9/23/2010

A note to novice bloggers

Seth Godin has advocated writing blog entries every single day as a means of confronting and overcoming inner resistance, at least in a small way. To all outward appearances, this is what Godin himself has done for the past few years. There was a time before that when he skipped a day or two nearly every week.

It is a useful exercise, but there comes a point when the resistance shifts from opposing doing it every day to opposition to skipping a day. This is reminiscent of fiction writer Stephen King following his encounter with an automobile as a pedestrian a few years back. While laid up in the hospital in traction and on pain killers, he insisted on keeping up his usual habit of writing every day. This is what successful writers do. They write every day, and by any measure Stephen King is a successful writer.

But Stephen King's daily writing had a focus. He was writing horror stories.

With blogging it is possible to write about something every day and have no continuity from one blog post to the next, and to have no overall focus. Seth Godin generally writes within a definite range of business and marketing topics, with recurring themes.

When writing blog posts just for the sake of writing blog posts, there is a risk of writing about the wild hare du jour, which is continually shifting. Whatever comes to mind or is triggered by the big news story of the day, that is what gets blogged. Writing every day for the sake of discipline is good, writing every day to improve your writing skills is also good. Even better is limiting your writing to a semi-focused topic.

A useful practice is to go back after a few months of blog posting and read what you have written. Do the daily accretions add up to anything? Then comes the time to face the possibility of embracing a purpose greater than overcoming old self-defeating habits.