31 Days…How Was It?


It’s the last day!  I don’t know if I’m happy or sad.  What about you?  Did you write for 31 days?  Did you read for 31 days?


I’m so happy for all of you (and me!) who dared to try this.  And if you wrote 31 posts?!  Cruises for everyone, just check under your seat for a key to your cabin……..if only.

Anyway, I was stunned, shocked, flabbergasted and other words that show I had no idea what to expect at the number of participants (1239) in this year’s 31 Days. I was sure after people did it last year they’d figure out how much work it was and no one would want to do it this year. But, since you did, Caroline and I are talking about ways to organize the link up.  But that means some of the work would be on you to organize yourself and link up under the right category.

Does anyone have any great ideas about how to organize this monster?  I’m in over my head and never planned on being an organizer for something this large, if you have any advice let’s talk in the comments.  I’ll be referring back to them all year!

If you loved it, you can thank me, and if you hated it, you can blame Darren from Problogger, because it’s his fault we started all this in the first place.  I loved writing this year (I love every October and this was my fourth year writing for 31 days) and just want to say thanks to all of you who read, wrote, or otherwise put up with us 31 Dayers.

Also, I’m not counting this as today’s post, you can find the last-ish post to Home. On Purpose. here.


  1. When I started 31 Days, I expected it to be exhausting, but it has really refreshed me and given me a shot in the arm in my writing. Thanks for the opportunity and the encouragement to try.

  2. Yeah that Darren! Sheesh, it’s all *his* fault…. ;-)

  3. Oh goodness! I had so much fun Nester! I could actually keep going on my topic! Thanks for the extra push…I generated a lot more traffic this month….hope they come back! ~Kim

  4. After the first week, I thought I was going to descend into a pit of boredom and repetition, but it turned out to be like running a long-distance race.. When you hit the wall, you just have to keep going and after a little bit, it starts to feel natural, good, even exhilarating.. I’m so glad I did this – thanks for the opportunity.

  5. THANK you for organizing this ‘monster’ – it’s the second year that I participated and I really enjoyed it! Of course at first I always think that I’ll do all of my posts in Aug/Sep and then just take October off….but as a procrastinator that doesn’t happen. But I think the beauty of 31 Days is actually being present for the 31 Days and carrying it through – even if it’s something like cleaning your house.
    xo, Becky

  6. thank you for hosting this again. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this year, and it stretched me to write beyond my normal topics. My blog is now taking a bit of a turn, and I’m really excited about that. I now have the opportunity to incorporate what is most important to me, while still maintaining my original blog content. It would be really helpful to somehow organize all of the topics. I don’t really have any suggestions on how to do this, except to maybe have separate link parties for various topics. I realize that would be work for all of us, mostly you, but that would eliminate scrolling through all the hundreds of icons trying to find what interests each one, and simplifying it to major topics (christian living, diy, decorating, food, family, etc). I don’t know, I’m just rambling now, but that’s how it makes sense in my head. Thanks again, nester, and I truly love all that you share on your little space of the web. blessing to you!

  7. This is my second year writing a 31 days series. I actually almost didn’t do it, but then I thought I couldn’t let it pass by! So I joined in. :]

    This year I took a more organized approach, because I thought I’d write all my posts ahead of time (why did I think this? I thought this last year and it didn’t happen.) I made an outline of the themes I wanted to cover and that made it a lot more manageable for me. I also lined up one guest post a week to fit in with the weekly themes to lighten my workload a little and to add another voice to the conversation I hoped to cultivate throughout the month. Thank you so much for hosting this! I appreciate it.

  8. I decided to START my blog with this 31 days series. It was so much tougher than I thought it would be… It was good though. It pushed me to write even when I didn’t really feel like it. I can’t say every one of my posts in the series is awesome, but there’s something to be said for pushing through. I was a little worried that it would take too much time away from my Littles, but I learned quickly that it is possible to blog with two children literally wrapped around your legs. :-) Who knew??
    Thanks for hosting this.

  9. This was a wonderful journey. As an organizing suggestion, it would be great if the writers were grouped by topic to make the archives easy to navigate. I have no idea if this is possible and/or feasible but I thought I’d toss that idea out there. Thank you again. I can feel my house going on a diet and my stuff going on a one-way journey out of my home.

    • yes, we are thinking about having multiple link ups where you would choose which topic you fit under–I feel like no matter what we do, it’s a bear navigate!

      • but I’m open to better ideas…!!

        • As a reader who scrolled through the whole list of linked blogs to figure out which ones to follow this month, I would love to see the blogs divided by topic. Might I also suggest that the little icons/pictures etc be given some guidelines. By the time I was half way through the list, if I couldn’t (with my computer reading glasses on) read what the blog was about, I just skipped it. I couldn’t figure out if some were too large so only part showed or too simple or too complex — sorry I’m not more helpful there. But I do know that those helped me figure out which ones to click on to scope out and if I didn’t get a sense from the little bit showing, I just quit going there.

          I thoroughly enjoyed following a number of blogs new to me and will keep most of them on my RSS feed going forward. Thanks for organizing such a huge effort.

  10. Thanks so much for hosting this. It has been fun, and since I have a new blog, it helped me clarify where I want to go with it (not where I thought I would want to go when I started of course).

    My real job is as a market researcher, so my thought would be to take all of the open ended categories you have this year (and mabye last year) and quantify them. That would give you a really good idea of how you want to organize next year. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  11. Thank you, Nester, for providing a home place for all of us to link up!

    Blogging for 31 days has been a challenge and, because I am a procrastinator (and because I can’t write unless the house is quiet) I have pulled quite a few late nights. (Y-a-w-n…) But it has been a delight to write about a topic for which I have passion (Hospitality: Not to Impress, But to Bless) and to have had the back-and-forth with my readers as we have journeyed together through these 31 days.

    So yes, I did write for 31 days. And I read for 31 days, but only a few series, so I hope to come back here again and again over the year and read some of the other 1239 series that I didn’t have time to read in October!

    But I’ll start tomorrow…because tonight I’m going to bed early! =D

  12. It definitely stretched me. I took a few days off throughout the month, but I also let some new interests bloom as I waited to finish the series. I have good things in store for the blog now that it’s over, I think.

  13. thank you nester, for hosting this again. i remember last october, finding some of my now-favorite blogs during 31 days. i remember thinking i would join in this year, and while it isn’t exactly easy, it’s been good discipline, a good tool for learning about how i approach blogging, and i’m thankful to have been a part. looking forward to next year…i like the idea of “categories.”

  14. This was my second time playing along, and I reeeaaallly enjoyed it even more this year! I wrote on a topic I hadn’t really blogged about before, and I especially liked the nudge it gave me to get back to blogging regularly. I, too, found it very energizing, even if on occasion I had to push to get a post done in time.

    I have to say, regarding the organizing, that I actually really enjoy scrolling through the mixed list, because things catch my eye that I would not have been looking for on purpose, that I end up really enjoying. It was how I discovered some new blogs I wouldn’t have ended up on. Just my .02 :)

  15. You know, at the beginning I had no intention of participating this year. I thought I’d just sit back and read through several others – get the feel for it – and dive in next year. Then I was struck by one of those lightening bolt ideas and just HAD to dive in to the 31 days experience…. and I so so so so so SO glad I did! It’s been a fantastic journey & I so glad you hosted it! Thanks!!!!

  16. A few thoughts…reflecting on my second year participating.

    Last year was hard. I think it had a lot to do with my choice of topic. Last year’s topic was “31 Days of Waiting.” For 31 days I talked about my journey of waiting, mostly waiting for children. It was tough, it was raw, it was a real “working it out in my own life” kind of month.

    This year was so much easier for me. I wrote “31 Reflections on Instant Mothering {from a new mom of four}” each day. This was a much more joy filled month. Writing about my journey becoming a mother, finally, to four amazing children. I was processing it all, the last 6 months since we have had them. This year’s topic flowed out of me so much easier, it wasn’t fighting to come out, it came out freely. So, I will definitely be thinking about that if I choose to participate next year.

    Oh, and one more thing…last year I said I wouldn’t do it again, because it was so hard. This year I just couldn’t get the idea out of my mind, so I did it even though I was very hesitant. However, it turned out to be the best thing for me! And, it gives me hope to do it again!

    Thanks Nester!!!

    And one more, one more thing: I like your idea of multiple link-us, maybe like The Ultimate Blog Party does?

  17. I wasn’t sure how it would be – this was my first year participating – and I LOVED it. Yes, it was a lot of work, and yes I’d never be able to keep up this sort of pace endlessly, but for one month? Very doable, and so satisfying when I finished.

    Now I’m looking forward to continuing to look at some of the other series – I know there are some great ones that I haven’t been able to read, so I’m glad that you linkup will be available for me to look at.

    Your organization comment gave me an idea – I think I’m going to do my own post as another wrap-up of sorts and include links to as many of the other book-focused series that I can find. It’ll help with my own reading, and maybe it will help someone else.

  18. Thanks so much for hosting the series, Nester. I particularly enjoyed reading what others wrote.

    Doing this series on both of my blogs was a bad idea! One blog is plenty! It stretched me probably more than I needed or wanted to be stretched at this particular time. I’ll keep this lesson in mind for next year. If I even hint at writing for 31 consecutive days on two blogs, somebody please slap me back to reality.

  19. I’ll be finishing my 31 later today. :D

    My blog was only a few weeks old when I decided to join the challenge. Getting in a habit of writing daily has been so good. At first, I wondered if I’d have enough to write about but went in believing that by working at creativity, more creativity and productivity result. That was true … some topics still sit in my drafts file.

  20. I’ve stuck with the 31 Day challenge and it’s been good. Often I’ve felt like my readers might be sick of hearing from me but, overall, I think it was a good experience.

  21. This was hard, challenging, and so rewarding! Thanks for starting this!

  22. I don’t have a blog (have been wanting to start one for years but I just haven’t for some reason) but I am a faithful reader of many blogs! I really enjoy the 31 days series each year. There were so many this year that I know haven’t even scratched the surface but the ones I did read every day were really great. thank you for hosting!

  23. I started my blog this past summer. Joining your 31 Day series helped give me the big kick in the pants I needed to really WRITE. And it has been such a month! I see fruit in my own life, as I have labored to put my heart stories into words. I have also received the kindest encouragement, both through comments as well as IRL friends. Thank you for gathering us all up into this HUGE group (I love the idea of organizing us all into different categories). I have loved it from the tips of my tapping fingers to the bottom of my heart, and I look forward to next October!!!

  24. I enjoyed it! It definitely helped to figure out what I was going to write each day of the month before I started or else I probably would still have five posts done. Thanks for the challenge and let me know if you are linking up the finished 31 days — here’s a recap to all my posts: http://myprettypennies.com/31-days-to-financial-freedom/

  25. I loved this challenge & wrote more this month than I did in all of 2011! I feel it gave me momentum to keep going with regular posting (though not daily) and to make good use of the “Schedule post” option.

    I agree with organizing for next year. Instead of a “Name” field for the link up, I suggest a “31 Days of…” field and then have everyone enter their topic. If I couldn’t tell what a series was about from the link & button, I skipped it because there were simply so many to choose from.

    To divide the categories, it could be as simple as having one linkup post for each one with a brief general description of the category and links to the other categories for easy browsing. In reading through this year’s links, I brainstormed the categories below. I think ten or fewer would help narrow topics down while not being too overwhelming or specific.

    Spirituality & growth – Relationship with God, self-improvement
    Relationships – Children, parenting, marriage, friends
    Homemaking – Food/recipes, organizing & cleaning, home projects
    Health & fitness
    Style – sewing clothes, assembling outfits, accessories, hairstyles, makeup
    Writing – the process of writing, stories that don’t fit in another category
    Travel & culture
    Other – If it really, really won’t fit in another category

  26. 31 Days was a great exercise for me (again) this year…especially as it was largely about processing how the Lord has been working in my life over the past year, and then encouraging all of us to be confident in Him alone.

    But even though I do have a huge sense of accomplishment, I am also relieved it is done. I think I’ve about reached the point of mental exhaustion, and plan to go silent on my blog for at least a few days. I might have even done a little happy dance when I scheduled the last post last night! Thanks SO MUCH for hosting the link-up again!!!

  27. This is my second year doing this, and it was crazy amazing. I love the idea of splitting it up into topics or topics/groups with a limited number of bloggers in each group. That way bloggers with similar interests get to support each other during the 31 days. If you want to get more techy :) how about a stand alone website that can show feeds or excerpts from the different topics. I’m definitely getting ahead of myself here but suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this. Thank you for hosting

  28. Dear Nester – Thank you so much for doing this. This was my first year to do this. There were many days I wondered what in the world I was thinking. I wrote about seeking God, and it sometimes felt rather presumptuous. However, I cried over my last post – sat it was over, convicted by the things I had discovered. Thank you again.

  29. I am not a blogger, but I love reading them. I read all of yours this month, but after about day 2 I decided that I would go back and read a lot of the others I liked after October. Cause I’m apparently expected to continue doing things like cleaning, cooking, and caring for children even if lots of people are posting awesome stuff everyday. :)

    And I would absolutely love it if you figured out how to organize the links. That would make my life a lot easier. And maybe weed out the ones who only managed to blog about 5 days or so. Cause you know, you don’t have much to do other than make my life simpler.

  30. I posted for 31 Days. It was a challenge, but it was a growth experience, too.

  31. This was my first time doing the 31 day challenge. I did miss a couple of days, but I really enjoyed trying to get that post up every day! It was quite the exercise! I found it to be most challenging on the weekends, as I usually don’t post on weekends. It went great though, I plan on participating again next year!

  32. I think I’ll take an easier topic next year, ha! :) It was fun though. I bookmarked a bunch to read that I haven’t even gotten to yet! My only thought for organizing next year would be to make different linkys for different topics – cooking, sewing, home improvement, pinterest, etc. I don’t know if that’s even possible. I’ve never made a linky before. :)

  33. Oh my gosh, 31 Days was amazing! It was super hard, I was crazy busy, but I learned so much – about myself, about blogging, about imperfection and being okay with that imperfection, about getting things done, about paying attention. It is no exaggeration that it has changed me. I have wanted to start a blog for YEARS, but I was always hesitant. This was the push I needed. Thank you so much for hosting this, Nester – it’s been wonderful.

  34. I picked up somewhere in the middle of the month, and I’ve really gotten a lot out of your posts. I’ve never read blogs before so it’s also been a learning experience on that as well. Thanks for reminding me of where my worth resides, especially with Christmas just around the corner. I do a big party every year, but this year have been feeling like my house isn’t really company ready. Wanted to paint this year and it didn’t happen. So instead I hung some new photos we did this year. No one will see the need to paint, just the beautiful new art work!

  35. Since most (if not all) 31 days bloggers had a button, maybe you could do a 31 days Pinterest account? With categories? That way the pinned image would be each blogger’s button and it could link to a list of all 31 posts?

    • LOVE this idea! Because, you know – when I was not reading or writing 31 Days… well, I was on Pinterest? ;) (I’m only partly kidding and it IS a great idea!!!)

  36. I loved it! It really helped me to stretch out of my comfort zone, and I feel accomplished now. I’m ready for whatever is next! Thanks for organizing it. I’ve found new bloggers to connect with and have enjoyed reading everyone else’s #31Days. :)

  37. Now that I’m finished my 31 days, I’m looking forward to going back and reading some others! This was my second year participating, and it’s been such a good exercise in diligence and deliberate writing. I think I got more out of it than any of the folks who stopped by to read;)
    Thanks for hosting it, Nester. You’ve created something really special here!

  38. Hi! I have to admit, I joined 31 days on a whim, and wound up not keeping up with it after the first two weeks. It was much harder than I expected – which in turn – made me respect all your 31 day veterans! I can say that I will try harder next year, think through my topic and my posts in advance, and will definitely be back to join up with you all. It is something really special, I think, and I really enjoyed reading many of the series of posts.

    Thanks again for hosting. And for the inspiration. I found your blog through the 31 Days link up (from The Tiny Twig) and will be a regular reader now.

  39. Nester,
    I started this 31 Day Challenge hoping that I would be able to use my experience with the painful death of a loved one to somehow help and bless someone else.
    I remember wanting a shoulder to lean on.
    I remember wanting answers for my children’s difficult questions.
    At the beginning of this, I wanted to be that shoulder and I wanted to be those answers for someone who needed them.
    But, the more I wrote for this challenge, the more I realized that I was writing more for myself than anyone else.
    The healing I had hoped for others to experience through my posts was becoming my own.
    I’m thankful to this challenge because it fulfilled Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.
    Thanks <3

  40. Thanks so much for organizing this again Nester!! This is my second year participating and even though I’ve fallen behind this past week, I totally plan to finish this up. This month was great for me because it got me blogging again, and it helped me get out of design paralysis and depression and start doing something in our rental home to make it more beautiful once again! This is the kind of thing I love and I’m so happy to be pursuing my passion again.

  41. Thanks for this opportunity. I wanted to do this last year, but didn’t feel ready – I was still figuring out the tech stuff and with a full time job just didn’t have the time to invest. Even this year with time off form work I found it challenging to post every day and so skipped a few here and there and did some weekend combining. I’m glad I joined because I was also able to find new blogs to enjoy and since there were so many and you will keep the links, I can go back at my leisure and discover more.
    Here are some thoughts to organization – at first I agreed with Spring that if they were in categories I might miss some great opportunities because some categories wouldn’t interest me. However, I thought about this and realized, that if they were in categories that would make each list smaller, therefore easier to browse and find new blogs. Based on the number of participants I would recommended:
    1. having at least 15, but no more than 20 categories. (this way every couple of days people could pick a new category to browse and not feel overwhelmed .) In order to keep the categories balanced, some of the more popular categories may need to be divided into more specifics – for example a lot of the categories I noticed had to do with homemaking in general, but organizing and decorating, for example, could be two different categories if needed. If the categories are too broad you will have a large percentage of the links, in say, homemaking, but maybe only a handful in bible study. Which would still defeat the purpose of too many choices in one big link. You get the drift.

    2. I would also recommend that the first priority of the buttons would be to make sure the title of the series is clear. Cute is great and pictures are great, but like so many others have said, if I don’t’ get a clear idea from your button, I probably won’t click. So maybe set up some clear cut rules, I mean guidelines for buttons. (said she who did well to figure out how to do a button).

    3. I would also recommend to readers that they not get so locked into a category that they don’t give them all a chance. There were a few I clicked on this year that were on topics that are not necessarily my usual fare, but once I got there the writing was so well done that I kept reading.

    I’m sure however you organize in the future it will be well done and an enjoyable experience for all.

  42. For the first time in 3 years I finished my posts on time for the month who hoo!

    31 Days of Frugal Meals

  43. I missed 3 days, but discarded my perfectionist apron and relished those days.

    The stretching this month has been amazing. God’s been at work on and off my blog. It’s changed the way I view my topic (prayer for the hurting) – hopefully for life!

    The big question now: Where Do I Go From Here?

    Thanks for letting all 1200+ of us join you!

  44. Aloha Nester, and thanks so much for hosting this! After trying — and failing — to post for 31 days last year, I was determined to go the distance this year. It was harder than I expected, but also ended up being so much more rewarding than I ever imagined. Truly a growth experience.

    So I’m not sure, knowing what I know now, if I’ll want to do this again next October. I wasn’t expecting to feel so wiped out at the end of it; I guess that means that for 31 days I really gave it my all! Although I have to admit I’ve had a couple little ideas pop up about possible 31 days topics for next year — maybe I’ll rest a bit now, take some time to read some of the other 31 Dayers, and think it over …

  45. I just started blogging in April 2012 and I found The Nester in August 2012 (love it!!) I had been blogging pretty regularly 2-3 times a week but challenged myself to the 31 Days.
    I gained a few followers and I feel like a real blogger.
    Thank you so much for hosting!
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  46. Writing for 31 days has been an AMAZING experience. Thank you, Nester, for giving all of us this platform to meet and share ideas. I’ve enjoyed reading the others’ posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing my own, and have learned a TON from the veterans about how to make it even better next year!

    I would love to help with the next 31 days linkup. I agree it would be a huge improvement to have the blogs organized and searchable by general topic (e.g., home, children, giveaways, inspiration, technology, etc.). When people are adding their blog link, they could select one (or more?) appropriate topic. If you’d like, I could draft a list of general topics from this year’s participants.

  47. Bonnie Walker says

    Dear Nester,
    I only signed up for about 6 go the 31 day posts. I enjoyed every one. I feel I connected best with “chatting at the sky”. She speaks to my own introverted heart. Miss Mustard Seed is selling a lot of her products or linked to those who are sellers. Thus kinda turned me off. The gentleman who wrote connecting the dots was also challenging me to stretch into some new ways of looking at ‘connections’ with my own circles. Reeve writes was mostly about music and who she likes, it was ok; I like music but I am not a musician. Most of her artists she shared were new to me, and about half the time the music link was just blacked out, meaning I could not listen. Still I read her comments. Scribing the Journey was deep, sensitive, and thought provoking. A Holy Experience always filla me with wonder and joy for its simplicity. All in all, it was a great 31 day journey. I will do ir again if ever you decide to do this again.

    Thank you for all your love and joy of putting this together.

  48. It was hard.
    It was good.
    Some days I hated it.
    Some days I thought I was crazy.

    But somehow I learned A LOT
    And the way it ended…well…I could never have predicted that!

    Thank you…AND Darren…for this great idea/community!!

  49. Loved it! And I think it brought me a great sense of discipline…although, um, I think my last post might actually be tomorrow. I’m sort of behind but determined to finish!

  50. When I stumbled upon this challenge – this invitation… this call – to write, every day, for 31 days in October, something in me stirred with excitement! I found this on Emily Freeman’s blog, which led me to you and this idea to pick a topic, and write. Two ‘themes’ came to mind immediately and I prayed on them for a few days – wondering how crazy I was to even consider doing this! I hadn’t made myself write even remotely consistently for a long LONG time. But I was due… I needed to push myself and being crazy, and not always silencing that inner over-achiever, I decided that since I HAVE two blogs… I may as well write both themes – one for each blog… Ta Daaaa!?

    I {mostly} loved every day… and on the days that I really didn’t love it… well – those were my favorites! Those were the days that made me feel like a ‘real’ writer! Like I had a deadline, and it didn’t really matter if I ‘felt’ like writing or not!

    Unfortunately – because I was writing on both blogs and – well, I also have a non-virtual life, I wasn’t able to read many other 31 Dayers… so I am really looking forward to reading some in November! I just know that overall – in each blog I read, God will weave together the theme He has for me and I suspect that much of what I read, will be confirmation of what He said and what I wrote on my own blogs! He’s pretty smart that way!


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