30DWC Retrospective

Now that 30DWC is over, I thought I would reflect and see what I could take away from the experience and apply in the future.

What went well

My goal at the beginning of 30DWC was to produce at least one post per week during April to build a writing habit. I wrote 5 posts during the month — achievement unlocked!

Adjusting my morning routine to accommodate writing was surprisingly straightforward. I’m going to continue with this routine. It’s helped cement the foundation of a new habit.

I can already see improvements in my clarity of thought. Having clear time regularly to think on a topic without interruptions is good.

What could have gone better

Some days I didn’t get as much time as I’d planned to be able to write. I don’t wake up and get up at a set time each day so if I went to bed too late it would affect when I woke up. I need to be more disciplined in my evening routine.

I also need to improve dividing my time between the writing stages (research, writing and editing). I still flit between them. I’m going to try using a pomodoro timer to keep focussed on one thing at a time.

Lessons learned

Deadlines and small goals helped. Given the time I dedicated to this and my current ability my posts target was realistic. It was tempting to aim higher but unrealistic expectations can kill the motivation when you slip up. Having a deadline of a post per week did help me focus and avoid procrastinating too much. I plan to try and build this into other areas of my life, e.g. setting small deadlines as part of scheduling my work.

My posts have ended up being quite long. Perhaps I’m trying to cram too many thoughts in and I need to get better at editing them down. I’m going to keep my target output of at least one post per week. Instead of aiming at one lengthier piece each week, I’m going to write more shorter pieces — 500 words or less. This should allow me to keep publishing regularly whilst I take my time to work on longer articles.

Accountability works! Having a sense of obligation to others helps bolster your willpower to keep your promise. One unexpected benefit was the Slack community that sprung up through it. Their encouragement helped me to keep going and there was lots of interesting discussions and resources shared. It provided plenty of food for thought for new ways of thinking and writing that I hope we continue.

I was worried I would not have enough ideas to write about. This fear was unfounded; as the month progressed I added more and more ideas and thoughts to my trello board. They either came from sparks and thoughts I had whilst writing, or through the interactions I had with the group and their writings. To trigger more ideas I am going to curate a feed of writing from our group. Over time I’ll add in others who also write thought-provoking posts, like Sivers and Godin. The hardest part now is choosing which ones to take forwards. I still need to figure out how best to do this.

What’s next?

Continuing to write, of course! Marc and Darren published every day and maintained a level of quality throughout. I need to get some more writing under my belt but it’s definitely something I aspire to achieve.

Marc also wrote a post about monthly themes and I’d also been thinking along the same lines. I found this experience to be extremely beneficial. So much so that it’s inspired me to try and write a book around it as a larger goal.

In 30 days you can build a habit, learn something new or push yourself to greater mastery.

I’ve now successfully built two new habits, daily meditation and regularly writing. I plan to cover the strategies and techniques that I used along with what I learned during this challenge. In addition, I am going to document my journey as I try to learn some new skills and improve myself further.

I’m going to use May to plan this but over the coming months I’m intending to:

  • Learn to cook (I can just about follow a recipe but I want to learn enough basic techniques so that I can put a tasty meal together from whatever I might have available)
  • Learn a language (primarily just for kicks and learning some learning techniques that I can apply elsewhere. I think I’ll learn Esperanto)
  • Improve my photography (I already know the basics so here I want to improve my technique and subjects. I think this will be an area where I push myself and do a specific 30 day challenge, e.g. a photo every day with a given constraint)
  • Learn to play a musical instrument (I’m pretty musically challenged. I dabbled with a keyboard when I was younger, but I’ve long wished I could play music. It’s time to do something about that)

I’m putting together an outline for the book, with a rough goal of completing it for the end of the year.

If you’re interested, you can sign up here to be notified when the book launches.

Got any questions or comments? Drop me a message on Twitter (@elaptics).