In 5 minutes, I made a decision that cost me 400 hours.

Covid has been a rampage. While at the peak of the first wave, there was only so much I could entertain myself within the house. Driven by desperation, I wanted to challenge myself – a challenge to keep learning by writing about 3 new things that got me curious during the week. I knew it was a crazy idea at the onset, but now looking back, several interesting revelations mushroomed in the 52 week-long journey.

The revelations are more of gems to me. With them, I am confident that I can start yet another learning and blogging challenge – maybe 5 years this time. But before I jump into that, I would like to share these so-called gems that I found.

I learnt – a lot

The Curiosity Box challenge was a means to an end. I wanted to learn and keep myself looking at the silver lining in the world whilst a pandemic engulfed us. Many questions I chose were outside my knowledge comfort zone. Questions like the science behind the pain or the chemistry behind migraines forced me to go down to the basics of chemistry and anatomy to uncover the answer – and I thought I wouldn’t have the need to study these topics after high school.

Often times I did not find content on one website; I had to check a couple of web pages, maybe some videos, or even a mini crash course from an expert.

To add some fun, I did not shy away from questions like why do we end up finding some lint in our belly button!?

With a [right] start, there is a domino effect of unintended [right] consequences

Consuming knowledge was the easy part. Forming an answer for you was hard. For a few blogs, I had to uncover skills that I had forgotten. For what makes fake news spread faster, I had to rekindle my coding skills just to break down the answer. I also became skilled at a couple of online software tools, which I now use to help my clients at work. Interestingly, new skills and techniques helped me build my professional network. And, of course, the discipline of writing and the ability to manage time came as part of the package.

As new doors opened, my drive for writing continued.

2 weeks into the challenge, I felt like giving up

I lost count of the number of times I wanted to give up on the Curiosity Box challenge. Every blog was time-intensive; I spent on average 7 to 8 hours learning, writing, re-writing, editing, and publishing for each blog. Most of this time went into the weekends because I could not find the time during the week. I am a big advocate of how vital editing is to bring out the quality in writing, so I did not find shortcuts with blogs.

Some weeks were more challenging as I undertook a couple of professional certifications while going through this journey. And with all honesty, laziness was the most significant mental block. I would try justifying that after a busy week, I deserve a day of nothing. But even that was difficult because I could not afford to stop after putting in so much effort for the previous blogs.

1 person was more than enough to keep me going

Validation was vital for me. I shared each week’s blog with my entire network. WhatsApp, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter – I left no stone unturned. The encouragement and support were tremendous. Hats off to them for putting up with my consistent messaging (borderline spamming). One thing I realised is one can’t expect everyone to respond every time I send something. There were weeks when it was mostly radio silence. But then, right when I would get ideas of giving up, one soul would give me all the encouragement I needed.

Through this journey, milestones like hitting the 100th post for maktheway got me motivated as well.

I know that this is by no means a guidebook to successfully write consistently. A little lead of faith and a tinge of craziness is all it took to get started. And in the year-long journey the small steps I took matter a lot now. I hope there were a few useful points that you can walk away with. I am eager to know what you think 🙂

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