It’s a new year! Even though years are an arbitrary construct and all that, you feel reinvigorated! Alive! Ready to take on the world! And you’ve read all those posts and tweets and instatumblrs about blogging! They’re pretty compelling, really, and you’re in a suggestible state of mind. You’re thinking about taking the plunge.
Frankly, you lack the tools and experience to talk yourself out of this one. Perhaps I can be of assistance. I’ve got years of real world practice in talking myself out of blogging, and I’m here to share that knowledge with you.
Procrastination Is Key
Spoiler alert: It all comes down to putting off to tomorrow what you could do today. But for good reasons! Always good reasons. That’s how you can sell it to yourself… it’s all for a good cause, really!
Other People Have Blogged, Are Blogging, Or Will Blog This Anyway
There’s only room for a limited amount of information in the universe. Some scientific estimates [pdf] cap us at figures as low as 1090 bits! So we certainly don’t want any duplication whatsoever. Ergo, vis a vis, concordantly, if it’s at all possible that someone else might have blogged this kind of thing at some point, probably better not to muddy the waters or whatever.
Other, More Informed Experts Should Take This One
Okay, maybe nobody’s bloggerated this one up just yet, but this is all very technical and should really be handled by certified experts. We’re sharing technical information here, it had better be just right.
Experience Bonus: The more actual experience you have, the more you know that you don’t know. You also, if you’re lucky, get to come into contact with really quite actually brilliant people who know thing. Now, if you’re lucky, eventually you’ll know people who are, collectively, smarter than you at every possible subject area and you can just sit and watch them talk about all the things. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to meet, online or even in person, the worldwide expert of a few things. How could you presume to blog on their topic?
Needs More Playtesting
Okay, you’ve actually found a cool thing and nobody’s talking about it yet. But remember that cool utility you were excited about a few years ago? Are you still excited about it now? Moved on, right? How about that super interesting technique of injecting dependencies directly into your spleen using pure ASM? It destroyed your spleen and you’re on spleen replacement pills now, aren’t you, smart guy? The truth is that absolutely anything interesting you know probably needs a little more testing before you recommend it. At least another week or two (wash rinse repeat).
Look, if you’re going to write a blog post these days it’s got to follow best practices. Are your code samples above reproach? Are you sure??? Have you read the twitters and the hacker news comments lately? I don’t care if you’re writing “Introduction to Lego Mindstorms For Toddlers”, it had better include unit tests in a pure functional language, today’s top front end framework, and a lot of scary stuff you can’t remember right now but you know is vitally important! And have you considered scalability? What about security??? You know security is important, right? Don’t you? What is wrong with you??? Probably better sit this one out.
Experience Bonus: If you’ve happened to write any books, articles, official documentation or official announcement blog post, you’ve got a head start here. You’ve had editors review and critique your work. You’ve seen how the code and text you were so proud of on the first draft had obvious errors that editors and/or commenters immediately discovered. This draft is probably wrong, buddy. Better give it a day and come back to proof it again.
Those Tweets Tho
Look, here’s a loophole! Writing a blog post is hard work, and a lot of it’s really just filler, right? You can probably get the point across in a single tweet.
1/ Or, if not one tweet…
I’ll Blog It When It Ships
Whoa! You just wrote some cool code, it all works, and this is definitely worth sharing!
Slow down, tiger. Let’s wait until this thing actually gets through QA, user testing, and deployment. There have to be some bugs, right? Let’s wait and blog the real deal. Plus, we’re really quite busy now! After we ship, there will be time for low priority things like blogging and smelling the flowers. Wait until we ship, then things will totally calm down and we’ll do all the things we want to do now but don’t have time for.
This works great for cool demonstrations you write up for a tech presentation, too! You’re way too busy preparing for the presentation right now, and that’s really it would be irresponsible to take time away to blog it up right now, but right after the conference, obviously, there will be abundant time!
And also, some of this stuff might even be kind of secret until the ship date! Loose lips and all that, old boy.
The beauty of this excuse, as you know deep in your heart, is that as soon as magical ship day hits, something else will come up, and you’ll never actually get that magical blogging down day.
Magnificent Debut [or] Don’t Call It A Comeback
Okay, logic has failed and you still want to blog. There’s hope for you yet.
Fine, you’ll write some blogerisms, but it can’t be just anything! You have to come out swinging! Billions of people are watching, you can’t enter the fray with some random gibberish! The first one (or, in the restart scenario, the first new one) needs to be plus one insightful! Don’t ship it ‘til it’s ready! Iterate until the urge passes.
And to do this right, you really should have a full code sample. Or, better yet, a repo. Well, probably what you really want is an open source project, right?
Sure, sometimes you just want to write about some new random thing that’s not strictly in the topic area you normally write about. Let’s just keep that to yourself, then, shall we?
Hmm. None of the above defenses have helped, and you’re actually about to write a technical blog post. Fine, fine, you should totally go ahead with this… but… well, I don’t want to be a jerk, but you know it’s Monday, right? Nobody reads blogs on Monday. They’re all just coming back to work. Tuesday’s maybe okay, but you might want to wait until Wednesday.
Hey, it’s Wednesday, but things are actually pretty busy with work and stuff. Maybe this afternoon… Oh, hey, I know today was busy and all, but you totally don’t want to post in the late afternoon! Do you even know about time zones? People in Europe are sleeping now and you’re about to post? Wait until tomorrow.
Um, good morning. It’s Thursday morning. Dumb time to post. You really want to wait until earlier in the week for maximum hits and all that.
Hello. Happy Friday / Saturday / Sunday. Have a great day, but don’t even think about posting today! Nobody’s going to read it now!
Oh, and this works really well with blog posts about a software or product release! If you can’t post it on the day of the release, game over man.
Okay, Not Really
None of these are really good reasons. I’ll give my rebuttals, but I’m of course interested in yours in the comments or on Friendster.
- Other People Have Blogged, Are Blogging, Or Will Blog This Anyway
- Unoriginal Thoughts Bear Repeating.
- Usually every blog has a new / different / updated take.
- Your blog is your personal record. You can review your previous notes, it’ll be there even if other blogs go away, etc.
- 1090 bits is actually quite a lot.
- Other, More Informed Experts Should Take This One
- One of the best ways to learn more is to risk being accidentally stupid on the internet. Do your research, ask an expert to review if really necessary, add a disclaimer that you're not an expert, but share what you think you know.
- Needs More Playtesting
- I actually think there’s a healthy balance here. I think “Hey, look at this thing I just found and might install or not” probably goes in a Tweet, but maybe set a reminder to get back to it in a week to blog your fresh experiences?
- There’s always the edit button. If you try something for a while and it doesn’t work out or you find something better, update your post to explain why.
- Professionalize This
- I think the best way to handle this is separating the decide and do decisions as much as possible, then time boxing. Is this post topic worthwhile? How many hours of investment is it worth? Great, I’ll give myself 2 hours, then out it goes.
- Those Tweets Tho
- Not sure here. I think the kinds of conversations I have on Twitter are great for exploring a topic, but when a conversation generates some interesting response, it’s time to put it on the //toblog list.
- I’m just now checking my top tweets on favstar.fm and Twitter Analytics, and there are probably a few other ways to dig up past interesting conversations if needed.
- I’ll Blog It When It Ships
- One thing that’s worked for me here is to start writing the blog post up in rough form as I go, so it’s quick and easy to post immediately afterwards.
- Off Topic!
- I think this is really a judgement call. I know personally that I’m rarely offended by the occasional “here’s a neat thing” post from likeminded nerds. In fact, I usually like them. Sure, if you go overboard it’s too much, but give yourself some leeway.
- Magnificent Debut [or] Don’t Call It A Comeback
- It’s important to remember that a blog is a “web log”. It’s not a big deal.
- I think it’s easier to break the ice – again, really just with myself – with a non-technical post. Hmm, like this one.
Thoughts? What excuses did I miss? Have I helped talk you out of and / or back into blogging?