Lessons from NaBloPoMo

BlogHer Original Post

It's the last day of November's NaBloPoMo. 2216 participants started the race, but only you know how many are actually crossing the finish line tonight, masters of the daily post. Your brain may feel mushy, you might feel glad that it's over, OR you may now feel energized, filled with more blogging ideas than you even have time to write. Hopefully, at the very least, you have a sense of accomplishment. It is a big deal to commit to writing daily and follow through, even when you're fresh out of ideas or too tired to type. So what did we learn from NaBloPoMo?

Makes it Easier to Write

That writing begets writing. Nothing is harder than sitting down to write when you've been away from a manuscript or blog for a long period of time. When you write continuously, the blank page or unused post box no longer looks threatening. They're just the new moment in an ongoing conversation.

Promotes Understanding

That the more you write, the more people understand who you are. Think of blogs sort of like Siri. When you take the iPhone 4S out of the box, Siri has a base understanding of voice commands. But she is a program built to intake information and therefore deliver back a more nuanced experience. She gets to know you, and can therefore deliver exactly what you want vs. a general person. And that's how blogs work. Every reader comes with a base understanding of humans. But the more you put out there, the more you record, the more the reader gets to understand what makes you... you.

Write What Matters to You

That writing for writing's sake actually produces better results than trying to tailor your writing to what you think will resonate with the reader. When the week hinges on one post, you want to get it perfect. When you're churning out seven posts in one week, the pressure is off each individual piece of writing. And in turn, those individual pieces of writing tend to be less self-conscious, more raw.

More Traffic

No one has ever gotten more traffic by setting out to get more blog traffic. It's just one of those facts of life: you may be able to get people to click over for a moment to your blog by posting something controversial, but true readership is something that is built over time without the goal being the readership itself. People can tell when someone is writing from their heart; writing about what matters to them. And when they do that, people are drawn to it like a moth to flame. They may not find you in the time frame you'd like, but they will find you if you keep up with it and put yourself out there. NaBloPoMo makes you dig deep for posts; figure out what you want to say. And writing for writing's sake vs. writing to get traffic, is what brings the readers.

So what did you learn from NaBloPoMo?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.


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