This is the first of what I’m hoping to turn into a series of blogging tips posts.
I’m well aware that I haven’t been blogging anywhere’s near as long as some of the other folks out there have been. I’m also well aware that I haven’t achieved the level of blogging success that some folks have.
But, I have been doing this for three years now, and I’ve managed to become a medium-sized deal in my small corner of the broader community, so while I won’t claim to be a leading authority, I also won’t play the false humility card. I will share what things I have learned. Most of it will be advice I wish I had received, but instead ended up learning the hard way.
Experience: the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
— C. S. Lewis
Knowledge sharing of this type was the main driver behind the creation of the Tech Bloggers’ Support Group.
With all that said, it’s time for me to follow my own first piece of advice:
It’s that simple really. Don’t wait. That thing that you want to do with your blog? Do it now.
Don’t wait for “some day”. “Some day” never comes.
Better than “some day” are (in increasing order of “better-ness”):
- Before the year is over
- Before the end of the month
- By Friday
- No later than noon tomorrow
All of those times actually arrive.
Best of all, of course is “right now” — it’s already here. You don’t have to wait for it to arrive.
This very general piece of advice applies across multiple specific areas. I’ll address some of them below.
Don’t Wait to Start
I spent a year thinking about starting my own blog before I actually did anything about it.
The human brain is weird: we can always come up with excuses to not do some work — even if that work is something we want to do.
I had all kinds of reasons why I delayed.
- I wanted to be sure I had the perfect name for the blog before I started.
- I thought I should have several pieces of content already before I launched the blog.
- A blog will need some graphics and design layout. I’m not a graphic designer.
- I need to be 100% sure what I want the blog’s “voice” to be.
Here’s Important Thing Number One, though. If I’d kept waiting until I had everything perfect before I started, or had everything meeting some standard that I made up, well, you wouldn’t be reading this because I wouldn’t have started blogging yet.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, just do it. You don’t need all those extras to be perfect now — or even ready at all. You can always add the graphics, the design, the formatting, the overall message — any of that — later.
And — this part is a key secret — not only CAN you change those things later, you most likely WILL change them later. What you think is “exactly right” today isn’t what you’ll think is “exactly right” 3 years, 1 year, or even a month from now.
Example: I clearly need to change the GeekFluent banner at the top of my homepage. It represents all the topics I thought I’d be writing about. Not only have I written very little (or even nothing) about some of them, I’ve written about a number of other topics that were never on my original list — topics I’ve really enjoyed writing about.
Important Thing Number Two is this: Nothing you do is ever going to be perfect. I wish I could find the exact quote, but I remember seeing something a writer once said about their work. It went something like:
None of my writing is ever actually “done”. It just needs fewer revisions than it did before.
An 80% plan you can put into action right now is infinitely better than the “perfect plan” that will never actually get acted on.
Don’t Wait to Write That Post You’re Thinking About
The best time to actually write about an idea is when you’re excited about writing about that idea. This usually happens during the first few minutes to an hour after you think of it.
I used to delay. My thinking was something like this: “I don’t have a lot of time right now, maybe 20 or 30 minutes. To write this well, I need a bigger chunk of time. I’ve got 3 hours free next Tuesday. I’ll write it then.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but, personally, I can’t schedule my own enthusiasm. It seems to decide when (and if) to show up all own its own. The end result is that if I wait until I have that larger chunk of time available, I’ll probably end of with something that might be better written, but it won’t be as passionate.
Passion works. Do the shorter, more passionate, less perfect post now.
Don’t Wait to Share Ideas
When has not waiting worked out well for you? Let the rest of us know in the comments.