Eight and a half, no Fellini: Lessons from years of blogging

If this blog has at all a conversational tone, and I hope it does, it’s because I’m often having a debate with myself exactly what I feel about a given topic.

8 and a halfThis being my 8.5th anniversary, or 17th semi-anniversary, of blogging, I thought I’d praise the rightness of Anil Dash’s 15 lessons from 15 years of blogging.

1. Typos in posts don’t reveal themselves until you’ve published.

This is SO true. There’s a coterie of bloggers who will e-mail me with corrections, and I for them – you know who you are – because a self-edited blog will inevitably have typos. There are errors that I KNOW are wrong, such as your instead of you’re, that I’ve made myself. Worse, though, is when I’ve decided to link to a previous blog post, and only then do I see the typo that’s been out there for months or YEARS. Oh, the horror.

2. Link to everything you create elsewhere on the web.

This is one of the reasons why I created my shadow blog, which, I should note, I’ve not always been so thorough in correcting the aforementioned typos, even when I fix them here.

3. Always write with the idea that what you’re sharing will live for months and years and decades.

There’s a tendency for me to want to write on topical subjects, in order to appear zeitgeisty.

4. Always write for the moment you’re in.

But my greater instinct is to write what I want, and that’s the stuff I tend to be most pleased with.

5. The scroll is your friend.

Occasionally, when I’ve written something here I like, and it gets NO reaction here, I might post it elsewhere. But truth is, I don’t worry overly much, because the daily blogger with a job and a wife and a daughter and other obligations can’t be overly concerned about these things.

6. Your blog can change your life in a month.

While I won’t write about ANYTHING every day, I do note that I’ve written a LOT about racism, and some about sexism, in the past few months. I think that some people know how they feel about something before they write, but my thought process often evolves as I am writing. If this blog has at all a conversational tone, and I hope it does, it’s because I’m often having a debate with myself about exactly what I feel about a given topic.

7. There is absolutely no pattern to which blog posts people will like.

Ain’t THAT the truth! One week, my Times Union blogging buddy Chuck Miller listed my blog post about hedgehogs as one of the best of the week on that platform. Really? OK.

8. The personal blog is an important, under-respected art form.

Well, yes. What I’ve learned about the politics of New Zealand, or struggles with depression, or trying to write a novel or the love of one’s grandchildren, or selling used stuff, just to pick a few, has enriched my life.

9. Meta-writing about a blog is generally super boring. (That probably includes this post.)

I do agree with the notion that “sorry I haven’t written in a while” posts are generally less interesting. Fortunately, because I never had the sense to leave, I’ve never written one, yet.

10. The tools for blogging have been extraordinarily stagnant.

This may be. ONE element that has evolved on the blogs themselves is the ability to write now, post later. I do appreciate the line of products I can post my blog to Facebook and Twitter without actually going there, such as Hootsuite. And I do like Bloglovin, where I put a bunch of blogs I want to visit, to see if/when they’ve last posted.

11. If your comments are full of assholes, it’s your fault.

That’s almost never been true here, though it has on the TU site, which is why I tend to write less there.

12. The most meaningful feedback happens in a very slow timeframe.

This is SO true. Things I’ve written about Raoul Vezina and FantaCo; or my grandfather working at then WNBF, Channel 12 in Binghamton; or my father, who people knew from 30 years ago; or my grief process regarding my mother’s passing, will generate comments two, three, FIVE years later. These tend to be quite meaningful.

13. It’s still early.

Dash writes: “Particularly as the idea of personal blogging has fallen out of fashion or even come to seem sort of old-fashioned online, there’s never been a better time to start.” EVERYONE was doing it, and now NO ONE is doing it because it’s not flashy, or brief, enough. Reason for me to continue.

14. Leave them wanting more.

He notes: “One sure way to trigger writer’s block when blogging is to think, ‘I have to capture all my thoughts on this idea and write it about it definitively once and for all.'” Fortunately, I DON’T think that I even KNOW what my definite thoughts on hardly anything is. I keep evolving.

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