Want to blog? Read this.
Pablo Rivera Mar 16 '17
OK, so you want to blog. You have something to tell. That’s fantastic. But how do you do it? Here is how:
Before you start
Some quick things you have to understand, believe, and realize before starting.
No one will care about your blog. No one. Except maybe your mom. Why is this important? Because this removes the biggest obstacle people face when starting a blog. They care too much about it and try to make it perfect. Not gonna happen without lots of money and help. Realize that no one person will care about your blog. That means that if you make a mistake no one will notice. No one.
You will suck. Badly. How much? Read my blog. I really suck at it. Does that stop me from blogging? No. The only way to become better at it is to do it as much as possible. Forget about using your lack of skills as an excuse. Make improving your skills the reason you are blogging.
You will mostly write for and to yourself. Have fun. Use it as a sort of diary to log what you were thinking at that moment. Forget about what people might say because no one is paying attention.
Getting set up
Setting yourself up for blogging can be simple or complex. I suggest you pick the simple route because it will allow you to simply start blogging.
Go to Medium, dev.to, WordPress.com, or whatever online blogging platform you want and open an account. You can also do a Facebook page instead.
Your username won't matter. Neither will your picture or bio. Don’t waste time with that.
Great, you are ready.
How to blog
Alright! You are now ready for the main event. I’m sure you are excited. I was excited. Finally, people will rejoice in my content! They will notice how smart I really am and shower me with all sorts of goodies.
No. That won’t happen. Either way, here is how to do it.
Write one short paragraph about something you did today or recently. Did you face an annoying bug at work today? Describe it. No need to sound smart or even detailed. Just write it down as if you were telling a co-worker about it.
Add a title to it. Something like “One annoying bug that drove me insane today at work”.
Getting over the fear of publishing
Hitting publish is hard. Yes, yes it is. But I found a hack around it. Here is my hack:
Go to your favorite website.
Find some content that you enjoy.
Copy the link.
Write one sentence about why the link is good.
Paste the link into the blog post.
Write a title that describes the content of the link.
Do this as many times as required. What’s the hack? The reason we fear publishing our posts is that we fear being ridiculed or looking stupid. There is no way that sharing a good link will have that response. You will feel free to share it. I sometimes do it in this very same blog. Here is an example.
You will build some confidence after a couple of posts. This will then lead you to writing something short and hitting publish.
But Pablo, I’m a professional. I can’t simply publish rubbish! I want to publish long form content.
Great. How much long form content have you written before? None? Well, write the first one. You don’t have time? You don’t have a great idea? These are all excuses. You either want to blog or not. Find time if you want to. I blog every other night after my daughter falls asleep for 15 to 40 minutes. There is always time.
Do you really want to blog or are you just in love with the idea of blogging?
This is a big issue. Some people love the idea of blogging but hate writing. That’s like loving the idea of ice cream but hating frozen desserts. You can’t have one without the other. Either do it or stop thinking you will eventually do it. It’s not like wanting a car you can’t afford. Blogging is accessible and low cost (mostly time). Do it or move on.
How much should you post?
You don’t need to publish stuff every day. Once a month or year is fine. No one cares. I write multiple posts on one sitting and schedule them to be released at a rate of one per day. That’s me, not you. One post a year is OK. Whatever works for you.
You don’t need to be a good writer.
You don’t even need to be great at grammar and punctuation. I’m horrible at it. English is my second language. No one cares. Do you know how many emails I’ve received about some error on my blog? Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Writing is a skill that is only developed by doing. Just like writing code. And riding a bike. Or even making love. No one is awesome when they start doing something. No one.
How do you become a good writer? There are plenty of books and blog posts out there that help with that. But for me, a good writer is someone who cares about what they are writing. Someone who wants to write something good. That’s it.
The hardest thing about blogging
The hardest thing about blogging is that you will feel like it’s a big waste of time. People won’t read your blog for a while. You won’t get any happy remarks about your writing. Nothing will happen. At all.
Worse is that you will probably share your posts on social media. Hoping that it resonates with somebody and help them move forward. But no. People in social media won’t pay attention either. Well, a handful will. If you are really really really lucky someone with a big audience will like your post and share it. That hardly ever happens.
Is blogging even worth it?
Yes, I feel it is worth blogging. You are documenting your knowledge and experiences and making them available to others. Sharing information is what the internet is about. Without people who blog in spite of being mostly ignored we wouldn’t have much of the best parts of the internet. Which is normal everyday people blogging about their passion because its fun.
I hope this was helpful and it pushes you to decide whether blogging is right or wrong for you. Happy blogging! ✌️