Day 30: one thing you’re excited for
Today is the last day of my 30 day writing challenge. When I began this journey, I didn’t have very much confidence in my ability to actually do 30 pieces based on 30 different prompts. I think that’s why I chose to do this in the form of a blog. I needed something to keep me honest. Now, at the end of the challenge, I’m so proud of myself for doing this and sticking to a piece of advice that a friend once gave me: a writer writes. If I want to be a writer, I have to write. The prompts weren’t always inspiring, and some of the pieces they’re based on aren’t particularly inspired. But I wrote them. Even when I didn’t feel like it, I wrote them. Even when I didn’t think I had anything to say, I wrote them.
For the last 30 days, I wrote because I want to be a writer. Just like all those days I spent hours practicing my instrument, I spent time trying to hone my craft. I didn’t always hit home runs. There were several ground balls and a few sacrifice flies. But I kept at it and didn’t give up. I know it’s just a little writing challenge and not the great American novel, but I’m incredibly proud of myself.
What I did not anticipate was the response to my blog. My very first post of the challenge, The Evils of Facebook, got over 150 views. I was really excited that anyone wanted to read what I’d written. After all, just as music is meant to be heard, writing is meant to be read. I enjoyed looking at the daily statistics for the blog: how many views there were and where the readers were. People in Hong Kong, Australia, India, Mexico, Sweden, France, and the U.K. have read my blog, in addition to the folks in the US and Canada. Some posts had very few views, but others did pretty well.
Day 29, 21, was the real winner, though. At last count, it had over 200 views from people in six different countries. I think I only have one or two posts that have done better in the three or so years I’ve been blogging. That’s exciting to me. People are reading my blog! Maybe more people will begin to follow my blog now that I’m writing more regularly. That would really be amazing!
I originally thought I would want to take a break from writing after doing it for 30 straight days. Imagine my surprise when I woke up today and felt disappointed the challenge was over. I don’t want a break. I want to do more, write more, and tell more stories. Knowing that people are reading encourages me to keep writing. Looking at my stats tells me what people want to read and what they find less appealing. The pieces seem most well received when I tell relatable real stories or when I give my perspective on things like race. Folks aren’t really interested in my more “listy” posts, with one notable exception; my piece ExFiles was rather popular and it was written in list form.
The pieces that are hardest to write because they expose some really personal stuff seem to be the best read. I find that interesting. Readers have reached out to tell me how much they relate to my personal stories. It’s humbling to know that my exercises in self-reflection have touched others. In my work as a musician, I have always hoped to move my listeners with my performances. I’m thankful that I now have another voice with which to move an audience. The feedback I’m getting tells me that my voice is starting to be heard.
So, I am excited to keep writing. I am excited to see if folks will keep reading. I am hopeful that people will want to read more. This challenge has taught me so much, but I have so much more to learn. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me next.
To all who came to read my thoughts, thank you for your support and for encouraging me to keep going. Please keep reading. I’ll keep writing.