Actually, I’m a little short. I didn’t write 365 blog posts in one year. In 2015, this post will be 320. In December 2014, I wrote 35 posts which brings my one year total to 355. If you subtract the September week I took off. Then I missed my target by only three days.
I consider that a win. This year I’ve written more than ever and I’ve done it in the public by posting my work to social media including to my own Facebook page which was a major barrier, showing my writing to family and friends.
A few years ago, even a year ago, I would have neverthought I’d make it an entire year. Not every post was great. Some were only a sentence but I continued to come back week after week.
This year has been a long process. The goal started when my wife bought me a journal back in 2009 and I didn’t touch it for the rest of that year. The next year I only wrote in it on New Year’s Day. The year after that I wrote in that journal maybe ten times but in that same year I started my first anonymous blog. The Domino Project created the #trust30 project with the goal of writing a daily blog post based on a daily prompt for thirty days. I tried it but I didn’t get past the first week. That event did start me on the path to create a daily blog.
Around the same time I found the website 750words.com. It’s a site based on the idea of Morning Pages, three pages of writing each morning, from The Artist’s Way. The goal is to write 750 words everyday. 750 words are the equivalent of three pages of writing. This is when I started to write on this site regularly though I wasn’t able to keep a streak alive for much longer than a week.
Then I came back to the journal but I didn’t start writing regularly until my father passed away. As sad as my father’s passing was for me, it made me realize that I had to let go of the fear of worrying about what other people thought about my writing. I created my first public blog on Tumblr with my own url: coreykeller.com. I tried making the goal of writing everyday but again I failed after a few months. I did start writing a blog post every few weeks and I kept writing in my journal. That’s how it would go for almost two years. I’d create a streak hold it for a week or two then get side tracked on a weekend and quit.
Finding time to write didn’t get any easier after my son was born in 2013 and I was working to complete a graduate degree. There were plenty of excuses and I used all of them.
Then during my annual New Year’s writing commitment I decided to only concentrate on creating a streak on 750 words.com. In December, I signed up for the January one month writing challenge. I started waking up around 5am every weekday. I completed January, signed up for February, and completed it. Then at the end of a long week in March and after drinking a cold beer, I passed out on my couch only to be startled awake opened my laptop to check the time to see that it was 12:05am and my 87 day writing streak had come to an end.
That was the longest number of days I’ve written in a row but after losing my streak I couldn’t get back in that same rhythm. I struggled until almost November to find any form of consistency.
Towards the end of September, I attended my first Startup Weekend Pittsburgh . It was a great experience, I meet a lot of interesting and highly motivated people, and my team happened to win the event then went on to take second in the Global Startup Battle. None of those things was the most important part of this weekend. The most important thing that happened that weekend was when I realized that I needed to start shipping my work if I ever wanted to achieve the things I want in life.
Nothing is perfect at a Startup Weekend. You’re not necessarily creating a startup. What you’re creating is the realization of an idea. That’s what we did my group did to our idea.
That’s similar to my ideas and my writing on the daily blog I wanted to create. It wasn’t going to be perfect. Some days it was going to be awful but my blog would never be good, or bad, if I never took the time to do the writing.
That’s what Startup Weekend taught me.
The following weekend I decided I was going to start writing a daily blog. On December 1, 2014 I published the first post of that goal. Now it’s been one year. I may have missed a day here and there but this is the most I’ve written in my life.
Has it been life changing?
I think it has been for me. This year I’ve written 320 posts which even if I take a conservative guess at the average number of words per post at 300, for example this post is 1,044 words, then I would have written over 96,000 words this year and if 750 words equals roughly three pages of writing then I’ve written 384 pages. That’s enough for a book. It would be a random book where I talk about topics ranging from lessons I’m teaching my kids, data science, movies and book reviews, stock markets, public speaking, learning to code, and cyber security, but it would be a book none the less. More importantly, this past year has allowed me to develop my ideas and write about the things I’m learning. Plus, it’s pushed me to try more things, start new goals, and force me to stick with them because I had to be able to write the blog post for the following week.
The year long goal is finally over but writing this daily blog is not. This only marks the beginning of a new year. One where I don’t miss a single day, allows me to continue to grow, helps me build a trail, and where I never need another resume again.