15 rules for blogging, and my current streak
18.07, Thursday 10 Sep 2020 Link to this post
My current streak: I’ve now been writing new posts for 24 consecutive weeks. Multiple posts a week. How on earth? I just calculated it, and I’ve added the live streak count to the site footer. I wonder how long I can keep it up.
This blog has been going since February 2000. I’m writing more now, two decades on, than I have for YEARS. That’s not just because of lockdown – it’s because, about six months ago, I set myself some rules. The rules, which are specific to me, are intended to bump me out of certain mental traps that I know will otherwise stop my words. And since these rules have been working for, well, 24 weeks now, I figured I’d write them down.
So here they are, my personal rules for blogging.
- Three posts a week, more or less.
- One idea per post. If I find myself launching into another section, cut and paste the extra into a separate draft post, and tie off the original one with the word “Anyway.” Then publish.
- No hedging, no nuance. If I’m getting in a twist about a sentence, take it out.
- Give up on attempting to be right.
- Give up on providing full links and citations.
- Give up on saying anything new. Most people haven’t read my old stuff. Play the hits.
- Give up on trying to be popular. I try not to filter myself based on what I believe will be popular. Some of my favourite posts get ignored. Some posts get popular and I have no idea why. Besides, terrible posts get buried fast if I’m posting three times a week. So post with abandon.
- Give up on trying to be interesting. Readers will come to my site for what’s interesting to me, or not, it’s fine, just say what I think about whatever I’m thinking about.
- But make it work for a general audience.
- Only write what’s in my head at that exact moment. It’s 10x faster.
- If it’s taking too long to write, stop.
- Don’t use a post just to link to something elsewhere. If there’s a point to make, start with that.
- Titles should be descriptive and have the flavour of the post. And rewrite the lede once the post is done so the whole thing gets to the point faster.
- It’s ok not to blog if it feels like a chore.
- Writing is a muscle.
If I have an idea for a post, at any time, I make a note of it in my drafts folder – without delay. Or it’ll disappear.
When there’s time to write, I go through my draft posts (and recent links that I’ve run across, I capture those too) and see if anything catches my eye. If it does: start typing and see what happens.
This post inspired by Tobias Revell’s recent remark,
How does Matt Webb do this every. damn. day?