The Challenge Blog

Content is King

No matter how nice your blog/website looks, people will only come back for the content. Look at Seth’s Blog for example, it doesn’t look fantastic but the content draws a crowd.

The problem with One Chicken Nugget, our current challenge, is that we update it daily. Actually that’s not the problem, the problem is that the basis of the blog is to list everything we eat everyday. That, on its own, is some of the worst content ever imaginable. It’s the reason that some people never use twitter, “Why would I care what some celebrity had for lunch?!”, and we’re not even celebrities.

However, the potential of One Chicken Nugget is there. It’s not about what you ate, but why you ate it. That is where the interesting content can come from.

Not the most interesting subject.

Now I come back to the problem. The problem is that we update the blog daily. I don’t have the time or energy to offer the interesting stories behind the food everyday, sometimes my food is boring and often my eating is mindless.

Next year, when One Chicken Nugget is done, we’ll look to another challenge, or series of challenges. These challenges will be interesting enough on their own to provide the content, without the jazzing up we have to do to make a dairylee dunker sound interesting.

 

What Makes an Interesting Challenge?

I think that a challenge will be interesting if its focus is to change behaviour. It needs to be something new. For instance, ‘walk to work everyday for a month’ isn’t a challenge if you already walk to work. Even ‘run to work everyday for a month’ is hardly a dramatic change.

The most interesting challenge is one you’ve never tried, or maybe never even thought to try. ‘Hand-glide to work everyday for a month’ for example. Although that may be slightly unrealistic.

I think that if we do a series of 30 day challenges next year, they need to be interesting and have something quite different about them.

Challenging Research

As you might expect, the idea of 30 day challenges isn’t new. I’ve spent the last few days looking for other people doing challenges, some lasting 30 days and some not. I found that not many people are doing proper challenges.

Most of the challengers were doing blog based challenges, like the one we’re doing on One Chicken Nugget. The challenge will be along the lines of “Blog Everyday For a Month“, or they will be based around writing on a certain topic, different ones for different days – such as a 30 day photo challenge. There is a huge list of these type of 30 day challenges in one tumblr blog here.

There are also the larger community driven challenges. This one is the “Live A Better Life In 30 Days Challenge“, where the conductor of the mass challenge set tasks in the morning of each day for the challengers to complete. The aim is to improve your life.

The GOOD 30-day challenges are all about improving the planet and your health, with challenges like “Waste Less” and “Go Vegetarian“.

What I’m not finding are the things I thought I would, like this. I thought I might find more challenges that are challenging. Writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That’s a challenge! This happens in the month of November, but I can’t find other ‘ready-made’ challenges like this. Perhaps you know of some?

It looks like our challenges may need to be created, ideally they’ll be:

  • Fun
  • Challenging, but not life dominating
  • Interactive
  • Interesting

Can you think of a challenge that will fit the bill?

What makes a challenge, a challenge?

On One Chicken Nugget (OCN) yesterday, I wrote about the mental challenges of keeping track of my diet. This year’s task has been to record every single piece of food that Lee and myself have eaten every day. It’s a challenge.

To begin with, it was a challenge to remember what we had eaten. People were waiting for us to slip up and give up. Now it’s been going for nearly eight months I don’t think that’s the challenge any more. We’re past that stage.

I am quite  certain that the end of 2011 will also be the end of OCN. Sorry fans. We can’t do it forever, and it was never the plan to. The year was the target and that’s what it will be. A snapshot of one years eating habits and thoughts on food.

So what’s next? OCN was and still is a challenge. However, I feel that a year-long challenge is perhaps the wrong time frame. People lose interest when they realise that you can succeed at something, there’s only so much time they can spend waiting for that slip up and when they can’t see it coming they give up waiting. I feel that’s happened a little with OCN, but not just with the readers. The motivation to succeed dies down a little when there is less pressure to fail.

A few months ago we thought of a few ideas for next year’s challenge. They followed similar lines, tracking drink (considerably more tricky than food), money spent (perhaps a little invasive) but nothing has been decided on.

Which is where you come in, we welcome your ideas from stupid to impossible – and of course ones that we could feasibly do.

Your comments will be gratefully welcomed and much appreciated, whoever you are.

Here are a few of my ideas to get you started:

  • A series of 30 day challenges, 12 of them to be precise. This will remove the problem of the year-long challenge being to long but the overall length of the challenge will be one year still (see video below)
  • Charity. The idea that what we do raises money which goes to a charity.
  • Ideally, not an everyday blog again – I would like the challenge blog to be on the challenge not the challenge itself next year.

Why?

This blog will also be the ideas board for next years challenge blog. This year was One Chicken Nugget, an enormous and seemingly un-ending list of all the food I have eaten this year to date. There will be a sequel, and it won’t involve food.

Give us your thoughts, whatever they are, they will be welcomed.