Wrapping up “post each day in December” challenge

January 1, 2024

I decided to challenge myself last month and try to post each day in December. I had been inspired by Michelle Barker’s success in posting each day in November for National Blog Post Month. I have wanted to post more on this site and thought this would be a great way to get some momentum.

I met the challenge. Despite picking a busy month with the holidays, I was able to do it. My workload was pretty light this month so that gave me some more time to concentrate on writing.

I had several days where I wrote multiple posts and scheduled them for days that I would be traveling or wanted to enjoy time with my family celebrating my birthday. I was also able to write multiple posts early last week which gave me more time to enjoy playing video games and enjoy my time off after Christmas.

Here are some of my takeaways from the experience:

The motivation of a short-term goal

I found that a short-term goal (only a month) provided me with a lot of motivation to try to meet the challenge. Much like Michelle, I came into the challenge willing to let go of meeting the goal if it was going to interfere with other things like engaging with my family. I didn’t put myself under a lot of pressure. And like many disciplines that I have developed in my life, I found motivation to keep going the more days I was able to meet the challenge.

The goal helped me get things out of my head

Having the goal forced me to sit down and finally get several ideas out of my head that I have held onto for a long time. The hardest part of doing something is getting started. I have had a lot of ideas over the years that never saw fruition because I struggled to get started and just didn’t make the time to do it.

But with the goal of this challenge, I knew I had to try to write something every day and it was easier to start with a list of ideas that I had written in Evernote or were just mental notes.

The momentum and desire to win pushed me to just sit down and get the ideas out. I didn’t overthink the posts. Not all of them turned out quite the way I had envisioned them and many times I felt they did not capture everything I wanted to say. But I did them. And having something is much better than nothing.

It was exciting to see several of these things that I have wanted to write about finally be realized in a post. There were several stories that I told that had been itching to get out. And now they are published and I can go back and read them in the future. And others might benefit from them as well.

I was able to loosen up

“I hope the challenge will help me to post some things that might not seem as refined. I can spend too much time trying to make something just right and may never share it. I was much more free and did not worry about it being refined enough when I first started blogging almost 20 years ago. One of the great things about publishing on the Web is that I have the freedom to go back and edit it later.”

Quoting myself from my post on December 4 about taking this challenge

I was able to be more free in my writing and write more for myself and not worry about how it came across to others. I felt like I reconnected with the spirit I had when I first started blogging in 2005. I still would go back and edit and reword some things but I felt more free to publish and let it out into the world.

It helped to have some ideas already and build off of that

As I already mentioned, several of the things that I posted last month were ideas that have been stuck in my head for years. I wrote a couple of posts responding to what I read in Dan Cedarholm’s book, Twenty Bit I Learned About Making Websites.

Think like a front-end developer was mostly composed of things I had written down in 2018 after listening to a series on Shop Talk Show. I wrote some new content in that post but a good chunk of it came straight from Evernote (thanks past self). In your career, be a Maverick or a Riker came from thoughts I had last year when taking a shower and reflecting on the Top Gun movie I had just seen.

Other ideas came from other places. Apps I use 2023 built on posts that others wrote and I decided to join in. I looked over Michelle Barker’s list What to Blog About When You Don’t Know What to Blog About and got some ideas from that post. I even used one of her posts as a jumping-off point to talk about when feature queries fail.

Several of the ideas came on the day I posted. But it was amazing to see how many ideas I already had in my head and some I had even forgotten about until the pressure to come up with something to say brought it back to mind.

Several ideas came from books I was reading at the time. My ode to my favorite mascot came from reading The Jayhawk. My thoughts about being a craftsman came from reading A Craftsman’s Legacy. I think that post may have been one of my most popular and generated several encouraging comments on LinkedIn.

One of the most unexpected connections I made was to a Simon Collison article I read 3 years ago. I was not even thinking about that article when I was writing Becoming comfortable with my digital home which was a response to another article I had read that week. But as I was writing my thoughts, I made that connection to Colly’s article and that was a pleasant thing to remember.

Writing begets writing

I found it much easier to write after I got in the habit of writing to post each day. Even today, I wrote a post about Bible reading plans. I don’t think I would have written about that a month or two ago. But I have gotten in the habit so I decided to share the thoughts in my head. Writing begets more writing and I am excited to see where that will take me this coming year.

Owning my piece of the Web

I think I mentioned in one of my posts how I have been reading Matthias Ott’s newsletter, Own Your Web. This experience has helped me to apply what I have been reading. I posted more content on my site this year than ever before.

Besides writing 87 posts (45 of those being weeknotes), I also wrote 74 “notes” this year. Notes were my attempt at shorter content that I might have posted on Twitter in the past. But as I got away from Twitter, I wanted to own my content and tried that experiment. The jury is still out on how I will proceed in the future. I may just add notes to my posts and just have one stream of content.

I also would like to try some new things this year like adding a Now page. I would also like to explore adding webmentions to the site. I am even beginning to dream a bit about a redesign. The current site design was a quick attempt to go responsive. But that quick solution has lasted over 10 years now. I have some ideas and hope to see something develop.

I would like to do other challenges in the future

I would like to push myself from time to time in the future like I did this past month. Maybe a shorter challenge of posting every day for a week. I would be interested in joining others for National Blog Posting Month next November. It is good to inject a healthy goal into your life and see the results.

That’s a wrap

Thanks to you who have followed along. And thanks to Michelle Barker for the inspiration. Here are all the posts from December:

  1. Fix scroll “bounce” with CSS
  2. Routines, rituals, and habits
  3. When I first learned to write HTML
  4. Posting each day for a month
  5. Weeknotes 23:41
  6. Apps I use 2023
  7. View Source
  8. Getting ready for the :has() selector
  9. So CSS4 is going to happen?
  10. Remembering the first trip to Chattanooga
  11. Weeknotes 23:42
  12. HTML web components in the spotlight
  13. My accessibility journey
  14. Accessibility links and resources
  15. Think like a front-end developer
  16. Thoughts on career changes and dramatic moves
  17. Happy birthday CSS (and me)
  18. Thank you to those who helped me to be the CSS developer I am today
  19. Weeknotes 23:43
  20. 101 Things I Learned as a Web Developer (okay it is only 53 at the moment)
  21. Becoming comfortable with my digital home
  22. Random thoughts about being a craftsman
  23. The Jayhawk
  24. Weeknotes 23:44
  25. Favorite Christmas traditions
  26. When feature queries fail
  27. In your career, be a Maverick or a Riker
  28. “I want candy”
  29. Container queries in the wild
  30. Weeknotes 23:45
  31. 2023 by the numbers

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