Writing everyday is really hard. There are days like today where my thoughts are dry. I noticed the more I check social media the less I have the desire to write. My highest quality pieces come when I am away from social media, and sharing thoughts with different people. This inspires me to write.
Another struggle I am having is that while I managed to make the habit consistent for some time, I am unable to time it. Fred Wilson writes daily, and he fixes the time of his writing to be in the morning. As a night owl writing in the morning is not an option. I barely wake up for work. I sometimes have multiple thoughts that I end up writing multiple posts and publish them consecutively during the week. Those weeks I feel relaxed.
Some say why bother? I think because it is one of the best habits one can build. It has asymmetric reward. If I write badly, nobody cares, but if I write well, I gain big upside. It also connects me with others. Since I picked up writing again the last few month, I got contacted by different people who said they benefited from something I wrote, it gave them a new perspective, or they had more questions that sparked other discussions. I am grateful for my readers.
A friend recently criticized my writing saying it all starts with a reference to a conversation with someone. Ironically I am starting this post by referencing a conversation with him.
“All good non-fiction writing is about going out and finding someone else and inhabiting their world and representing it to readers.”
Malcolm GladwellI recently heard this quote while watching Gladwell’s masterclass trailer. It is so true. That’s how I get most of my ideas. By talking to someone else and inhabiting their world and representing it to readers. Sometimes this someone else is a book, other times it is a friend.
I frequently get the questions why I’m not monetizing my blog, if I have plans for it, and if someone wants to make money from blogging what should they do.
I am not an expert in making money from blogging. I am not placing ads on this blog and not planning to. This blog is a space I own (I want to emphasize “i own” as it is not controlled by the social media or the blogging platforms overlords) that allows me to connect to the world and interact with people. It is not for commercial purpose and not planning to be. That’s why I don’t care about the number of readers, and I don’t do more of the things I can do to increase readership such as blogging about the same topic regularly or polish things more to invite you to share posts and subscribe to the newsletter.
If you want to make money blogging you should do different things from what I do. Here I talk about everything. Technology, philosophy, travel, and more. This makes this blog too personal, which means the regular audience read it because of myself. Sometimes I write good pieces that spread beyond the regular audience and introduce new people to my ideas. But most of the time this isn’t the case.
To make money from blogging you need to build a big audience. It is much harder to build such audience if you write about everything. You need to specialize. Pick an area and write about it. Then you have to be consistent and publish regularly. Over time, your blog will have gravity from the audience interested in the topic, and if you are consistent, you will become more visible. That’s when you can start monetizing. But it is not easy, and needs a lot of patience.
When I was working for booking.com I asked why we are not linking certain parts of the website. The answer I got was that we already experimented and it leads to dropping conversion, as users get distracted and drop out of the funnel.
My current manager links everything. In every document there are links to every other mentioned document. It is like an internal company wide web. At the beginning I was so annoyed by it. Especially when he asked me why something isn’t linked. I later realized it is a good habit and saves a lot of time wasted searching for the right document.
In my yesterday’s blog post, I didn’t link text to web pages I am referencing to not distract the reader. I put them at the end as footnotes.
I think important work emails should be treated the same. Linking too much in important communication distracts the readers and leads to less people getting the message. Also having too many links dilutes the value of links (if you have 20 links in a single email probably none of them will get clicked).
Unfortunately in big companies people optimize for being correct over being persuasive. This leads to overlinking. Persuasive communication requires less details. Correct communication is boring. Having a good balance is the key. And it is hard.
 Actually Google drive search is the only Google product where “Search” doesn’t work. You write the exact document name and it autocompletes something else.
I deleted all the posts on my medium account. I did this because I stopped cross publishing my blog content on it. It is outdated and feels abandoned.
I saw titles of my old posts from months and maybe years ago. As embarrassing as it is, it feels good seeing how much one matures over time.
Blogging frequently acts like this log you can look at and see a snapshot of yourself in the past. And it is public, allowing everyone to see the same snapshot, and see how you changed over time. It is a maturity log.
Many of my friends want to start blogging. They ask me where to start. I tell everyone I have a few simple rules I keep in mind when writing.
“Real Artists Ship” – Steve Jobs
The key to commit to writing is to hit the publish button. Most people don’t write out of the fear their posts won’t be liked. Here is a surprise: nobody is reading what you write, and nobody will share what you write saying they don’t like it.
There is a second reason to shipping, the only way to get better at anything is to actually do it. The more you do it, the more mistakes you make, which leads to becoming better.
“Anything you say may be used against you” – The Miranda warning
This is one of the traps I fell into multiple times. Opinions are not safe on the internet. I think before publishing any post, if my position has changed, can this post harm me in any way? If the answer is yes, I don’t publish.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” – Leo Tolstoy
Things take time. Don’t expect to an audience from day one. I used to focus on how many people are reading what I write. I slowly adapted the mentality of doing it for myself, and for helping others. Not having Facebook also helped.
One of the most joyful moments is when someone messages me because they benefited from something I wrote. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is great.