It has been around 10 months since I started blogging. My first post was on March 20, 2006. I was a little late to the game because previously, I had been updating my website with my writings. Blogging made this much more convenient. I registered with Blogger and initially set it up to post to a sub-folder under my website, but I later abandoned that for Blogger hosting itself. Here are some thoughts on the experience of trying to write posts regularly.
My initial resolution was to have one blog posting per day. This didn’t seem too ambitious at that time. If I missed one day, I would just post two the next day and I would meet my target. I even decided to use the facility in Blogger to change the blog post dates so that each day from March 20th would have a post – this way, I wouldn’t have to manually keep track. Needless to say (you can just look at the right side showing the blog archive to see what happened), it didn’t go the way I wanted.
I got really busy with work and other stuff. I was still optimistic after a few months that all I needed was a long holiday and I would catch up. Once October hit, I dropped the charade and the blog postings reflect the actual dates and times. Since December, I have been more frequent in my blog postings. I still wish to have 1 blog per day, but it is really hard work to write a blog entry that I feel is good for posting. Although blogs are meant to be more free-flow, I feel guilty if I try to post something that is half-baked.
The recent update to Google Reader provides a useful functionality for statistics about blog subscriptions. Among the 30-odd blogs I read, the subscription trends for the last 30 days indicate that Robert Scoble leads the way with almost 6 posts per day, followed by a distant second Google Blogoscoped at 4 posts/day and Freakonomics at 2.5 posts per day. Matt Cutts is at 1 post per day – which is my writing target. I find Scoble’s statistics amazing, but it is explained by the fact that blogging is his full-time focus in terms of marketing (nod to the “Naked Conversations” book). Scoble seems to be remarkably consistent in the count and size of his posts (ref: Yuvi’s analysis).
My first-hand impression of the blog frequency from my subscriptions is that most of the frequent bloggers have smaller posts that link to interesting news, websites and other blogs. The posts themselves can be read in a few seconds, but the links need more time to explore. The bigger the size of posts in the subscription gets or the more detailed the analysis, the blogger seems to take greater time between posts. I don’t mean to denigrate the importance of the posts based on their size. For example, Google Blogoscoped offers a wide variety of important information about Google services much better than the official Google Blog.
My experience with trying to write smaller blog entries is that many times, even a simple point can have many different perspectives to it and it is very difficult to distill it to a few words. Sometimes, a message can have different nuances and exceptions – easily making it run into multiple paragraphs. For example, in my previous (only-half-joking) blog about 24, each management principle could have been easily expanded into an entry by itself with so many examples from the series which probably has run to 90 hours worth of programming.
Sometimes a blog entry will take several weeks to shape up. I have been using Windows Live Writer to create a draft entry whenever I get an idea. I work on some posts multiple times over several days before they become coherent narratives. Posts can take from around 30 minutes to several hours to get right. Hopefully, by writing more often, I can get over the writer’s block and write faster.