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The Most Unhelpful Blogging Advice Ever

March 2, 2016

It was an odd request.

What routine do you use when you write your blog?

Well, I generally write at night. But lately, I’ve been writing in the morning. I try to schedule my posts to appear at 7:00 AM, but sometimes they are later.

But, how do you pick your topics?

I have a hidden blog post that is a list of topics that I might want to write on. But, that’s more of a safety blanket at this point. I tend to jot down ideas during the day. Sometimes I write them on my whiteboard. I have lots of post-it notes with blog topics, stuck in my notebook. I will occasionally email or text myself an idea so I don’t forget it.

That’s no help for me. There’s no way to take your process and replicate it.

My friend was going to start blogging. He knew that I write everyday. Well, every Monday through Friday. He was trying to see if there was anything in my approach that he could use. 

I guess I’m an anomaly. Not because of my erratic writing times. But, March 1st marks the three year anniversary of this blog. In that time, I’ve written every day. Sometimes, I’ve written great content. Sometimes I’ve written poorly. But, I’ve done it day in and day out. Between today and March 1, 2013 there are 1,098 days. But, since I only write on workdays, it’s been 783 workdays Today is my 791st blog post. (I’ve posted a few extras over the years.)

A couple of days ago I talked about “What’s It Take To Be the 1%?” I talked about how in a social media community, ninety percent of the participants typically are passive. Nine percent are semi active and one percent create the bulk of the content. The concept is called the 90-9-1 Rule for Participation Inequality in Social Media and Online Communities. Jakob Nielsen did the original write up on the research in 2006. At that time there were about 55,000,000 blogs. They estimated that 55,000 blogs updated daily. While there is truth to the 90-9-1 rule, when it comes to blogs, it’s not the 1% who create the bulk of the content, it’s the 0.1%. Today, there are about 157,000,000 blogs. 176,000 are created daily. Most are quickly abandoned after a post or two. The fact that I’m still here after nearly 800 posts makes me unique. 

There is a famous cliche: 

Practice makes perfect.

And yet, that’s a lie. If you do something badly over and over again, you simply get getter at doing it badly. The famous football coach Vince Lomardi put it this way:

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
– Vince Lombardi

I’ve written nearly a million words since I wrote my first post. Have I gotten better? I hope so. Am I perfect? Not even close as any number of readers who point out my many grammatical errors can attest. However, I have had several people who believed in me. One friend, after reading one of my earliest posts, (Fire, Comics and Change written March 20, 2013) offered the following critique:

Rodney, this is very good. Much better than when you try to tell jokes. 

I really wanted to help my friend get his blog off to a good start. I struggled to find any patterns or processes that I use on a regular basis.

Well, I write all the entries on my iPad using the free version of WordPad. I try to create compelling headlines. Oh, also, when I start writing I copy my signature block from a hidden file and I put the words “(The end)” just above the signature block. Otherwise, my text tends to get sucked into the formatting that’s in the signature block.

This isn’t really helping.

I occasionally forget to delete “The end” text.

Still, not helpful.

Ultimately, I think writing is such a private affair that there are few crossover techniques. Ben Bova, the famous Science Fiction writer, told the story of long ago being on a cruise with a bunch of other writers. At night, he was liked down the hall and he could hear the clicky-clack of the portable typewriters. Only the door to Isaac Asimov’s room was quite. You see, Asimov wrote 10,000 words per day and did it all in long hand. Everyone is different.

My friend Dave Farland, teaches writing. He encourages people to find their own best writing time. For some it’s the morning. For others it might late at night. What works for one writer might not work for another. 

Louis L’Amore, the prolific Western writer claimed he could write with his typewriter propped on his knees in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. “Temperamental, I am not.” Other writers require a quiet place with few distractions.

Ultimately, I don’t know that I was very much help to my friend. However, he knows me pretty well. He knows that I’m basically lazy and not the most gifted writer. And if I can plug away for three years and still be going strong, it can’t take brains or talent. It just takes a willingness to put one word in front of the other every day. 

Happy Birthday to Thanks for coming to the party every day. 

(The end)

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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