Recently, our new friend Debra reached out with a question:
Your Brains on Fire blog is particularly great and before I get started with this somewhat daunting task, I’d love to hear if anyone at BOF has some intel to share on best blogging practices. Since I work in post-secondary in Canada, examples of my colleagues doing this type of work are few and far between, and while I love the idea of being a maverick, there is also a little bit of fear there.
Debra, you’re in luck. A few of our frequent BOF bloggers had thoughts to share…
Writing is like a muscle. You have to practice writing often and with wild abandon. You will see yourself improve and get better. That is exciting.
Don’t edit yourself too much. Write and put it away, then come back to make it more concise.
Write like you speak. Try to forget you are writing and just start sharing.
Make a list of 10 ideas for topics. See how fast and often you can create a list of ten topics. Keep a little notebook by your side so if an idea strikes for something to share, you can make note.
Read. Read. Read.
Writing inspires thinking and thinking is a REALLY good thing. The world is thinking out loud now and blogging/journaling is an amazing way to really connect with others.
Have fun. BE happy. Try to help others. Be you.
Jump in. The water is fine. There is no need to fear blogging. Yes, sharing your opinion with the world seems scary. It’s not. It’s quite freeing. And if someone challenges your opinion then that’s an opportunity to learn, which is a good thing.
Expect to be more energized at work. When I started blogging in December of 2003 I was working as the director of marketing at Whole Foods. Something amazing happened that first week I blogged. I found myself more engaged at work. By sharing interesting articles and thoughts on my blog, I was more on top my game and my co-workers could feel my renewed energy. 1,600+ posts later… I still feel energized when I blog.
Blogging builds thinking muscles. When you write a post you must synthesize information. That process helps you to think smarter because you must first form your opinion to share your opinion. Dig?
Stop thinking. Start typing. The more you wait, the longer you are depriving the world of your voice. Stop thinking about blogging and start typing your blog. Jump in. The water is fine.
Take a stance. There is a lot of noise in the blog world — lots of people talking just to hear themselves speak. Anyone can regurgitate someone else’s thoughts. If you’re going to take the time to write about something, add to it what you can: your viewpoint, your opinion, your take. My most successful blog posts have put a stake in the ground. Sometimes my take has been a popular opinion, sometimes not. Either way, it gives people something to think about…and that gets them talking.
Become a hunter and gatherer. Get familiar with Pocket, a great way to squirrel away all those inspirational tidbits you come across while you’re surfing your way through the internet. You may not always have time to sit down and write a full post when inspirational strikes, but you can definitely harvest links for later. Also, read more than you write. Inspiration has a habit of striking in the shower, but it won’t happen in a vacuum. Make time to check out what other people are talking about and sharing.
Participate in Twitter chats. Seek out Twitter chats relevant to your industry — and start participating. It’s not uncommon to walk away from an hour-long chat with three or four or five new ideas for blog posts. Conversing and engaging inspire great thinking…which inspires great writing. Don’t expect literary genius to strike just because you sit down at a keyboard.
What would you add to the list? What are your blogging best practices?