Wow – November 30th has arrived, which marks the last day of the Virtual Design Master 30 in 30 challenge. So, how did I do? Well, I managed to get a post out each and every day. I did try to keep them mainly on topic, and I aimed to hit at least 500 words per post, but I also made sure I was not just adding words to the post in order to make the sentences, and thus the word count for the post longer (see what I did there?).
Seriously, though, going into it, I had every intention to produce 30 pieces of content, but I really had no idea how I was going to do it. Luckily, I had some stuff drop into my lap – things like the Toronto VMUG, my awesome experience at Tech Field Day, and my SWOVUG event. Even though that gave me topics, that was still only half the battle as those posts don’t write themselves.
Pushing myself to do this really helped me realize a few things. First off, I found that if I decide to write about a topic, but I don’t what I am going to write yet, then I just start typing. I had a few posts start off with that – writing an introduction, and as part of that new ideas would start to flow. A lot of time goes into proof-reading, as those ideas don’t always flow in a linear or coherent fashion.
I also found that I spend more time than I would like trying to find media for some of my posts. For things like the Tech Field Day posts, that was not a problem as I was taking screenshots or taking pictures along the way. For other ones (e.g. ‘The struggles of traveling‘), a lot of time was taken to find a) a photo that would make sense, and b) something that I could use (i.e. public domain). Going forward, I will try and either take pictures at events that I may write about, or try and grab screenshots of a process that I may post about.
How about the blog itself, how did it do? Well, it looks like it will be a record month for traffic (nothing crazy compared to some of the ‘bigger’ blogs, but very rewarding to see traffic growing very steadily). It is a nice feeling to know that folks actually read what I write, and occasionally I even get a comment, or possibly a mention on Twitter. Both of those still give me a little bit of excitement, each and every time.
On the Twitter front, my follower-growth increased about %145 compared to growth from September to October. One caveat to keep in mind is that I had a fair amount of traffic (both on Twitter and on this site) due to the Tech Field Day event. We’ll see how that carries on going forward.
Lastly, what did I learn about myself in the process? For one, I really pushed myself to do this one, for a few reasons. First, I simply wanted to see if I could. When I started this, I mentioned that it was probably the busiest month of my life with various ‘vCommunity’ commitments, let alone day-to-day work. I opted into the challenge to see if I could do even more, and it looks like I can. This will be a good reminder going forward, whether it is studying for a new certification, rebuilding my home lab, or just finding time to spend with the family – where there is a will, there is a way.
I also found that I like to write … well, I kind of knew that before, but this more or less reminded me of that. There were some posts that started off with ‘how am I going to hit 500 words and maintain quality?’. Often, those posts would end up being 1000 – 1200 words – once I get started, I can definitely go on for awhile. It also gave me a chance to clear out a lot of old ideas for posts that I had been kicking around. Some of them just wouldn’t work and are now deleted, while others just needed a little bit of love and care. Overall, I was surprised how well some of the ‘soft’ posts did, ones that weren’t technically focused.
I also found one post that I wrote either at or just after VMWorld 2015 that I never published. It was highlighting a specific vendor and I just never published it. Honestly, I don’t know why – maybe I was afraid that it would get attention (kind of links back to Impostor Syndrome I suppose).
So with that, I am going to bring vDM30in30 to a close for my site. Would I do it again? Very likely … but definitely not before next November – I need some time to start coming up with ideas 🙂