This is IT – my 400th post! I have now officially blogged the 400 days ’til my 40th birthday – AND I am still here to tell about it! Tomorrow is the day that inspired this 400 day writing journey. It is hard for me to believe that the time has passed as quickly as it has. Was it really 400 days ago that, on a whim, I thought it would be fun to blog the 400 days before I turned 40? (What on earth WAS I thinking?!?) It seems like only yesterday……… they do say that time starts to slip away faster as we age….
Blogging for 400 days in a row is not easy, and I have learned a lot of amazing lessons along the way. It takes an incredible amount of diligence and dedication to meet a daily blogging goal – and the rewards are endless.
Lessons I have learned about blogging as I blogged for 400 days:
- Without readers, blogging is boring.
- Very few bloggers can expect to have their blog frequented by just posting in cyberspace – if you want people to read your blog, you need to read other blogs – lots of other blogs – and let other bloggers know when you enjoy their work. Blogging is a conversation within a community – in order for you to be part of the conversation, you must also engage on many different levels.
- While I did not follow this advice, if you are a daily blogger, it is good to always have a back-up blog or two ready that you can post when you are ill (great idea, I know – wish I had actually done it!)
- Keep your camera with you at all times, you never know when you might happen upon something interesting that you will want to capture for your blog.
- The posts you think your readers are going to like are not necessarily the ones your readers do like. I have always been surprised by what my readers like and do not like. The posts that made me laugh seemed to often bomb, the posts that were deep and self-help focused often did the best.
- The blogging world and the “sharing” world can be very different – sometimes my posts that had the most “likes” were not shared on social media sources. Other blog posts were shared through a variety of social media venues but got few “likes” by my fellow bloggers.
- There are a lot of issues plaguing our society today – and a lot of wonderful bloggers attempting to tackle them. Together we really can and do make a difference.
- Blogging is therapeutic (something to remember when there are not a lot of readers yet – consider blogging like an online journal…. okay, that sounds a bit exhibitionist, but perhaps we bloggers are exhibitionists – at least with the written word!)
- People really do read my blog – and it has been delightful when a member of my community approaches me to tell me they read my blog. I feel honored, really, genuinely honored, that you all take time from your day to read my musings.
- Most of my daily readers were NOT people I knew – this surprised me – and fascinated me, and was a huge compliment and blessing.
- People do not always agree with what I say as a blogger and this is a GOOD thing – even people I am close to, even people who I respect and who respect me. We are all different and have unique life experiences, opinions and beliefs – that is what makes the world such a fascinating place to live in. If everyone agreed with everything I say, life would be boring and I would not be challenged to personally learn and grow.
Lessons I have learned about myself:
- Numbers feel good, but ultimately, my writing and blogging self-esteem had to come from me, from within.
- I need to follow my own advice and not let the “no’s” in my life get me down – I must be willing to keep on knocking on doors until I find that right “yes” for me – in whatever context it may arrive.
- At times we really need to take control and create our own destiny when other options do not pan out. Part of my journey apart from my blog has been to really evaluate all that I want to do in my life and the best path to take to get there. This journey was not specifically documented on the blog, but was inspired by the blog nonetheless.
- Taking risks can be scary, but the lessons learned are usually worth it (even when painful and humbling).
- We gain deeper learning experiences when we grow through our mistakes than we gain from doing something right the first time and basking in over-confidence.
- Eating humble pie is something we can all get used to – and set an example for others – it really is okay to take responsibility for our own shortcomings and we are usually more highly admired and respected when we do.
Did I learn what I set out to learn in my blogs purpose? Do I feel that I have “arrived” in this game called “life” any more than I had felt 400 days ago? Yes and no. I do feel more focused than I was a year ago, and I certainly have clarified things that I need to do in order to better focus my career path and my professional goals. I have also set family and friendship goals which have been healthy. I am learning balance, it is a skill I have to practice (ie: I still come home and work at night and I am working to disengage after hours!) I am more keenly aware that life is an evolutionary journey and, for the most part, most of us do not ever feel as though we have arrived. Perhaps this is critical – if we feel we have arrived where we need to be, maybe we would stop searching, stop striving, stop living. I always want to live my life to the fullest. I think I am more comfortable with uncertainty than I was a year ago, knowing and sensing in a deeper way that somehow things all work themselves out in the right time.
And now….. Alas, all good things must come to an end and 400 Days ’til 40 has run its course. This moment is bittersweet. I will miss 400 Days ’til 40. The daily blogging and interactions with my readers was a very significant, meaningful, and satisfying part of my life during the past 400 days.
Today, 1 day ’til 40, I know the one question on most of your minds (because you have been asking it in comments for days now) – Where am I going from here??? Will I continue to blog after I turn 40???
Stay tuned until tomorrow – for my encore post – I am 40! :)
Thank you from the depths of my heart and soul for joining me on this amazing journey – It would have been insignificant without you all.
With an abundance of love and gratitude,
~400daystil40 – signing off!