Reflections on writing every day

Today is day 28 of my 28 Day Writing Challenge. I am so glad I decided to tried writing every day--I haven’t done anything like this before and I’ve learned a lot about my writing process, time management, and capacity to push through writer’s block and brain fatigue. Reflections on writing every day


  • I put together an editorial calendar for the month. I found it helpful, especially as a place to put links to articles that inspired writing topics, but I didn’t stick to it 100%.
  • It’s really hard to squeeze daily writing into a hectic schedule. Not only do I work full time, but because I work in Maryland and live in Philadelphia, I only see my husband on the weekends. Because we have limited time together, I found it difficult to make time to write on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • I often began a piece at night and then finished it before work the next morning. After work, I would start the next day’s.
  • Sometimes, due to the time restraints, I didn’t have the time or bandwidth to write an in-depth post.
  • I missed a few days. Not too many, but a few.
  • Likewise, having to produce a piece every day meant that, even though I tried to keep a few days ahead, I didn’t always have enough time to research as much as I would have liked.
  • I also didn’t have much time to let a piece sit so I could come back to it the next day with fresh eyes. There are almost certainly stylistic faux pas and grammatical errors that I would have caught if I’d been able to self-edit.
  • That said, there are some pieces that I’m proud of writing and plan to expand upon in the coming weeks. The most popular post I’ve ever written: “Eating clean” is dangerous to your health. The antimicrobial resistance series (Part I, Part II, Part III). Suicide prevention gets a new partner: Facebook.

I’m not going to continue posting every day. It’s just not sustainable for me at this point. However, I plan to write (at least) two pieces per week, one of which will be an in depth, longer exploration of a topic.

I want to be sure that I am producing quality work, not just quantity. I take writing seriously, and while I’m glad I did this as a kick in the pants to get me back into it, I think my work will improve if I can take time to write, rewrite, and rewrite again.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. It’s been fun, and I’m glad you were here with me.

Writer's Block

I'm struggling with writer's block today. When I started this project, I made myself an editorial calendar. It says that today is supposed to be a personal post. I've started two different pieces, gotten about halfway through, and realized "This is going nowhere." I started working on this one because my creative writing teachers used to say that if you can't think of anything to write, then you should write about how you can't think of anything to write about.

I thought that if I just made myself write for a few hours everyday, I would suddenly become a super writer and would be able to have fully formed ideas, expressed perfectly, flow from my brain and onto your screen. Of course, I'm only eleven days in (twelve when you read this) and of course that hasn't happened. Of course it hasn't! What was I thinking? I consider myself a writer--why was I naive enough to think this would magically become easy after just a few days of discipline?

This has been harder than I thought it would be. Because I feel so passionately about doing appropriate research and talking about things that I actually understand, I often find myself researching a topic, realizing that it is way beyond my ability to write 700 words about it on such a short deadline, and then have to start over. There are plenty of bloggers out there who write about their daily lives and churn out the posts effortlessly. This is a different genre, though, so the prep work of research, writing, and editing is more time consuming.

But I'm also really glad that I decided to do this self-imposed challenge. I like that I'm making something every day, even if it's just a short post complaining about writer's block. I like that I'm learning about new topics. I hope that I'm learning how to research and write more efficiently.

I haven't yet found the ability to achieve the quick turnaround, though I think it's in me somewhere. With more practice, I'll find it.

Would you look at that? I just wrote a personal post. Now I can go check today off my editorial calendar.

What's coming up in February 2015

For the past two weeks, I've been doing a 30 day yoga challenge through the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. Not only is Adriene an adorably dorky and pleasant yoga instructor, but I've really enjoyed incorporating a daily practice. Maybe there's something about knowing that there's a new video waiting for me helps me get on the mat. Maybe it's Adriene's Find What Feels Good mantra. Whatever it is, I like it. I've been thinking a lot recently about how to balance my work (which includes regularly driving between Bethesda and Philadelphia), my personal projects like Action Phase and this blog, and having a semblance of a social life. My personal projects have taken a backseat to the big changes in my life--graduating, starting a fellowship, getting married.

But enough is enough! I'm making writing and podcasting a priority. I'm going to kick my butt into gear Adriene-style by writing on this blog every day from February 1 to February 28. It might be a short, simple thought of the day or a powerful infographic accompanied by some commentary, or a longer piece exploring an issue in depth. I'm excited about this 28 day challenge. I hope you'll join me!