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To blog, or not to blog? What should a girl do?

thenewmona profile image Ramona Saintandre ・1 min read

I have been studying front-end development for almost 2 years now.
I am attending a front-end BootCamp right now, taking advantage of a DevOps program through Udacity, and working a full-time job.

I will be graduating at the end of March, and start my career change.
I am looking into getting into Developer advocacy/evangelism/liaison/relations.

I have spoken, read, and listen to others in the industry what I should do to get in, and most say that I need to blog/vlog.

My question is with so many platforms like this one, Medium, Stackoverflow.
Should I start a blog or just contribute to platforms like this.

For those that do blog, and contribute on platforms like this.
How do you manage your time?
How often should I contribute to a blog?

Thank you

Discussion

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pachicodes profile image
Pachi (she/her/ela)

You should use the tag #discuss to get more answers.

I have been using Dev.to to blog since June last year and try to post here every week.
Today I just finished my own Blog, but what I will do is cross-post here and there.
I really love the DEVcommunity and the people I meet here are always helpful so I don't want to use only my own blog

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thenewmona profile image
Ramona Saintandre Author

thanks for the response @Pachi

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practicingdev profile image
Practicing Developer

It's worth noting that if your goal is to get into developer advocacy, what you need to be able to show is the ability to spread ideas and grow an audience.

Blogging is one way to do that, but you've got all sorts of different options, and so it really depends on what your preferences are. For example, you could achieve the same goal with a newsletter, a podcast, a series of youtube videos, some interesting (publicly visible) coding projects, or just by showing up at a bunch of in-person events and being useful and helpful there.

These are all tactics though. What makes you excited about going into a developer advocacy role? What particular tools/technologies/products are you most intrigued by?

(If you reply w. some answers to the above questions, I may be able to offer more suggestions and ideas.)

Proof of work is important, but a sense of purpose usually needs to come first to get good results.

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thenewmona profile image
Ramona Saintandre Author

Thanks,

I was thinking the same thing at one point in time.
But when I started looking at jobs, just to get an idea of what they were asking for.

Most of them did asking for technical writing, documentation, etc.

There were some that actually stated that you would have to do like internal blogs.

So I am understanding now why this was recommended to me.

I guess the real question was, because of the workload that I already have on my plate.

How important is it for me to have a personal blog, or is it more, that I get and start writing.

I actually did not realize how hard that was either.
I have all these thoughts and ideas and they sound good in my head, but once I get them on the screen, I'm like BLAH :(.

Also, do people still have time to read blogs.
Between my full-time job, school, coding, slack, emails, medium, dev.to, and now writing the article.

I really do not have time to read blogs.

So I am just wondering if this is a common issue with others as well.
This was the biggest question.

Thanks for the response :)

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practicingdev profile image
Practicing Developer

My best guess is that for most jobs which would involve writing as part of the job, they're looking for proof that you can do so effectively. And so it might not matter whether it's on your own website or elsewhere, as long as you can show that you're able to communicate well in written form and get others to engage with it.

For some places, having your own blog with its own distinct branding would certainly be something that would show your ability to solve that part of the problem too, but most businesses who have developer advocacy positions have the resources in place to take care of that part for you anyway.

Although I have approached time investment into online presence as a whole in various ways at various times in my career, these days I treat it as part of my job and set specific daily/weekly time investments that make sense for me and my goals.

You should select an approach that works for what time you have available. Even if that's 30 mins, two or three times per week, you can make it work, you'd just need to either really scale down your writing projects, or chip away at them little by little and only release larger works occasionally. Either way can work, but if in doubt, try the former as you'll likely learn more and sooner that way in terms of what works and what doesn't.

What kind of timeline are you looking at to transition into a new role? If you're in no hurry, you have a lot of options. The faster you're trying to get there, the more strategic you'll need to be about how you spend each and every moment of time, but that does not necessarily mean overworking yourself.

(By the way, it seems like you'd really benefit from reading the book Essentialism, if you have not seen it already. It's about general life strategies for developing focused effort on a particular small set of goals rather than feeling spread too thin all the time, and it's a great read.)

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thenewmona profile image
Ramona Saintandre Author

@Practicing Developer
My goal is before the big 50 which is in November.

Thanks for the suggestion on the book read.

I got blessed with the pragmatic programmer for Christmas and I have not been able to find time to start it. :(

I was thinking that setting a goal of writing an article once a week is attainable.

It's just finding the time to get it out there.

I have a lot to think about.

Thanks for the great advice :)

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practicingdev profile image
Practicing Developer

Although there are plenty of ways to free up time, you still end up with a limited amount to go around, and so it just becomes a question of how you spend it.

A good next step would be to figure out how much time you can consistently spend on your writing work, and then scale your efforts down to the time you have available.

Even if you end up writing very short things that are more similar to daily posts once per week, a year will produce over 50 of those, and that'd still be a great outcome.

So if in doubt, don't stretch yourself thin, focus and think small. It will pay off in time.

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gvetri profile image
Giuseppe Vetri

Hi! I also like the Developer advocacy topic. What I usually do is to post the same in my blog, dev.to, and Medium. In that way, everyone can read from their favorite platform. Using markdown helped me a lot with this process.

About time management I usually spend an hour per day reading and learning once I learned something I try to explain in my own words. I read somewhere that is the best way to learn.

I used to contribute every week but was so exhausting and burned me out for a few months. Now I keep reading and learning, but if a day, I have to relax. I take that time off.

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gsto profile image
Glenn Stovall

I wanted to follow up on this, as I've seen this question come up several times. I put together a piece on why I believe relying exclusively on third-party platforms is a bad idea, based on my previous content: The Dangers of Content Platforms

Hope that sheds some light on things, and I'm happy to help in any other way I can!

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rodiongork profile image
Rodion Gorkovenko

Hi there!

Good question. I see many individuals and even companies do mistake "I'll create blog and become famous at once or at list will show it to my future employer". This seemingly don't work that easily :)

I dare say, if you do have some extremely exquisite material which could span a series of blog posts and easily attract zounds of people - then dedicated blog may be worth efforts.

If you don't have clear idea what to write about, then you will have hard time trying bring your blog to popularity. Just another blog about "learning javascript" or something like this will be easily lost in the depths of search engines.

If you are not sure - probably it may be better post here, for example, until you come to conclusion that you are really boiling with content which could fill your blog.

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artemis profile image
Diane

Instead of telling you what I'd advise you to do, I'll instead present how I blog, and if you like it, feel free to do as well!

I have a blog I built from scratch, and I keep every article on a backup drive, in case I need to move stuff around and my gitlab blog project is down for some reason.

I publish it on some host (here, netlify, here) tied to a domain name I own (affordable 12€/year domain name), which means that in case of issue, I can just change hosts and boom, the blog's up again.

That follows the "always own your platform" logic, which is a logic I, as a blogger and as a developer, find crucial, especially since I've been able to witness, like many, lots of projects that started out as "community" projects become money-grabbers destroying UX and fucking us (us being the content creators) up[1].

I then cross-publish my articles here, on dev.to, referring back to my blog using the canonical feature.

When appropriate, I put the link on lobste.rs and hacker news, which gives me a bit more exposure.


[1]: Citing the usual culprits: Medium for destroying their website, rendering it anti-accessible (is there a better word?) and landing bugs in production which sparked suspicion of content-claiming (aka stealing), StackOverflow from being a community-run service to a money-making system with little regard to their internal staff.

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thenewmona profile image
Ramona Saintandre Author

@Diane
Thanks so much for the response.

I actually write my articles first in google docs, then I publish them.

I only have a handful so far, less than 5 to be exact.

So that is why I was looking for advice on what direction I should go in before, I get too far.

Thanks, a lot for the response, it is greatly appreciated.

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artemis profile image
Diane

I personally prefer to redact my articles in plain text, using formats such as AsciiDoc or Markdown, it's much easier to manage / backup (especially through git), and require no specific / closed software.

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gsto profile image
Glenn Stovall

Hey @thenewmona !

There's a lot to unpack here, but here's what I'd recommend:

Should I start a blog or just contribute to platforms like this?

If you want to start writing, I'd strongly recommend starting something that you own. When you contribute exclusively to platforms like Dev.to or Medium, you're doing digital sharecropping.

When you create content on Dev.to, Medium, or StackOverflow, that content effectively belongs to them, not you. They could go out of business, decide to unpublish your content or put it behind a paywall while keeping all of the profits. What becomes of your content then?

Having said that, there is a lot of value in these platforms. You can syndicate your content to Dev.to and Medium after publishing on your own platform. That way you own the content, but can still leverage these platforms as well. It's similar to posting a link to your content on Twitter or Facebook.

Also, to piggyback on what Practicing Developer said below, I prefer to say publish rather than "blog", because these days there are several available mediums for sharing ideas. Writing is my preference, but you should use the medium that works for you,

How do you manage your time?

Personally, I write every morning, Monday - Friday. Find a system that works for you, but be aware there's no magic pill. The best strategy is to show up consistently and put in the work. It's that simple, and it's that hard.

How often should I contribute to a blog?

In my opinion, the more often, the better. I encourage others to publish more and publish smaller. My reasoning is that by increasing the frequency of completing pieces of content, you accelerate your skill and learning.

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tcgumus profile image
Tuna Çağlar Gümüş

For me, it doesn't matter how often you write, where you write or what are you writing. I follow this message from adam savage ""Remember kids, the only difference between Science and screwing around is writing it down." Even if you are writing on a piece of paper, it will help you. "THIS IS THE WAY"

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epsi profile image
E.R. Nurwijayadi

I have four blogs. I usually manage, depend of my mood an my leisure time. For example, this 2019/2020 I wrote about web development in gitlab.io, previously in 2016/1028 I wrote about desktop customization in github.io. Thanks to pandemic, and economic slowdown, I have time to write to blog. Not every blog launched well, I have a blog about fuctional programming, that only has less than ten articles, and basically stalled. And other local accounting blog that also stalled because I have no time to write even though I already have good accounting material. But the other first two, working well for me.

I choose SSG over other platform. The reason is I have control to all my stuff. I have made a Hugo tutorial, Hexo Guidance, and also Eleventy Article Series that consist of 35 articles. Currently, I'm writing Jekyll step by step.

epsi-rns.gitlab.io/ssg/2020/01/01/...

Eleventy: Table of Content

You may also consider watching my SSG presentation in that blog.

epsi-rns.gitlab.io/ssg/2019/02/17/...

Have fun with your plan.

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osde8info profile image
Clive Da

please blog on DEVTO so i can read them all