Twenty and Done

Today is day 20 of my 30-day blogging challenge. If you weren’t in on the beginning of it, I challenged myself to publishing a blog post every day for 30 days. My intention was to recommit to writing, and to interacting here, because my sense of engagement had slipped and my interest was low.

It was a great experiment for me, and I’ve enjoyed it. But I’m done.

Oh, I can find plenty of things to write about. I’ve appreciated your thoughtful comments. And even though I try not to worry about stats, it’s been fun to see the increase in views here over the last weeks.

Mark Lipinski wrote about making for obligation in Quilting Arts Magazine, June/July 2015 issue. While choosing quilts for a trunk show, he realized that the stacks of quilts had been made for “fast magazine turnarounds and book deadlines, hasty class samples, or as fabric company showpieces for trade shows.” He felt they were well designed but devoid of his personality. They didn’t represent what he wanted his quilting legacy to be. In response, he initiated what he calls “The Slow Stitching Movement,” to share a newfound commitment to create wonderful, meaningful quilts.

Quilting for obligations and deadlines was not satisfying enough for him. He needed to change his approach to creating.

I can find plenty of topics to write about, just as I can find plenty of quilts to make. In truth, though, quilting and writing for obligations and deadlines is not satisfying enough for me.Β Writing every day for a challenge such as this creates an artificial goal. The goal, and of course I defined it for myself, is to write and publish. The goal is not to write and publish something meaningful to both me and those who might read it. In school we called that “busy work.”

Writing for the 30-day challenge has been useful. It does remind me of the pleasures of writing. But that achieved, it’s time to withdraw from the challenge, and to commit instead to creating something wonderful and meaningful. Next time I post, it will be because I have something I’m excited to share. That’s not to say all the things I post will be legacy pieces, but it won’t be busy work.

Thanks as always for reading. Happy Thanksgiving. πŸ™‚




36 thoughts on “Twenty and Done

  1. Shasta

    Writing every day for 30 days is a big commitment, and if it seems like busy work to you, then definitely it is time to stop. It depends on why you joined the challenge in the first place. I personally try to follow through with my writing challenge, because I am reminded that the purpose is to form a habit, or to stop worrying about perfection, or to try out different ideas even if I’m not sure they will work. November is a strange month for a writing challenge, with the holidays approaching, so I tend to do mine at less busy times, like February.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      As mentioned above, I’ve enjoyed it. But my motivation is not right. And YES!!! Indeed, November (especially in the US) is an odd month for public writing. I did not choose that particularly well, either. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comments.

  2. Ruth Kennedy

    Melanie, I seldom ” participate” with comments etc. However, I wanted to say how much I enjoy what you share. A friend and I were discussing just that last week…we are from Ontario, Canada.

  3. Larri Johnson Koshinsky

    The information you have recently shared I have bookmarked because it was so full of information I couldn’t digest it all at one sitting. Thank you for writing such meaningful thoughts. Now please just totally yourself in whatever may be your next endeavor. Totally I understand where you are coming from. πŸ™‚

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks very much. If you wonder about particular subjects you think I may have covered, there is a search box on the right margin, and you’re always welcome to email me, too.

  4. Pat T.

    Melanie, I have so greatly enjoyed reading everything you (and Jim!) have written!… Thank you!…
    But, I’m also glad that you are taking care of yourself, and doing what is best for you!
    I look forward to what and whenever you share…
    (You have already done SO much, to teach, encourage, and inspire!! *Thank you!*)
    Pat T.

  5. katechiconi

    It has been a treat to find something from you every day in my Reader, but good for me isn’t necessarily good for you… It will be even more of a treat to read forthcoming posts, knowing that they have meaning and purpose for you. Enjoy your increased creativity time, and we’ll look forward to sharing your excitement when the time comes.

  6. Cindy Anderson

    WooHoo! Good for you for being able to admit that your heart was not in it and for throwing in the towel on the challenge. I too would much rather doing something out of love than obligation. It’s hare to admit to oneself when things you have been doing simply don’t make your heart sing. I struggle with that all the time. Congratulations! πŸ™‚

  7. tierneycreates

    I was in awe of your daily posting but I am in awe of your self awareness that you had enough of the challenge and are letting it go! I love Mark L. and that was a great insight he had also!
    Congrats on 20 days of writing – that is very awesome and glad you are moving onto something that works for you in reality πŸ™‚

  8. knitnkwilt

    I don’t remember feeling anything you have written in the last 20 days as busy-work reading. However, I agree that daily blog writing is unnecessary pressure–pressure that, in fact, takes some of the pleasure out of it. I also am in the midst of trying to make my quilt choices more meaningful: avoiding the instant appeal of many challenges, grabbing onto the ones that fit where I want to end up, quilting to improve design, quilting for causes that mean something to me.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      “I also am in the midst of trying to make my quilt choices more meaningful” YES. That is my hope as I go along. Each year I look back at what I made and think I *made* better. But I’m not always convinced that I chose better. Does that make sense? Thanks much.

  9. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    I enjoy your posts. And although you may feel like you were writing under a forced goal, you provided some food for thought and interesting posts.
    I do the Inktober Challenge every October, where I drew on a given topic for each day in the month of October. I love to draw and keep a drawing journal. This Inktober challenge sometimes feels like I am drawing without feeling, but it does accomplish one thing for me. It helps me develop a sense of discipline that leads to an increase in my art skills. After the challenge is over, I still continue to enter drawings into my journal. It may not be daily, but it is more frequent and more heartfelt.
    I continue to look forward to your posts.

  10. laura bruno lilly

    I just ‘followed’ and found this post as my first in the WP Reader.
    I get it…in fact I posted much the same thing on my ‘4th blogiversary’ post.
    As others said to me: ‘will be happy to hear from you whenever your post pops up’
    Meanwhile, there’s lots to glean from your previous posts!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you, Laura. I always appreciate the follows! There is a lot of content here. If you have questions on a particular topic, let me know. (You can email, too.) I’ll see if I can dig it out for you. THanks again.

  11. Becky

    I appreciate your honest thoughts. I enjoyed all of your posts, but I fully understand the sense that you are working to meet a deadline and not just to enjoy the process and express your creativity. Often, I find myself in similar positions. It is a challenge to pull back to the original joy that led me to create quilts Thank you for sharing.

  12. Kerry

    I’m glad you popped back in as I joined. It’s been a very interesting learning curve for me. But it must have been a bit of a marathon – especially as you took time to respond to everyone’s comments. Not all bloggers do that – and with lots of followers sometimes I can understand that they’d never get away from the computer if they did!
    So I’ve very much appreciated your marathon session. But looking forward to the next post whenever it may be.
    Cheers xx

      1. Kerry

        It’s been a marathon for me reading everyone else’s comments – all have interesting things to say too! Lots of emails to plough through – can only imagine what it’s been like to write something, add photos and then respond! I too have enjoyed it (20 days already! seems like last week!) and you’ve mentioned things that have really made me think and take stock, but I also think I’ve spent too long on the laptop! LOL! And good job I’ve weaned myself off Facebook and now forget to look in there quite as much or I’d never sew, garden (not so much this time of year) or do the chores! Take care and see you – not tomorrow! πŸ˜‰ Happy days and for those across the pond Happy Thanksgiving.


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