Andy Hansen

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Learning How to Blog

If I haven’t written a blog post in a while, picking a topic feels impossible. To break the cycle, I’ll try to write about something small and inconsequential. Keeping it small and simple lowers the barrier to entry, and allows me to start thinking about new ideas. When I’m writing a post, find myself thinking beyond the current topic, about all the things I could be writing next. It’s putting me into a headspace that I don’t always find myself in when I’m not actively writing. If you don’t feel comfortable posting it to the wide world, it can be just as suitable to write a journal entry.

I’ve found that there is a lot of crossover with the advice you get with photography. If you are struggling creatively it can help to create some limitations for yourself. Rather than going out and taking photos of anything, walk for 15 minutes and take some photos wherever you end up. Try only taking photos of things that are a particular colour. Neither of these examples apply directly to blogging (unless you felt like writing a post about a specific colour or place I guess!), but there are similarities. You could take a challenge from your last week or think about a small act of kindness that you really appreciated, and write about that. Limit yourself in ways that you don’t normally do.

A flavour of blog that I used to really enjoy making was originally named “discoveries”. I would pick a piece of media I had really enjoyed, and write about why I thought it was neat. I’m not well versed in writing about why I think something is neat, but it was nice to leave myself a “super bookmark” to something that meant a lot to me at a certain point in time. I’ve since removed the discoveries sub-topic from my blog, but you can still identify the posts by the link beside the title. Some of these I toiled for weeks writing and rewriting. It was good practice, but ultimately a bit too cumbersome for a post that I knew maybe three people would ever read in total. It set the bar too high and made me want to avoid writing another post in the future.

Writing imperfect posts is part of the fun. I’ve looked back at plenty of mine and found awkwardly structured sentences. Many words to describe a simple thing, unconvincing arguments, you get the idea. In a way it’s nice to know that I’ve progressed since then. I’m sure I’ll look back at this post in as little as 5 minutes and find something that could be better. It really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, unless you are writing about a particularly sensitive topic or something that requires a high degree of accuracy, then it’s okay to make a few mistakes. I can blog about my silly little thoughts which you are equally welcome to read or ignore.

Starting smaller, and being less critical of myself has made the whole process a lot easier, and a lot more enjoyable. Hopefully there has been something in here which has been useful for you. It’s certainly been useful for me.

Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated.

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