15 rules for blogging, and my current streak

18.07, Thursday 10 Sep 2020 Link to this post

My current streak: I’ve now been writing new posts for 24 consecutive weeks. Multiple posts a week. How on earth? I just calculated it, and I’ve added the live streak count to the site footer. I wonder how long I can keep it up.

This blog has been going since February 2000. I’m writing more now, two decades on, than I have for YEARS. That’s not just because of lockdown – it’s because, about six months ago, I set myself some rules. The rules, which are specific to me, are intended to bump me out of certain mental traps that I know will otherwise stop my words. And since these rules have been working for, well, 24 weeks now, I figured I’d write them down.

So here they are, my personal rules for blogging.

  1. Three posts a week, more or less.
  2. One idea per post. If I find myself launching into another section, cut and paste the extra into a separate draft post, and tie off the original one with the word “Anyway.” Then publish.
  3. No hedging, no nuance. If I’m getting in a twist about a sentence, take it out.
  4. Give up on attempting to be right.
  5. Give up on providing full links and citations.
  6. Give up on saying anything new. Most people haven’t read my old stuff. Play the hits.
  7. Give up on trying to be popular. I try not to filter myself based on what I believe will be popular. Some of my favourite posts get ignored. Some posts get popular and I have no idea why. Besides, terrible posts get buried fast if I’m posting three times a week. So post with abandon.
  8. Give up on trying to be interesting. Readers will come to my site for what’s interesting to me, or not, it’s fine, just say what I think about whatever I’m thinking about.
  9. But make it work for a general audience.
  10. Only write what’s in my head at that exact moment. It’s 10x faster.
  11. If it’s taking too long to write, stop.
  12. Don’t use a post just to link to something elsewhere. If there’s a point to make, start with that.
  13. Titles should be descriptive and have the flavour of the post. And rewrite the lede once the post is done so the whole thing gets to the point faster.
  14. It’s ok not to blog if it feels like a chore.
  15. Writing is a muscle.

If I have an idea for a post, at any time, I make a note of it in my drafts folder – without delay. Or it’ll disappear.

When there’s time to write, I go through my draft posts (and recent links that I’ve run across, I capture those too) and see if anything catches my eye. If it does: start typing and see what happens.

This post inspired by Tobias Revell’s recent remark, How does Matt Webb do this every. damn. day?

Anyway.