I can’t resist a challenge! – well, as long as the challenge fits within the reasonable limits of my comfort zone. A recent email had the word ‘Challenge’ in it, so naturally it got my attention. The email was a call to action to sign up for the July Ultimate Blog Challenge. It sounded simple enough – write a blog each day for thirty-one days – so I signed up. But it’s the ‘each day’ bit where I usually come unravelled. I’ve been known to set all sorts of agendas to keep me on track, but my creative-train is easily derailed. It doesn’t take much: an invitation here, a slack day there, and before I know it – I’m panicking about a deadline.
I can usually get the writing part done reasonably fast, but it’s the other bits that make the difference between meeting deadlines – and hearing them whoosh by.
The Support I Need
My websites are built on the WordPress platform, simply because the support from WordPress is phenomenal. WordPress Meetups and WordPress WordCamps are for learning new things, as well as getting answers to questions and solutions to problems. Meetups are held monthly in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, so I get two opportunities a month to learn something new.
WordCamps are less frequent, usually once a year in any city, and provide a weekend of learning. You have the opportunity to attend as many talks as you can comfortably fit in over two days. Everything from novice topics, to the highest level for developers, is covered at WordCamp. While costs might vary slighltly in some cities, I only paid $50 for the WordCamps I attended, and that covered admission, food, after-party, t.shirt and lots of swag (that’s tech talk for freebies – thank you WordPress!). Generous sponsors contribute to the cost of the event so that we can attend without breaking the bank – and they bring lots of swag too – (thank you sponsors!).
Getting your ducks in a row before you hit the ‘Publish’ button.
The real value of Meetups and WordCamps is the networking. It’s the people you meet before and after each session that really makes the difference. The true value of networking, according to networking guru Sally Eberhardt, is the sharing of ideas and information. And I couldn’t agree more.
At WordCamp Sunshine Coast 2016, I met some other bloggers during one of the coffee breaks. One of them shared some valuable information about a Plugin that monitors the readability and the ‘find-ability’ of your website – (thanks Di Hill). I downloaded and have been using Yoast ever since. When I get the readability right, I get a green light, and another green light when I have all the right elements to make my site more ‘findable’. With WordPress websites, adding a Plugin or two is easy, but since I plugged-in Yoast, the days of writing a quick blog have ended. If I choose to ignore the suggestions, I can still write and publish a fast blog. When I follow the suggestions, it slows things down, but it is SO worth it. When you get all your ducks in a row, you get a green light. I love that green light!
I’ve been limbering up for long enough..
… now it’s time to get out on the track, and start sprinting.
My random blog posts have probably been a bit too random lately and need reining in a bit (okay – a lot!). While I was holidaying overseas earlier this year, I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge for January. It seemed like a great idea at the time. Piece of cake, I thought; I have plenty to write about; I can do this. Then disaster struck. I broke my wrist and ended up in a full cast. The cast started at my shoulder and ended just above my fingers, with a quirky bend at the elbow. I couldn’t tie my hair back with one hand – it just can’t be done, but I managed to type – very s-l-o-w-l-y. So I wrote blogs for the challenge. I didn’t manage every day; in fact I didn’t even get half-way, but I gave it a good shot.
At the time, I was also negotiating with the Travel Insurance company to get me home for possible surgery. I’ve used the same company for years and now I know why. They organised amazing flights and took care of everything I would need for a very comfortable trip home. I managed to dodge the surgery, but that’s another story. It would have been great to have seen more of Seattle, but I will remember with fondness the people I met while I was there. It’s the people you meet that make the difference between a good trip, and a great trip.
So let the Ultimate Blog Challenge begin!
Hopefully I will make it through to the end of July with thirty-one new posts, all my ducks in a row, and have successfully completed the July Ultimate Blog Challenge. My floors might not get up-close-and-personal with the vacuum cleaner for the entire month, and I might be living on cheese and crackers, but (hopefully) I will have thirty-one new blog posts completed by the time July bids us farewell. And with the first day of the new month just one sleep away, well at least here in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m starting to panic already.
I can do this! I can do this! I (think) I can do this. And the only way to do it is roll my sleeves up, and start; so let the Ultimate Blog Challenge begin!