Thought #1: I love a good challenge.
Writing for 31 straight days is hard - at least it was for me. I'm definitely a take-the-weekends-off from blogging kind of gal. BUT, I'm always up for a good challenge. I tend to be pretty competitive, especially with myself, so when the writing got tough or I was behind on projects, that competitive spirit definitely came in handy for pushing on through. And what an accomplishment to say I did it!
Thought #2: Setting up limitations for myself helped me be more creative.
Huh, kind of strange right? It's true though. Limiting myself to using (mostly) what I had on hand forced me to be more creative with what I had and I actually found that to be a really fun exercise. If I'd been doing my normal blogging thing, would I have ever thought to do something like use embroidery thread to stitch a greek key pattern on my roller shades? Maybe, but I'm guessing I might have been more likely to come up with a solution that involved a trip to the craft/fabric store and money. After writing this series, I think I'll be more apt to use what I already have before jumping in the car to grab supplies for a project.
Thought #3: Life still has to happen (and may even steamroll you in the process) during a series like this, and even the best laid plans will likely have to change.
I'm a planner by nature, and before I started this series, I brainstormed ideas like crazy then made an editorial calendar with a post for each of the 31 days. I had it all planned out and thought I had a nice, manageable schedule with a mix of simple and more complicated posts, and "use what you have" and "love what you have" posts.
Well, the first two weeks went off without a hitch, then the second two weeks were a bit of a mess. You probably didn't notice, but behind the scenes, my editorial calendar was collapsing in on itself. Turns out, I didn't get far enough ahead on some of the bigger projects I had planned and then we were out of town for two weekends (one of them a long weekend) in the middle of the month, so they didn't get done. Since I work full-time, weekends are really my only good time work on projects. I had to change my plans, shuffle the post schedule around, and even nix some of my favorite ideas. At first I was mad at myself, but then I realized that it didn't really matter because, golly, it's only a blog series. Why give myself such a hard time?
The good news about that is that I still plan to do some of those nixed projects in the future, and they'll probably turn out better since I won't be as rushed to just get. them. done. for the sake of the series.
Thought #4: I'm not willing to sacrifice time with friends or family for the sake of the blog.
So you know how I wrote a few posts specifically on the "loving what I have" theme? I realized something as I wrote them (especially this one, this one and this one): relationships are very important to me. I'm not willing to prioritize the blog over enjoying friends, family and life. Blogging takes a lot of time, and while I love it, I want to make sure that my attention isn't so focused on it that I miss out on important things like listening and engaging fully with people. Life is about relationships, and to love people well, you have to give those relationships the time and attention they deserve to grow. Be present. I only have so much of me to give, so I need to give to the things that matter most. That's why I take time off from the blog at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to focus on the ones I love most!
Thought #5: I can't wait to get back to posting on more of a variety of subjects!
By focusing my series on using and loving what I have, I've missed posting about other things that I love like interior and graphic design, round ups of favorite projects from around the web, and my regular Friday series - Lovely Links. While the subject matter of this series didn't stray too far away from what I normally post on, I didn't get to talk about my usual wider variety of subjects.
Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself and how I like to blog during this series. I had a blast and am so ready to be done, ha! Also, thanks to the Nester's categorized list of participants, I found a few new fun reads in the process. I love finding new blogs. Will I do it again? Probably. I hate missing out on fun things like this, even if it was a serious challenge!
Thanks for reading - I'm really so glad you're here. Oh, and Happy Halloween!
Did you participate in the 31 Days series this year? How did it go for you?
Read the series from the beginning...