31 January 2010

January Challenge #31:
Flawless Victory

Reposted on new blog at http://dynamitochondria.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-challenge-31-flawless-victory.html.

So what do you know? I did it. A blog post every day for the month of January. I'm pretty happy with the results, 31 fairly meaty posts, mostly of decent essay length. Only #23 was super short, but I couldn't resist the gag, and when it was done, it was done.


Writing an essay for public consumption every day is not easy. When I put together the two separate exercises of write daily and write for public consumption, I didn't really think about what that would entail. I was worn out creatively after each post, and there wasn't much time or inclination left for other creative pursuits.

Freeform essay writing is easier and more fun than structured technical writing. When I tried putting together the skeleton of a post and then working on each section individually, the results didn't seem as good as when I just started blathering and hit Post when it felt done. Some of that was time pressure. Building the skeleton takes time, and while it helps in the long run to make the work easier to organize, the daily 2-3 hours I gave this task wasn't sufficient to see the payback in time saved.

Writing actually did come easier each day. As promised by many of the writing gurus, the habit builds on itself. Topics came more easily as well. Early in the month, I sat down to the keyboard a few times and just stared dumbly at the monitor for a while. By the end, I didn't need to cop-out with a post about Writer's Block, my last emergency topic, but some of the material for that wound up in the post about Thinking Outside the Box.

Making promises about what to write later was not a great idea. That was pressure I didn't need. Ideas in my journal grew easier without the deadline of wanting to get them posted this month.

Next Steps

First off, the posting rate gets to drop. I have some projects on the backburner that need some attention, including a demo game for Zynga. I don't intend to drop below a post a week.

I want to try again to integrate subskills from technical writing. Blogging once a week will allow more time for document planning and design, and the effort invested in working up a skeleton for each post will have time to pay off.

I have a few ideas for shorter bits to turn into regular side features. Book and game reviews, limited-scope game design thoughts, a more personalized weekly "status report", and assorted similar miscellany.

Thank you, everyone who took the time to drop a note. Your words of encouragement (and criticism) made this experiment easier and more fulfilling.

Thank you, everyone who took the time to read one or more of my idiot ramblings, whether you took the time to comment or not. I wasn't writing for you; I was writing for me. But knowing that you were out there reading my words drove me to make my thoughts as cogent as possible.

Watch this space.

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