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Getting back into it

PUBLISHED ON AUG 21, 2020 — BLOG

Recently, I read a blog post by Ethan Zuckerman and was inspired by how well written it was. I hadn’t heard of Ethan before so decided to do a bit of background reseach and read his about page. On that about page I found a quote which especially connected with me:

Dave Winer encouraged me to start blogging when I joined Berkman in 2003. Blogging taught me how to write, and has opened doors for me around the world. Encouraged by David Weinberger, I began blogging conferences, starting with Pop!Tech in 2004. I came to TED for the first time in 2005 as a blogger, and blogged every talk I heard. I now require my students to blog any lectures they attend, as I’ve discovered that I listen differently – and better – when I’m trying to turn someone else’s talk into a blog post.

Subsequently, I decided that I should start blogging again!

If you’ve ever followed any of my many incantations of blogs in the past then first of all - congratulations for making it this far. Secondly, you’ll notice that I’ve been very sporadic. I’ll write for a bit, then stop for a while - often years at a time. This got me thinking… why has it been so sporadic? How do I ensure that blogging becomes more consistent?

To help answer this, it’s important that I take a step back and analyze what I’ve blogged about in my times of success, and what caused them to fizzle.

Theming blog topics

The previous periods where I’ve successfully blogged consistently have been largely when I’ve navigated a theme that interested me at that point of time. The first time was when I decided to write an open source obfuscator and document the progress. A more recent circumstance was when I wanted to analyze different approaches for dividing numbers in binary for an open source project I had released. Both of these themed topics started off strong, but eventually lost lustre and fizzled.

Each time, the motivation was right - I wanted to share my research and findings as I uncovered it. Ultimately, the killer was when writing the blog moved from being a byproduct to becoming a product in itself. The time and effort to write the final posts involved many more hours than I had anticipated and budgeted for. Ultimately writing the blog post became a chore.

Avoiding the time trap

You could argue that one workaround is to appropriately “slice” the blog topics into smaller consumable portions. While this makes sense, it was often the case that I wouldn’t realize how big something was until I was in the midst of it! And me being me; I just wanted to wrap up the blog post, get it out and then move on.

I want to avoid falling into this trap this time around!

My plan is to continue to write as a by product of my daily work. I’m also going to time box writing each post. If a post seems too big, it’s ok to keep it in drafts and work on it in a piecemeal approach at a later date. It’s also ok to tangentially write smaller posts (like this one) to continue to share my thoughts/findings/observations.

The ultimate goal

As a consequence, I have a few goals for this blog:

  • Share knowledge/findings/observations as I come across them
  • Get better at writing and forming my thoughts
  • Ensure that blogging is fun as opposed to becoming a chore!

I’m hoping this approach helps ensure that blogging regularly becomes successful going forward! Thank you for joining me on this journey - we’ll see where this takes us.