Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

    A few thoughts on blogging inspiration

    Swizec Teller writing a secret book avatarSwizec Teller writing a secret book@Swizec
    @gstritar yep, using Blogspire. Have you tried blogging about a topic that isn't "yours"? It takes _hours_. /@zemanta

    Blogspire is a great suggestion tool - go sign up ;) - but when a topic doesn't come from within the process to coming up with a post is a lot more complicated. Even when the idea is yours, there is a lot that goes into coming up with a decent post.

    Let me describe the two ways I write.

    Meadow near Gard's Farm Taken from the bridlew...
    Meadow near Gard's Farm Taken from the bridlew...

    "my" post

    When writing in a creative flurry, everything is simple (this only happens when you have plenty of free time)

    1. Get idea
    2. Become antsy to write about it
    3. Keep thinking about the idea while working out, under the shower, during breakfast
    4. Jump into a text editor
    5. Write like a mad man
    6. Breathe
    7. Edit a bit (30% rewrite)
    8. Publish

    That's it. Another post is born.

    This type of post feels very good to write, gets something off my mind and occasionally reaches some level of popularity on the hackernewses and such out there.

    Usually these posts are flops in the traditional sense. The only post of this sort that has ever reached popularity was Living life in 25 min increments.

    "not my" post

    More often than not, you can't write a post the moment you think of it. You're either too busy, the idea hasn't fully formed in your head, or it just isn't the right type of idea for a particular day.

    Sunset behind the remaining three of Bristol's...
    Sunset behind the remaining three of Bristol's...

    Sometimes the idea does come from outside - like when somebody from Zemanta comes up to me and goes "Hey, I think you should write about this. And if you could also make product X look good, that'd be great". Or sometimes it's a friend saying "Hey, I just launched this cool thing/solved this cool problem/did something awesome ... can you write about it?"

    The idea goes on the whiteboard. Or in a moleskine. Anywhere.

    Yesterday I wrote a post for Zemanta (to be published later today). Here's what the process looked like:

    1. "Hey, write about This Thing (tm)."
    2. Install product, promise to give it a try
    3. 3 days go by when I'm busy with other stuff
    4. "Hey, did you write anything yet? Just checking."
    5. Check out product, look at its homepage
    6. Go to bed thinking about the post
    7. Wake up, do an hour and a half_ _of research on an unknown problem domain
    8. Go to class
    9. Ruminate on the post all day
    10. Come up with a few key phrases and points to mention
    11. Start writing ... decide I still don't know what I'm writing about
    12. Jot down three main points, organize them in a flow
    13. Spend two hours writing a very crappy draft
    14. Watch an episode of futurama
    15. Rewrite the whole post in 20 minutes
    16. Congratulations, it is now 1:19am.

    While yesterday was a particularly crappy because I haven't been getting enough off-time lately, that's pretty much what goes into writing the kind of post that reliably makes it to The Frontpage (tm).

    Several rewrites from Wtf am I doing to Hey, I can publish this ... Each step also needs at least 20 minutes of slacking off before taking the next step.

    But I think it's worth it.

    Unfortunately, this is why the quality of my posts usually dips whenever a bunch of work is dumped in my lap. Double so if a deadline is attached to everything.

    Enhanced by Zemanta

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Published on April 5th, 2012 in blog, Idea, Twitter, Uncategorized, Writing, Zemanta,

    Learned something new?
    Read more Software Engineering Lessons from Production

    I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.

    Subscribe below 👇

    Software Engineering Lessons from Production

    Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.

    "Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

    ~ Ashish Kumar

    Join 15,883+ engineers learning lessons from my "raw and honest from the heart" emails.

    4.5 stars average rating

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Want to brush up on modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️

    Created by Swizec with ❤️