Writing a Weblog Full-Time
When I began writing shawnblanc.net full-time I was worried that I’d run out of things to write about. There are only so many apps I use all the time which I find worthy of in-depth reviews, and I’m not really one for staying on top of posting commentary pieces about every bit of breaking news.
So far I have had no trouble finding topics to write about. In fact, most of what I’ve published since going full-time has not been on the list of what I was planning to write so far. Meaning, hardly any of the articles that I was planning to write when I began have been written yet. There is still much I want to write about and there are new things arising every day.
So I find myself with the opposite problem, in that there is not enough time in the day for me to write all that I want to, and that, my friends, is a very good conundrum.
However, I will say that it has been difficult choosing what to write about. I am good at writing about things I am involved with and have experience using — such as software and hardware reviews — but am not so confident writing about more abstract issues which I am not as intimately familiar with (such as business model and industry analysis). And while I certainly enjoy writing detailed reviews about software, I haven’t yet decided if that is all I ever want to write. Moreover, I have only ever written reviews about apps that I use and enjoy. But that list is somewhat finite, which means I will, at some point, need to begin writing about software that I am not completely sold on as user. Fortunately, since this job is my full-time gig, I can allow myself the time needed to truly live with an app and get acquainted with it — even if that I am only using it for the sake of reviewing it.
As far as links go, I try to only post links to the things I find interesting or entertaining — something that I found worthwhile in one way or another.
Unfortunately, I am finding just how easy it is to over-think what I choose or chose not to link to. Over thinking these nuanced details can strangle the life out of my work. And so I have been working to focus more on the feel of what I write about and link to rather than over thinking those items. Instead of logically deducing based on n number of factors if such-and-such is worthy of a link, I base it on emotion — do I want to link to it?
In a way, I have to pretend that I’m the only site out there. That if someone was interested in the things I’m interested in, how then would they find out about those things unless I wrote about them? I can’t pass by something I find exciting or interesting because I see that others are already talking about it. That would be a road to silence.
Of course, in another way, I have to pretend that I am not the only site out there. There is so much happening in the tech / design / writing / coffee-drinking community every day that there is simply no way I can stay on top of it all. Let alone write thoughtful and in-depth pieces about everything noteworthy. Harder than choosing what to write about has been choosing what not to write about. And then being okay with leaving certain notable topics left untouched.
At the end of the day, the best advice I can give myself is to: (a) put great care and thought into what I write about and how I write it; and (b) don’t take myself or my site too seriously.