366 Posts in 366 Days (or… How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Challenge)

by D.J. Paris on December 31, 2012

I wanted to end this experiment of posting every day for a year with a few reflections…

  • I have no discipline – I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve started over the years that have not come to completion. In my mind the last time I really worked at something I consider disciplined was when I worked out six days a week for six months without missing. That was ten years ago. Ten years before that I sat in my basement and mastered a Joe Satriani piece entitled Day at the Beach on the guitar. That’s it. I have ADD which is great for creativity but not with staying on task. Somehow I was able to just make this a must every day. I missed most of my flossing, but I never missed writing. No idea how I did it. Am I a superhero? Sure. Why not?
  • I never thought I could write every day (with decent content) – Before this I only wrote if I had something I pondered for a few days and I was absolutely certain was going to be well-received. As a result of this strategy, I almost never produced. I waited for home runs which rarely came. After day seven in January I had run out of home runs. Nothing had happened that particular day and I was screwed. Within a few months I realized I was developing improv chops. Since my average day is pretty boring and I don’t have great stories from my past I focused on finding the humor and emotion in everyday life. While not easy, after 365 straight reps, the muscle is now well-developed.
  • Readers relate to honesty – Frankly, I always considered myself a humorist. I am funny. That’s my thing. But when I started this year I was into a new relationship, but still healing from my divorce. I had a lot of anger, sadness, fear and shame that was bubbling to the surface. While terrifying to me, I decided to take the plunge and write about these feelings without the need to pepper them with jokes. Comedy often did come up naturally, but it wasn’t something I manually added to make the posts more readable. What happened was that my comments increased significantly. Readers seemed to appreciate the raw honesty and I believe people felt more connected to me and the work.
  •  Engagement is the key – I have always wanted to build a community with this blog. The only way I know how to do this (since I write about myself) was to engage the readers. Even though I’m still over 400 comments behind, my goal is to reply to every single comment. I don’t do this because it will “get” me more loyalty, although it does often do that. I remember seeing Ozzy Osbourne once talking about his fans and he almost started crying saying how grateful he is to have people that want to listen to his music. I’m not half as talented as him, but I feel the same. The fact that someone wants to read my stuff still blows me away. So, thank you!
  • Put my head down and write – I have long since retired the idea of being famous from a blog. My posts won’t go viral. My readership increases by a handful every day. That’s it. No shortcuts. And I’ve learned so much of life is just hard-work. And that’s the good news. Hard work beats out talent almost every time. With hard work I can hit singles and doubles every day. I’ll leave the home runs to the book I’d like to pen. Other than that, it’s just a matter of getting up early and making the donuts.

Well, that’s it. I also learned you sickos love posts about genitals, farts, sadness, shame, anything where I end up embarrassing myself, and videos where I don’t realize I’m making a joke until after I’ve made it and then laugh hysterically at my own wit. Okay, maybe not the last one.

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33 comments… read them below or add one

SonjaE December 31, 2012 at 10:54 am

I so wish I could write a post a day. I suppose I could, but I feel like my posts would be totally lame. Your posts, however, have been awesome. Keep it up!

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Thanks, Sonja!!! Trust me – if I can do it, you can, too!

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Emelie December 31, 2012 at 11:08 am

Way to go! I’ve been attempting to write 6 days a week this year, only taking Sundays off. It has definitely been a challenge on many days, but so far, so good! Thanks for the inspiration!!

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Wow – six days a week is amazing! Not as amazing as seven, however.

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Emily December 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

Great reflections and glad to hear your experiment worked and is still working…and yes, your hair looks great too! :) Happy 2013!

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

My hair is really the star of the blog. Everything else is academic.

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Ericamos December 31, 2012 at 11:41 am

Yay! Congrats! Even though I only found you mid-year, I read, and looked forward to your posts everyday. With most bloggers, you never really know when they’re going to update, but with you, I knew there’d always be something, and that kept me coming back.

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Yeah, but you helped edit the book that’s coming out, too! That’s huge!

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Maddie December 31, 2012 at 11:51 am

While your experiment has certainly been a success, I just loved the feeling of waking up every morning knowing that I’d have a post waiting from the day before.

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Wow!!! What’s a lovely thing to say. I will also encourage you to get more things going on in your life. I’m just not that important. Ha.

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Julie DeNeen December 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Congratulations on a job well done!

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Thanks, Julie! And congratulations to you on being a television superstar!!!

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Mary Wallace (@ViolaFury) December 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I did pretty well with that for a while; a post a day. Then health issues intervened. One thing, or rather a couple. I didn’t realize until recently, that you are a musician. I checked out some of your music. I played viola professionally for over 25 years, both classically and toured with tons of rock and soul groups. Loved your pictures of your band and visited your page, Numbers. I had a string quartet/trio called “La Corde Fromage” (my concoction) and we played for years in and around Ybor City and Tampa. Members of the Florida Orchestra and whichever stray fiddler I could entice. Anyway, it’s really been a pleasure reading your posts, DJ. Your very patent honesty is so appealing and you are fearless in sharing it, even if you think we might not approve or think less of you. The best part? We, or I (I can’t speak for anyone else, but I suspect I am not alone) don’t think less of you. We’re human, for god’s sake. The sooner we all come to realize that, for better or ill, we have flaws and imperfections and accept that in ourselves, the more we will treat others with the grace and latitude they deserve. Bravo on becoming a member of a board to help people! I help in the neighborhood where I was once homeless. It is what we do. Thank you. Keep being funny.

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D.J. Paris December 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Thank you for all the kind words. By the way, Mozart’s Violin Concertos are about the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard. I listen to them regularly. I call it the original heavy metal. I’ll keep sharing the truth as long as you bozos keep reading!

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mothers little hleper December 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I stumbled across your blog early this year as was googling about Paris (the city) and your blog came up. Have been reading you ever since and have enjoyed the reflections and the humour, and the honesty. Happy New Year

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D.J. Paris January 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Glad to know that people looking for French stuff can get their searches ruined and end up on my site where I routinely talk about farting.

I do totally appreciate a non-American who spells humor with two “u”s. Well done!

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Kianwi December 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm

So impressive! I did it for 30 days for NaBloPoMo and I was definitely done once those days were over. Can’t fathom doing it for an entire year. Well done, it’s been fun reading!

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D.J. Paris January 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I love that there’s a National Blog Posting Month – you’d think the country would have something better to focus on, like boob cancer.

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Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom January 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Oh, we’ve got a month for that too. NaBoCaMo.

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Kristina December 31, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Nice job, DJ. I’m truly impressed… As someone who has wanted to start a blog of my own for several years, but keeps overthinking it too much to actually get it done, I’m pretty amazed that you managed a post a day for the entire year. I don’t even remember any true misses — even the ones you said we’re lame always had good bits in them!

Happy New Year!

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Kristina December 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Were, not we’re. I got an iPad for Christmas and it likes to pretend it’s smarter than me by “fixing” my comments. Insert overreaction-emoticon here.

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D.J. Paris January 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Don’t overthink it – look at Dooce’s website. It’s not pretty at all and she earns like 1mm a year off ot it. Just write! Don’t worry about it being good – just assume it will suck. Then there’s no pressure! By the way, thank you for being such a great reader. It does NOT go unappreciated.

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Brenda January 1, 2013 at 8:09 am

I’m glad I stopped by today. I often tell myself as blog that slow and steady wins the race. It’s good to hear your honest thoughts you out down on paper along with the fruit of hard work and commitment. Thank you for this post. It encouraged me!

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D.J. Paris January 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm

It’s all slow and steady. No shortcuts. Well… except how I scammed my way to the top of Google back when I was #1 for “best blogs.” That helped. :)

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WilyGuy January 1, 2013 at 8:37 am

Congrats DJ! When we started the 30 day challenge back in January, I was so ready to be done at the end and you decided to keep going. ADD makes the challenge more impres…was that a squirrel?

WG

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D.J. Paris January 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Ha – it’s the only disciplined thing I do. Other than that, well… just ask my cat’s litter box.

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Andrea January 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

Congratulations – what a wonderful accomplishment! I loved this list of things you learned from your challenge. Keep it up. I really loved reading you this year.

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D.J. Paris January 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Wow – thanks for reading me all year! You really ought to find some better hobbies, fyi. :)

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Sabine January 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Great post and congratulations. Since I started following your blog, you really have put out good stuff everyday. I don’t know if I can post everyday, but maybe I can start by remembering to floss daily.

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D.J. Paris January 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Wow – what a lovely thing to say. Means a lot to me! Thanks!!!

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Sharona Zee January 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I’m so impressed! I’m a recent fan and really enjoying the “Mars” perspective!

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D.J. Paris January 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

Whatever happened to Mars bars? I feel like those don’t exist anymore. Not a huge loss to the candy community, but I feel like there should have at least been a memorial service. Am I right?

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Amanda L. February 4, 2013 at 12:19 am

Is this a Dr. Strangelove reference?

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