> Try to think of every visitor as an honored guest. If you think of “web traffic,” 15 visitors is disappointing. If you think of 15 people deciding to spend time with you they could spend anywhere, and they’re choosing to spend it with you – they’re choosing to spend their life energy reading your thoughts – that’s very cool and humbling, and suddenly chugging along with 15 readers feels pretty good.
That really resonates well with me. Blogging feels--at least to me--like an isolated platform. It's me writing, and people may or may not read. But the idea that the author presents here is almost like sitting in a room with friends and telling them a story. It's a nice image.
I got a huge kick out of the fact that he chose to spend those hours with my game, given the entertainment it was competing against... though to be honest, given the choice I'd take the Ferrari!
Agreed whole heartedly though, if you are a 'producer' there will be tons of stuff that is not fantastic but that might be useful to somebody.
The funny thing is that it is unpredictable, what will be appreciated and what not. Sometimes I fire off a 10 minute blog post and it gets retweeted for days or even weeks after, and sometimes I work for hours and hours on something and nobody cares.
I see the 'lower grade stuff' as taking a break from the other stuff whilst still keeping busy. Sooner or later you find yourself engaged with more interesting things again, if you 'broke the routine' just because you're not doing anything worthwhile you'd find your source of inspiration dried up pretty quickly.
So keep busy, by all means, and fail often, looking forward to the gems. Like this one: http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/?p=95
I don't think it'll ever go into a museum, but I'm hoping there's some value in there for people :)
> The funny thing is that it is unpredictable, what will be appreciated and what not. Sometimes I fire off a 10 minute blog post and it gets retweeted for days or even weeks after, and sometimes I work for hours and hours on something and nobody cares.
Isn't that the strangest thing? Yeah. Consistency of output leads to results.
> I see the 'lower grade stuff' as taking a break from the other stuff whilst still keeping busy. Sooner or later you find yourself engaged with more interesting things again, if you 'broke the routine' just because you're not doing anything worthwhile you'd find your source of inspiration dried up pretty quickly.
Great observation, this. I re-read it a couple times to get it down. Yes, even if the magnificent work isn't flowing, you keep going for inspiration.
> So keep busy, by all means, and fail often, looking forward to the gems. Like this one: http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/?p=95
Ah, cheers for the kind words. Didn't realize you read my site Jacques, gosh that pleases the hell out of me. By the way, I was so impressed by http://jacquesmattheij.com/The+start-up+from+hell - I won't say I enjoyed it, per se, I was cringing through a lot of it. But wow, what a story and learned a lot from it. Regular reader of your site as well, cheers for the kind words.
well till you get an audience, then they are going to watch your back and you cannot the do something always, good or bad rule. you will have to be cautious.
also there are cases where your best work gets ignored given the bad reputation of the bad work. As long as there is humans infer this will be there, it is extremely hard not to be influenced by previous work.
I kind of think the moral of the story here is: "Wanna write a lot? Write crap! That's why I'm so awesome!"
It's true, of course, to an extent. "Writing crap" is absolutely essential in any creative endeavor. Otherwise that crap gets impacted, and the good ideas can't get out.
However, the editing and refinement process is at least as important, I think. If all you do is just write a lot, most of it being bad, it might just all stay bad. You have to be trying not to write crap, knowing that's what you'll often end up doing, and be ok with that.
It's the same in software development. Over-reliance on design can lead to analysis paralysis. Software is best when there's code first, and analysis afterwards.
It's probably worthwhile to have a dev branch and release branch in blogs, for the same reason as it makes sense for code. Friends and regulars can see the just-released content, but the mainstream page doesn't show anything that hasn't been vetted and carefully edited.
1: Fixing permalinks on WP requires messing with MOD_REWRITE. It's not hard, it just requires some .htaccess stuff.
2: Really, you're absolutely right. It's a matter of getting on the horse and forcing yourself to do it every day. I've given myself SOME time off this year, but I've largely blogged 95% of the time this year. It's pretty important that you write and don't stop.
3: The getting judged on your best work thing is important. You can't blog assuming that every post you do is going to be a big hit with the right readers. But some will hit very hard. I've had a few that have connected VERY well – a thing I posted on Ikea's switch to Verdana, a post on BP's photoshopping, and general political stuff that's kind of the bread and butter of my blog right now – but the important thing is that I keep writing and I can improve the quality of my work as I keep going.
4: I'm a fan of having some basic ideas in mind but not relying too heavily on notes. I'll do a lot of basic research on a topic, grabbing worth-reading pieces from HN, certain bloggers of choice, hearting them in Pulse, e-mailing them to myself or throwing them on Instapaper, but I think it's better to let the sparks come to you on the fly. Sometimes, my best post of the day will be something I spent less than ten minutes on, because I was able to put an interesting twist on it.
5: Sometimes you get lucky. My blog's been linked by Andrew Sullivan a couple of times. The Atlantic Wire links to me semi-regularly. Slate linked to me once. I get the occasional follow or retweet from someone I look up to. And it's even led to some freelance work. But the more important part is that you're not doing it for those occasional notices (though they're nice). You're doing interesting things because you want to do them and you can give them an interesting, unique focus. And that focus builds you an audience.
Look, there's a reason why a blogger like Instapundit has an audience. His blog is anemically designed by today's standards. He might as well be using Twitter/Tumblr (rather than using Twitterfeed to link back to his page). But he's owned his style of blogging. Same with Daring Fireball. The key to blogging is finding a niche, or a unique way of saying things, and making it yours.
Once you have that focus, the daily blogging comes easy.
Whenever I strive to do something every day, it ends up feeling forced or contrived, and inevitably the quality drops. (I might be atypical in that regard?)
Furthermore, I think there is such a thing as wearing down your audience. It’s like you’re lowering your own value. Sure, you might still produce really good piece on a weekly basis, but they live in the same house as all your other, potentially mediocre posts.
That said, I strongly agree that we should all try to write every day. I started blogging earlier this year, and only at that point did I realize how difficult it is. So, taking my first point into account – my suggestion is that you do write every day, but not necessarily share everything you write. A journal is good for this, or even write it on your computer without publishing it. Whatever works. By doing so, I think you still develop your voice and style, without obligating yourself to add to your blog every day. This approach has helped me avoid burnout. Plus, there's something I really enjoy about writing things just for myself.
You can write the longest post ever but as long as it's well broken up and important parts highlighted/bolded you'll still get people commenting etc
I would tend to say that if some parts are important and others aren't, remove the unimportant parts until there aren't any left, then publish what remains. This is another practice I use, although sometimes with more success than others.
Edit: A commenter pointed out that Charles Darwin goes in the second list.
I was just reading this: http://matt.might.net/articles/ways-to-fail-a-phd/ which notes that Einstein's phd thesis is both obscure and forgotten, and inaccurate compared to his later greatness.
I should add however, that the equal-odds thing is the way that i learned to be a better photographer. Shoot as much as you can, figure out what you did to take the good ones (I guess it's like the monte carlo method for artistic improvement).
I was just reading the new introduction that Ray Bradbury wrote for The Martian Chronicles. It came together from a bunch of "asides" that he wrote just for fun -- he wasn't taking them very seriously. Then an editor saw them and suggested that they formed a whole story.
> Back around the age of 19, I had started sending my short stories out for publication. My goal was to publish something (anything, anywhere) before I died. I collected only massive piles of rejection notes for years. I cannot explain exactly why I had the confidence to be sending off my short stories at the age of 19 to, say, The New Yorker, or why it did not destroy me when I was inevitably rejected. I sort of figured I’d be rejected. But I also thought: “Hey – somebody has to write all those stories: why not me?” I didn’t love being rejected, but my expectations were low and my patience was high. (Again – the goal was to get published before death. And I was young and healthy.) It has never been easy for me to understand why people work so hard to create something beautiful, but then refuse to share it with anyone, for fear of criticism. Wasn’t that the point of the creation – to communicate something to the world? So PUT IT OUT THERE. Send your work off to editors and agents as much as possible, show it to your neighbors, plaster it on the walls of the bus stops – just don’t sit on your work and suffocate it. At least try. And when the powers-that-be send you back your manuscript (and they will), take a deep breath and try again. I often hear people say, “I’m not good enough yet to be published.” That’s quite possible. Probable, even. All I’m saying is: Let someone else decide that. Magazines, editors, agents – they all employ young people making $22,000 a year whose job it is to read through piles of manuscripts and send you back letters telling you that you aren’t good enough yet: LET THEM DO IT. Don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.
Elizabeth Gilbert, NY Times Best Selling author of "Eat, Pray, Love"
“That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don’t do it for them.”
This is Michael Jordan's philosophy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc
Ira Glass believes that some people start out producing work that isn't as good or match their good taste. It's after a lot of work, trial and error, and mistakes that the disparity between your good taste and your good work match up.
Be patient, keep trying, be confidant. I should have joined a football team.