Suggested New Year’s resolution: start a blog
I was thinking the other day how much I’ve gotten out of writing this blog. I’m incredibly grateful for it, and I want you to consider starting a blog too. Let’s go through the pros and cons:
- A blog forces you to articulate your thoughts rather than having vague feelings about issues.
- This means you get past things that are bothering you.
- You also get much more comfortable with writing, because you’re doing it rather than thinking about doing it.
- If your friends read your blog you get to hear what they think.
- If other people read your blog you get to hear what they think too. You learn a lot that way.
- Your previously vague feelings and half-baked ideas are not only formulated, but much better thought out than before, what with all the feedback. You’ll find yourself changing your mind or at least updating and modifying lots of opinions.
- You also get to make new friends through people who read your blog (this is my favorite part).
- Over time, instead of having random vague thoughts about things that bug you, you almost feel like you have a theory about the things that bug you (this could be a “con” if you start feeling all bent out of shape because the world is going to hell).
- People often think what you’re saying is dumb and they don’t resist telling you (you could think of this as a “pro” if you enjoy growing a thicker skin, which I do).
- Once you say something dumb, it’s there for all time, in your handwriting, and you’ve gone on record saying dumb things (that’s okay too if you don’t mind being dumb).
- It takes a pretty serious commitment to write a blog, since you have to think of things to say that might interest people (thing you should never say on a blog: “Sorry it’s been so long since I wrote a post!”).
- Even when you’re right, and you’ve articulated something well, people can always dismiss what you’ve said by claiming it can’t be important since it’s just a blog.
Advice if you’ve decided to go ahead and start a blog
- Set aside time for your blog every day. My time is usually 6-7am, before the kids wake up.
- Keep notes for yourself on bloggy subjects. I write a one-line gmail to myself with the subject “blog ideas” and in the morning I search for that phrase and I’m presented with a bunch of cool ideas.
- For example I might write something like, “Can I pay people to not wear moustaches?” and I leave a link if appropriate.
- I try to switch up the subject of the blog so I don’t get bored. This may keep my readers from getting bored but don’t get too worried about them because it’s distracting.
- My imagined audience is almost always a friend who would forgive me if I messed something up. It’s a friendly conversation.
- Often I write about something I’ve found myself explaining or complaining about a bunch of times in the past few days.
- Anonymous negative comments happen, and are often written by jerks. Try to not take them personally.
- Try to accept criticism if it’s helpful and ignore it if it’s hurtful. And don’t hesitate to delete hurtful comments. If that jerk wants a platform, he or she can start his or her own goddamn blog.
- Never feel guilty towards your blog. It’s inanimate. If you start feeling guilty then think about how to make it more playful. Take a few days off and wait until you start missing your blog, which will happen, if you’re anything like me.