Since joining Medium, I’ve come across quite a few posts about “30-day writing challenges.” The idea is exactly what it sounds like: to write or post something once a day, every day, for a full 30 days.
Last month, I decided to give it a try. Today marks the final day of my successful 30-day challenge.
Now that I’m finished, I’d like to share my thoughts about how it went. If you’re planning on trying the challenge yourself, I hope this can give you some idea of what to expect.
I’m going to start with a few of my more subjective thoughts on the process, and then share how it’s affected my stats on Medium.
My biggest concern going into this was that I’d get burnt out in the process. I resisted trying the challenge for a few months because this was such a big concern for me. Even after I started it, I didn’t say anything about it because I was convinced that I was going to experience burnout and give up.
In order to try to avoid burnout, I started the challenge by writing a little bit extra. I saved a couple finished posts to use on days when I just didn’t feel like writing.
Unfortunately, by the halfway point I had already used those posts up, and sure enough, the feelings of burnout started to appear.
I decided to push through them, and to my surprise, I got my second wind a few days later.
It wasn’t until last week that I finally started feeling exhausted again. I think this actually had more to do with having a busy week at work than with how much I was writing. Regardless of the reason, with the finish line in sight, I hade enough motivation to get through it.
How My Writing Changed
I was hoping that by staying on a consistent daily schedule, I’d end up becoming a better writer. To be honest, I don’t think my writing got much better, but I did at least get faster.
Even though my writing ability stayed about the same, I did see a really big change in the topics that I wrote about.
Because I was posting on Medium so frequently, I felt like I had more freedom to experiment. In the past, I’ve resisted writing posts that I didn’t think would get many readers. This month, since I was posting every day, it didn’t seem like such a big deal if some of my posts didn’t attract much attention.
This gave me the confidence to write about some things that I was interested even though I knew they would only have a very niche audience. I ended up writing more about birding and running, despite the fact that these topics had done poorly for me in the past.
The birding posts still did badly, but the running posts actually got more readers than I expected. I doubt I would have taken the chance on writing them if it wasn’t for this challenge.
How My Stats Changed
The 30-day challenge definitely gave a boost to my stats on Medium, although a little less than I would have guessed beforehand.
In the 30-day period before the challenge, I had 7,272 views, and my follower count grew by about 70 followers.
During the 30-day challenge, I had 12,875 views, and my follower count grew by about 110.
My page-reads, fans, and Medium partner program payments all grew by about the same percentages.
Although I did experience a couple of periods of burnout, overall the 30-day challenge was actually easier to complete than I expected. It’s motivated me to try to continue writing more consistently than I had in the past.
I don’t think I’ll continue to write literally every day, but I’m not going to go back to being quite as sporadic about posting as I was beforehand. I’m still trying to decide exactly how often I’ll post.
I think in the future, I’d like to try the challenge again, but maybe with some kind of variation to it — a theme, a different amount of writing, or maybe even do something with flash fiction or poetry (two genres I love but am really bad at writing).
Would I Recommend It?
The 30-day challenge was sometimes enjoyable and sometimes stressful. I’m glad I finished it, but it didn’t completely change the way I write, or anything earth shattering like that.
I don’t think it’s something that everyone must do. But, if you’re interested in trying it, I’d say go ahead. Don’t expect it to drastically improve your writing or to catapult you to fame. Just think of it as a fun way to spend a month.