Thoughts on Posting Every Day for a Month


Vianden, as seen from its castle
I even managed to post after spending a full day exploring Vianden, in Luxembourg!

From January to September of this year, I published 26 blog posts.

In October, I published 27.

Yikes.

When I set myself the goal of publishing a blog post every day for a month, I had no idea how it was going to go. In the past, I’ve announced multiple times that I was going to start posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and rarely managed it for more than a week.

What was I doing thinking I could publish every day?

Especially during a month where I’d be travelling for most of it. Especially as I didn’t have any drafts to work on. Especially as I’ve never been a prolific blogger.

Vianden, as seen from its castle
I even managed to post after spending a full day exploring Vianden, in Luxembourg!

The Blog Posts I Published

Let’s start with a list of everything I wrote in October:

And here’s what I learned.

I Did This to Combat Perfectionism

I used to take pride in being a perfectionist.

I thought it was an admirable quality to have. That it meant everything I produced would be perfect. That I wouldn’t ever publish anything I wasn’t happy with. That I would be more successful the longer and harder I worked on something.

While I was in Berlin, I reread Brene Brown’s the Gifts of Imperfection — the book that’s had the greatest impact on my life to date — and this passage on perfectionism jumped up and smacked me right in the face:

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.

Perfectionism is defeating and self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.

Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough so rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.”

Oh my god, I thought. She was describing me.

I published so little this year (and every year) because I’m obsessed with only sharing what I deem to be perfect.

I toil over blog posts. I spend weeks editing them. And honestly? I spend a huge amount of that time procrastinating on Twitter. When I’m aiming for perfection, I usually end up coming to the conclusion that it’s unattainable, which leads to me doing whatever I can to avoid facing it.

This isn’t a new development. I started Never Ending Footsteps six years ago and I’ve posted 350 times since then. That’s an average of one post every two weeks. I’ve always been an irregular blogger, but it’s something I’ve dreamed of changing.

First on my list was tackling my perfectionism.

In order to do this, I set myself a challenge to post every single day in October.

And It Worked

I had so much fun writing my blog posts in October!

Without my crushing goal to make everything as perfect as it could be, I could instead focus my attention on enjoying the writing process. I no longer had to agonise over every word choice. Posting whenever I knew something was good/great rather than perfect took an enormous amount of pressure off.

I started enjoying hitting the publish button rather than cowering from it.

It Boosted My Creativity, Too

I enjoyed getting to cover a wider range of topics than I usually do.

Because here’s the thing: when I was only publishing once every 14 days, I believed every single post had to be about my travels. As a result of my slow posting schedule, I now have roughly two years’ worth of adventures to catch you up on. I could never justify writing resources about how I find cheap flights or how I back up my photos — things I’m asked all the time through email — because I didn’t feel as though I could use one of my two topics a month on something that wasn’t furthering my story.

In October, I felt as though I could spend time creating helpful posts in addition to travel narratives. Without so much pressure to catch up on what I’d been up to over the past few years, I found time to experiment more and try different styles of writing.

I felt a fresh burst of enthusiasm for Never Ending Footsteps when I decided to start writing about Belize and Guatemala, just because I’d always wished I’d had a chance to share what my experiences in these countries were like.

I Learned I’ll Always Go Long

I thought I’d end up writing a whole lot of short and sweet blog posts in October, but the exact opposite happened. Only a couple of them were less than 1,000 words. My longest post was over 3,000, and most of them were in the 2,000-2,500 range.

Long-form writing is my jam.

The short 500-word posts I used to publish back in 2011 aren’t something I can see myself returning to in the future. A big part of this is due to the evolution of my reading habits in recent years — I actively seek out longer, more detailed pieces when I’m hanging out online, and that’s greatly influenced my own writing.

It Wasn’t as Hard as I Thought

I expected to find writing so frequently to be tough, but it wasn’t. It turns out when I set myself a deadline rather than giving myself a vague amount of time to write a post, I can actually get stuff done.

I found that it took roughly four or five hours for me to write and edit a blog post, which meant that even while I was travelling, I was able to find the time to sit down and bash out a few thousand words.

Interestingly to me, the four days where I missed publishing a post were all while I was at home in Lisbon. I found that when I had 16 hours to sit down and write a post, I was far less likely to finish it than if I had three hours in-between sightseeing. Deadlines are also, apparently, my jam.

How Did it Benefit My Site?

In the back of my mind, I hoped I’d see a benefit businesswise, but if I’m being honest, I saw more negatives than positives.

With the exception of a couple of posts that did great (my post on finding a base and why I’ve stopped using Airbnb), traffic to Never Ending Footsteps remained much the same. The vast majority of visitors to my site come from places like Google and Pinterest, from which traffic numbers remains steady every day, regardless of how much I post. While I experienced a boost to my traffic, relative to my overall numbers, it was small.

And that growth definitely dropped off towards the end of the month, when I think you guys were suffering from Lauren overload.

Additionally, I had more email unsubscribes than subscribes for the first time in the site’s history. Unsurprisingly, it turns out when you email somebody every single day, they tend to get annoyed with you. I should have done this differently and sent out a weekly email sharing all of my posts from the past seven days, rather than one for every single post. I’ll know for next time.

My Facebook engagement took a huge tumble this month, too. Sharing a new blog post every single day massively decreased my reach and therefore the amount of people who were clicking through to read. Even when I paid $10 to boost a post, I only ended up with around quarter of the likes as I used to get a few months ago.

Finally, the number of comments on my blog posts also dropped. I pride myself on having a large, helpful, fun community on my site, and when I published so frequently, comments dropped off massively. Nobody was having conversations. Rather than getting 50 or so comments on a new post, I struggled to gain anything more than single figures.

Towards the end of the challenge, I was so conscious of my falling stats that I even stopped sending all of posts out by email or sharing them on social media because I was concerned I was annoying everyone.

An Experiment That Worked, But That I Won’t Continue

I’m pleased I decided to take on the challenge, because it did exactly what I needed it to do. I’m no longer crippled with hesitation whenever I hit the publish button, because I know I don’t need days and weeks to edit an article to perfection.

Because there’s no such thing as perfection.

As I mentioned above, though, I didn’t see many benefits to convince me this is a Good Thing for the site. I felt as though I was annoying my readers, that people were reading fewer of my posts, and that I couldn’t dive deeply into a subject with such little time.

Going forwards, I’m hoping I’ll finally be able to hit my twice or thrice a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, most likely) posting target that I’ve probably announced a dozen times in this site’s history but failed to stick to for more than about three days. Behind the scenes, I’ll most likely continue writing blog posts regularly and saving the extras in surplus in order to remain consistent while I’m travelling or (please god no) if I find my anxiety has returned.

And because I personally enjoyed Blogtober *cough* so much, I’m thinking I’ll try the exact same thing next October, too.

And now it’s over to you! Did you enjoy the daily posting schedule or was it overwhelming? If you’re a blogger, do you think you could handle posting every day for a month?

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39 Comments

  1. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    To be honest, I missed it when you stopped posting. I don’t email subscribe, I follow via RSS, and I looked forward to reading the new posts every day (or almost every day, whenever I checked Feedly). The month went fast and then it was quiet for a while, and I definitely missed seeing that there was something new.

    It is interesting to see how reach and commenting and other things react to more frequent blogs. They are definitely things you have to consider when it’s a business. So I get that. But I think you have an entertaining voice and beautiful pictures and interesting things to say and cool places to talk about. So for me daily or a few times weekly works, because it’s something I look forward to reading.

    I think posting a weekly email blast with the links would solve feeling like you were annoying people. For me, the posts were in Feedly and I clicked and read them when I had time.

    Even if you don’t blog every day, I hope you will do it more frequently. I felt the quality level didn’t drop for the frequency, and I think you were smart to let go of perfectionism and just enjoy blogging.

    I also enjoyed your thoughts on perfectionism. I struggle with it a lot myself. I’m going to have to check out that book.

  2. Ashley P
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I 100% agree with what Maggie says above! :) I loved the daily posts and really looked forward to them. I just read via typing your URL into my browser (old school, I know) and it was so nice to have something to read.

  3. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    Oh my god. Lauren, that perfectionism quote hit me SMACK in the face. This is me to a tee. I worry so much about everything being perfect that I end up rarely posting, and sometimes I think I forget that I’m writing a travel blog, not a travel magazine. I am the editor, I can do what I like. I need to remember that done is better than perfect, go with the flow, and just enjoy publishing again.

    p.s. I loved all of these posts, and I’m really happy that you got your flow back this month! :)

    • November 18, 2016
      Reply

      I forgot to mention that I also really appreciated the perfectionism quote!

  4. Jen M.
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I also read via Feedly, so more frequent posts don’t annoy me, it just means more possible content that I will read. I don’t read every post, just the ones that interest me. Looking at the list, I see that within 1 month you posted 4 monthly summary’s. Those don’t interest me, so I wouldn’t have read them, but I read most of the other posts. I don’t usually comment, but I was certainly more engaged in your site and content this month than any previous month.

  5. Caroline
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I agree with both posters above! I LOVED Blogtober, but I am also someone who visits the site directly rather than subscribing to the email updates. I visited every 2-3 days, and it was so much fun to know I’d have new posts waiting for me to read! I used to subscribe to your email newsletter, which was different than the post updates — I think bringing that back might be a really nice compromise? That way, you could hyperlink to all new posts in order, and people could click on them all if they wanted, or just stay subscribed to the newsletter if they don’t have time right then. It was a great newsletter!

  6. Michelle
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    Personally, I loved it and couldn’t get enough haha. Looking forward to next October :)

    • February 19, 2017
      Reply

      Yay! That makes me happy :-)

  7. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I agree, too. I loved that you posted daily! I checked constantly because I knew I could count on a post a day. And I also felt that quality was spot on.

    It’s really a shame it didn’t boost your business, though. I really thought it would.

    Looking forward to next October already!

  8. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I also 100% agree with Maggie. I missed a new blog post of yours popping up in my inbox every day once the month was out. And I certainly didn’t notice any drop in quality either. Although I didn’t have time to comment on many of them (that’s not you; I rarely find the time to write the meaningful comments I intend to on any of my favourite bloggers’ posts), I did read them all and have saved many of them to Pocket for sharing later.

    Like you I struggle to write short posts and am also a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to publishing posts, which is why I struggle to stick to my once a week posting schedule. The thought of posting every day is strangely appealing to me but also terrifying.

    If I didn’t work full time I would definitely be tempted to try it!

  9. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I also really liked the ‘new’ style of posts you did. I follow on Bloglovin’ for the record, and I think I clicked through and read most of the posts.
    I definitely would not be able to do the same thing myself. I also spend a lot of hours on each blog post, AND I don’t have near as many things to write about as you do.
    Cheers,
    Maria

  10. Claire
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    Like Ashley, I loved the daily posts and read via the old school way of typing your URL into my browser! Apologies for never starting conversations or comments; but just know that you have readers who are loyal and do enjoy your blogposts – especially when they are frequent :) [particularly loved hearing about your post-Brexit feelings, as I felt the same way!]. Going to check out the book on perfectionism too – keep it up, would love to see more posts on this blog!

  11. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    When I first started reading this post, I was a bit skeptical and thought to myself, “Hmm, posting every single day just for the sake of posting?” And then I continued reading about how much it helped you deal with overcoming the anxiety associated with perfectionism, and I realized that I can relate so much in that regard. So congrats on going out on a limb and trying out something new! I enjoyed seeing the new styles of posts you cranked out in October.

  12. November 18, 2016
    Reply

    I loved havng more to read, but I definitely missed some posts. I try to post M/W/F and mostly it works. It took me about a year to actually get to the point where I was committed to it, and I’m three months in. So far, so good.

    I also only read travel blogs on M/W/F cause I read after I post my own, so that schedule would be perfect for me. =) You know, in case that’s a big factor for you lol.

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      Hahaha :-) Congrats on keeping to your posting schedule! That’s a huge achievement.

  13. November 19, 2016
    Reply

    I was very happy with you posting so much! Also many of the posts where fun to read and very helpful. A lot like why i started following your site a few years back. But very intresting to read what it did to your engagement and social stats. Not what I expected at all as a blogger myself.

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Tikva! I definitely felt like I got my blogging groove back :-)

  14. November 19, 2016
    Reply

    I loved reading your posts each day. And it’s such an achievement (I don’t think I’d EVER be able to do this). So much work. But how annoying your stats dropped. I suppose there is too much of a good thing after all.

  15. November 19, 2016
    Reply

    I always love reading your posts, regardless of the topic.

    I prefer your monthly summaries and ‘general travel’ type blogs such as your air b’n’b experience but your travel blogs are just as interesting :) I must prefer your posts when they are 2-3 times a week – I binge read your posts on a Saturday whilst my partner is watching football (current situation!)

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • February 19, 2017
      Reply

      And thank you for sharing your preferences! :-)

  16. November 19, 2016
    Reply

    I’m really enjoying all your posts! I check your site every so often, and was really excited to suddenly see 15-20 new posts! I’m slowly working my way through them.

    Also- I love that quote. I am totally stealing it and using it, and probably going to read the book.

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      The book is so great! I highly recommend it, as it’s really changed my life :-)

  17. Laura
    November 20, 2016
    Reply

    I loved Blogtober! Great posts as always, always enjoy reading. I didn’t always have time to read all the emails daily but it was a nice reminder in my inbox to go back and read them (or via FB) when I had the downtime :-)
    Keep posting ?
    I’d love your recommendations for solo winter mini breaks – nervous of enjoying the sightseeing less if coffee shop hopping to keep warm! X

  18. Pauline
    November 20, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren! Thank you for your transparency as usual. Many bloggers pride themselves in being fully honest and transparent but I think you really go the extra mile, and it feels so natural coming from you. This and the fact that, as you mention it, you tend to write long posts detailing your experiences, make you one of my favourite travel blogs to read. Seeing new articles from you pop up in my RSS reader is my (approximately :) twice-monthly pleasure! For that reason, while I was happy to see so many posts from you in October, it took a bit away from this “special pleasure” aspect that I associate with your blog. Absolutely not trying to deter you from posting more in the future though – reading you is always a happy time!

  19. Anna
    November 20, 2016
    Reply

    I loved seeing the posts every day! Viva Blogtober! I hope you can stick to a regular (and more frequent) schedule of blogging in the future, because I really enjoy your writing.

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      Ah, thanks so much, Anna! :-)

  20. November 20, 2016
    Reply

    It’s so interesting to know you didn’t see a marked increased in traffic from all the extra posts. I think as blogger we often feel we should be doing more – more posts, more social, more travelling, more EVERYTHING – so it’s quite a relief to read your findings! I too aim for 3 posts a week but am a long-winded blogger and also not so good at scheduling in advance – guess it’s good have a goal though. Loved reading back over what you published this month though. As Liz Gilbert likes to say ‘done is better than perfect’.

  21. November 21, 2016
    Reply

    I liked your daily posts and I read them on a daily basis. I like to scour travel blogs daily, so I’m always delighted when there’s a new post. You should choose the frequency that suits yourself best though! I’ll keep reading :)

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you! And I really appreciated all of your comments over the month :-)

  22. November 23, 2016
    Reply

    I loved having you post every day! It was so fun having something new and relate-able to read every day I always looked forward to seeing what you wrote next!

    • February 19, 2017
      Reply

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear that, and also appreciated all of your comments throughout the month! :-)

  23. November 23, 2016
    Reply

    I think you did amazingly well to publish every day for a month. I did find I missed some of your posts though because they were so frequent, whereas normally I’d read each one. The weekly email idea could definitely be a good one and it’s interesting to hear that posting every day actually had a negative impact. I’m glad it achieved what you needed it to though :)

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Amy! :-) I probably am going to transition to a weekly email going forwards.

  24. November 24, 2016
    Reply

    Maybe you’ll see a small long term hike in traffic, rather than a big peak on posting, as people reach this bug chink of new content via pinterest and google?

    I really enjoyed all the posts I read, but I did miss quite a few – so many new things to read out there.

    I might give your tactic a go too, I’m also a recovering perfectionist!

  25. November 28, 2016
    Reply

    Hi, My name’s Tilly and I’m a perfectionist!
    I can relate to so much that you’ve said! This is the first post I’ve ever read of yours as I’ve only just discovered your blog. As a new travel blogger since July this year, I’m guilty of having 2 months of writing very little due to ill health after writing 12 in month 1 and 8 in month 2, and social media engagement slowed right down during those quiet months for me.
    Found this a very interesting read and I’ll aim to stop getting as anxious when I can’t post as often and hopefully I can get over my perfectionism too!
    I’m off to read some more of your blog! :)

  26. January 17, 2017
    Reply

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed writing and posting to my blog everyday for 6 months, it would have been far more enjoyable had I not expected it to boost traffic to my blog.

    Now I post once or twice a week and traffic is starting to pick up nicely and as you mentioned the quality of my writing is improving.

    • February 11, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, interesting that you experienced the same as I did. Glad to hear things are going well now :-)

  27. March 24, 2020
    Reply

    This was way more useful than I thought. It all makes sense though: sharing on social media too much, sending emails too much, annoying your readers, maybe even your quality dropped. Thanks for the insights!

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