General reflections on blogging after 14 years

After having written my post to relaunch this blog last week, I am now – in theory – back in blogging mode, so I should be writing blog posts.

Passing the threshold of blogging

Which in itself comes to the nub of the experience of blogging, all the thresholds you have to cross to actually start and finish a blog post. What is compelling enough to say that you take the time to write it? How long or polished should pieces be? If I get started writing a post, how much time is it going to take to say what it is I want to say? When do I cut off a blog post and save the rest for the next post?

In a way, the more you have to say, the harder it is to say it, because a book is a more appropriate format than a blog post. Any blog post risks becoming a book. Any topic you choose to blog about, however narrow, deserves deeper inspection.

For the last few years the majority of my blog posts have shared thoughts from my keynotes and media coverage. The preparation for each of my keynotes develops my thinking further each time, and I want to do a blog post to share just a little of what I covered.

However since I have barely blogged for over a year, I have a backlog of 50 or more keynotes from which I want to share thoughts, and other streams of content I am developing. In short despite developing a great deal of content, this has been the year I’ve produced the least content for many years. It is time to get back to sharing.

Finding your blogging voice and behaviours

The standard advice to anyone starting a blog is that you need to find your voice, and the only way to find your voice is to blog. As you write, you find what works for you.

For ages I have wanted to try to catch fragments of thoughts as they happening, capturing them as a brief snapshot, quickly written. I have a tendency to want to keep on going when I write a blog post, and almost every post refers to other posts I intend to write that will go into more detail, that almost invariably I never get around to writing.

I was always trying to change my blogging habits, to tend to capture these very brief ideas rather than feel I had to go into detail. So now I am relaunching my blog, this is an opportunity to change my behaviours, to try to blog more.

However one reason that I have blogged less over the last years is that I am simply so busy, I take on a crazy amount and blogging is never top of the priority list when you have client deadlines and many projects being launched. But I just need to prioritise blogging, as a way of letting my thoughts flow more, be more visible rather than it only coming out in more structured work such as frameworks. I am launching an ambitious new set of ventures (more on that later) so the pace is not letting up, but I want some kind of content to consistently spin off what I do.

The rise and retreat of blogging

As I write this post I realise it has been 14 years since I launched my blog. Since then I have written 1,793 blog posts. Those were fairly early days in blogging, well before any significant social media platforms had emerged. While it took a few years before I really got going with it, for quite a few years my blog was central to my identity and visibility, core to building my global work.

I resisted Twitter until mid-2008, believing that it would take away time from my blogging, but as soon as I started I realised how complementary blogging and Twitter are. However over the last few years Twitter has become by far my dominant social channel.

A number of years ago my New Year’s resolution was to spend more time on Facebook. Over the last year or two I finally am doing that. However Twitter is certainly my primary home, with still all my tweets being funneled through into my Facebook stream, just adding an occasional post directly on Facebook.

Of course other blogging channels have arisen, notably LinkedIn and Medium. There is a strong case to just blog on those channels than your own blog, as there is the potential for far wider distribution. But other than reposting a few posts on LinkedIn, I haven’t used those channels yet, I prefer posting on my own blog.

With the rise of a multiplicity of other social and content-sharing channels including Instagam, Snapchat, YouTube and many others, it seems far fewer people are blogging than back in blogging’s heyday. But a blog still has power today.

back to blogging?

I have been able to easily write this blog post as a stream of consciousness (section headers added later) as I sit in the airport lounge, seizing the opportunity of fractional space in my schedule. I hope that I will get my blog going properly again, sharing in new and easy ways, seizing the opportunity of relaunching my blog to reframe how I use it, what new blogging behaviors I can take on. Among other things, I want to try to make it more conversational, as in this post.

I wouldn’t hold your breath given my record over the last few years, but perhaps I will find my blogging voice again. 🙂

Image: Jacqui 1686