For many of you, November was a blur: a crazy, beautiful, writing-filled blur. We encouraged WordPress.com users to participate in BlogHer’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and post something every day in November.
Participants had a lot of fun this month: we discovered great posts in the NaBloPoMo tag page and enjoyed pieces like A Sign of Life‘s “A Rose By Any Other Label,” in which E. talks about labels and being an INFJ, as well as posts on Stuphblog, like “The Trauma Doesn’t End When the Abuse Does,” which was honest and emotional.
We also loved the variety of content — any type of post qualified as a post, from single photos to inspirational quotes to longform essays. The blogger at How Anxious penned a month’s worth of poetry, while Gwen at Little Growing Pains published a mix of poignant writing with nicely crafted scenes, like “Two Heartbeats.”
Finding support in others
The Daily Post is a community space for blogging tips and resources; there, we host weekly challenges and daily prompts year-round to get your creative juices flowing. In November, we were thrilled to see our users go further during this month-long challenge: banding together in creative, supportive ways.
Rara at Rarasaur rounded up a crew of bloggers called Team NanoPoblano. Creating a blogging collective is a fun, engaging way to build your network and readership, and offers support during a long-term challenge. (Check out Rara’s own list of prompts, for example — bookmark it for inspiration for any month.)
The challenges of posting daily
But NaBloPoMo wasn’t for everyone. Julia at A Perfect Day for J muses on how she couldn’t do it:
So I silenced the voice that whispered, Quitter. Failure. Disappointment. And embraced the voice that said, Writing is supposed to be fun, a relief, an outlet — not a stressor. And I let the hours of the day tick away without opening my blog. And that was the end of my NaBloPoMo run for this year.
A new blogger at Rockin’ M Ranch summarizes the experience nicely — discipline is a good thing, and writing, above all, is about practice:
The muse won’t show up if we are not receptive and poised. That being said, the muse might or might not show up every time we sit down to write. . . . While we wait, we can practice . . . writing something that is good to get off our chests but not necessarily something that needs to be made public. Like talking, not every thought one thinks is worth sharing. It just isn’t.
Sift through the NaBloPoMo tag page, and you’ll discover more posts from bloggers reflecting on the entire experience — and offering insights and advice on the writing process.
So, we’re several days into December — what now? Are you exhausted from posting each day? Or have you caught a magical, mysterious second wind and want to keep your momentum? Here’s a quick list of takeaways and tips to keep going:
Subscribe to The Daily Post. If you adjust your settings to receive instant post emails, you’ll get a writing prompt in your inbox each day and learn about writing and photo challenges each week. We serve up writing, photography, traffic, and branding tips, too.
Keep a well of ideas. Compile a list of possible posts you can write: an ideas queue you can pull from. Keep them in a notebook or your digital note organizer. Or if you’re feeling confident, go ahead and create post drafts in your dashboard, give them tentative titles, and let ’em ripen until you’re ready to tackle one.
Create an editorial calendar. Set reasonable deadlines: schedule a weekly writing session to start, and establish a publish date at the same time each week. If you’re not up for spontaneous and varied daily prompts, brainstorm a content plan. Tie your posts to current events, holidays, or themes. Consider a long-term project, like Daniel Nester’s quirky “Notes on” Series, in which he wrote numbered lists of notes about a hodgepodge of topics, from his first AIDS test to grief to words that sound dirty but aren’t.
Mix text with images and other media. We like how Liz at Cats and Chocolate suggests to shake things up with quotes and photos. Luckily, you’ve got the tools you need to upload images, embed audio, and insert media like tweets and YouTube videos.
Tag-team with others. Poke around The Daily Post and meet others in the Community Pool on Sundays. Meet and chat with others in the Ideas Forum. Look for guest bloggers to contribute to your site. These are just a few ways to interact with WordPressers and find people with similar interests — and possibly new blogging buddies.
In January, we’ll share more ideas for 2014 and cover blogging essentials, especially for users who’ve just joined us. For those of you who participated in NaBloPoMo, how was your experience? Let us know in the comments.