I have three blogging goals for 2022:
1. To finish the year with 100 posts and 50 followers
2. To write for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, and
3. To feel confident about the quality of my posts.
The first quarter of 2022 has passed, so it’s time to check in on my progress.
I am up to 65 posts which means I’ve shared 15 new ones. At this rate, I will exceed my goal of 100 posts. And now I have 30 followers, which means I’ve added 14. I will exceed my goal of 50 followers at this rate.
I have written for at least 30 minutes a day, but it has not been for the blog. When I created this goal, I didn’t consider how much I had to write for work, and most of what I write for work I wouldn’t share on the blog. I’ve also done a lot of writing to get clarity on other personal and professional goals. Still, I wouldn’t share all of that on the blog either.
Sometimes setting a leading indicator for goals (e.g., number of calories eaten, number of visits to the farmers market) is better than lagging indicators (e.g., weight, waist size). I first learned about this distinction in “4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals”. I tried to apply that principle to blogging, but it didn’t work as I expected. I need a more concrete goal, which could be something like “post once a week.” Posting once a week would help me reach my goal of 100 posts this year.
This goal is both ambiguous and subjective. How do I determine my quality? I’m a pretty harsh critic, and I might never be as good as I want to be. In writing, quantity can help to improve quality, so posting more frequently can help. Maybe something more concrete would be to finish a writing course. There’s a LinkedIn Learning course I started but never finished, “Writing with Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer,” that I can commit to completing by the end of the year. What’s great about this course is that it also provides Professional Development Units (PDUs) to maintain my PMP certification.
2022 Goals – Revised
If I were to re-write the goals at this point, they’d look like this:
- To post at least once every seven days, ending the year with 100 posts.
- To gain roughly two followers each week, ending the year with 50 followers.
- To finish a course on writing.
Another challenge is knowing what to write about. I have a lot of thoughts throughout the week, and perhaps I could try to find a thread between all of those thoughts and write about the connection.
I also considered using a weekly blog post as a “sprint review.” In agile project management, the work for the project is divided into sprints, usually 2 – 3 weeks. You start a sprint with a planning meeting where you decide what you will design or produce. Then you end the sprint with a sprint review meeting where you share your progress and explain what worked and what didn’t. If I thought about it some, I could find a way to apply this concept to blogging.
Yet, another option is to share what I’ve learned in the previous seven days. Initially, that feels a bit corny, but one of my weaknesses is that I don’t take time to celebrate small (or big) wins. Once I solve a problem, I’m on to the next thing. It puts me in a state of mild-to-moderate, continual dissatisfaction with my life. I never feel like I reach the top of the mountain; it’s a constant climb. I need more moments where I can stop and appreciate the view.
After more thought, setting one topic to stick to for the next 36 weeks feels restrictive. I want to have some flexibility. And if I don’t like the topic, I don’t want to have to stick with it for the rest of the year.
Another project management principle that’s applicable here is the idea of iterations. Rather than work towards one final goal, you break up the final goal into smaller goals that are immediately useful. For example, rather than design a fantastic app in nine months, create a basic app in one month and use the following eight months for improvements and enhancements. This way, you don’t have to wait until the nine months are up to take advantage of the app’s benefits.
The most important thing is that I sit down to write, which still terrifies me sometimes. I am still afraid of being judged and critiqued, honestly. Sometimes that fear stops me from writing altogether. But today, I committed to writing, and I started writing without a clear idea of what would come out, and then all of this came out! If I wrote a little bit each day, the final blog post would be more manageable than trying to get it all out in one session (like I’m doing today).
It doesn’t feel honest to say that I’m writing for myself when I post it on a public blog. It also feels disingenuous to say that I don’t care about what other people make of my writing. I’m not writing wholly for myself or entirely for anyone else. My meta-goal is to do something and allow myself to be bad at it or not expect it to be perfect. That’s the goal that I need to keep top of mind whenever I sit down to write. The ultimate writing goal for 2022 is to allow myself to be bad at something. Any improvement gets me closer to adequate but still far from perfection.