Ultimate Blog Challenge Wrap Up

I Completed The Ultimate Blog Challenge Well, this month was my first month writing a post for every day in the month. Granted I skipped this past Sunday, but I made up for it by posting what I’d planned Monday instead, and today I posted twice.  So I still got in my 31 posts, which was really the only “rule” of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.* So this month was indeed a resounding success!  Here’s a wrap up of what I’ve learned, how I’ll be using it, and some of my favorite posts.

First, and most important, thanks!

Thank you to the UBC team and the Facebook Group for being supportive and helping with questions. Thanks to all my fellow bloggers who have suggested plugins and tips for improving my blog over the last month, for posting and answering questions I didn’t realize I even had, and for commenting on my posts.  It was great to chat with many of you, and learn from even more of you!  Thank you!

I’d also like to send a shout out to all the new fans I’ve gained this month! I know I’ve added quite a few blogs to my regular reading list because of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I know I’ve gained some new readers myself.  Huge shout out to you all, and thanks for the support, the comments, and even the friendship over on Facebook!  I’m looking forward to reading more and sharing more.

What I’ve learned.

I’ve learned a lot! With the addition of the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, I’ve learned that it’s easy to plan posts in advance, write them when I can, and schedule them in advance.  I can map out an entire month’s worth of posts and write whenever, which is great!  Had it not been for the UBC, I’d have never been introduced to the editorial calendar plugin, I’d still be doing it my old way, which was rather disorganized, and netting me about 3 posts a week, but usually less.

I’ve also added some other plugins and some more behind the scenes stuff that helps me analyze things over here at SSC.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to really look at it all… yet.  So hopefully, I’ll be learning more even after this is all over.  I plan to, that’s for sure!

I’ve also learned that I can write on serious topics, and that people seem to like that. Because I had to come up with so much to write about over the past month, I pushed myself to really write about some stuff that I wasn’t sure how it would be received.  And overall, it seems like it was a good thing!  Granted, I won’t be doing full weeks of such heavy themes, but knowing that I can write about heavier stuff, and that you folks seem to like it, will help me plan things out better.

Will I be moving to a 7-day posting schedule?

No, I won’t be posting 7 days a week any more. It’s just way too much for me.  I do plan on maintaining a Monday thru Friday posting schedule though.  But before that, I need to sit down with everything I’ve learned and evaluate a few things.  I’d also like to sit down and create an editorial calendar for each month.  I did that at the start of July, and it worked out really nicely.  I knew what I was writing about and when, which made me a lot more focused, driven to finish drafts, and just able to write easier in general.

So really, I’ll be slowing down posting before I speed back up again. Not only do I want to make sure I draft up a good editorial calendar and plan things out well, but let’s be honest, I need a little bit of a break here.  I have one more post scheduled this week, and will then be taking a little bit of a breather while I digest the past month, go over what I have learned, and get some plans in place to start moving forward.

Everyone picks favorites, including me.

This past month I’ve written a lot, and what fun would it be if I didn’t highlight my favorite posts? Not very much.  Besides, who knows, maybe you missed one of these.  Here are my 7 favorite posts from the past month.  Why 7?  It’s a lucky number.

  1. Thin Hate: It Has To Stop is probably my number one favorite post from the past month.  It was a topic I’d struggled to write on for quite some time, and something I struggled with for years.  It was wonderful to finally be able to “verbalize” some of my thoughts and feelings on the subject, and get it out there.  Do I think the post will change the world?  No.  But that’s ok.  If just one person got something out of it, and changes how they think, then my post has done it’s job.
  2. Change is Good was another post that was wonderful to write, but moreso because it was a lot of internal reflection and thinking about where my life is headed.  It will be a good post to come back and reflect on later on.
  3. Follow Up: Glitter Boots was another one I was excited to write.  Mostly, I enjoyed writing it because when I was looking at making my own boots, there was nothing following up on the projects others had done.  I like not only sharing the process and the result, but taking a look at how something like this is holding up.  And I hope it helps others when it comes to doing a similar project!
  4. “Dress Code” Doesn’t Mean “Boring” is a post I not only enjoyed writing, but one I plan on actually implementing.  Surprisingly, I don’t have an actual inspiration board in my closet.  I just use my phone and browse Pinterest or the web.  However, after writing this post, I went out and bought a corkboard and printed out a bunch of stuff I love right now.  Working on getting to the point where I can hang it…
  5. Outfit Planning was just a fun post to write.  I had been so disappointed that I missed the FBFF day it was on because of blog issues, that I knew I wanted to write for it (especially because I had come up with the questions).  I’m glad I thought to add it during the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
  6. Local Focus: Favorite Suburban Thrift Stores was another fun post to write, but not just because I got to go thru my closet and pull out many of my great thrift store finds.  It was nice to be able to highlight some of the organizations behind the local stores, and help spread the word about them.
  7. And finally, I really enjoyed writing The Summer Daytrip: 1 Bag, All The Essentials.  I have actually followed my own advice twice since writing that post, and I’ve got to admit, it’s a system that works pretty nicely.  And it’s a lot easier to have one bag with everything in it than two, which used to be how I did it.  I was even able to take some of what I wrote there and put it into action for this past weekend’s trip, fitting everything I needed in one small suitcase, instead of the typical full size suitcase or small suitcase and large totebag I’d have normally brought!

So there you have it.

Some ideas regarding where I’m going with SSC now, what I’ve learned, and some of my favorite posts. But I’d like to hear from you.  What were your favorite posts in July?  Is there anything you’d like to see more of?  Let me know in the comments!

*We were also supposed to comment on a minimum of 2 blogs a day, and while I didn’t get a chance to comment every day, I did my best to comment on every blog entry I read that interested me, and often did as many as 10 some days.  So I think that all balanced itself out.

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