You Should Start a Blog Right Now

You should start a blog.

Here’s why:

  1. Writing helps you figure out what you think. Even if no one else in the world reads your blog, there’s huge value in writing.  Consider this from Nilofer Merchant:

    I write to hear an idea unfold. I need to write with space because what I think will come out and what comes out are not the same and it’s as if the story is unraveling itself letter by letter, sentence by sentence.

    It’s the same for me. It’s probably the same for you too.

  2. Writing helps others learn.  Blogs were invented to teach.  This week Dave Winer called for a return to blogging – saying:

    The mission of blogging is to empower all of us to go directly to each other with our expertise. So if you know something as well as anyone else, or you learn something or know something that should be shared, then you should share it on your blog.

  3. Blogging helps you turn your flow of ideas into a stock of content. Stock is important – it is findable, and searchable. Austin Kleon says:

    My favorite way to think about how I operate online is the “stock and flow” metaphor that writer Robin Sloan has borrowed from economics: your “flow” is the steady stream of stuff: the tweets, the posts, etc.; the “stock” is the more permanent stuff that people find over time, like, say, books or products. What I like to do is constantly turn my flow into stock: a tweet will become a blog post which will become a blog tag which becomes a book chapter.

  4. Blogging is fun! Lots of fun.
  5. You create opportunities.  I’ve met a ton of cool people through my blog.  I’ve been able to collaborate with with great people like Ralph Ohr and Nilofer Merchant.  Ralph’s blog helped him get a new job.  If you share ideas that help people, it opens doors.
  6. A blog is your own piece of real estate on the internet.  John Battelle makes a strong argument that you need to be building permanent content, and that you need to own the real estate that you build on:

    As publishers – and I include all marketing brands in this category – the question then becomes: “What terrain do we claim as ours?”

    Deciding where to lay down roots as a publisher is an existential choice. Continuing the physical metaphor a bit further, it’s the equivalent of deciding what land to buy (or lease). If your intention is to build something permanent and lasting on that land, it’s generally a good idea to *own* the soil beneath your feet.

  7. Finally, blogging helps you build your skills. Remember, the big gap is the one between doing nothing and doing something, not the one between lousy work and great work.  Why am I willing to consistently put some of the world’s worst drawings on my blog?  In part, because they’re still better than what we get from everyone that says “but I can’t draw” and then doesn’t.  Because it helps me build my skills.  And because, very slowly, I’m getting better.  That is how we build a craft.  You might feel that you don’t write well, but the best way to get better is to write.  Write all the time.

That’s the why.  What about the how?

Sacha Chua covers that in her No Excuses Guide to Blogging.  You should download it and read it. She looks at these issues:

Sacha Chua on  Blogging

 

Blogging is important.  It puts a stake in the ground.  It helps you learn.  And it helps you connect.

I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.

Why not start now?

 

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Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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29 thoughts on “You Should Start a Blog Right Now

  1. I blame Stefan Lindegaard for getting me into blogging. I think he was getting so fed up with me writing replies longer than his blog he suggested “why don’t you…” and the rest is history. Blogs do clear your mind, focus your thinking and often surprise you were they eventually end up. This goes against the wisdom of planning out your blogs but I’m sorry it is my way and I think countless others to let it flow.

    I like the ‘stocks and flow’ suggestion as each blog or post (I prefer post) reinforces the other for me. They build overtime credibility, they confirm where your interests lie by the time you return to a particular idea or thought (three horizons, executive innovation etc.

    I tried to do a “cold turkey” to reduce my blog posts. A “Cold turkey” describes the actions of a person who abruptly gives up a habit or addiction rather than gradually easing the process through gradual reduction or by using replacement medication.

    I can’t find alternative medication, gradual reduction sometimes works but is not a real success so I have to say “Hello my name is Paul Hobcraft, I am a Alcoholic, opps sorry that should be Blogaholic”.

    It simply gives me a lot, I get so very much from others as it is a source of great knowledge and personal experiences and thinking that just amazes me- it provides my daily drip of motivation from others and my weekly dip of satisfaction.

  2. I vastly prefer “post” to “blog” too Paul. I’m very glad that Stefan gave you that push! I think I did a similar thing with Ralph – I told him many times to first start writing guest posts, and then to start his own site. Very glad that he did both of those things too!

    It is a bit of an addiction, for me precisely because it is such an important part of working out what I think about things. I was never big on keeping a journal, but that is sort of what this has turned into.

  3. This is great Tim!
    Can I also add one more? That is that your blog becomes part of your online resume, especially in the advisory space that I operate in. That’s my view anyway!
    Cheers
    Richard

    • I agree, it does become part of your brand or resume- it becomes often the ‘default’ place to chack you out and what and how you are thinking and writing and those reading gain a sense of identity, or awakens there thinking and then they reach out to discuss it.

  4. I think my friend Kris Marciniak (Rallynotes.com) first got me interested in blogging. Valeria Maltoni inspired me with the potential in conversation beyond the automotive forums where I’d experienced real world connectivity as a result of sharing ideas online. Now here I am, discussing blogging as it pertains to innovation on a blog about as geographically far away from me in phoenix as you can get, as someone who sees publishing as his life’s work. And it all started with a blog.

    Kinda makes me want to write more. Thanks, Tim.

  5. Great post Tim. You have encapsulated all those things we were talking about the other week, and put them down on paper/screen. As well as capturing what we talked about, you have added more and in a clear path. And then there is the benefit of the additional thoughts from Brian, Richard (Fire) and Paul. Great stuff. I guess I have to go and write now!

  6. Tim, thanks for another great post!

    I have some difficulties responding to the comments on my blog. I know this is a no-go if you really want to develop engagement, but I often just get caught up with other work – or writing the next post. The funny thing, however, is that the more I interact with readers of my blog or those who comment on LinkedIn, the more inspiration I get for other posts.

    Can you share some of your views on comments and how you engage with your readers? Any good tips beyond the simple, but very true one which is to dedicate the necessary time for this?

    Stefan

    Paul, thanks for the mention. You had / have too many good ideas and comments not to share it with others :-)

    • I’m not sure that I’ve really figured it out myself Stefan. I would like to engage more (or at least get more input, but I’m not really sure about the best way to get it. And sometimes, I’ll get comments that leave me completely stumped. I feel like I should respond, but don’t really know the best way to.

      So, it’s a source of difficulty for me too!

        • Thanks Sacha. That makes good sense for things that are on topic, and I’m just not sure about the answer. The ones that perplex me are the ones that are so far off topic that I just don’t know what to say…

    • I like blog comments because public conversations tend to be more long-lasting than e-mail. =) I check my blog comments maybe every day or every other day. Having a Recent Comments widget and using the blog’s recent comments view makes it easier for me to keep track of which comments I haven’t replied to yet. I use Disqus on my blog, so I also get e-mail notifications that I can reply to. Is that something you might find handy?

  7. #4 is not answered. “I don’t want to be wrong”

    “Test what you know by sharing?”

    There are already plenty of blogs (tech blogs in particular) out there with incorrect information that other people happily copy and paste and never bother to fact check.

    All this achieves is propagating wrong information, and bad code.

    • Thanks for the comment – we were discussing this in my class this week and one of our conclusions was that to be effective in this environment, we need to develop good crap detection skills. It’s something that Howard Rheingold has written about well.

    • Oh! It may help to dig into the blog post with more details, since that image is just a one-page summary. I don’t mean “Confidently post incorrect information”, more like “Post your notes as you’re learning, acknowledge your uncertainty, and let other people add corrections if they want to.” Does that clarify it for you? Is there a short way I can communicate that?

  8. Across the pond, people in the UK are being pursued for libel and “hate speech” for what they say online.

    Some people have faced onerous libel threats based on a blog post. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/andrew-gilligan/10108098/Muslim-hate-monitor-to-lose-backing.html

    Some have faced prison for making a joke in a tweet. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/18/robin-hood-airport-twitter-arrest

    One man is facing a criminal prosecution for “racism” because he tweeted that someone was a liar.

    The same applies to some people in the US. One man is facing prison based on a comment he made on Facebook. http://www.dallasobserver.com/2014-02-13/news/the-facebook-comment-that-ruined-a-life/full/

    A freelance translator faced a libel threat because she criticised a company who were late in paying her for her work.

    I’m all for people communicating, but in this day and age, thinking (or joking) in a “publishing” environment can have you facing years in prison.

  9. I assumed that people would think my writing was weak, ill judged, naive and irrelevant and yet each time I press the ‘publish’ button I am rewarded with positive feedback indicating I’m sort of heading in the right direction. Great post and thankyou.

  10. Nice post, Tim… I love all these reasons for creating a blog, and agree with every one of them.

    But someone just getting started needs to remember that “blog” is a four letter word (WORK).

    Yes, blogging can be fun. But it takes time, patience and a lot of effort to build up something useful and of substance. So, as long as you don’t mind doing the work, then you’ll get to enjoy all the perks you listed…

    > What about the how?

    Well… since you asked (shameless plug alert)…

    I recently created a step-by-step guide for newbies who want to create a blog or web site at Create a Blog Now.com, as well as a few little video tutorials such as this one: How to create a blog in 3 minutes or less.

    Creating a blog is the easy part. It’s the work that comes afterwards which has put millions of blogs in the ever-expanding web site graveyard…

    -joe