And just like that!

Looking at my blog posts today, it hit me: it’s the last day of April. I’ve been blogging every day all month, as a Camp NaNoWriMo goal, and I’ve hit it with practically no effort.

Now, of course it wasn’t really effortless. I’ve put in the time. But I was fully expecting it to be much harder than it actually was. Back when I used to do vlogging (sorry, I’ve hidden or deleted most of them for being embarrassing), I participated in VEDIS (Vlog Every Day in September) 2011. That was a much harder goal than this one, so maybe I shouldn’t have been so pessimistic, but I was a teenager back then, with oodles of free time. At any rate, I reached my goal. But you may be wondering why I didn’t announce it.

I call this a Silent Challenge – I did the same thing for VEDIS. You set yourself a challenge and then… don’t announce it. Sounds crazy, right?

Online challenges are crazy popular right now. NaNoWriMo and #Add1Challenge are two off the top of my head, although I’ve only participated in the former. The draw is you’re not doing it alone, but with a supportive online community, and usually some nifty tracking tools. But I have to say that I don’t find them particularly effective. Either the challenge is achievable enough that I don’t need the support network, or it’s too difficult that grinding and trawling through all the forums would be too time consuming. I had a blast doing my first NaNoWriMo, and getting really involved in the forums, but every time since then I simply haven’t had the time to delve in, and I haven’t needed to.

So instead of committing publicly to a daunting challenge that will make me feel crappy if I don’t achieve it, I do my own, private, Silent Challenges. They’re still pretty audacious – blogging daily is no mean feat – but if I don’t achieve them then I won’t have to feel bad. It also positions your audience differently. When I did VEDIS 2011, and revealed only halfway through what I was doing, a subscriber commented that they had noticed I was releasing a lot of videos recently but hadn’t realised it was every day. Daily blogging, and blogging challenges, have a negative connotation for many people, but I’m sure plenty of them wouldn’t care or notice if you just did the same thing without calling it that.

The question now is: do I continue? My heart says yes yes yes. As I’ve previously noted, daily blogging has become a kind of therapy for me, but aside from that, it has increased my joy of creation tenfold. I worried at first that it would eat out of my other creative time, but it’s one of those magical, generous habits that has instead made me more motivated and efficient in other areas.

There’s something intensely powerful in releasing something public every day. There’s no hiding, no posturing, no overthinking and no disappointment. It provides a strong foundation, a frondy base for my other art to thrive off of. It forces my thoughts into flowerpots, to let them sprout off each other instead of festering as seeds.

So try a Silent Challenge today. Who knows? Maybe you’ll knock it out of the park.

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