Final thoughts on NaBloPoMo

So here we are for the final installment of National Blog Posting Month 2021 (NaBloPoMo).

(If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, here’s an introduction to NaBloPoMo.)

Here I’ll share some reflections and a roundup of the posts I’ve written.


1. I did it!

I’m really proud of myself for sticking to the challenge. I wasn’t sure if I would, but I’ve managed to write and publish a new blog post every weekday this month.

I'm relieved it's over and ready for a break, but I'll seriously consider doing it again.

2. Writing every day is hard

I’m sure this comes as a shock to precisely no one.

The first week or so was relatively easy as I felt like I was working my way through a stalled backlog of ideas that I just hadn’t got round to writing yet. You may notice that my earlier posts are generally longer and more detailed—that’s because I’ve spent a bit more time thinking about them.

As the month has gone on, I found it harder to generate new ideas and often found myself getting to the end of the day with nothing written.

The great thing about this is that it forced me to prove to myself time and time again that I can come up with ideas even if I don’t have much time.

Thanks to a suggestion from Caroline, I decided early on to limit the challenge to weekdays and use weekends to have a break. I’m glad I did and I don’t think I would have finished it without that rule.

3. People connect with honest writing

Some of the posts I wrote this month were considered and analytical. Others were pretty personal and a bit more scrappy.

I found it was the posts I wrote on days when I didn’t have any obvious ideas that seemed to resonate most with people, like Rescue me and Just a job.

My theory is that those were the days where I wrote about the things that were top of mind and pushing to the surface. Or to put it another way, the things that were unconciously most important to me.

I think it shows that people connect with honest writing, and that there’s value in it even when you don’t have the time to refine and polish a post as much as you might like.

4. A commitment to writing is helpful

I have found it useful to have a reason to write. Having promised myself that I’ll share something every day has kept me producing a steady flow of content - something I’ve struggled to do in the past.

5. Everyday feels like too often for me

I think I’d like to stick with a regular writing practice, but with less frequency. Towards the end, I really missed having time to really work on things without feeling rushed.

I valued the nudge to challenge my perfectionism and share things even when I thought they could be better. But in reality, sometimes ideas do need time do marinade and unfold. I also felt like I didn’t have any time to research things—something I think is important when writing longer, more complex pieces.

There were certain topics I didn't want to touch in the second half of the month when I was in fire-writing mode. For example, I had an idea for a post about accessibility, but it felt irresponsible to write it without proper research, talking to disabled people and considering the impact of what I'll say.

That, along with some other posts, is on my list to develop now I've got a bit more time.

While I think there’s definitely a place for the kind of quick writing that loosens you up and frees you from over-thinking, there’s also a place for investing time, love and effort in your words.

My goal now is to find a healthy balance.

Blog posts

Read all the articles I wrote this month here.

Here were my 5 personal favourites.

  1. Why you should prioritise quality over speed in design systems
  2. Best laid plans
  3. How to stop being anxious: a set of contradictions
  4. Don’t be afraid of the Big Long Page
  5. Design systems and structured content