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To Blog or Not To Blog

3 April 2014

My last post was 154 days ago. That’s about five months without writing a single post on this blog. I’ve been thinking about what this means and what happened, and here is what I discovered.

First of all I love writing. It has something peaceful to write down your experiences and thoughts. I also love that I can share these experiences with you, like 90.000 times each month, if I’m to believe analytics.

But I didn’t write. I barely looked at my site and only once a month got reminded about it when the ad revenue email came in.

Finding where it had gone wrong has not been a high priority for me either. I’m not sure why or how. Recently I came across the A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging summary, which neatly lists all kinds of excuses to not blog and what to do about them.

This got me thinking about why I hadn’t posted a blog in such a long time.

I have been up to quite a lot lately, but still I struggled to write blog posts. From the A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging I picked up several tips that got me going again.

The three most important tips I got from A No-Excuses Guide to Bloggin were these:

1. Write about what you’re learning, while you learn.

I’m learning constantly. If it’s not using Vim more proficiently, then it’s about setting up servers with some shell script magic. Finding new tools to pair program, or write better tests.

Often I found myself not worthy of writing a post about a topic, like Bitcoin, GPG or Vagrant and chef because I don’t feel at the top of my game on these subjects. I’m no expert. I don’t want to look like a fool writing non-sense about these topics.

But I’m learning. I don’t have to be an expert to talk about what I discovered or learned. I can even ask questions and leave them unanswered in my posts, and who knows someone might find an answer.

2. Keep a list of topics and create focus

The seconds problem I had was the volatility of my ideas. I often had a great idea at night when learning or programming. The next day those ideas were mostly gone and forgotten.

Now, I’m keeping track of what I’m doing more actively using Evernote. This way I can later recall what I did and what that great idea for a blog post was all about.

When I started doing this, the list with ideas grew quickly. Too quickly. The list became quite long and I had no idea where to start or how to get any writing done.

Focussing on what’s most important sounds easy. But what is most important? What is most important to me? It turns out that there are subjects that get me excited and happy. There is no clear box to put these ideas. Some ideas are very techincal, others are more security or privacy oriented while other are not technical at all (like this post).

Optimizing for my own happiness was big factor in getting back to writing for this blog again.

3. Make sharing part of the way you work

It may be hard to believe but sharing was never a part of my daily workflow. And I honestly don’t know why it wasn’t.

Sharing comes naturally to me. When I’ve figured something out I want to talk to people about it. And more often than not they get excited as well.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could make this sharing a part of my daily workflow? I’m still experimenting with this (as I have to write a few new posts) but I think this will be a great motivator to keep writing.

To Blog or Not To Blog

After reading A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging I got excited again about my blog and writing. I’ve taken away a few tips from this guide that, hopefully, will keep me interested and focus on writing what I care about.

With a fresh list of ideas for my blog I’m ready to start writing some blog posts again!

_If you are a blogger and having some “issues”, make sure to read A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging by Sasha Chua._