It’s been hard trying to find time to blog. I have so much respect for people like Jeff Atwood, Matt Berseth, Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman. These guys have lots of responsibilities at work and at home and they some how manage to find time to blog. So I began to wonder what it takes to blog and blog "successfully. From what I have come to learn, they are two types of developers. There are those who create “noise” by chatting , blogging, writing articles etc and then, there are the “quiet” ones, those who are knowledgeable but either has no motivation to blog about it or just to see the need to. Belonging to any of these categories doesn’t make you better than the other. The only difference I have come to realized is motivation.
Motivation is what makes people like those I mentioned above, make time to blog amongst the million others things they do in their day to day activity. They feel some sense of responsibility to tell the world about their findings, their thoughts and their lives experiences. Jeff Atwood and his team at stackoverflow have even take the extra step to tap the hidden knowledge inside the “quiet” ones amongst us. I have tried to encourage my team at work to blog (including myself as you can tell I’m not too happy with my blogging habits) but most of them don’t think blogging makes any difference in anyone’s life.
So you must be wondering why I’m so unhappy with my blogging habits or why I’m not a successful blogger like the mentioned above if I have all this motivation. Well, because I’m lacking the DIFN. The “DO IT F**KING NOW” plan. Yes, that’s what I’m missing and that’s what most early bloggers lack. We procrastinate. We are not committed to “doing”. We don’t have a blogging plan for success.
I recently read a post by Joel Spolsky talking about DIFN in the form of Fire and Motion.
Once you get into flow it’s not too hard to keep going. Many of my days go like this: (1) get into work (2) check email, read the web, etc. (3) decide that I might as well have lunch before getting to work (4) get back from lunch (5) check email, read the web, etc. (6) finally decide that I’ve got to get started (7) check email, read the web, etc. (8) decide again that I really have to get started (9) launch the damn editor and (10) write code nonstop until I don’t realize that it’s already 7:30 pm.
Somewhere between step 8 and step 9 there seems to be a bug, because I can’t always make it across that chasm. For me, just getting started is the only hard thing. An object at rest tends to remain at rest.
I remembered this for a long time. I noticed how almost every kind of military strategy, from air force dogfights to large scale naval maneuvers, is based on the idea of Fire and Motion. It took me another fifteen years to realize that the principle of Fire and Motion is how you get things done in life. You have to move forward a little bit, every day. It doesn’t matter if your code is lame and buggy and nobody wants it. If you are moving forward, writing code and fixing bugs constantly, time is on your side. Watch out when your competition fires at you. Do they just want to force you to keep busy reacting to their volleys, so you can’t move forward?
Jeff Atwood also has a similar post from a different angle, titled “How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step”. In his post, Jeff asserts that continues jabbing and regularly throwing haymakers is what makes it happen.
But success takes time– a lot of time. I’d say a year at minimum. That’s the element that weeds out so many impatient people. I wrote this blog for a year in utter obscurity, but I kept at it because I enjoyed it. I made a commitment to myself, under the banner of personal development, and I planned to meet that goal. My schedule was six posts per week, and I kept jabbing, kept shipping, kept firing. Not every post was that great, but I invested a reasonable effort in each one. Every time I wrote, I got a little better at writing. Every time I wrote, I learned a little more about the topic, how to research topics effectively, where the best sources of information were. Every time I wrote, I was slightly more plugged in to the rich software development community all around me. Every time I wrote, I’d get a morsel of feedback or comments that I kept rolling up into future posts. Every time I wrote, I tried to write something just the tiniest bit better than I did last time.
In all these different perspective lies DIFN as their foundation. The power to get your ass off the couch after work and spend an hour to blog about a great piece of code you wrote at work, or about some efficiency process you implemented and so on. Anything worth the world will add to the knowledge we all feed on. If you are one to think blogging is a hustle and worthless, I only have this to say to you. Try ignoring all blogs and articles in your result set for your web searches and let me know how you do. That’s when you will come to understand the importance of blogs (with useful content).
From this moment, I intend to keep jabbing everyday with good content and most of all, uphold DIFN.
I will be glad to hear what you think of DIFN.