I have now published three posts per week for the last four weeks. That's about 7,000 words.
When I started, I just wanted to start. I knew I would never be completely ready but I also knew it didn't matter. Now that I've been blogging for one month, it's time for a review. I want to take stock of what went well and what could have gone better.
Sticking to a schedule
I set myself the schedule of publishing three posts per week. I'm glad I did that. I didn't want my blog to end up like most programmer's blogs, with only a handful of posts from over a year ago.
However, after writing my first post, I decided to delay it by about a week. I used that time to write three more full posts. By giving myself a buffer, I made things easy for myself and increased my confidence that I could stick to my schedule.
Things were easy in the beginning. As time passed, I became lazy. I relied on that buffer too much and watched it slowly diminish. By my third week, the buffer was gone. I ended up writing most of my eighth post on the same day that I published it.
The quality definitely suffered. It really helps to be able to leave your work for a day or two and revisit it with fresh eyes.
I would also like to be able to offer a more experience-based opinion on certain topics. For example, instead of writing "this new Vim plugin I found looks like it might be pretty good", I would like to write "this Vim plugin that I've been using for the last week is really good and here is why".
For my own benefit, here is a list of every post on this blog, with the number of days between the date it was finished and the date it was published.
- Hello world (10 days)
- Creating a style for this blog (4 days)
- Paragraph counts in jekyll (6 days)
- Wordsearch game (13 days)
- Namecheap, GitHub Pages and apex domains (2 days)
- A third attempt at Anki (4 days)
- My password generation scheme (13 days)
- Better Vim abbreviations (0 days)
- Vim auto-capitalisation (1 day)
- Music for programming (0 days)
- Permanent Bash aliases (1 day)
- One month of blogging (2 days)
I really wish I'd given myself another couple of days for some of the later ones. Looking back at the Vim posts, there are a lot of small things I would change.
One specific thing I have noticed is that I tend to talk about myself too much. In the first two paragraphs of the Vim auto-capitalisation post, I used the pronoun "I" four times when none of them were necessary.
It kind of reminds me of this LessWrong post on Trying to Try. This is my blog, it should be taken as granted that anything written here is my opinion. If I write "Vim is awesome" then that should be interpreted as my opinion of Vim. It's completely unnecessary to write "I think Vim is awesome". It adds more words and makes it feel like I'm not certain of my own opinion. I want to get myself to write "I think" and "I feel" less on this blog.
Despite my problems, I'm still proud that I actually stuck to my schedule. I'm also very happy with the content of my posts, it feels like the kind of thing that I would enjoy reading.
A better schedule
I've been thinking about this for a while. Most of my problems come from being too rushed.
When I only have one or two days to write a post, I feel like I can't attempt more ambitious projects. I have lots of ideas for posts. However, I know that many of them will require a lot of research. I don't want to attempt something difficult if I don't think I can finish on time.
I've been thinking about ways to fix this. I'm going to reduce the number of posts to two per week. On Mondays and Thursdays. I think this will give me more time to research and polish each post.
I will try it out for about a month and see how it goes.
A short break
However, I'm not going to start straight away. There will be no posts for the next week and a bit because I am going on a family holiday.
I thought about pre-writing several posts and finding the time to publish them while I was away. I think that would be a bad idea. It would reduce the quality of my writing and make me even more rushed. My next post will be on Thursday 18 September 2014.
Nobody is reading this blog. That's fine. I knew right from the start that I just wanted to write. I didn't see the point in trying to get people to read a blog which had nothing on it yet.
Now that I've actually written some stuff, I think it's time to start drawing some attention to this blog. I'm not sure how best to do that. I will probably create a few social media accounts and start tweeting about my posts. I may also start posting a few comments on other blogs which address highly-similar topics.
I want to create a mailing list and add comments to this blog (probably with Disqus). Also tags for better navigation.
While I'm at it, I also want to add Google Analytics to gather some information on how many people are reading this blog.
I also intend to keep writing. I need the practice. I believe that's the only way this blog will ever truly become "popular".