At the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted to share more of my experiences working with the MongoDB community. Initially it was challenging for me to start blogging. It required putting myself and my ideas out in the open. Yet over the past several months, I’ve really started to enjoy writing and find it very rewarding. Here are some of the tips, tricks, and strategies that I’ve learned since starting my blog.
Get Into a Rhythm
Like running a user group, consistency is key. You should set a goal for the frequency that you want to post, and stick with it. I aim to publish a post once a week. Sometimes I even schedule a publish date before the post is done to motivate me to finish it up.
Always Be Drafting
I always have lots and lots of posts in draft form. Every day I’m inspired by good conversations with members of the technology and MongoDB community. Whenever I have a conversation or idea that might make a good post, I write a few notes and save it as a draft. I may not write the post for weeks or even months, but it helps me to keep lots of ideas in progress and provides me with a decent catalogue of pieces to work on.
Doing multi-part blog series has helped me tackle big topics, such as the details of running a technology conference. Whenever I’m not sure what to write about, I can focus on one of the series that I have in progress. In addition, starting the series and outlining the parts publicly commits me to writing the posts!
In addition to blog series, I also recommend a “themed” day of the week. For example, my colleague Kristina posts a different command line tip every Thursday. Fred Wilson, the prolific venture capitalist blogger, has several series such as MBA Mondays and Fun Feature Friday on his blog AVC. I haven’t tried this yet, but I think it’s a great idea for getting consistency on a blog.
Build a Support Network
At the beginning of the year, I started a weekly blogging circle where a few colleagues would meet to bounce ideas around. After a few months, the group disintegrated due to busy schedules. However, I kept asking those people for feedback. Everyone has been very willing to read and review my posts (thanks you guys!).
As I mentioned above, a good conversation will often give me ideas for new blog posts. I try to credit the people that inspire me in my posts and share the content with them for feedback. This has not only made the posts on my blog better, but also helped me build an audience.
Don’t worry about being perfect
My goal to publish regularly forced me to overcome my perfectionist tendencies. I had to stop agonizing about making each post perfect in order to accomplish my target of one post per week. I’ve come to realize that a genuine, insightful post can be published with a few typos. And a support network of proofreaders will quickly find those for you anyway.
Believe in your Expertise
I have to admit, I doubt myself before almost every post. I often feel that what I’m writing is obvious, or trite, or uninteresting. Aren’t the steps to running a successful tech conference obvious? Hasn’t this all been said and done before? Yet, I’m consistently surprised that people find the posts beneficial. I think about marketing and community and open source all day long, and might provide an insight or two to those that don’t focus on this type or work, or give a new perspective to someone that does. And ultimately, blogging is a great way for me to formulate and refine my thoughts on these topics even if no one else benefits!
So I might as well keep writing, and I hope that you all enjoy it