The Challenge!

I started this site back in September as a way to write about cycling and life. I had dreams of blogging through my unemployment and weight loss while saving my sanity. I feel like I have managed to post a few good pieces and some have even been published by CycleRecycle and Wheelsuckers. I am proud of what I accomplished in 2012, but I think that the site deserves more energy, and possibly more importantly, structure for 2013. I have been thinking about this for a while but I hadn’t thought too much about what to change or how to accomplish it when I ran across and interesting blog on Freshly Pressed about bloggers who were completing challenges in 2012. These bloggers had given themselves content challenges where they had to update daily or weekly for the entire year. This inspired me to take up the weekly challenge for 2013! Without thinking I announced my new idea on Twitter and people seemed to like it. I hadn’t really thought it through at that time. This was going to be difficult. 52 new updates! 52 new ideas! I started to stress out but it wouldn’t be called a challenge if it was easy.

The 52 Posts in 52 Weeks Challenge was born. I am challenging myself to write 52 new blog posts and publish one on each Monday of 2013. The purpose of this challenge is to push myself to develop as a writer and to force some structure on my posting schedule. Last year I published twelve posts from late December to New Year’s Eve, almost one post a week. Some were published days after the last post, others waited almost two weeks. That was no way to build a schedule or even get people interested. This year I will force myself to publish once a week on Monday as part of the awesome Monday Blogs movement on Twitter. You can follow @RachelintheOC and @MondayBlogs for more information and more Monday Bloggers.

The rules will be fairly simple. Rule one will be each Monday there has to be a new blog posted before noon Eastern Standard Time. I am going to play with the update features of WordPress to see if there is a way to save a post and auto-update at a given time. If there is, the new post will go up at noon. This rule is important to help me develop as a writer by giving me the most dreadful constraint ever, a deadline! Every real writer works under one, so it is time that I share their pain.

The second rule is that each update must be a post that has some type of central idea or theme. I cannot post a blog that consists of “I got up and did this then that”. It must be a post with a point. Ride Reports will only count as part of the 52 updates if they are reporting on a significant ride. I am hoping to attend the 5 Borough Tour in New York City this year; that Ride Report would count. A Ride Report on a Tuesday night training ride wouldn’t.

The third rule is that not all updates can be about cycling. I need to push myself to write about other topics. In that spirit I am going to make a rule that no more than two thirds of the posts should be about cycling. This includes book and gear reviews. I can write about cars, life, politics, or anything else to round out the posts. I even have had an idea about taking requests from readers. I might tie that to Twitter to make a contest out of the requests, but I am not sure. I might also tie requests to a milestone number of posts; something like every tenth post will be a request topic. Anyone who has any ideas, or any requests, please let me know. This seems like a fun way to push myself a little.

The fourth rule is another one dealing with content. When I started this blog a friend asked if I was trying to bring back my college radio persona as a blog. That persona was a little rough around the edges, sarcastic, and sensationalist. It was very fun to “be” that person on the radio and it was very easy. This challenge is more about developing as a writer and not going for the easy way out. That is not to say that writing humor is easy, it isn’t; but I am not allowed to bring back that particular persona on the blog. Humor is allowed, but for the challenge I will write in my real voice.

The final rule is that this is about setting a specific goal for myself as a writer not about stifling creativity or setting general rules for the site. The rules only apply to the 52 Posts in 52 Weeks challenge. Any posts that I publish on other days can break whatever rules I have set out here and not violate the challenge. These extra posts will be for quick updates or other things that would break these rules.

This challenge is going to push me to plan my posts and to write to a deadline. I am already looking for topics for the rest of the month and trying to write ahead to keep on schedule. I hope to keep my posts entertaining and engaging to you, and I hope you have fun following along to see if I can complete the challenge. I also hope that you keep me honest. If I fail to update or break any of the rules, please call me out on it.

See you next week!

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