You may have noticed a distinct uptick in the amount of posts since November 1st. Prior to that, despite the best of intentions, I had only managed the one post detailing what I took away from a VCDX Bootcamp at the start of VMworld US 2014. Since the first of this month, however, I’ve managed at least a short post each day. Why the somewhat extreme change in output?
Thank or blame Greg Ferro‘s “I Challenge Me And You To 30 Blogs in 30 days” post from October 9th. I’ve had every intention of writing a blog since…well, at least as far back as 2005. Yet it took me nine years to go from that first good intention to the first post, and then over another month had passed with no further posts when I read Greg’s challenge. The timing of the challenge seemed equally appropriate and difficult due to both of NetApp’s Insight conferences (at both of which I was presenting) being scheduled over that next month. It seemed appropriate to have the two conferences somewhat book-end my 30 days of blogs by starting mid October and ending mid November. Of course, the preparation and travel for those events also made the goal that much more difficult, and other responsibilities contributed to me not starting until after Insight US was over. Two days after Insight was November 1st and I finally started rolling.
From the beginning, I had a long list of topics I wanted to cover so I thought it would be fairly easy to finish out the month once I got started. Starting anything is usually the hardest part: there’s far less satisfaction in starting in comparison to finishing. I’ve certainly felt a bit of inertia building up over the last couple weeks, and even contemplated trying to make it last longer than just 30 days (just don’t tell my wife that). 15 days into the process and at the halfway point I’ve still got 20 posts in various states of formulation with more undoubtedly likely to spring up in the meantime. So it should be easy to keep going, right?
Yes and no. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I really like to work iteratively: draft, re-draft, re-work, and refine. The time constraints of posting daily aren’t particularly conducive to that approach, not unless or until you have a backlog of material in the queue anyway. I had made the deliberate choice to not have any material written prior to the start of the challenge in an attempt to push myself even more outside of my comfort zone – and in that regard I’ve succeeded. Whether that will ultimately be a good thing or not I haven’t decided, but it certainly hasn’t been easy. The other issue is simply one of time, as the timing of my posts – and subsequent tweets announcing them – can attest. Virtually every post has been started sometime between 9pm and 11pm, which has made for some pretty consistently tight deadlines. Tonight is a little earlier to finish, but I also need to get up for a very early flight. If I’m going to be able to continue at a decent pace, I’m going to need to find earlier hours to work on things (earlier posts with earlier announcement tweets would undoubtedly garner a few more readers as well). More time for writing – and for sleeping – will hopefully contribute to better quality articles, too.
Traveling to Insight Berlin for this coming week will increase the pressures around time & sleeping, but I’m going to keep pushing for the full 30 days.
Other people, as you’ve probably noticed, are doing this same challenge and even doing it this same month. The most vocal and consistent group is the Virtual Design Master (VDM) gang: Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33), Eric Wright (@discoposse), Jonathan Frappier (@jfrappier), Angelo Luciani (@AngeloLuciani), and the many others they’ve inspired (incited?) to do the same. Check out theTwitter stream for the #vDM30in30 hashtag and you’ll find a lot of good content to read and a lot of good people to follow.