- This is the ninth article in the attempt to form a habit.
One week after the start, and I feel it’s time for some retrospective.
In the past days, I have been posting eight articles on various topics. So far it was quite easy, as I was rolling a few ideas ahead of me, for a while. It is becoming increasingly difficult, as time goes by.
To write a technical blog, is way more difficult, than writing a personal journal, or tweeting a few words. The articles should conway some message, have some background, and be more of or less properly structured and worded.
Finding a message is the easiest part. You can pick any moment of your professional life that moved you. The emotion doesn’t really matter, anything can be interesting. If it was satisfaction on a job well done, it’s a good time to share the experience. If it was frustration, it’s great for getting it off your chest and talk about it.
Having a background is usually a time consuming activity. You must find the corresponding links, background material, to back your article. Also if it’s a technical topic, creating the background is also about abstraction and generalization of the topic, so more people would be interested. It’s a lot like submitting a bug report. You must find a way to simplify the problem to pinpoint exactly what you want to talk about. To do so, you must first remove it from the specific context. Sometimes you have to create a dedicated project, just to illustrate a point. It takes time to make something simple.
Once you have the message and the background, you must put it together. You must create a structure and write in clear and professional manner. The article should be proofread and corrected. You must format the text, add keywords, create a summary, add a header,and illustrations.
If this is all set, you are good to go.
It takes me about 2-6 hours to create a decent enough post. I’ve trashed quite a few articles, when I couldn’t finish it the way I wanted.
Blogging every day
In the challenge, I’ve decided to go with any topic, that comes to mind. I pick the first topic that occurs to me, and go with it. I try to keep topics separate, and wait a few days, before writing about similar.
There is just not enough time to do proper research, and the articles are way less detailed, then I would normally find them acceptable. I try to keep them as short and simple as possible, but there is no time for generalization.
Structuring and delivering the ideas that is quite simple for technical articles, but the non-technical topics are proving to be difficult. Topics like the architect job market, and the recruiting problems deserve much more attention. I will probably come back to those later, rewrite it properly and republish it.
I always struggle with illustrations. Those are more important than you might think. It doesn’t matter how much it’s related to the topic, but it breaks the monotony of the text. It will also appear on the social media, so it is a way to get viewers interested.
This way I can roll out an article in half an hour to two hours.
I have a WordPress based blog, so I use the web UI for most articles. The SEO plug-in does the social media cross-posting. It’s great, if you are at a computer.
The Android client however is only good for offline drafting. (I typed this entire article on it) once it’s done, I will have to go to the browser interface, to reformat and publish it.