30 Day Learning Challenge, week 3

Today is saturday and tomorrow it is exactly three weeks ago that I signed up for the 30-Day learning challenge from Zen Habits. In the past two weeks I did a post on sunday looking back at the past week. This week, that post is a day early because of a very busy schedule this weekend.

So, a day early, a story short, these were the posts of the past week:

  • Monday: What's Next?
    Thinking out loud if I should do another challenge the next month (or later)...
  • Tuesday: 5 Skills I learned last month
    A request to do a short presentation, turned out to be an opportunity to learn a few new (to me) skills. Plus a free download to get you started quickly with your presentation!
  • Wednesday: 7 emails Twitters sends you by default
    First guide in a series of posts that is aimed to reduce the amount of emails in your inbox. The focus for this post is on reducing the number of emails twitter sends (hint: up to 22 different emails!)
  • Thursday: Reduce emails, be happy. Part 2 - LinkedIn
    Second post in the series, this time focussing on taming the 20+ different emails that LinkedIn likes to send you
  • Friday: Reduce emails, be happy. Part 3 - Unroll.me
    Number three of three on reducing the amount of email you get. This time, managing subscription emails, such as mailinglists.

As you can see, most of these weeks posts were focussed around the theme of reducing email, a topic I can get all worked up about. I decided to do this because I had not yet written anything really technical yet. I wanted to experience writing something like a tutorial. This month allows me to write anything I like, and have previously written some self-reflecting words (which you seemed to like), a somewhat cynical rant and even fiction. Something technical was missing, hence the subject.

What I really experienced this week is that writing is hard work. No longer do I feel that just 100 words or so is enough. Also, since I got some positive feedback on a few posts, I felt a whole new pressure. Almost every day this week I felt like I had to come up with something as good or better as the most popular post. I briefly talked about this with a fellow blogger (if you read dutch, have a look at his blog, BigSmileRunning) and we concluded that that pressure is something to let go off as quickly as possible. It is unrealistic to write something better than ever before, every, single, day. No matter how hard you try.

Not only is it impossible, it choked my creativity. No longer was my mind free to wander and ponder ideas, now it was only focussed on what would be better. No matter the subject. Bull manure. Once I was able to see that the goal of this challenge is to simply write every day, it all fell in place again. 

Looking back at what I have written, there is a negative trend I see: everything I published feels like it could be better. There are always major or minor changes that I could have made to make it better. But the truth is, that for almost three weeks now, I have written something every day. And like I said before, I did not really trust myself enough with that promise when I started, so I am a little surprised that I am still doing it.  

The activity of writing itself is getting easier and easier. My mind is increasingly able to come up with (what feels like) the right sentence when it is needed, and although I still go back and edit a lot before hitting the publish button, I notice the proces of thinking and typing is becoming less of a struggle. 

Having to do this next to an already nicely filled agenda, makes that I hit "Publish" a bit too soon sometimes. Obiousvly, if this would be my job, I would spend some more time crafting it. Although it will never be perfect. 

Well, that is about it for this week. Like I said, a day early, a story short because of a very busy schedule this weekend. But, a post nonetheless, sticking to the commitment :-) 

Oh and before I sign off: any feedback is greatly appreciated. Whether you want to offer me a job, a book deal, or tell me not give up the day job; please let me know, politely :-)