,” but I know I would regret it the next morning if I didn’t publish.
I like to remind myself that most people won’t notice. This is true.
You Don’t Know What Will Stick
I haven’t yet gotten too deep into looking at the metrics for my site, though I do look daily at the top viewed articles.
Those stats reinforce to me that more planning and proof-reading don’t necessarily translate into more readers. You never know what will stick.
The articles that I’ve put the most care, thought and planning into haven’t gotten much traction. On the other hand, some of the articles that I published while half asleep or after writing my thoughts in one long rambling rant consistently rank at the top of my most read articles.
There’s an argument to be made in favor of published over proof-read.
The Freedom in Publishing Daily
On the surface, daily blogging can appear to be a big constraint. A huge investment of time and energy. But I actually find that it gives me freedom to experiment and fail.
Publishing daily gives me freedom to make mistakes. If I publish an article with errors and the article gets traction I can always fix any errors later. If it doesn’t, why bother wasting my time with it at all? Just move on. Tomorrow is another day.