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Why I decided to write an article a day

mark_nicol profile image Mark Nicol ・3 min read

This is not so much a post as a meta post. It contains the things I should have said yesterday here if I had thought it through more before posting.

Why write more

For me, it is a very personal thing. Writing things helps me compose my thoughts and learn new topics. This community has been very helpful to me, supporting me and teaching me new things. I find it too easy to lurk, and I wanted to kick myself to be more active.

The more personal reason for why now, is that my eldest kid has set their sights on being creative. They are currently going through a maelstrom of commitments. They are balancing school work with various important projects and courses. At the same time preparing a college portfolio, and visiting colleges.

For them, everything is happening at the same time and it feels like everyone wants a slice of time. They first introduced me to NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. They have done this in the past both as a writer and as an illustrator. Making my own commitment to something this year helps me feel more honest when supporting them to keep going.

Why an article a day?

I wanted to set myself what seemed like a reasonable challenge. From the comments, it may be more of a challenge than I realized. Making less frequent commitments is something I find harder. I like the simplicity of a tick a day (Seinfeld technique) as mentioned by @perigk

I'm genuinely in awe of the people that can be more flexible. The ones that can juggle their time without falling into procrastination, and excuses.

What are the rules?

No rules or make your own. What more experienced heads than mine have suggested and makes a lot of sense:

  • It can be any type of article, conversation piece or contribution. Quality content and effort is a personal decision. A challenge like this shouldn't push people into feeling they have to compromise what they do.

  • It is fine to write and not to post. Its the commitment to doing something that counts. if you don't like the result or think it needs more work save it till you are ready or comfortable.

  • Have a challenge that suits your pattern. If you go for an article every few days or an article a week great. Or a completely different challenge


  • Feel free to use whatever tools and patterns support you. Work on several articles in draft at different stages, schedule posts if that works for you.

Tools and techniques I find helpful

  • I scribble notes in notebooks about anything I read or hear.
  • I'm currently using Notion for drafts and snippets of thoughts. Previously I've used Evernote or Boostnote. I like having a simple note editor/keeper that travels with me on my phone or laptop and so I can jot down things whenever I have a spare few minutes.
  • The Hemingway editor gives a fresh perspective. It is very good at making me tighten up all my passive sentences
  • The Grammerly plugin catches my worst typos and missed words.
  • People. The community on dev.to are lovely. One of the nice things is the positive support and feedback here.
  • The dev.to editor deserves a special mention. It is a lovely balance of enough markup to do what you need. I've only belatedly discovered there is an excellent guide to the features. A sub challenge for me is to use this as an opportunity to learn the new useful features I didn't know about.

If you want. Give it a go. I'll be rooting for you. I'm really enjoying meeting new people and learning new thing via the stuff they write.

Any additional hints or tips or thoughts please comment below:

PS: I'll post my own real article for today later - I've used up my free time this morning writing this up.

Discussion (2)

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tux0r profile image
tux0r

Any additional hints or tips or thoughts please comment below

Write better articles, not more articles. :-)

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mark_nicol profile image
Mark Nicol Author

That is a very valid point. I'll use it as a marker to keep me honest about my own writing. Thanks :-)