7 Lessons I needed before blogging

I want to start a blog but how and where do I start?

This question is often asked on blogging discussion boards. With all the options available, differentiating a signal from all the noise can be complicated. To add to the trouble, one might be swayed by a post titled “How I started blogging in 30 minutes with insert blogging platform here,” followed by “I switched to insert blogging platform here and here’s why you should too,” and then retracted with a post titled “N Things I regret about switching to insert blogging platform here.”

In most cases, any popular blogging platform–such as Wordpress, Blogger, and Wix–is good enough to start. Most of the hard decisions are made for you and any major inconvenience may be years into the future or you’ll never notice them at all. This is where most beginners should be.

As for me, I’ve wrestled with finding answers to this question for far too long and ended up with analysis paralysis–never keeping a blog beyond the first post.

This time is different

What I gravely missed in my previous endeavors was a simple system to help me stay moving forward. A seemingly exhaustive list of decisions had left me overwhelmed, and to a degree, repulsed against my own creative project. Here’s what I learned so far.

1. Just start

Don’t wait for the right moment–it might never come. To wait is passive and let’s life just happen to you. My mistake in the past was that I didn’t start a spark never alit.

2. Get organized

It’s easy for things to fall off the wayside when they’re overlooked or forgotten. Using a productivity system for notes, to dos, and calendars helped me see where my attention needed to be and how to prioritize.

3. Learn to let go

There are two parts to this statement. First, is to know when to quit and when to press on. The second is to accept “good enough” instead of perfection.

4. Iterate often

As a following point, learn and improve incrementally. Not all endeavors have a clear end but are rather an ongoing process. I’ve recently started to enjoy the process of small, manageable decisions and will be pleased to see look back from time to time.

5. Time box

Assign minutes of my day to certain tasks and do nothing else. Avoid getting sidetracked. It’s easy to go down a YouTube rabbit hole or mindlessly scroll through social media. Those wasted minutes are gone and catch up is like borrowing time from something else.

6. Pursue simplicity

Complex systems will be too much overhead and will be more work to keep up with than to follow. Furthermore, what works for someone else, while brilliant, might not work for you. I had to wrestle with striking a balance between my capacity and tendencies vs the suggestions by productivity gurus.

7. Attitude

This might be the hardest to remember but most rewarding. Building this space with the right attitude makes the journey and its memories all the better.

Finally, I want to thank my wife for nudging me to getting this done. She is wonderfully supportive of this space. Check out her work on Amy Kim Therapy.

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