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K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.

Don't Wait to Start Blogging

I was reading a post by Jonathan Fields (blog | twitter) about making bad guitars. Okay, so what does that have to do with blogging? Nothing, and everything. Let me explain.

Fields was interviewing Bob Taylor, who had founded Taylor Guitars. Now Jonathan has wanted to make his own guitar now for a while. He had looked into the various ways to get some experience, whether from a kit, a 2 week workshop, all the way to apprenticeship. Since he was talking to a guy who made guitars, he asked Taylor what he should do. Taylor's response was classic, "Go and make a really bad guitar." Now why would he tell anyone to make a bad guitar?

Simply because it's a start. And it's also a tremendous learning experience. By actually making the guitar, though it may be a bad one, you'll gain practical experience. And then when you have time for more formal training, it'll make more sense because you'll have a start as to why some things are done and why others aren't. When it comes to blogging, the same thing is true. Writing blog posts, ones with content, takes time and energy. It takes work. For those of us who blog at least semi-regularly, that work is fun. We enjoy it. Or at least, we should. I know I do. I like writing and blogging gives that an outlet. As I blog more, I learn more about how to do things. I learn what works and what doesn't. For instance, I learned that trying to use the default interface SQLServerCentral.com provides through a Safari web browser on an iPhone just isn't a good idea. You don't get paragraphs. You get one blob of a post. I won't do that again! Now I might write it all down and put it in draft, but I won't let it go public until I have a chance to tidy things up.

Get your feet wet, then start doing some more research on how to blog better. Determine if blogging is something you'll enjoy or not. If it is, then look to get better at it. If not, then you tried it, it wasn't for you, time to try something else, right? But certainly start building experience. Don't let your lack of experience deter you. Sure, you may come back to your posts after you have been blogging for a while and say to yourself, "I wrote that? Really? That's bad." And that's okay, because that shows you've grown as a blogger. It's like any good developer, upon reviewing his or her old code, usually comes away with a feeling that the code previously written was a lot worse than what he or she can do today. Again, that's growth. And the only way to get growth is to get started. So what are you waiting on?

Comments

Posted by Steve Jones on 15 August 2011

Totally agree and it's the right attitude. Just do it.

The caution I'd add is that you should get a friend to help you write when you start. It doesn't take long to turn out decent posts, but it does take some work and a little feedback.

Posted by blog hosting review on 16 August 2011

Really very good content info shared ,thanks a lot.

Posted by Karl Lambert on 18 August 2011

I've actually been thinking of starting a blog. I have gotten a lot of very valuable information from the SQL community, and I think it is time that I started giving back. My hurdle is not so much a lack of experience, rather a concern that I will be able to blog consistently. That I will have content, or subjects to write about, and that I will have something of interest to others to say.

I have been reading quite a few blogs to see what others are saying. Is it always super-technical SQL talk, is it more about professional development? Is it about what the blogger had for lunch, or is it about whether they attended the latest city council meeting in their hometown? To my enlightenment, there has been a relatively good balance of all these scenarios (save maybe the city council meeting).

I think that Andy Warren put it best when he said "I care about things that may not interest you, things that may interest you, things that you may totally despise. And vice versa." I am going to start writing. I have been to enough SQLSaturday's to know that no matter how good my article, blog, or presentation is, there is always going to be someone out there with a better idea. My strategy is to take that better idea and learn from it to make my idea(s) even more sound and more robust than they were yesterday. Take the criticism and use it creatively, and use it as a learning tool.

Thanks Brian, for this post. I think it is going to help me finally break out into the "blogoshpere" and see how I fare :) I do have a question for you. If I wanted to start a brand new - shiny blog, where would you recommend I look for hosting? Which blog site has the best starting point?

Posted by Karl Lambert on 18 August 2011

Sorry... Tried to change my name to Karl Lambert, but for some reason, it didn't take. I am looking for the settings, so I can get rid of the "Mohatmus" name. (LOL)

Posted by K. Brian Kelley on 18 August 2011

Looks like the name changed. As for how to get started, Brent Ozar has the best advice I've seen for a technical blog. Do a Google search for the following: brent ozar starting technical blog.

It used to be linked easily from his site's menu bar, but I can't find a good path. There are two initial posts about getting started and then 3 more specifically about doing a technical blog.

Posted by Karl Lambert on 18 August 2011

Yes, I found the correct setting, thank goodness :)

Thanks Brian, I will check out Brent's blog as you have referenced. Much appreciated.

Posted by Michael Burek on 19 August 2011

@Karl Lambert You can tag your posts with their subjects, so you can have one blog with everything you want to type out, and then people can just look at the #sql tags, or #sqlProgramming, #sqlTheory, #myLunch, #datingLife, #sqlCareerPath ...

Posted by Michael Burek on 19 August 2011

Also, the blogging is a great way to store your notes for yourself about why you should choose one method over another. Or just all the steps you need to do, such as when installing a new server, to get all of your settings the way you want them. And then you might get suggestions about better ways to do it, or someone might as you a question, and then you'll get to know the material even better when you explain it.

Posted by jsanborn on 19 August 2011

And, of course, never underestimate the value of a good editor (meaning the second set of eyes).  :)  

Posted by dhearne 25776 on 19 August 2011

If you have time to blog...I want your job.

Posted by K. Brian Kelley on 19 August 2011

dhearne,

Blogging does take time. But realize that many of us blog as part of our professional development, whether intentional or not. So it's not about doing it on the job time. It's about what your priorities are, etc. For instance,

Brent is a better example of consistency in blogging than I am. But he intentionally shifted his schedule around so he was getting up earlier and knocking out things like this. For him, it was an intentional part of his development plan, and if that meant getting up at 5 AM and writing, that's what he did (and maybe still does).

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 19 August 2011

Totally agree.  If for nothing else, you will learn a lot by blogging.

Posted by brandon.leach on 19 August 2011

@Karl: I've also been thinking of blogging for a while.  My main concern is what if I accidently misinform.  However on the other hand, the fact checking portion may actually help me to improve upon my skills.  I've been writing down possible topics to include.

Posted by pmaloof on 22 August 2011

@Brandon: Regarding mis-informing, I think you have a good idea about double-checking before you post anything.

I wouldn't worry too much about something inaccurate slipping in; somebody will catch it, and you can just update the blog entry.

Good luck.

Posted by david.shink on 14 February 2012

  I just now came across this post.  I loved what Brian Kelley had to say.  If you want to do anything, you have to make a start.  If you wait till you're ready, you never will be.

  I especially liked Karl Lambert's comment.  I wondered, too, if I could blog consistently, and always have something worthwhile to say.  Karl made me feel that I am not alone.

             Thanks Much  --  David Shink

david.shink@ngc.com

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