Blapril 2020 in the Rear View
Alright, not quite in the rear view. We still have until Saturday, and I’ll certainly be aiming to keep up the cadence of daily posts until then. Within the timeframe of Blapril (March 29th through to May 9th) this will be my 39th post. If I carry on as planned through to Saturday, I will hit
42 41 posts in all. ( I had calculated that as 41 earlier, not quite sure where I made the mistake — but yep, 42. Actually I was correct the first time — this time I counted Sunday again instead of ending at Saturday.)
This will be by far my longest string of consecutive daily posting to date.
And you know what? At a certain point the difficulty sort of plateaus. I wouldn’t say it necessarily gets a lot easier either but it certainly isn’t an ever increasing strain.
I’m not sure I would have expected that if I had been asked at the beginning. And yet — in retrospect it still isn’t terribly surprising. I kept posting daily for 5 days after last year’s Blaugust, despite feeling somewhat worn out before the end.
This time around, I’ve been struggling to think what it was I’ve learned. But here’s one that probably should’ve been obvious: When you’ve done a thing — e.g., attempting to post every day for a month or so — not once, but twice before and took the time to write some learnings for yourself, you should probably take a look at them before you embark on the challenge again. Not just at the end when looking for additional prompts to write about. ;)
But looking back over the pair of posts there — there are really two things that stand out to me above the others.
Posting Every Day is Still Hard
But keeping a day ahead reduces the stress around it significantly. But perhaps I should clarify what I mean by this.
My time to write is commonly in the evening, often late in the evening when everyone else in the house is asleep.
I’m very much not a morning person, as much as I might sometimes aspire to be. So getting up early to take my writing time is not (yet) a feasible option. I had all but decided to follow Jeromai’s advice on investing in a light alarm clock when the whole world went into lock down preventing non-essential deliveries. I’m still planning on picking one up when I can.
But in the absence of that or any evidence it will work for me — night time writing it is. During the week at least, I’ll often shift this to the morning for a weekend, which is when I get the opportunity to ‘get ahead’ if I need to. At the beginning of Blapril, in the very first weekend following the start, I wrote the days post in the morning and then returned in the evening to write ‘tomorrow’s’ post. But tomorrows post was only a few hours away from scheduled publishing.
What that meant though was that the next 24 hours were covered before they even started. If something in real life happened to knock out my usual writing slot, it wouldn’t get me behind. I wouldn’t have missed anything. Sure; I’d need to take the effort to get ahead again. But that is quite a different mental headspace than being behind where you should be.
And for all that — I still never had to sit on a post for very long. So it never quite reached the point of feeling ‘stale’ for me as has been mentioned by Bhagpuss most recently (although in the context of several days ahead), and several other bloggers in the past.
Getting ahead early kept the pressure down, and has certainly cemented it as the way forward for me in any such event of this nature. I don’t think I want to go multiple days ahead, but I’m quite happy with this middle-ground approach.
The Community Aspect
This one I’m less certain about.
Mostly… I’m putting this out there to see if it is just me.
Because it could well be.
To say we’re in unusual times would be something of an understatement. COVID-19 forcing much of the world into some form or another of lockdown essentially the reason Blaugust became Blapril this year. And to some extent, that’s impacting all of us. I am quite the introvert generally. To the extent where I absolutely need to keep Sundays more or less sacred and free of social commitments in order to recharge and put back on the more extroverted face required in the work place.
So when even I am beginning to feel the affects of the lockdown and wishing for a return to the office… Well; I feel very much for those more naturally inclined to extroversion than I.
So that might be a part of it too.
Another part might be that due to the shift in time of year and rapid launch, that we just didn’t have quite the same reach or cut through that would’ve been the case with the more typical lead in to Blaugust.
But… right… Enough beating around the bush.
What I’m now feeling is that the sense of community spirit around this one was, perhaps somewhat ironically, not as high as Blaugust 2019. I felt more distant from everyone. More of a standalone posting event, more similar to the Five Game Challenge I did than the more communal Blaugust event before it.
On my side — it might be because I’d learnt from last time it was just impossible to keep up with all the content being generated. There was no human way to do it. So possibly I tried less and withdrew more than I should have. I still commented a little, and read much more — but I know I still missed a lot of content that didn’t deserve to be missed.
I also possibly had less to say in the Discord than I did last year.
But even with having said all that, I still don’t feel that I’ve put my finger on precisely why it is I feel this way.
I’m not sure I can just yet.
The last thing I’ll say on this though for now while I try muddle through it, is that I don’t mean to say I haven’t valued those who comment, drop a like, or even a remark in Discord or on Twitter. I do — I so very much do. And on top of that, there was a lot of community spirit around the kick-off and engagement on the Civilisation Succession game. Even just thinking about our chatter around this brings a smile to my face as I write this.
And perhaps makes me realise that I might actually just be a bit down more generally. Huh. Certainly in energy at least. I also certainly wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘sad’ let alone break out the ‘D’ word — but… There might be something here which leads to this feeling that has nothing to do with the actual event itself.
This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.
The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!