One month anniversary of my blog
I created this blog one month ago, on September 22!
I have achieved my short-term milestone of creating at least one post every day. This has not been a trivial task, and there have been times when I felt pressed for time or tired or was not excited about deciding what to write about and then doing it.
But I knew I had to develop the habit, and overcome perfectionism, and just get going. I’ve known too many people who started a blog, posted to it exuberantly for a while, and then didn’t continue.
Here are some ways I have managed to go an entire month so far:
Advice from PodCamp Pittsburgh 6
I began my new blog only after having attended PodCamp Pittsburgh 6 and listening to enough advice that I had a strategy planned to get a strong start. I wouldn’t start a new business without having an idea what I was doing, nor would I start a new computer program without having some tools and goals in mind, and writing for a blog is no different as a demanding enterprise.
Social storytelling, by Shawn Graham and Tom Kubilius
I have to thank Shawn Graham and Tom Kubilius for their session on “social storytelling”. To tell the truth, there is much they said (that I took notes on) that I have not yet implemented, but here is some of what I have consciously put into practice.
What do I care about?
Shawn and Tom repeatedly emphasized knowing your why and what you care about. So when I write, I really do write about what I care about. There are a lot of things I could write about, but don’t, because I don’t really care about them.
This piece of advice has helped me stay focused on what I care about rather than what might be easy for me to write about but with less or no passion. For example, instead of writing about something I already know well, I’ll write about something I’m discovering and learning now. Since I do not really care much about the past, I do not bring it up unless it is a relevant prelude to a story from now.
Be committed, and be regular
This is where I got my idea of committing to post every day. They didn’t tell anyone how often to be posting, but I decided on that schedule for myself, knowing that the more spaced out a new activity is, the less likely I can keep it going.
Shawn put up a nice blog post shortly after PodCamp Pittsburgh 6 that discussed the golden rule of social engagement. My online activity cannot exist in a vacuum. For many years, I lurked and read a lot online but never commented. I’ve changed that “anti-social” behavior.
Now, when I am reading a blog, and feel compelled to respond to a post, I strongly consider doing so if I feel I can maybe make a contribution. At times, I just submit a short comment at the article’s commenting system. Other times, I write my own article and post the URL of it as a comment. I find it useful to be inspired by some topic of discussion that other people already care out and started to talk about. Even if things do not progress beyond just my leaving a note, I know that I have planted a seed, and since the web is forever, the conversation can always be started back up by someone sometime later.
(By the way, I am working on a blogroll of recommended sites I will put up on my web site.)
Blogging 201, by @burghbaby and @FireMom
“Why” answers a lot
The theme was repeated that a blogger should know the why of what they’re doing, because all kinds of questions or dilemmas can be answered that way: frequency, tone, topics, appropriate language, etc.
I started writing only after knowing I had some pretty strong intuitions of why I’m doing it. Still, recently I have been thinking of tightening up those intuitions even further, and writing up a really specific “why” page to put up on my site.
The session had a ton of good advice on this topic. I’ll just mention one of the useful points: keeping track of ideas to later write about. I keep a log of ideas that come to me (in fact, one just came to me when I was last in the shower), so that I have no shortage of topics to write about in case I either come up dry (as far as exciting experiences during a day) or find some connection with some other idea I want to write about.
Blogging boundaries, by Miss Britt
The PodCamp session by Miss Britt was very energetic and insightful.
What is your intent?
Britt noted that once upon a time, she used her blog to vent, and that led to a lot of trouble.
I try to keep this in mind when I’m writing about something and I might be feeling annoyed. I think that my tone in a few of my posts so far has veered slightly into “venting” territory, but that is not where I intend to go.
Live a life worth writing about
The advice to have a life to write about somehow really stuck with me.
On days when I do something new and exciting, it is usually pretty easy to write something about it. So if I’ve run in a 5K race or tried a new recipe when cooking or learned something at a seminar, it’s fairly easy for me to write a post about my experience.
I even joked to a friend that I was engaged in “Blog-Driven Living”. Of course, it was just a joke: I have never done something arbitrary just to have something to write about, and never will. But interestingly, a different dynamic has developed: sometimes when there is a project I’ve wanted to start, or complete, but have put off, I realize, “It would be nice if I actually got my act together and did it, so that I could write about it”, and do it! Blogging has actually improved my offline productivity.
The last day of PodCamp Pittsburgh 6, I was eating lunch and Justin Kownacki and Rob de la Cretaz happened to sit near me. I wasn’t talking with them (to be honest, I was dead tired from the weekend and was just trying to eat my lunch alone and then take a long nap immediately afterwards), but overheard them discussing the past, present, and future of PodCamp Pittsburgh.
I piped in, saying I had come the previous year, and learned some things but had not yet started the blog I wanted to start. They basically just said, do it, and don’t worry about whether it’s perfect right off the bat. Just get started, now.
It took me several days to make the plunge, but I did do it. Thanks again, Justin and Rob!
Finally, I must mention Seth Godin.
The very day after I started my blog, I saw his post on “talker’s block” and have had it in my web browser as a “permanent tab” since then.
Godin basically says, we don’t have talker’s block, so why should we have writer’s block? Reflecting on this, I knew that I was going to write as though I were talking. So here I am. The quality of my blog posts has varied. I know that. But that’s OK, because what matters is where I am and where I am going, not where I have been. I know I will improve considerably with time and experience.
One month of blogging, and I’m still at it, and still striving to improve at it.
Thank you, everyone, for your help!comments powered by Disqus