Lately, I’ve been meeting with several friends and colleagues who are interested in starting a blog, and all have been hesitating to make it a reality. In my loose research, I’ve found that the majority of them are all hesitating for the same reasons. In this post I want to highlight those reasons and debunk them in the hopes that more of us will get out there and share our ideas.
Let’s start off with the reasons that I have found that people are not blogging. In no particular order they are:
1. I don’t have anything to say.
2. Someone has already said what I have to say OR I think that someone has probably already said the same thing, and said it better than I can, so why bother?
3. People will think that I’m an amateur, that I’m annoying, an idiot, etc.
Let’s start the debunking of these ideas with a general context setter. The first thing that I would do (and did do) when I wanted to improve my blog and my writing was to create an experience theme. Defining an experience theme for my blog allowed me to not only stay on target with the type of content I was writing, but it also helped me to determine the tone of my writing. So, you might be curious as to what they theme of my blog is. It is simply put “Lis’ experience in the world of User Experience”. Everything I write here is something that I’ve gone through, thought about, experienced, etc within the UX field. This helps me to stay on topic and ensure that I’m creating a holistic experience with my writing. To read more about experience themes and how to go about creating one, be sure to check out Cindy Chastain’s article on Boxes and Arrows: Experience Themes.
Now to the debunking…
Reason 1 – I don’t have anything to say. This, is just not true. If you do any work in any field, you develop thoughts and experiences that are worth sharing. Just because what you have to say might not redefine your field, or change the Earth’s angle of rotation, doesn’t mean that you have nothing to say. What you mean is “I have nothing earth shattering to say”. And guess what… neither do alot of successful bloggers, including myself. What I say here doesn’t change the world, it’s simply what I think, experience, feel, or observe. What makes it interesting (hopefully) is that the audience can relate to it, reflect on it, develop an opinion on it, and move forward with that knowledge, reflection or opinion. So, you have a lot to say, it may not be earth shattering, but it’s there… trust me.
Reason 2 – Someone has already said what I have to say OR I think that someone has probably already said the same thing, and said it better than I can, so why bother? Let me ask this: Who cares if someone has already said it? People have written a million posts on Agile and UX, but that doesn’t stop me from writing about it, because I want to voice my opinion… even if that opinion has already been voiced. Writing a blog is about my take on things, not about surfacing completely new information all the time. If new information is all people wrote about then there would be a lot less blog posts in my Google Reader every day. I read posts with similar content to posts I’ve already read to get someone else’s point of view. So, if you aren’t blogging because someone else has already said what you have to say, then you are lying to yourself. Because there is only one you, and that means that nobody could have said your point of view for you. Be brave and let it out!
Reason 3 – People will think that I’m an amateur, that I’m annoying, an idiot, etc. Please tell me, who are these prestigious people that you get to read your blog? These people that you believe are all knowing and that would, for some reason, look down on what you are writing. Tell me, because I would love to get their readership here. I rarely get negative comments about what I write, and I don’t think that people look at what I write, disagree with it, then think negatively of me as a practitioner. Even if someone disagrees with my opinion, they still respect that I had the guts to post it in the first place. Also, who do you think is so important that is reading your stuff? What makes them know so much more than you? I know that when you first start posting, you feel almost naked. You hit that publish button and think “oh my gosh, what if people don’t like this?”. Well, if your blog is so popular, even though you haven’t been writing that much, that you have people instantly going to your site to read a post as soon as Publish is clicked, can you please email me and let me know how you got the traffic that you did. Because honestly, especially when you start off, the only people that are reading our friends, colleagues, and family anyway. Those people already respect and appreciate you, so they won’t think you are an annoying or idiotic at all. And if people do, even after your readership has expanded, then who cares? It’s your opinion right? For every person out there that is negative I bet there are 10 people out there that admire your courage.
So, I know this has been a long post, but hopefully I’ve gotten my point across. That is, there is no reason not to blog if you have the desire to do so. Yes, it is scary, but that fear is not based on any reasonable fact. Today, we have debunked the majority of those fears and have shown that they are ludicrous. You do have something to say, it doesn’t matter if others have said it because they are not you and you have your own opinion, and people will not think you are annoying or idiotic because most don’t have the courage to write themselves and admire that you do.
Knowing what we know now, we can go out and share our ideas with confidence. After all, how else will these ideas get out there, and how else will we be able to share them with each other? I love other people’s ideas… share them now so that I can take them in and love/argue them… please! Now, go forth and write.