Writing about blogging? I’m not sure if I like that. It’s so meta. But Hugh says I should do it, so I guess I have to ;)
I started blogging quite some time ago, but I never really followed through. It was something I did just for me, and I did not care what other people think - or if they even follow me. That has changed a bit recently - but not that much. I still won’t be depressed if people disliked my blog, but now I want to be read. But to be read is not the only reason I write. Not even the top reason. If it were, I would have already stopped it.
Freedom is Blogging in your Underwear
… Is the new book by Hugh MacLeod, a great artist and blogger. I must confess I have not read it yet, but it is second from the top of my “To Read” pile (*).
Rebooting my Blog
For a long time I had only been blogging “when I had something interesting to say”. That meant that I wrote only a few posts per year. The problem with only writing when - magically - something interesting comes to your mind is that you don’t think about things to write about. So nothing interesting comes to your mind. Then I got annoyed by the fact that I wrote so little, and I forced myself to decide if I wanted to have a blog or stop blogging completely. No more half-assed writing.
I decided I wanted to have a blog, and I set out to write at least one blog post per week. I started with a post about Version Numbers, and from that day on, I wrote one or two blog posts every week. Almost ;)
I was always blogging because I wanted to become a better writer (Like I speak at conferences because I want to become a better speaker). And because I learn a lot about things by writing about them - For Example, I learned a lot when I wrote the series about Framework Design Principles. This learning - for me - only works well when I do it on a regular basis, when I constantly have to think and learn about topics to write about.
I also started to announce the posts on Twitter and Google+. I even submitted a few to Hacker News. This brings in a little bit of traffic, but not too much. Hittail (**) shows that search traffic is increasing too. But: I’m still not rich and famous - yet.
The years before
I started blogging quite some time ago: My first blog entry was “Dear Log” on June 3rd, 2004. Later I started a second blog: I wanted guglhupf.net (the site of my good friend Rene Pirringer) to be my private blog (which I stopped completely now) and I wrote about software development on deltalabs.at, which later became davidtanzer.net.
For some time I wrote a series called This week on harmony-dev where I summarized all the discussions on the Apache Harmony Developer Mailing List. This was read quite a lot because I also forwarded these articles to the mailing list. It just was too time consuming for me at the time to read and summarize all these emails, so I had to stop it after several months.
How Blogging changed my life
Blogging is just something I do. Something I started in University and have continued since then. But I really like it. And it has changed my life: I learned a lot about several topics by writing about them. I think my English has improved. And I think I am a better writer than I was a few years ago. Anyway, there is still so much left to learn….
(*) Right under “Grouped” by Paul Adams, which is next because it has been lying there for way too long. (**) BTW, I love Hittail. Maybe I’ll write about it in more detail in the future.