On November 19th I issued a challenge to myself: to blog every single day for the rest of 2013. Out of the 42 days between then and now I’ve only missed one day and it was Christmas day (Although if I allow myself to bend the rules a little, I did blog that day, just not here). Technically by the time the year is over there will have been 43 days in the challenge, and given that I’m already working on tomorrow’s post (because it’s part one of two of my annual New Years post) I can pretty much say that I’ve completed 42/43 days and, despite not being able to finish with a perfect record, I’m content in calling this project a victory.

write, writing, photography, inspiration, blogging, flickr, Sarah Reid, They Call it Gumption
image via Sarah Reid

Now that it’s pretty much all said and done I feel confident that I accomplished pretty much everything I set out to do. I rekindled my love affair with blogging and, while I still feel like I’ve got a ways to go, I also feel more comfortable with the more personal aspect of They Call it Gumption. I’m slowly but surely starting to embrace my own voice again, something I’ve spent too much effort over the years trying to curb out of fear and anxiety.

Probably one of my favourite discoveries throughout this process has been the way it taught me to just write. As I mentioned in my original post, I’ve always been really bad for standing in my own way; often opting not to write anything at all just because I didn’t have a perfect idea for a post ready to go from the onset. Now for the first time in a long time I’ve just let the vibe of the moment dictate what I wrote and my quick turn-around meant that I didn’t have time to necessarily insure that every post had some great moral or take-away for the reader. (Err, sorry. I still love you.)

With the exception of tomorrow and Wednesday’s posts I don’t believe I ever had a plan for anything I’ve posted in the last 42 days on this blog. In some ways this was awesomely liberating. At the same time, that liberation plus my significantly more relaxed standards didn’t necessarily open the door for a constant stream of quality by any means. There is a lot of garbage on this blog from the last month and a half.

But at the same time there are a lot of posts that I wasn’t expecting (and probably never would have written had it not been for the challenge) that I’m immensely proud of. Some of my favourite posts from this experience came to me in the heat of the moment or were inspired by events that I normally wouldn’t have chosen to give spotlight to for one reason or another. These posts usually end up showing off parts of my personality or opinions that I normally would have shied away from writing about in the past.

Here are some of my favourites from the last 42 days:

Some of those posts may not seem like the warrant being on a shortlist of my best content from this challenge, but for me each of those posts are pieces that I’m proud of and that I know wouldn’t have happened (or at least not happened the way that they did) if I hadn’t opened myself up to this opportunity.

So, what did I learn? I learned that I needn’t be so hard on myself either to follow a strict schedule or to produce gold star content every time. I also learned that the content isn’t going to be great all the time and that’s okay. Finally, I learned that it’s always important to write and to write often because you never know where the inspiration is going to come from or what it will lead to.

Moving forward I doubt that I’ll continue to blog every single day, but I will write everyday. From there I will make the call about what’s worth sharing and what’s better left in the drafts. I think this will allow me to post more often than I did before. I want to continue to explore my personal voice and storytelling without feeling compelled to tell a full and polished story every time.

So, was it challenging? Yup. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes!