Recently I was conversing with some journalism colleagues about getting started with blogging. One of the most basic questions inevitably arose: How can you make time for blogging, on top of the stories you’re already writing or other work you’re doing or just having a life?
In my experience, blogging can be an easy way to get more mileage out of things you’re already doing. It’s a matter of shifting your process, not just adding new tasks. If something you think, encounter, or learn is interesting or entertaining and there’s nothing to lose by sharing it, then blog it.
- Jot a note that seems like an important, interesting, prescient, or intriguing point
- Think of an interesting question
- Snap an interesting photo, or one that’s useful for explaining something
- Have an interesting conversation (face-to-face, phone, e-mail)
- Read an article you’re interested in or skeptical about, etc…
Rather than keep those insights and information entirely to yourself, or share it only in private e-mail or conversation (where, face it, you’ll probably forget about it and its value will vanish into the ether), take a moment to jot it into a quick short post. Just a sentence or two, even. Make blogging your new capture process. Or even microblogging, like Twitter, Friendfeed, Tumblr, Soup.io, Delicious, Flickr, or Posterous — all of which can integrate with most blogging platforms, making it easy to keep your blog fresh.
There’s no need to flesh it out fully or get every fact or angle nailed down. You’re not writing an article. You can always follow up more later. And the best part is, when you make this a habit it actually becomes much easier to find all that cool stuff that passes through your head and your life!
Just don’t be boring, and focus on getting to the “so what” to immediately establish relevance.
Also, show some personality and a sense of humor. Conversation is this core of this medium, and people are more likely to engage with you when you act human and approachable.
There’s other easy stuff too that’s actually fun. But the first step is to experiment with changing your habits for how you capture and share info — to not make privacy your default, but an option to be applied only when necessary.
…Oh, and BTW: This blog post is a case in point. I was making this point in a post to an e-mail discussion list this morning. I realized that I’ve made exactly this same point in many, many similar conversations over the past few years. Then I thought: Have I blogged this yet? I don’t think so? Copy & paste from e-mail into WordPress. Done.