I’m a person who enjoys mentoring other developers. I take great personal joy and satisfaction from seeing their successes. Over the years I’ve had people ask if I have a blog. When I answered no they tell me that I should have one. Generally speaking I’ve pooh-poohed them and went my merry way. In this post I want to discuss the reason I started blogging.
Recently I was looking for some resources to help a couple of young and budding developers I’ve been helping get their feet planted and came across a blog post on https://simpleprogrammer.com/ that struck a chord with me. John Sonmez has a free email course on how to get started with your own blog and that is what helped kick my butt into gear.
My excuses “why not”
We all have a thousand reasons why not. Maybe it’s that I don’t think I have anything interesting to say. Perhaps I don’t think that anybody will care. It could be I think that everything that can be said about a subject has already been said. These thoughts, along with others, are ones that have been on my mind ever since the first time I considered blogging years ago.
I think it is important to focus on the “what can this do for me or for others” instead of “what excuse do I have for not doing it”. This principle is important not just here but throughout all aspects of your life.
Why should I blog?
In my own personal use-case I decided that I should start blogging for several reasons:
- The best way (for me) to learn something is to try teaching it. A good faith effort on my part to write a blog post means that I need to understand the concepts I’m attempting to communicate.
- I have a huge backlog of technologies, frameworks, concepts, etc., that I want to try out. See point #2.
- I enjoy helping others succeed. What better way for me to increase my reach than to make myself a “public figure”?
- It is time for me to “give back”. I’ve benefited a lot from other bloggers over the years and I feel it is time I should do the same.
How do I blog?
I don’t want to go into too much detail or steal John’s thunder but the general idea is you need to work yourself up to it. At one point during his email course he asks you to brainstorm a list of 50 ideas that you could blog about. That seems like a lot but he goes on to give several ideas of types of things you can write about and suddenly your options open up quite a bit.
Me personally, how have I decided to do it? I have a text document I sync in OneDrive and can pull up from my phone. I jot down little ideas I have as they come up. Another way I keep track of posts that I want to write next is by creating a draft here in my blogging engine then enter a draft title and a paragraph or two. While I haven’t been doing this very long yet I already have posts mostly written and scheduled to release over the next two weeks. Additionally I have another three drafts in a very basic form.
Once I decide on the post I’m actively working on I proceed to create a folder in OneDrive. I start to put additional notes, images, etc., in this folder. Where pertinent I also create a Git repository and stuff the code in there.
How long before I see results?
Frankly I don’t know. My expectation is that it’ll be at least a year before I really start to see any sort of traction from my blog. Probably longer. I think the important part is to realize that you aren’t going to see results over night. It will definitely take it’s time but as John Sonmez continually says through his posts and course you need to “trust the process”.
I’ve made a goal with myself that I’m going to write at least one post every week and so far so good.
Should I write my own engine?
No. But seriously, no. Unless the purpose of your blog is to write about you creating a blogging engine then this is not the direction you want to take. Why not? If you’re anything like me then you’ll be too distracted writing and tweaking your own software than actually creating content. John touches on this during his course.
It’s not to say that down the road I shouldn’t look at it but at least get started on the path of least resistance. For me that was WordPress. Is it the best platform? That’s open for discussion. Does it work for me right out of the box? Absolutely.
I’ve been pleased with John’s blogging course thus far. It has convinced me to do something I’ve been thinking about for years. If you have ever thought–even for a brief moment–that you should blog then I suggest you subscribe to his free course. Do yourself a favor and sign up and see where your journey takes you.