A daily blog challenge is a great way to increase your word count and grow your audience at the same time. To succeed as a writer, you have to master your ability in both of these areas: writing content and attracting readers.
Julie and Julia is an inspirational story for wanna-be bloggers. If you’ve ever thought about doing a daily blog challenge, there’s a lot you can learn from Julie Powell’s story as told in the book and movie.
Julie Powell is a young woman who is happily married, but working in a dead end job in Queens, New York. She feels like she’s in a rut and wants to do something more meaningful with her life. One day she pulls her mother’s copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking off the shelf and is inspired with a crazy challenge. Julie decides to make all of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s book within one year and blog about her experience. She has an interest in cooking, so she believes it’s a great way to commit to something that she can stay interested in. She decides to embark on a 365-day daily blog challenge.
Spoiler alert. If you’re not familiar with this story, these tips will expose some of the highlights in the Julie and Julia book and movie.
Making the decision to blog is easy. Julie’s husband helps her get it set up and she gets started with her daily blog challenge right away.
Within the first few weeks, the reality of her situation starts to unfold. How on earth is she going to keep up with her job, grocery shop, and prepare 524 different dishes in 365 days, and keep up with her daily blog challenge? If she had chosen to do one or the other, make the 524 dishes or start a daily blog challenge, her daily blog challenge story might have gone unnoticed. Her dedication to stick with two monumental goals draws the attention of a simmering audience.
What daily blog challenge lessons can you learn from the Julie and Julia story?
- Be decisive about your goal. She decides that her blog is going to be about her experience preparing the 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She has a very specific goal.
- Choose a topic that people care about. As the year goes on, we see some of Julie’s ups and downs through the process. She gets encouraged early on in the year when her blog starts rising to the top of the Salon rankings fairly quickly. Many people are interested in cooking. Julie gets excited because there are people who are interested in following her on her culinary journey.
- Celebrate successes along the way. She gets a call from Amanda Hesser with the New York Times who wants to write an article about her. It’s a high point in her year of blogging. After the article is published, she comes home to find 65 messages on her home phone. It presents a milestone for her to celebrate with her husband.
- Don’t give up. A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor asks to interview Julie in her apartment. Julie prepares a beef bourguignon and ends up falling asleep before it’s finished. The dinner burns. She takes the next day of work off to remake the dish only to find out that the reporter cancels on her because it’s raining.
- Persist through the pressure. At one point Julie has a meltdown when she’s making a meal. Since her husband is fully aware of her serious commitment, not only to keep going with her job, but to also prepare all the meals and blog about it. He understands the pressure that she put on herself with this daily blog challenge and he continues to support her along the way. It helps that he gets to enjoy all the delicious late night the meals.
- Expect to go through ups and downs. When you have a goal to put out a blog post every day or to write a chapter every day or to cook a new recipe every day, then you will inevitably face times when your goal of being prolific conflicts with loved ones who have other needs that require your time, energy and effort. Julie’s decision to become a prolific cook and a prolific writer at the same time has a big impact her marriage and home life. We see her husband taking a chewable antacid one evening after dinner, suggesting that the fatty foods are upsetting his digestive system. While her blog audience grows, her stress at home mounts. Several months into the year, Julie and her husband get into an argument. He walks out one evening and doesn’t come home that night. No matter how much you try to prepare to get through your daily blog challenge, expect kerfuffle in some area of your life.
- Accept encouragement from friends and family. Julie didn’t want to debone a duck, but she gets through it. She also finds it difficult to cook a lobster, but, with encouragement from her husband, she gets it done. Both of these women had help and support from their husbands. This helped them to succeed as writers. Julia Child’s book was the impetus that got Julie going. Julia also had encouragement from two other women who wanted to publish their book.
If you write, then you are indeed a writer. Both Julie and Julia face the question at one point in the movie as to whether or not they’re “real writers.” Julie says that she’s not really a writer because she hasn’t published a book. Julia alludes to the same point when she’s in the process of seeking a publisher for her French cookbook. In both cases, they had more aspiration to cook than to write, but their common desire to share their love of cooking bridged each of them from aspiring cooks to successful authors.
Remind yourself that you are a writer. If you have committed to a daily blog challenge and you’re writing every day, then you are indeed a “real writer.”
If you love visiting historical places related to writing, add to your list the Julia Child’s kitchen which is on the ground floor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Both Julie and Julia are historical figures of French cuisine in America. How many other people, after all, will ever try to prepare every single one of the 524 recipes in this giant French cookbook?
In the end Julia gets a book deal and so does Julie!
If you’d like to share a message on a particular topic and grow a following quickly, a daily blog challenge is a terrific way to dig deep into your topic and reach a wide audience in a short time.
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