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If you follow my blog you will know that I took part in Blogtober last month. My challenge was to do something Autumnal or Halloween themed every day in October, and publish a blog post about it. I am pleased to say that I succeeded in doing this!
Did I find it easy or tough?
I found this challenge quite tough, but actually not as tough as I expected! When I first started, I was doubting whether I would be able to keep up with writing a post every day. I thought I was bound to miss one at some point. But I proved myself wrong, and pushed through to the end! I kept my blog posts short and not extensively proof-read which definitely helped with this.
On most days, I was organised enough to get my Autumnal activity done as early as possible in the day, and get the post written soon after. However, I often did end up staying up late to write my posts, especially if I did my Autumnal activity in the evening. There was only one occasion when I got to the end of a day not having done anything, and then had to find a quick activity to do (A Halloween Word Search) because I was tired.
What kinds of activities did I do?
Before the month started, I made a long list of ideas of Autumnal and Halloween themed activities to do. I kept adding to that list when I thought of new ideas throughout the month. These included attending Halloween events, making Autumnal recipes, Halloween craft projects, and everything in between. To see the full list of activities that I actually got up to in Blogtober, I suggest you visit the Archives where you can see all the blog post titles in one place.
Before the start of Blogtober, I made a rough plan for what activity to do each day. As it turned out, I didn’t even remotely stick to this. Well, I did most of the activities on the plan, just not in the same order!
I repeated some of the activities many times, such as using Halloween bath products, making pumpkin spice latte and granola, and dancing to my Halloween playlist. But I always did at least one unique activity each day that I hadn’t done before. I wrote about some of the repeated activities when they were different enough, but some of them I didn’t mention in my posts.
There were many activities on my list that I didn’t get round to. This is a good thing because it meant that I never ran out of ideas. I will keep that list for future reference in case I want to do more Autumnal and Halloween activities next year!
Did Blogtober help me in the ways I hoped it would?
In my post, ‘I Wasn’t Going to Do Blogtober This Year. But Now I Am!’, I wrote down the reasons why it would be a good idea for me to do Blogtober. I’m going to go through each of these reasons and whether I think I achieved the benefits I was hoping for.
“It will help me to lighten up and enjoy life.”
I would say that this is definitely true. During the month I did a lot of fun activities, including some that I had never done before, or hadn’t done for a long time. I felt like I really made the most of the season, and it helped me to live in the moment a bit more.
“It will make a good monthly challenge.”
Blogtober was certainly challenging and it provided me with a great sense of achievement for completing it!
“It means I can write short posts.”
There were a few longer posts, but overall most of the posts I wrote were short. I intended this to be the case because otherwise Blogtober would completely take over all my time!
My posts have been more light-hearted and personal rather than serious and informative. It’s been good to try out a different style of blog post, because it allowed me to get a feel for what my audience enjoys reading, as well as giving me more writing experience.
I think it was a good exercise for me to get used to churning out a short post in a short amount of time, because it has built up my confidence that I am able to do so. I have also learned that a post doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be acceptable. My writing ability will gradually improve without the need to spend hours perfecting each post.
“I can adapt to my schedule.”
By this, I meant that on days when I was busy, I could just do a quick activity and write a short post about it. This was definitely true. On several occasions where I had a busy day I did something quick and easy like Making Pumpkin Spice ‘Latte’ and doing A Halloween Word Search. This meant that Blogtober did not have to become too stressful or time consuming.
“It will help me connect to other bloggers.”
Unfortunately I wasn’t very successful with this point. I started the month making a list of other bloggers who were taking part in Blogtober, and I managed to read and comment on some of their posts. After a few days though, this fell by the wayside as so much of my time was already being taken up with doing Autumnal activities and writing about them. This meant I didn’t support my fellow bloggers anywhere near as much as I hoped to.
Although I shared each of my Blogtober posts on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, I didn’t engage very much in social media, such as participating in comment threads on Twitter. These would have been helpful for getting more engagement with my Blogtober posts, but as it turned out, I just didn’t have the energy to do this after completing the posts themselves.
This meant that I didn’t get many views or comments on my Blogtober posts, but I am not too disappointed about this because I know I worked hard this month. I can only spread my time and energy so thinly before I risk burning out. I sacrificed social media engagement in order to complete those 31 blog posts, and I am content with that.
Now that Blogtober is over, I look forward to going back and reading some of my fellow bloggers’ Blogtober posts that I have missed!
“It will help me socialise in real life.”
This was true to a certain extent, because I did some of my Blogtober activities with other people. However, only about a third of the activities I did were social, and the rest I did on my own. Also, all the social activities were done either with my parents or one particular friend. I had hoped to be more sociable and do activities with a larger pool of people, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
I had also hoped to do some large scale social activities including going to a theme park with friends, however, this didn’t happen.
Therefore my Blogtober was mostly pretty solitary, as is typical for me, and I didn’t particularly push myself out of my comfort zone socially this month. This will be something I would aim to improve on if I do a similar challenge in the future.
“It will help me to switch things up and break my routine.”
As I mentioned earlier, my posts this month were a different style from what I normally write. It definitely switched up my blog!
As for my life and routine, it’s helped with this as well. I am still ‘stuck’ in some areas of my life, but I feel that this month has released the blockages a little bit and I’ve been doing pretty well in the mental health department lately.
“It will give my blog a boost.”
I haven’t seen any increase in my blog traffic as a result of doing Blogtober. I suspect this is because I have neglected social media, so I’m not really surprised. It could still have a knock on effect later on though, because I now have 31 more blog posts up that people can read in the future. So I suppose my blog has had a boost in that I created lots of new content.
What I learnt from doing Blogtober
Here are some unexpected lessons I learned from the actual activities I did last month.
Organising my wardrobe for the season is a good idea
On Day 1 of Blogtober, I organised my wardrobe, bringing all my Autumnal clothes to the front and storing away the clothes more suitable for other seasons. This is something I had never done before – all my clothes used to be mixed up.
Doing this has actually been so helpful because, perhaps counterintuitively, having a smaller pool of clothes to choose from has made it easier to pick outfits. Also, because my Autumnal clothes all have a similar colour scheme (reds, oranges, browns, blacks), most of them go well together so I can pretty much throw on any clothes and they will match.
Even though this was an activity for Blogtober, I think I will carry on organising my wardrobe for the different seasons. My Autumnal wardrobe will carry me through to the end of November. Then I plan to switch it up again and create my winter wardrobe, which will contain even warmer clothes, a different mix of colours, and of course my Christmas jumpers!
Pumpkin puree is a versatile ingredient
I came across several Autumnal recipes this month, all of which required pumpkin puree as an ingredient. After an unsuccessful search for this ingredient in various local supermarkets, I ended up buying 3 tins on Amazon.
You can read about the Autumnal recipes I made in the following blog posts:
- Blogtober Day 11 – Making Pumpkin Spice ‘Latte’
- Blogtober Day 18 – Making Pumpkin Spice Granola
- Blogtober Day 31 – A Halloween Feast
Pumpkin puree works so well in all these recipes, and I have been using it for other purposes as well including adding it to soups and sauces. Pumpkin is such an Autumnal flavour so it is well suited to this time of year.
Tinned pumpkin puree is of course a convenience, and it would be more sustainable to buy a pumpkin and make my own puree. I will think about that option when making these recipes in the future!
You can find a lot of Halloween events and activities if you search for them
I only knew about some of the events I took part in during Blogtober because I searched for Halloween events online. This goes to show that it’s worth doing a bit of research if you want to find Halloween themed things to do, because you might find some gems. Of course, this could apply to any season or holiday!
The following blog posts are about events and activities that I found out about online:
- Blogtober Day 24 – A Spooky Trail
- Blogtober Day 27 – The Westquay Haunted House
- Blogtober Day 29 – Monsters’ Ball Bath Bomb and Zombie Burgers
Keeping it sustainable
I wanted to make sure that I stuck to my principles during the month, and kept Blogtober as sustainable as possible. Overall, I was successful in this, for these reasons:
- I bought the majority of my Halloween themed items second hand, or from sustainable sources. The only exception to this was buying ingredients from the supermarket or Amazon for Autumnal recipes.
- I stuck to a vegan diet when eating meals out, and all the recipes I made were vegan.
- I donated to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to help with hedgehog conservation.
- In several of my blog posts I mentioned sustainability topics, to help educate others.
How could I make this challenge even more sustainable next time?
- Buy my ingredients from local, independent shops rather than supermarkets.
- Donate to and actively help more good causes that need extra help in the Autumn.
- Stay more local and use public transport rather than driving to my activities.
Did Blogtober make me feel Autumnal?
It certainly did! Because Blogtober was on my mind, I was constantly noticing things like colourful leaves, Halloween decorations and Autumnal menu choices. Normally, I might not have taken much notice of these things because my mind would be focused elsewhere. I found myself appreciating the colours, sights and smells of Autumn so much more this year, which really helped me to get into the mood for Autumn and Halloween.
I had hoped for ‘the most Autumny Autumn yet’ and I think I succeeded in this!
Goodbye Blogtober, Hello November
I’m very proud of what I achieved for Blogtober, and I really enjoyed it! The month actually flew by really quickly and I can hardly believe that it’s already November and I actually wrote all those blog posts. It seems like yesterday that I first decided to do Blogtober and was writing down all my ideas.
It feels strange to be taking down my decorations already, but I am excited to welcome November, with new challenges and a slightly more relaxed blogging schedule! I will be publishing a post soon about what I have chosen for my November challenges.
Would I do Blogtober again next year?
That’s something that only the future me can answer! It will depend whether it fits in with my life circumstances at the time. In principle though, yes I would do Blogtober again, but not necessarily in exactly the same way. Last year, I wrote normal blog posts about a wide range of topics for Blogtober. This year I did Autumnal activities and wrote about them. Next year, who knows – I may do something entirely different!
Did you take part in Blogtober this year?
If so, how did you find it? Did you manage to complete all 31 days? What topics did you write about? Would you do it again next year? Let me know in the comments.