Post a day in review

It’s the end of the Post a day for a month. I did pretty well, but fell off about 3 weeks in because of work. First some stats.

Post stats

In [4]: Post.objects.published().filter(publish__year='2008', publish__month='11').count()
Out[4]: 23L

In [10]: for post in posts:
    cont = post.body.split()
    sum += len(cont)

In [13]: sum
Out[13]: 18517

In [14]: sum / 23
Out[14]: 805

This doesn’t really mean much, because it is simplistic len(body.split()), but it shows that I have been writing a ton over the past month. I have also gotten a ton of stuff done. I have re-written 1 project, started another, and put out some ideas into the community.

The above stats basically mean I posted 24 times (counting this one), averaged 800 words a post (with code examples probably inflating that)

I only missed my first day about 3 weeks in, and that was because of work. I was working non-stop trying to launch our main websites at work on Django 1.0, and just didn’t have enough time (energy really) to do anything else. For Thanksgiving I was also up visiting family in rural Ohio for 4 days, so I didn’t have an internet connection there, which made posting hard.

Traffic stats

Analytics stats

Analytics stats

The day after that big spike I launched my redesign, so there are probably around 1,000 hits missing from that. I got around 30,000 Page views and 17,000 Unique visitors.

Pros and cons of post-a-day

Pros

I have certainly enjoyed doing this. It has been a neat personal challenge, and I think that the quality of my posts hasn’t really suffered. If anything, it has stayed the same, and I have just been posting more frequently. I had a couple of “cop out” posts (like this one), but they never really seemed to be much less popular than some of the ones I put some time into.

Having to do a post a day makes you do a lot more! You accomplish so much because you need something to write about. I think that this is probably the biggest advantage to doing post a day. You’re forced to do something interesting each and every day, which is something that more of us should be doing.

I also think that it’s interesting what kind of content you end up writing. I have done a lot more tutorials and things like that. I have found them to be easy to write, and really valuable for people to use.

Cons

You write blog posts instead of doing things! I spent a ton of time writing instead of coding. A lot of my posts took around an hour or more to write, so that’s a lot of time spent. However, I think that this is a good thing for the open source community, since the amount of documentation versus code produced is really unbalanced.

I really wanted to review some major django reusable apps and write up howto’s and screencasts for them, but this proved to be really time consuming. So doing a post a day really limits your drive to do longer blog posts (because you have to do one again tomorrow!).

After about 2 weeks I agree with other people, where they say it turned from being fun into a burden. Not a huge burden, but it was enough stress (along with all my other real life stuff) that it was annoying. I missed a bunch of days at the end for this very reason.

Reflection

I’m really glad that I did it. I broke down somewhere through, but I still feel that I accomplished my goal of posting a lot of good content, and getting shit done. I am so happy that the month is over, and that Ellington is now running on Django 1.0. My life has gotten a lot less stressful. I will be taking a lot of time off in December, so this blog will be a bit more quiet :)

Going forward, I will try and post at least once a week, and hopefully some more screencasts and longer form content. I think that the kind of content that was produced during this shows what’s hard and what’s not. Simple tutorials are great for things you know, but doing the research to do a screencast (that doesn’t suck) or other kind of content like that takes a lot of time!

Hope everyone enjoyed these posts, and I’ll try and keep up.



Hey there. I'm Eric and I do consulting and provide other services around software documentation. Feel free to email me if you want to chat.