Brian Shaler

Occasionally Interesting

Gravity is for chumps

Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Blogger’s Block

I think most non-pro bloggers know about blogger’s block. The less defined you are in your blogging goals and the more broad the scope of your blog, the easier it is to get stuck. The more stuck you are, the more pressure you put on yourself to make your next post significant. As you can see, that can become a vicious cycle.

This is one of the main reasons I tell myself I’m not a blogger. People may or may not read my posts. If there’s something worth posting, post it and post it quickly. If I don’t have anything to say, do what I usually do when I don’t have anything to say: STFU.

One thing I noticed, however, is that I don’t have to suppress blogger’s block on one of my other blogs, SofaJumper.com. I don’t post much there either, but when I do, it’s easier. There’s less pressure. It’s a simple task, versus being somewhat of a monumental piece of literature.

Why is that? Well, first of all, it’s not really ME. I don’t dig into my thoughts and try to come up with useful (To whom? I don’t know!) information. I’m not trying to write something I already have trouble verbalizing. The biggest challenge is the time it takes to sit down and type it out. Not much thinking necessary. Not much personal investment in the content.

I wonder how this applies to people who want to blog. I have both a personal blog and a not-so-personal blog like SofaJumper. If someone else was looking for advice for setting up their first blog, it might be beneficial for me to help them find a suitable middle ground between the bloggers block of a broad, undefined blog and an easy and focused blog.

Some Updates

I’ve been super busy recently (as always). I’m not going to be able to apologize for being a bad blogger, because I’m not a blogger. I’m a guy who writes code for a living, travels whenever possible, and tries to be active in the Phoenix tech community. Nowhere in there do I define myself as a blogger!

But on the topic of bloggers and blogging…

I happen to subscribe to about 200 Phoenix-based blogs (in part thanks to ReadPhoenix.com). I like to know what’s going on in Phoenix, and there’s no one source for that. There’s simply too much going on. I doubt many people would try to stick the fire hose of information into their mouths like I do.

When the topic came up about having a panel on blogging at a future Social Media Club Phoenix meeting, I skimmed through my RSS subscriptions and picked out a few of my favorites. Here are the bloggers I recommended:

Blogs with micro-communities:
The Wood Whisperer – Marc Spagnuolo
Arizona Coffee – Chris Tingom

Blogging techniques:
The Closet Entrepreneur – Tomas Carrillo
Convince and Convert – Jason Baer
Stealthmode – Francine Hardaway

Blogging about a product:
Method ~ of ~ Failed – Tim Heuer (Microsoft Silverlight evangelist)

PR & News:
Valley PR Blog – Run by a group.
Heat City – Nick Martin

A Goal For 2009: Blog-a-day For a Month

I made a video-per-day for a month a year ago, and it proved to be an invaluable exercise for all my future video production endeavors, especially live video. It also helped with my public speaking confidence and clarity. During that month, the videos themselves varied in quality and usefulness, but quite a few people told me they enjoyed most of them.

If you have followed this blog for long enough, you might remember that I was featuring blog posts from Phoenix bloggers every week for a couple of months. I may or may not get back into that, but when I travel, it’s hard enough to keep up with what’s going on in Phoenix. Reading all the Phoenix blogs I can find, filtering out the most interesting ones, and blogging about them proved to be a little more than I could squeeze into my schedule permanently.

I usually do these types of exercises with no end date, but this time, I’m going to make it exactly one calendar month. Starting today, I’m going to write about something every day. I might not write every day, but something will be posted every day here on this blog — meaning I may write stuff in advance and save it for days I don’t write. Also, since it is mostly about posting regularly, the posts may be short and they may even be video.

After January 31, I can guarantee I will not keep up the blog-a-day, but after that, my average posts per month will hopefully be higher. That’s part of the reason I call this an exercise. If you can run a certain speed when you’re out of shape, running every day for a month will very likely result in a faster pace thereafter. Until you get fat and lazy again, that is!

I wouldn’t read my blog.

I know a lot of smart people who are crappy bloggers. They each may have a plethora of useful information, but the way they approach the act of blogging leads seems to be flawed. And I think I’m one of them.

Here’s my problem:

My interests cover several different industries, more than one brain hemisphere, a couple of cultures, and too many demographics. So who is my audience? I don’t know. How do I write something that will appeal to my audience? By not writing at all.

I occasionally overcome that issue, but only when I have something I really want to get out there. The thought of writing something that will appeal to my “audience” is what keeps me from being a “better blogger” (whatever that means).

When I write something, I tend to make an article of it. I want it to be well thought out. I want it to be thought provoking. I want it to be some sort of literary masterpiece. What do I end up with? A bunch of words.

Why I wouldn’t read my own blog:

I read blogs via RSS, unless I’m searching for something. When I go through feeds in my RSS reader, I blaze through them. I read through them so fast, the blogs authors’ keyboards rumble. I glance at the title and I sometimes skim a sentence or two to see if it’s something absolutely interesting. Long posts, like the ones to be found on my own blog, usually get the least attention — unless the title reaches through my monitor and grabs me by the eyelids. Believe me, that doesn’t happen often.

I’m thinking about what to do to resolve this. I want to write more often and I want to overcome my “audience” issue. Someone who is interested in my philosophical meanderings probably won’t be too interested in a quick blurb about something code-related. I wonder if I should create a separate blog for code stuff. A blog for wordy articles about anything, mostly philosophical, career, marketing, etc. Maybe even a blog for photography and video. Maybe a blog about neat crap I’ve seen on the web. I see a lot of neat crap and might as well share it.

Should I?