An idea

You may have noticed my observation the other day that there are now just twenty active One-A-Dayers. Well, it seems I was a little generous with my estimate, as some of those haven’t been posting daily either. I make it that there are sixteen members of the collective actively trying to post one blog entry a day. At one stage we had forty-three.

Recently, I’ve increasingly noticed other posters struggling to manage. While a large handful have posted without complaint, more and more seem to be questioning the worth of One A Day. It’s understandable, really – on days like today, for example, where I’m in quite a bit of pain, it’s not always fun to sit down at the PC and have to come up with a few hundred words, and when someone who’s contributed so much so often like Rhiarti starts to question her contributions – not to mention Jennifer Allen bravely posting through what’s clearly been a tough time, you start to think that some kind of corrective action is necessary.

With all that in mind, I’m tentatively suggesting a new approach. Instead of people feeling pressured into producing one blog post per day, perhaps we should relax the ‘rules’ (not that there are any hard and fast regulations for doing this) so people can post whenever they want to.

I realise this effectively sounds like the end of One A Day, and certainly goes against the original ethos of the concept, but I think there’s some mileage in this. People can still post once per day if they really want to, but instead of it feeling like a necessity, it will be entirely optional. Perhaps instead of being One A Day, we can become a different kind of blog collective. Not only would this ease the pressure some are clearly feeling, it would potentially increase the quality of posting with a reduced focus on quantity. Moreover, those who’ve ‘left’ would be welcomed back in – the likes of Andy (who started this whole thing) and Matt (whose absence has been keenly felt by some) would form part of this new, larger group. We’d have a single site, much like this one designed by Adam, which would collate all the blogs in one place. We’d just need to think of a new name.

Now, it’s just an idea. And I’m fully prepared for those who’ve comfortably coped with the demands of posting once per day to feel slightly put out by this. So I’m hoping all of you will be able to give me your feedback. Whether this goes ahead or not, I will probably still post once a day, purely for the feeling of discipline and the sense of achievement it gives me. But I think a more relaxed, open approach will reap dividends, and stop this brilliant project from winding up with just a handful of posters come the end of the year.

I openly welcome any and all responses – you can let me know how you feel about this either via Twitter, or by commenting below. But maybe this can be a fresh start for One A Day (or whatever name we come up with for our little band of bloggers) and with the pressure off, we can produce some even more enlightening, informative, amusing or even emotional words for the people who follow us.

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18 comments

  1. I like this idea. Mine’s slipped for weeks now, because I haven’t felt much of an incentive to force myself to write things, then when I DO want to write something I’m put off because I’ve abandoned the blog for so long…

    I think Mike Grant should be forced to stick to the One A Day rule though.

  2. And yeah, that’s partly my thinking behind it – people have given up completely because they feel guilty for coming back having missed several days.

    If we have a single page like Adam’s site (see the link in the post) with a bit about everyone’s blog and we can collate all the entries in one place, I think we can get back some of the sense of community that seems to have been lost recently.

  3. I, for one, definitely put too much pressure on myself. I didn’t feel it from elsewhere, I got such great feedback from my first posts I was struggling to think of something awesome
    to post about rather jut plodding along. As it went longer and longer without a regular blog, it got harder.

    I really want to kick it off again for all the reasons I decided to start it, and maybe if it were reinvented a bit, it would give me and others an incentive to do so. I have nothing but admiration for Rhiarti and the others who have kept this up from the start.

  4. Chris,

    I’m not part of the one a day blogging thing so my opinions on this are probably a bit worthless, but I’ve enjoyed reading many of the One a Day Bloggers and their One a Day Bloggings.

    My query to your idea – with relaxed rules, when does a One a Day blog just turn into a standard everyday blog?

    But I suggest this as a good thing. I never started with the whole One a Day project because I don’t have enough going on in my brains to write about something every day. I’m probably not the only one. Encouraging the existing community to return to enjoy the bloggy blogosphere with one another would be more productive than them quitting their One A Day Project and wallowing in a sense of deep personal failure for the rest of their lives.

  5. I like that idea 🙂

    Personally I intend to keep up with one post a day but much of that is down to my stubbornness/determination to finish what I’ve started. I want the sense of achievement at the end! Assuming I do manage it of course 🙂

    Be nice to have more of a community for the effort though.

  6. I like the idea, but I agree with Martin, what would set it apart from other blogs?

    One a Day was great because it was a unique idea and brought lots of people together. It seems pointless to club them all together on a host blog, like the one you linked, without a hook to bring everyone together.

    If everyone put their heads together and we came up with a great group idea, then I think it could really take off again.

  7. I’m going to be “that guy” here and say that I like One A Day as it stands. The point of it is to practice self-discipline and write for yourself. To dilute that is kind of losing the original intention behind it. Yes, people have been falling by the wayside, but that happens any time you do something challenging. That’s not to say they won’t pick up and start again at any point.

    I’m not against the idea proposed above… but I wouldn’t want it to be a replacement for One A Day as the above seems to imply. I’d rather have it as something going alongside, so those of us who are dealing with the insanity of super-hardcore #oneadayers can still feel good about our achievements, while those who can’t commit to one every day, or feel that it will be impractical, can have a collective of their own to be part of.

    I agree having more of a “community” feel going would be good. I apologise to those other bloggers that I haven’t been keeping up on reading (though I guess as numbers dwindle that will get easier, huh? :D) – it’d be good for us all to be able to bang heads and talk about it. Might even spur some people on when they’re struggling.

    That’s my two-penneth worth. I’ve nearly done 75 days now non-stop and I have no intention of stopping 🙂

  8. I did anticipate some of these responses. A couple of other One-A-Dayers have suggested they’ll comment later, so hopefully we can get a good mix of opinions and come up with an idea that suits both those who’ve quit (or who are currently struggling) and those who want to stick it out. I just didn’t want to ignore the problems people were having and wind up with ever-dwindling numbers.

    If anyone can come up with a solution that might please both groups, I’m all ears.

  9. Without One a Day, it does rather become something of a blog collective, so I can only echo what others have said about a need to make it something unique.

    I confess I don’t manage to keep up with all the blogs, all the time, so I’m not sure what general writerly leanings folk have.

    A years or so back, for example, I remember Felicia Day linking to a site which had a list of 365 writing exercises designed to be done, one a day (hence my thinking of it), writing as much as you could on the given stimulus within a five minute time limit.

    Maybe running specific One a Day blogs alongside regular ones doing something similar might enable folk to get a short daily post they don’t have to think too hard about in, whilst also keeping their regular blogs as a “more by this writer” kind of option?

    Thinking aloud and haven’t thought (or read!) any of what I’ve said through, so feel free to ignore any or all of it!

  10. I like the idea of having a topic, though I want more than 5 minutes to write it.

    I also like the idea of keeping it one a day, even though I am one of the strugglers. It was the challenge of writing every day that both scared the living daylights out of me and attracted me.

  11. So people think it’s kind of a good idea but that we’ll lose One A Day’s uniqueness, and those who are struggling a bit want it to stay as it is (sort of)? Hmmm. More thought needed, clearly.

    I was hoping some more lapsed One-A-Dayers might have contributed to the discussion, so I’m going to pimp this a bit more over the weekend and see what everyone else thinks.

    @Rhiarti – I’m not quite sure exactly how we’d implement that without it feeling somehow segregated. I’m just wary that this whole project seems to be coming apart at the seams and I want to keep it together, as much for the sense of community spirit as anything else.

    I mean, I guess if the numbers don’t go any lower then we’ve still got something worth holding onto, but at just 16 regular bloggers, I’m worried if it sinks any further that even those who’ve comfortably coped so far might lose a bit of interest.

  12. I’d be well up for this idea. You know why? Because I feel that, in my month-and-a-half trying this out, I made a load of new friends through this. And it’d still be nice, even though I can’t commit to one a day, to still be a part of that.

  13. Pingback: Why I’m glad I’m doing One A Day « rudderless

  14. This may sound twattier than I intend it to, but people dropping out of the oneaday thing hasn’t affected my drive to do this. I’m writing the stuff to challenge myself, to impress myself as to how much shite I can spew on a seemingly uninteresting topic. If all fifteen other regular contributors stopped doing it, I’d carry on. But yes, that’s not meant to sound as arsey as it does.

    As for changing it? I’d echo the sentiments that it would end up just being another collection of blogs, not one with a genuinely interesting hook. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions. I’m not an ideas man.

  15. Fair enough. And everyone’s got their reasons for doing it, and it’s good that you’d stick at it even if no-one else was doing it.

    Evidently if we ARE going to encourage a slightly more lax approach, we’re going to need some kind of hook, but that’s not going to be easy. Like you say, it’d just be a collection of blogs. But then again, maybe we don’t need anything more than that – just a little community of bloggers who read each other’s work.

    Hmmmmm. More thought/input required methinks. It’s not a decision that should be rushed.

  16. I’m going to say something that may come across as harsh here. I’ve had a bad day, so the sweeteners might not be applied. Apologies in advance.

    One A Day is a great concept BECAUSE it’s difficult. Because not everyone will complete it. Because if you miss just one, it’s hard to get back on that horse.

    The problem with diluting the concept is just what some other commenters have said – it just becomes a community of bloggers looking for a hook. And the desire to make this all more inclusive for people who have lapsed and don’t feel they can come back at present, would only lead to more apathy, imo – the direct opposite of the intention.

    There is absolutely nothing to stop One A Dayers who haven’t written for a bit to start the habit again, save for the feeling that they’re somehow now only phoney participants (they’re not). There’s no reason for anyone to feel that they have to do it, that their lives will suddenly be over if they miss an entry.

    But the dilution idea strikes me – rather topically, given that the General Election was announced today – that it could be the same kind of mistake that was unleashed when the Government decided that everyone can and should leave school at the age of 16 with the same bit of paper. In seeking to include everyone, what happens in practice is that you get rid of the peaks and troughs and individuality and challenge that exist in everyone’s lives. And you suddenly find that you’ve unintentionally devalued the system.

    Yes, One A Day is difficult. You’re not beholden to it. But that challenge is why it was a good idea in the first place. People wanted to stretch themselves, wanted to see if they could manage it. One A Week Maybe If You Want To Perhaps But Don’t Worry About It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    It’s the London Marathon very soon, right? Some will run it. Some will jog. Some will walk. Some will dress up in chicken costumes. Some will faint and end up in the back of an ambulance. Many will succeed. Many will fail. But nobody gets to do 20 miles or 10 or 5 or however much they want to. They’re all out there to do 26, cos that’s the game. You don’t have to “win”, just taking part – testing yourself – is achievement enough.

    But without that challenge, that marker in place, the taking part would mean considerably less than it does.

    I wholeheartedly support the idea of a central “hub” for links to everyone’s posts. But I signed up for the challenge because I’m a stubborn git. No matter how far through the year I get, I’ll have learnt something about myself. If the concept had been weaker from day one, that wouldn’t be the case.


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