6 Things I’ve Learned In 6 Months of Blogging

I Will Not Blog At Work

Saturday was the official 6 month birthday of the blog.

*Commence Applause*

Honestly it’s not really much. When this whole thing started off as a personal project 6 months ago, I can’t say I expected it to turn into what it did. Wow. 70 posts later, along with 3 triathlons, several other races, lots of new readers and some good friends, I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 month. Here are six key lessons:

1. Writing is the most important part of a blog

This sounds basic but it is. Spend more time writing than you think. If your writing isn’t any good, no one will read you. if no one’s reading you, you probably need to start writing better.

Study your writing. See what worked and what didn’t. Write, write, write.

Stop worrying about your design. There’s plenty of things I still don’t like about my site’s design, but i could spend hours tweaking it and never be happy. Meanwhile those tweaks probably would never be noticed by anyone else, and I’d be wasting lots of time that I could spend productively on things that people would take notice of.

Write, write, and write some more. It takes a while to get good at it so just keep writing [more on this in a bit].

2. But people are still more important

Writing is great. People still have to read it. People still have to talk to their friends about you and people still decide whether or not your thoughts and ideas are worth their time.

Talk to people. Go out of your way to talk to people and meet them.

There’s a lot of adieu about only having 150 connections that you can really relate to.

I have no idea on what that study is based, but it doesn’t mean you can only talk to 150 people.

You should talk to way, way, way more than 150 people.

You don’t have to go out to coffee with every single one of them, but you can respond to their comments, acknowledge them on twitter, be courteous when people talk to you or go on a nationwide book tour to meet them.

People, people, people. People are the ones that decide whether or not they like you and people decide whether or not to read your blog, buy your stuff or talk about you to their friends

People matter, and if you’re just focused on your writing, you’re missing the point [and a lot of fun meeting all of them].

3. That thing you keep putting off? Just do it.

I put off launching the blog for about 3 months after I had the idea. Once I launched it, I put off creating an email series. I had the email functionality set up from the beginning, but I had no incentive for people to sign up until last week.

I finally just did it and wrote the thing. The result?

I doubled my email subscribers in a week. My email list now has almost as many subscribers as my rss feed and I’ve been getting great feedback from people who’ve read through it. [If you’ve been through it, I’d love to hear your thoughts]

So that thing you keep running into and you keep finding yourself putting off over and over? Stop waiting. Just do it. It’s probably the most important thing you SHOULD be doing right now. [If you want to sign up for the series, you can do it right here].

4. Put your metaphorical balls on the line.

If you want to do something, give yourself a deadline and tell other people about it. Put your balls on the line. I wouldn’t have done any of the triathlons, races or this upcoming half marathon if it wasn’t for the blog. I wouldn’t have gotten the email series done if I hadn’t just said that it would be out in a week.

Make a deadline and put your balls on the line. it works.

5. The more you give, the more you get.

The more you encourage others, the more you get encouraged.

The more you help others, the more they’ll help you.

The more you give, the more you get back.

Simple stuff.

Key point: Give without expectation. Don’t expect to get something back just because you did something generous. That’s not being actually generous. Give without expecting anything from others, you’ll get back way more than you ever gave.

6. You will suck for a while.

I sucked for a while.

The first three months, I sort of meandered around with my blog. I had a few posts [ex. Screw It & Do It, Experiences > Things, Run Through The Rain] that I was really proud of, but it wasn’t until the last few months that I really started to figure out what direction I want to take the blog and that  the blog really took off.

Seriously, take my advice and read my archives. They’re not what most people would call “good”

I sucked for a while, I’m still sucking a little  bit and I’ll probably suck in the future.

But [and this is key] I won’t suck forever. And neither will you.

[p.s. do yourself a favor and click that link and watch the video.. My friend Roe writes that blog, and you should pay attention to her. She writes about completely different stuff than me [arts & crafts], but she’s brilliant].

Sucking is inevitable, but once you start to embrace the suck [if you’re in the league, you know what I mean], you start to realize that it’s all part of the process.

Bonus Tip: Say Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you so much reading. I appreciate your nice [and mean] words, comments, and emails more than you know. The last 6 months have been awesome and I’ve got some cool stuff planned for the next 6 so stay tuned.

Keep changing the world. One impossible thing at a time.

Joel

___

The site has grown because you’ve shared it with people. If you have a few seconds, share it with your people and keep BIT growing. Facebook, Twitter, Email, LinkedIn, wherever you feel it would be useful, please do. Thanks :)

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Comments

  1. says

    You just got one more email list member! Nice post, and considering you’ve only been around for six months, I’m quite impressed with how you’ve been progressing. Keep up the good work!

    ap

  2. says

    Only six month Joel? I assumed it had been longer. You’ve certainly achieved a lot in that short period of time. Kudos to you, my friend! I’ve always appreciated how open and responsive you are and how readily you reach out to people. Wishing you ever greater success for the next six months and beyond.

  3. says

    Congrats Joel! It’s always a pleasure connecting with you. You’ve been a great inspiration to me and that has really been instrumental in my applying some action to my dreams. Keep up your excellent work of getting people to think about and actually do all those things that seem impossible. I’m really looking forward to seeing what good things come from your next 6 months.

  4. says

    Great post! I’ve been diddling around with my blog and thinking lots about writing, but not actually writing as much as I’d like. Thanks for the nudge!

  5. says

    Joel – Honestly, I thought you had been around longer also! Great post. So many of those points are things that I think about all the time. Particularly about doing your “thing” that you’ve been putting off, and about embracing the suck initially. (I think that those two items fit my blog to a “T” at the moment :-) It’s been great connecting with you thus far. Looking forward to continuing to do so in the future!

  6. says

    This is a really great post, and I totally loved the video. Thanks for pointing out that you really should watch it, I would have skipped it if you hadn’t put in that p.s.

  7. Drea says

    Happy Anniversary Joel! So proud of you my friend, and you have inspired me to release some of my thoughts to join your in the “cloud”.

  8. says

    Congratulation on your anniversary.

    I can personally attest to your generous encouragement (#5).

    I asked you for a quote about “why you blog” for my own little startup project and you provided one.

    My post will be out this week.

    Thank you again.

  9. says

    Congrats on the six-month landmark, Joel! It’s been great getting to read your posts, chatting by phone and simply watching the site (and you) grow. Here’s to much, much more of all of the above!

  10. says

    Hey Jeol!
    I haven’t hopped on your blog in awhile but I’m back in the groove of staying up to date with my Reader again. Procrastination ceased a bit by avoiding the internet, but, let’s face it, if you’re into blogging there’s no hope for us, right? haha. It’s productive procrastination though. ;-)

    Anyway, a long while back I wrote a comment to you about how I was going to build my new blog and get it all set up. Well, you know what, I’ve had the damn thing ready to go for about 2 months now and just haven’t hit the GO button I suppose b/c I’ve been procrastinating putting my metaphorical balls on the line haha.

    It’s like, you can make list after list after list and find more and more to improve on and brainstorm on, but sometimes, you just have to Do It.

    Timesawastin and I guess this week I’ll grow some f-ing balls and make it happen. Gracias por la inspiracion.

    Congrats on reaching 6 months! wooo!

  11. says

    Awesome post Joel and Congrats on the six month mark! I’ve been hard at this stuff for just over that long and I can relate big time. Mars Dorian just turned me onto your stuff. I bet we have some fun we could talk about given how aligned our stuff is. I recently finished a barefoot ultra that might be up your alley.

    Let’s skype one of these days.

    Awesome work!
    Scott

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