Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blogging: Why did I wait so long?

It was October 7th 2010.  I was sitting at home, in front of my computer, about to click the ‘CREATE ACCOUNT’ button on, and found myself hesitating.

Earlier in the week, during a discussion about blogging in the weekly #lrnchat chat on Twitter, I had publicly stated “That’s it, I’m going to start my blog”, which added a level of accountability to an internal debate I’ve had about blogging for upwards of about three years.

I’m generally an early adopter when it comes to technology, but it wasn’t until I discovered the power of a Personal Learning Network via Twitter that I truly embraced Social Media.  A few months ago my opinion about blogging was very different, and like Twitter before it, was largely based on ignorance.

Here are some of the main reasons (or as I now see them to be – excuses) for procrastinating on starting my blog. 

The Excuse: I’ve got too much to do already without adding ‘blogging’ to my list.
The Reality: You're never too busy to do something you love and find important.

We're all busy, but we should always leave time in our schedules for the important things that have no urgency attached to them.  Personal development is definitely something we should be placing some of our focus on, and blogging is an excellent resource for that. In addition, blogging should be something you do because you enjoy it, not because you have to.  It's like the old joke...

Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm like this"
Doctor: "Then don't do that."

If blogging feels like a chore, guess what?  You can stop blogging.

The Excuse: Nobody is going to read it!
The Reality: What if somebody reads it? Wait... What if Nobody reads it!?!?!?

The core of this excuse comes down to one word: Insecurity.  I had this idea in my head that a blog is something that I'm delivering to the world, and it is.  What I forgot in that equation though, is that I'm at the core of that particular world.  I needed to blog for myself first, and give back to myself and my personal development.  If it turns out that someone wanted to join me for parts of the journey, that would be a welcome bonus. If no one besides me found it of value, that would be OK too.

I found that once I let go of the baggage of "Who will or will not read it?” the pressure disappeared. 

The Excuse: I've got nothing to say.
The Reality: We all have something to say.

In today's collaborative world, we all have something to contribute.  A blog can have a theme, or it can be random thoughts. There's really only one rule in my mind: Write what you feel like writing about.

Special thanks goes out to my wife for helping me overcome this hurdle.  I recall discussing this with her and when I said "I really don't have a lot to say..." her subsequent involuntary twitching reminded me that in the right context, I often have a great deal to say.

Once I made the leap of faith – which is the best way I can describe how it felt – I was fairly quickly asking myself “Why have I been denying myself this resource for so long?”

Blogging has provided me with more benefits than I ever expected.. Here are just a few examples:

Personal growth via reflective writing

Reflection is a great tool for learning.  I incorporate it into the programs I design and practice it myself. A blog is an outstanding resource for this.

I regularly write posts that reflect on the weekly #lrnchat discussions taking place on Twitter.  These chats among peers in the Learning and Development field are excellent and a great source of professional development. The posts I write reflecting on the chats reinforce and add tremendously to those learnings. 

Expands my network in a valued community

Networking is becoming more and more important every day.  For both knowledge and professional growth, who-you-know is often more important than what-you-know. A blog is a great tool to expand your network.

One of the great features of blogs is the ability to add comments.  It adds a collaborative edge to the learning, and helps incorporate you and your writing into a new or existing community.  I've enjoyed meeting and interacting with new people via comments they left on my blog.

Provides the satisfaction of contributing

While I admittedly blog primarily for myself, I also take satisfaction in knowing others have read and found value in some of what I write.  When my blog is referenced by a colleague, it is a tremendous compliment.  It is also a privilege to be able to contribute to the ever-expanding pool of resources that I pull from every day.

As I think back to October 7th, with my cursor hovering over the CREATE ACCOUNT button like two magnets resisting a connection, I realize a few key things:

1.      I fell into the trap of the unknown, in which we create an illogical fear based on our ignorance.
2.      I completely underestimated the value blogging would provide me.
3.      While I blog for me, I cherish the connections my blog has enabled me to build with others.
4.      Though I did not realize it at the time, I did not have reasons for not starting a blog; I had excuses.

I recall taking my daughter to the pool this past Labor Day. It was cold, but it was the last day the pool was open, so my daughter insisted.  As kids do, she jumped right in without so much as a pause.  I walked to the edge, stuck my big toe in the water and lovingly said to my daughter “OK then… Have fun!”

We debated for few minutes; her repeatedly telling me the water was not cold and me pointing out the ice cubes floating by behind her. She won the debate by using my own words against me…

“Daaadddyyyy. You always tell me I should try things and not just decide I don’t like them”

If you’re considering starting a blog, jump off the edge and into the deep end of the pool.  In a best case scenario, you’ll find a similar love and satisfaction for it that I have.  And in a worst case scenario?  You jump back out of the pool, towel yourself off, and move on. 

Which, for the record, is EXACTLY what I did that cold Labor Day afternoon.


  1. LnDDave,

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. I've always loved your #lrnchat recaps and I actually use your blog as a benchmark for what I would like my blog to contribute to the world.

    I too decided I wanted to blog after my first dose of #lrnchat last December and added it to my New Years Res...Then my Birthday Res this past Monday and blog. I made every excuse you have on that list. Then I did some deep self-analysis and finally admitted that I was scared because I thought no one would read what I had to say. I spent tons to time procrastinating some more trying to find the right "theme" for the blog - what it should look like. Another excuse!

    This weekend I will have a blog posted because I know its what I want to do and I know its for the right reasons...because I am doing it for me and if others read, contribute, participate - then that's a bonus. @pmtrainer

  2. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has been hesitating to start a blog. Guess what? I still haven't started mine, and I've been paying for a WordPress account on my Web server since August. Procrastinator? That's me.

    For me, the largest "excuse" is that I "don't have the time." I work full-time and am in grad school part-time. Yet I've never really thought about blogging as a personal development experience. I've so far only viewed it as 1) a networking opportunity, and 2) "everyone else seems to be doing it."

    I will rethink my strategy and "excuses." I've enjoyed this post -- thanks for your blog!

  3. Great post! For the record, your posts are adding tremendous value. Thank you for taking that plunge!

    And, thanks for the encouragement. I pressed create account a bit before you did, but haven't built the blogging habit yet. But, after reading this, maybe there's hope?!