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I did it.

Every year I say I'm going to blog more and I never do. This was the kick up the butt that got me going.

Here's a table with some numbers in it:

Total word count 13,118
Unique visitors 6,626

I wrote more words in 30 days than in the entirety of 2019. Daily traffic increased by around 10%, although I don't sell ads so visitor counts are mostly for vanity.

The three most popular articles were:

  1. Writing a Leanpub book with Emacs
  2. My nineties development setup
  3. Eight years of Beeminder

All three of these got picked up by different places: my Leanpub post ended up on irreal.org (which spread it to other places), the post about my dev setup got retweeted by some large Atari accounts, and my post about Beeminder was retweeted by the official Beeminder account.

Getting linked to by other places was a nice surprise, but there were some other effects that I never expected:

Seeing somebody demoing games I wrote when I was a teenager was not something I ever expected. I can't say I enjoyed watching - it's a bit like someone critiquing art I drew in primary school - but it has given me the motivation to make something that's actually worth playing.

Thoughts on the experience

  • At the start I would write articles the day before they were due to be published, but as time went on this slipped. A few got published quite late in the evening on the day they were due.
  • Writing a day in advance was more relaxing, and I could afford to throw out a few ideas before settling on what was published.
  • Having a Beeminder goal to bill me when I miss a post without mercy worked really well. I don't think this goal would have been as effective if I'd configured it to include a week off when I derail.
  • The longer my posting streak went on, the more I was motivated to keep it going.
  • Giving myself a deadline encouraged me to publish some articles that I probably would have left otherwise.
  • I'm not 100% happy with everything that I wrote. Some posts were a little scrappy and would have benefited from an extra day or two of time.
  • Keeping notes in an easily accessible place came in handy when I needed some inspiration.
  • Posting links on Twitter generated some interest, but I don't like just linking to my own content. I think to really get more out of the platform I'd need to put time into building an audience and sharing shorter bits of content throughout the day/week.
  • Articles about my workflow were much more popular than my introspective writing (which I expected).

Overall I enjoyed the experiment. Regular writing was quite enjoyable - if challenging at times - and now that it's over I want to make some changes to my blogging routine. I don't plan on publishing every day, but a few times a week might be the sweet spot for me.