Tommy LeeSoftware development for everyone else

Finishing your blog posts

I have about 10-15 half-finished ideas and blog posts. Each of these ideas take off in full force! Full of passion and enthusiasm, the words and ideas come easily.

Then, somewhere around the first few hours, I lose focus on the goals of the article.

The following is a small set of ideas and strategies that I use to cope with completing blog posts, and any project.

1. Prioritize Completion

We say we'll do it on our free time, but that free time will always be filled.

We need to make finishing these blog posts and ideas a higher priority. I remember Stephen Covey's Quadrants for Time Management as a way to decide what's important.

Aim for Important and Not Urgent

We should categorize items like blog post Not Urgent and Important. These should be highest priority.

Set a Goal

Goals and deadlines can give us focus on what we can accomplish in a timely manner.

When we don't have goals or deadlines, ideas such as this will be put on the back-burner.

I aim for 1 blog post a month as a goal.

2. Write for a Single Person

Think of certain person in mind when we write a post. This person who could definitely find our article useful, informational or entertaining.

Having an audience in mind reminds us on who is waiting for the article, and the kind of information to include. We can tailor our writing to this person.

This may not accommodate everyone, but that's okay. Let's aim for effectiveness, rather than appeal.

Technical Articles

Technical articles are usually difficult for me to pin down.

One part is trying to justify that I know the subject. So I:

  • Write in great detail
  • Argue and illustrate the subtleties
  • Get really dry on the topic

Another Part of me is writing in a way to avoid arguments, leading to a lot of:

  • Cross chatter
  • Self Arguing
  • Showing too many sides of the argument

While I enjoy expounding all these details, and being well educated on the topic, too often, I forget who is actually reading.

For tutorials, I illustrate my way as 'a way' to accomplish the task, with links to references or other people's tutorials.

For more subjective writings, I try to present the other side fair enough.

3. Overwhelmed? Rambling? Reduce Scope

When we create stuff, sometimes we want to go very deep into the nitty gritty, and talk about the finer details, and subtleties.

Now to write or finish a blog post, we have to first create the universe.

Then we have an outline that is longer than anyone wants to read.

What to cut

We should only cut down our scope if it starts being unmanageable.

We focus each section down to one purpose. Maybe the entire blog post idea should be reduced down to one idea.

4. Dedicate some time!

Currently this is about the third or fourth writing session at completing this article. I try to squeeze in these blogs on my downtime, but I love not having downtime.

One of my favorite things about free-time is that I spend a lot of that time deciding what to do with the precious time.

Part of the Schedule

The lack of scheduling, and the freedom to do anything results in a whole lot of nothing.

I work on scheduling my free-time in a more rigid schedule. After work and dinner, I have a few hours to spend.

Each week, I schedule about an hour or two for the blogging and writing, and no more. Any more time spent might lead to increased distractions and slacking off for me.

No Confidence? Scared of Completing?

We worry too much about the opinions of others and their negative attitudes. We let the invisible hating peanut gallery crawl into our brain, and shake up our attempts at anything.

Then we sit around, with nothing on the screen, paralyzed by the fear of our own inadequacies. We feel that we're not good enough, that everyone will rip us to shreds, and the best course of action is to do nothing.

Then the existential dread kicks in, and life spirals out of control, due to us trying to write a blog article.

Well, probably. That might happen.

An Optimistic Approach

Being frightened is okay. It's something that never really goes away, but we sort of get used to the feeling of being uncomfortable. Like learning a new language, trying something new on, the natural anxiousness that arises, that's normal.

Hey, you're doing it. That's a lot more to say than a lot of others. You gave yourself a challenge, and you're fighting your way through it. That's awesome. Look how far you came, this was a blank space before.

For me, I can have a fully rendered page and say 'Hey I made this!' That's really the prize is the completion of the long road ahead.

There will be people out there that haven't heard of your information, and will look to your piece of information as useful. It may not be until a very long time from now, but that possibility exists.

Your work will be there for someone's One in 10,000.

A Pessimist Approach

We may have put our work too high on the pedestal. We're so concerned about the criticism, we forget about being realistic. There's so much content out there, what will guarantee that people read it? Most people will give it a passing glance. At least someone's reading.

When was the last time you felt so impassioned over an internet article or blog post that you wrote a scathing tirade, attacking everything about the person? Well, most people don't have really strong opinions about it. 90% of people just read it and move on.

The angry critics reflect more on themselves then your actual writing. This blog post on online harrassment reached out to me on understanding the issues I run into with comments online.

For me, I know that the only people who are going to read this blog post are those that I share it with, and maybe a few bot scrapes.

Whatever Keeps you writing

The important thing to take away is to do whatever you need to get these projects complete.