"All done, 31-for 21."
31-for-21 is drawing to a close so it's time to look back on the month. I know it's not Day 31 yet, but of course tomorrow has to be reserved for Halloween photos.
Until then, let's reflect with some Qs and As (all from inside of my head):
Did I do it?
The challenge was to post every day in October, and I only missed one post. That was yesterday, and so I will blame Super Storm Sandy. Yes, we're in Oregon but it was- uh- in solidarity with all my east coast people who are without power. So I think I did okay.
Did it accomplish anything?
I know Anthony's grandma and aunties appreciated the daily updates, and like I said it got me thinking and writing more. But beyond that, I don't know. The motto of 31-for-21 is "Raising Awareness One Blog at a Time", and that's the part I'm not so sure about. It often feels like we are only preaching to the choir, that the only people reading these blogs are other bloggers with a child with Down syndrome. That's okay because that has value, and we all learn so much and get support from each other. But that's not really awareness, is it? Awareness would be if someone read something here that opened their eyes to something they didn't know about people with Down syndrome, or made them think about Down syndrome or other disabilities in a different way, or spurred them to do some education or advocacy of their own. If that happened because of this blog this month I'd love to hear about it!
Although I appreciate all the bloggers who took the time to do this, I think 31-for-21 might be counter-productive in a way. There are so many bloggers participating that it was impossible to keep up with all the posts. That means a lot of great writing probably got lost in the crowd. And that's a shame because a lot of bloggers put extra effort into their writing during this time.
I'm not the first to say this, but I think Down Syndrome Awareness Month, or at least 31-for 21, should be moved to March, when we have World Down Syndrome Day (3-21). There's too much else going on in October, and then when March rolls around it seems like overkill.
Would I do it again?
I don't think so, but never say never. Some days it just seemed like a pain in the neck, especially at the end of the day when all you want to do is relax but you have to think up a post. And most of the time I felt like no one was reading it anyway.
What did I like about 31-for-21?
I liked it as a motivator to write something every day.
I gained a sense of accomplishment from (mostly) completing the challenge.
It helped me to think about where I want to go with the blog. I liked knowing that there would be a new post from a lot of my favorite blogs every single day. I liked reading some great new posts from other bloggers and re-reading some old favorites.
If I did do it again, what would I do differently?
Have a focus for the month- "Down syndrome" is too big of a topic (at least for me). This goes for blogging in general, I think, and this blog in particular. Some bloggers did one picture a day, or just one thought a day-- I liked that-- short and sweet. More can be less.
Another thing: When you have a block of time, prepare several posts ahead of time so you have a few days off.