Monday, December 16, 2013

My top blogging tip: Just blog

You never really know what you think until someone shoves a video camera in your face and says, Quick! What's your number one blogging tip?

This happened to me recently at a conference about Google products. I was randomly ambushed by a team collecting advice about all of these (not just Blogger, but YouTube, Search, etc.).

As the camera rolled my blogging life flashed before my eyes. Many tips, but which which is primary?

Think fast! (Wikimedia photo/Creative Commons license 2.0)
Labels? Feeds? SEO? Best fonts? Facebook integration? Google+?

To my surprise the first words out of my mouth were, "Just blog." As in:

You'll learn by doing, so do it. If you make mistakes you can revise them. Experience is the best teacher.

It's okay to think about your design or what widgets to put in your sidebar or your url. But the important thing is to blog. Don't turn design considerations into excuses.

If you're feeling cautious, you can start your blog as private. Privately pick a template, write a few posts, and add some pages and sidebar gadgets. When you and your blog are ready, lift the curtain and show the world.

Do whatever you need to feel safe enough to engage with the medium and your subject. And if you don't (yet) know the medium, or the subject, or even what exactly your subject is, then dig in and learn by doing. Just blog.

You'll soon find yourself sitting on an honest-to-gosh body of work, actively engaged in your subject and the craft of writing about it online.

Is there more to it than that? Of course. Writing is hard work. So get busy.

I don't know what became of my video interview. And I sure was surprised at what popped out of my mouth.

But as the Buddhists say, First thought, best thought. It's my number one tip.

Just blog. The rest will follow.

Update: I'm flattered by the attention this post has received after being selected by Blogger as one of its "14 Blogging Tips to 2014."


Check out the others 13 at the Blogger Google+ page.

Happy new year, and keep blogging!


19 comments:

  1. I just dropped it all on a blog and its been over a month and experience has been the best teacher.

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    1. If you want to really know something, write about it!

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  2. I started my blog about a month ago and it does feel a bit overwhelming. But I'm going to take your advice and, just like Dora from Nemo...just keep blogging! Thanks!

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  3. 'Just blog' so easy to say.... Must say I'm feeling lost right now :(( but still early days, need to give myself a chance I guess.

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    1. Everyone gets stuck sometime, Izabela. My question would be, what is holding you back?

      I sometimes am paralyzed by a feeling that my writing needs to be perfect. It never is! But I've found ways to give myself permission to publish work that is "merely" good.

      Sometimes that gets my creative juices flowing and I'll write something that is really good! But I only get there by overcoming the "perfect" thing.

      Good luck with your blog!

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  4. Writing is hard work. So, just blog. Right?
    Nice blog..

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  5. I just wrote captions from albums that turned out into blogs from my fb account only. I am not confident to share it on blogspot yet until i decided to start blogging in December 2013..yes, i'm a newbie in blog world. And you are right! As long you really lov3 what you're doing which is writing, JUST BLOG!

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  6. I'm here in Italy and started my own blog on Christmas day! Just do it, that's so true! Only other advises I would add are: 1) do not run on impatience; write, save, come back later or even tomorrow. Refine and only then publish. 2) Be regular but do not post too often. Save posts for those hard days. One or two posts for week might be just good. But to each his own I guess! Ciao! :) V.

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    1. All good advice, Virgilio! Especially on the need to rewrite. Good luck with your blog.

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  7. I have my previous blog that I loved to write anything about my experiences, my feelings, etc. Then I ignored the blog for quite some times. One thing I realize if I do not do blogging, I feel like my brain do not function actively like it supposed to be. My writing skills diminish as well as my vocabularies. English is not my native language. Now I'm back to blogging but I begin again with a new blog. I wish to develop my writing skills on the blog and have fun! pray me luck!

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    1. Good luck, aNisa!

      When I started blogging 5 years ago I was worried that blogging would use up my energy for writing and that my other writing projects would suffer.

      The opposite has been true, however: writing has begot more energy for more (and better) writing. Not a zero-sum game at all!

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  8. It was a long time ago since I thought that i want to create a blog but never did it. To be honest I don't know where to start and how to do it and then I saw this blog and your right I just have to do it and little by little I know I'll be better. Experience is the best teacher.
    And I'm so happy to learn that there's such a thing as private blogging thank you so much! :)

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    1. Good luck with it, Shenny! And have fun.

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  9. I just began blogging a few months ago, but I am having a hard time getting use to writing. Honestly I was a horrible student in grade school in the subject of reading and writing. Now I am an English major at the University, and I'm developing a better sense of what to write and how to become a more effective writier. There is still some research I need to do on blogging, but I want to know how to actually make money and getting traffic to my blog?

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    1. G Hill, it's a fair question. Having content—blogging regularly and well—is absolutely necessary but is not the whole story if you are blogging for bucks.

      I see you are on Google+, which is crawling with really smart marketing and SEO people who will give you clearer (which is not to say simple) answers than I ever could. Search G+ for some of these.

      But keep blogging while you do.

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  10. U r right! But I just can't keep on writing the blogs...>.<

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