Commit to blog daily - it's smart and stupid

Daily blogging by itself is not a bad thing.

I changed tracks a year back to get back to development after a million years of doing something else. I thought through the idea of blogging daily, what I was going to write about, and how that would pan out through days and months.

The premise was simple - learn something, and record that for yourself. The world may benefit from it if it chooses to.

The idea worked out well at the beginning. I started a new blog at techformist.com, and was fairly regular (if not daily).

  1. Thanks to my tech background, I had a few things that I could write about from the very beginning
  2. I was learning at a quicker pace than anticipated. So, I was getting “more stuff” all the time

But, as it is with all things with humans, things slowed down.

I faced the same challenges that I faced elsewhere - I missed out on stuff that I thought was trivial, I regularly failed to record things that I was doing so that I can recall them for future topics, and caught myself worrying about what would be the next big topic to write about.

I could see clear challenges in sticking to the schedule. In hindsight, I should have known better - especially with my “experience” of blogging since a decade on wide range of topics incl. internet marketing, CRM, gardening, humour and more.

But, what was different this time was my stupid determination to see it through. I took a vow to continue with the daily blog for an year (target: 2019-10-15), and re-evaluate the state of affairs at that time.

I took breaks in between running a new company just to stick to schedule. I went completely berserk several times in the last two months to “fill in the gap days”, publish/complete my often incomplete drafts, and fulfil my obsession about this blog being a “daily blog”. I scourged my code for newer tips that I could write about, compared notes with Reddit / Stackoverflow / and even Quora to check what people were asking about, looked at what other daily bloggers were doing, and did everything except visiting a mental health professional.

I wrote-in the topic for 15-Oct last week, and despite loving what I do - I heaved a sign of relief and have made up my mind to stop the current way.

Here’s a run down of things that went right and wrong out of 365 days of blogging.

What went right?

  • I forced myself to really “see” many things that were otherwise not paid attention to in a “hectic development schedule”. For example: currying in Javascript, reusable functions for memoization or why would someone use maps vis-a-vis an object.

  • to an extent - I could hold myself accountable to the wider world to churn out new stuff ( world = those who dared to read the blog). Even if the said stuff meant little to them over the course of time. For example, bubble sort, or more than a few posts about how to generate Fibonacci series.

  • I proved to myself for the umpteenth time that I could stick to boring things just so to see it completed

What went wrong?

Technically, nothing. But practically -

  • Quality suffered at the expense of number of posts. This should not be the case in an ideal world, but I am not a member of one
  • Topics tend to focus on solving something small - my whole purpose on the blog seemed to be focused on “satisfying the quota”. This is a wrong approach for learning or for sharing of anything worth sharing. Long-form topics were shunned if I had some catching up to do on the daily blog requirements - and this was (seemingly) all the time
  • It is ok to blog for self. But you cannot hold attention of readers on small, seemingly adhoc topics (even though the thread of web development holds everything together). Long-form posts are loved and respected by both readers, and as a consequence, by search engines. People read through at the posts for a longer time, seem to appreciate the deeper coverage a bit more, click-through to browse a few other topics, and possibly subscribe to future updates anticipating similar value
  • It is ok to solve a small problem in a post, but very few readers stick on to browse through other topics
  • I should have followed up my daily blog with a book, videos or something else. This did not quite happen in the same way that I envisioned it to happen

None of these points are anything new (even for a being like me) but I derive satisfaction in looking back, seeing the bigger picture and to validate, yet again, that the tract of ‘humanity repeating itself’ is intact.

What’s in it for you?

Take-aways for anyone interested in the topic -

  • You will enjoy blogging daily if you are interested in the topic. You will subject yourself to suffering if you hold yourself accountable to it
  • Prefer long-form posts and deliver more value within a single post rather than splitting things in multiple posts just for the sake of it
  • Daily tips are ok, but don’t be afraid to repeat them at the risk of infuriating your loyal readers. Daily blogs are best run through email if you are looking forward to taking your message to the world
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Categories: Misc
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