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How to accept a blogging challenge

30 Day Blogging Challenge Are you the sort of person who thrives under pressure, or do you like an easy life?

I thought I was the latter, but then I found I achieved nothing. If there was nothing to push me, no deadlines to achieve, no purpose to focus on, I just dallied about and wasted my time.

Whereas if I set myself a challenge – sure it will be hard, and I will struggle, but once I've achieved it, it will be worth my while.

Looking at nature

On 1 January 2013 I was walking in the Berkshire countryside and was amazed at how much life there was in the hedgerows, even in the middle of winter.

This reminded me of a particular book I gave my grandmother one Christmas many years ago – something to do with an Edwardian Lady's Diary. It was a chronological record of how nature progressed throughout the year: opened, thrived and then died. It fascinated me, not just because the pictures were good, but the fact that nature goes through this journey every year, not always exactly, but certainly without fail.

So I decided there and then to create a blog to record nature for that year. The idea was to take pictures of the growing things around me, either in the countryside or in the gardens around my home, and post this on a blog.

Then the reader could watch how nature developed as the year progressed, from the first shoots through the vibrant flowering summer to the seeds and berries in the autumn.

Sense of achievement

And you know what, I did just that! You can check it out if you want: Watching Nature While Walking.

The last post is 31 December 2013. Therefore I advise you go back to 1 January and read it from there (unless you want to read it backwards!) to get the full extend of how the year unfolds.

And yes, I did every day for a year. The full 365. Sure, it wasn't easy, but only twice did I fail to post on time. Twice. But the beauty of WordPress is that you can postdate your posts so that they appear to have been published the day before. Sneaky, I know, but sometimes necessary.

I remember 2013 started off very cold, so it was difficult to find things to post about at the beginning when not much was happening. And I annoyed the hell out of my husband because I insisted in taking my camera with me wherever I went, in the hope of capturing another series of pictures for my blog. I even took it with me when I jogged around the streets, because even my neighbours' gardens yielded fabulous examples.

When I finally finished, I felt a sense of both relief and yet a slight pang of withdrawal. This has continued on and off since then, especially when I come across fabulous sights when walking in the Berkshire countryside (which we still do) or when events happen like frogspawn in our garden pond (that also happened this weekend).

So what's this new challenge?

I'm going to do the 30 Day Blogging Challenge by Sarah Arrow. Today is the 1 March 2015, and this is my first post, the first of 30 in succession.

Why am I doing it? As I said at the beginning, I need to have a challenge to achieve something. I've just started this new blog, and it needs to be populated with lots of fabulous posts (!) for my readers to read.

Without this challenge I reckon the time to renew my hosting will come round again and I won't have written anything! This is the 40-thousand volts up the whatever that I need to get started.

Now you're probably thinking if I have managed a 365 blog, 30 days will be a doddle. Well, this time is different. My nature blog posts only had about 3 sentences each, just to describe the pictures above. They didn't require much brain power to produce, and certainly I didn't bother with SEO (search engine optimisation). I'm not sure how much SEO I'll being doing with these blog posts – that will depend on the subject, keyword and time availability.

Doing it properly

I certainly want to do a good job. And I will be monitoring what happens while this is happening. This is a new blog, so I will see how much 'traction' (technical term) posting everyday for a month will have on visibility, gaining readers and attracting the search engines.

This means I have to produce something worthwhile every day. My nature blog may have looked pretty with its flower pictures and its poetic descriptions, but as it was produced on a WordPress.com blog. I had that WordPress power behind it to get me readers that were interested in that particular subject.

But this is a WordPress.org blog, which means I am on my own. It is a proper challenge. It is me that has to do all the hard work to get noticed and attract readers. There's no overriding power to back me up, apart from my own hard work and bloody mindedness.

I shall be exploring how I can do this, learning along the way, and reporting back to you, my readers. I definitely want to share this with you. It is all part of the learning curve, and how I can help beginner bloggers. If I haven't experienced it myself, how then can I teach how to do it to you?

Will you help me?

Every good post should have a call to action, so here's my first one: if you've managed to get this far, after you've patted yourself on the back, why not leave an encouraging comment? It will certainly make a difference to me.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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