Julia Evans on Blogging

She writes:

myth: everyone should blog

I sometimes see advice to the effect of “blogging is great! public speaking is great! everyone should do it! build your Personal Brand!“.

That’s me, I say that. I don’t know about personal brands anymore, but I like the idea that it helps you think.

Blogging isn’t for everyone. Tons of amazing developers don’t have blogs or personal websites at all. I write because it’s fun for me and it helps me organize my thoughts.

Most amazing developers I know do not blog — by a wide margin. But of the developers I know that do blog, most of those are amazing, except one.

If you are considering it, Julia’s other seven myths are right on. You don’t need to be an expert. You don’t need to be original. You don’t have to be comprehensive, consistent, or exciting. You don’t even always have to be right. That describes my blogging journey to a T.

A few months later, Julia followed up with Some tactics for writing in public that are just as useful as calling out the myths. For example, if you’re worried about posting something that isn’t exactly right and getting roasted for it, consider telling it like a personal story:

I think stories encourage pretty good discussion. For example, why you should understand (a little) about TCP is a story about a time it was important for me to understand how TCP worked.

When I share stories about problems I solved, the comments really help me understand how what I learned fits into a bigger context. 

Opinions have that same property, I find. Instead of saying something like “signals are the best possible way to manage application state” you can phrase it like “I swapped out some of our application state code to use signals, and it clicked with how I think much better.” The first one people can argue with, the second one they cannot.

Really, read the whole thing. I’ll just pick one more quote:

Sometimes people seem to want to get into arguments or make dismissive comments. I don’t reply to them, even if they’re wrong. I dislike arguing on the internet and I’m extremely bad at it, so it’s not a good use of my time.



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