Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Your First Blog

How do you write your first blog piece? Here's a few simple steps to get you started.

Set Aside a Time

This can be ad hoc, but I'd rather you set aside 15 minutes at least once a week. Make yourself an appointment. At lunch, at night, weekends, whatever. Just pick a time when you can spend 15 minutes writing.

Use a computer, or a pad of paper, but just give your blog 15 real minutes.

Get LiveWriter

If you're on Windows, use Live Writer. If you're not, a text editor works fine.

Pick a Topic

People always struggle here. I get it; it's hard to choose something. I've written about it before, but here's what I suggest to start..

What did you do in your career today?

You had to do something? Maybe you built something with code. Maybe you helped a customer. Maybe you pushed paper around in meetings and updating status.

No matter what it was, take a minute and think about what you did and what you think about it? Was it worthwhile? Did you use some skill you have? Did you make things move forward?

Write a sentence or two that describes what you think of the item you picked.

Just Do It

Whether it was positive or negative, you can stop and evaluate what you did and write about it. Put your thoughts on paper.

Focus on your topic sentence and then start writing. The main thing is to periodically look back at your topic and make sure you're writing about it. If you're not, move the irrelevant or related items to a new draft post.

Rinse and Repeat

Whether you get this done or not, leave it. Go back to it when you can, perhaps the next 15 minute session next week. Taking it slow means it's more sustainable. If you go faster and do more this week, don't be afraid to drop back to your 15 minutes if you get busy.

Review what you wrote and see if you can improve the spelling and grammar. Do a little self editing and see if your thoughts makes sense

Get an Editor

When you think your piece is good, use someone else as an editor and get their opinion. Pick your spouse or partner, a friend, a colleague, just get someone else to read it. Even if they don't understand the meaning of jargon or technical items, the piece needs to flow and make sense.

Make sure you buy them a coffee or beverage. You'll use them again.

If they think it shows something about your career, it's ready.

Save This Piece

I wouldn't recommend you publish this right away. Write 5 or 10 of these, and once you have them, you'll know how quickly you produce pieces about your career.

At that point, I'd schedule them if you want to publicly blog and use a schedule that allows you to keep going for a bit.

If you want them to remain private, then compile them in a folder, and zip them up. Also be sure you make a copy occasionally. Keep a copy of these handy in case you ever want to showcase your knowledge for a recruiter, client, interviewer, or anyone else.

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