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4 Q&A's on Blogging for Developers

swyx profile image shawn swyx wang πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ ・3 min read

I got some questions from Ashwin that I figured I would answer in public!

Note: A lot of these topics are covered in my upcoming book.

Q: Relevance of blogs in our career or benefits of blog writing?

The benefits of blogging are the same as the benefits of Learning in Public. By writing for our past selves, we help our future selves, and our peers who are also going through the same journey. As a benefit, blogging is lower commitment and far more flexible than building up a portfolio. If you work in a field that is not so visual, your blog IS your portfolio. It demonstrates passion and interest in your field, and ability to explain complex topics in simple words.

The most direct benefit for your career is that when people google you, they find an engaged professional passionate about learning more, instead of a dull LinkedIn page repeating exactly the same info as the resume. If businesses care about their SEO, you should care about your own SEO too.

But indirect benefits also matter. Your blog becomes your knowledge base, and you will find yourself referring to your own blogposts at work. This is GREAT - it means you are scaling yourself, and also it means you Don't End the Week with Nothing from your work. If you only try to play the career ladder at work and do nothing visible from outside of work, then you will have to work a lot harder during interviews to serialize this experience down to a short resume and a short interview.

Q. What do you think are the essential components of a good blog content?

It is interesting to others, and it is VERY interesting to you. Find that intersection, and keep having a curious mind. Nothing else matters. A BAD blog is one where you fuck around with tooling for a few months and then only write 3 posts.

JUST.

WRITE.

DON'T BE THIS PERSON.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D2HyrDbVAAAYBM1?format=jpg&name=medium

Q: What motivates you to write a new blog? How do you keep yourself motivated in the midst of cumbersome and repetitive work?

I enjoy sharing what I learn. I have friends who keep me motivated and I look forward to my future self benefiting from what I do today.

I am good now. I will be formidable in 10, 20, 40 years.

Think really long term and you will play a different game than 99% of developers.

Q: How do you target a blog at the right audience? How do you deal with feedback and criticism.

I write for my own interests. I only care about the audience when it is my job to make things accessible for specific groups.

Feedback gets incorporated into my writing immediately, so that they get positive feedback on their feedback and it encourages them to read future writing.

Criticism is fine. You can learn SO MUCH on the Internet for the Low, Low Price of your Ego. Learn how to listen to your detractors. They will be your biggest teachers, and eventually, fans. You learn most from getting things wrong in public.

Of course, if they get abusive, block them. There will forever be more armchair critics than creators. You don't need their destructive energy in your life if they do not act in good faith.

Discussion

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Adam Sawicki

Nice article. I totally agree. For me blogging is also a form or helping people. Even if it's very niche what I write about, there will be always some developers who search for solution to this specific problem. Sometimes I get e-mails from people who dedicated their time and effort to send me thanks for what they learned from my blog. This is very rewarding and makes me want to continue.

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Gift Egwuenu

This is great advice, Shawn! Thank you for sharing.

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Domenik Reitzner

Nicely done. Just started tipping my toes into writing blog post. This really motivates me to keep at it. Thanks! πŸ₯³

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shawn swyx wang πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ Author

thanks for reading. find your internal drive and you wont need external motivation!