A few links for the end of the week

The how to edition:

I’m starting a (free) newsletter

That’s something I’ve been putting off for quite a while now. But I’ve finally decided to take the plunge.

It’s called News From Somewhere and is a free newsletter delivered to your inbox bi-weekly. Each edition will be a collection of thoughts, ideas, news, links, and analysis. I won’t use the newsletter to sell you anything — at the very worst, I’ll be announcing my new books and projects, as well as offering previews of upcoming work.

Oh, did I mention the newsletter is free?

The first edition of News From Somewhere goes out on June 1. If you’re interested, you can subscribe here. I won’t use your email address for anything other than the newsletter. Promise!

5 ways to deal with a blogging lull

blog There come times when things get in the way of your blogging. You find it hard to write, or to find the time to write.

Take, for example, the situation I was in during February and March of this year. Several streams of chaos converged on my life and made blogging (not to mention other aspects of my life) difficult. I was writing, just not very much. Definitely not as much as I wanted to needed to. I fell quite far behind with all of my writing, and I’m still trying to catch up.

We all hit lulls in our blogging from time to time. Here’s some advice that can help you deal with those lulls.

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Make sure your blog posts are portable

USB flash drive plugged into a computer Blogging can be a funny thing. You might start with a blogging platform and stay with it for years because it’s familiar and because it suits your needs. You might stay with it for as long as you’re a blogger.

Then again, your platform of choice might have its plug pulled. You might decide that the platform you’re on is a bit too limited for your needs.

No matter what, you’ll want or need to move to another platform. But what happens to all of your posts? You’ll want to be able to take your posts with you when you make a move.

Here are couple of ideas which can help you do that.

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A few links for the end of the week

The web isn’t linear

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Some people will say otherwise, but I think I’ve mellowed as I’ve gotten older. While I’m not as cranky or contentious as I used to be, there are some people, and some types of people, who frustrate me.

The people who who frustrate me are those who overthink just about everything. Who dither. Who spend too much time planning and not enough time doing.

For the last 12 months or so, I’ve been dealing with a person who fits that bill. He’s been planning a blog for that long (perhaps a bit longer) and has almost nothing to show for it. He has ideas for posts, but hasn’t written much. He’s published nothing.

Instead, he’s preoccupied with trying to figure out which of those ideas to write first. He’s focusing too heavily on how to, in his words, structure his blog.

He wants to construct a narrative. That’s fine, but constructing that narrative is hamstringing him. To be honest, I can’t see him publishing anything any time soon.

The lesson I’ve been trying to impart, unsuccessfully so far, is the web isn’t linear. At least, it doesn’t have to be.

You can publish posts on your blog in any order. There’s no guarantee people will read the posts in the order in which you publish them.

Let’s say you have a series of inter-related posts. Publish them in whatever order you feel like. Then, when they’re all published you can link between them. If you’re using WordPress, then you can use a related posts plugin that will automatically add links to similar content on your blog.

If you need to, create a post that contains links to the various parts of your series. On that page, list the posts in the order in which you imagine people reading them.

Content on the web isn’t like the content of a book. Using links, you can easily provide readers with a quick path to related posts and articles. You can publish in any order that you want, and not worry about readers losing their way.

Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.

Photo credit: ngould

Pulling the plug on a blog

Plug about to be pulled A big piece of my professional puzzle came to an end on March 31, 2015. That was the day DMN Communications, the technical communication firm I co-owned, was wound up.

As part of that, the company’s blog came to an end. That blog helped establish me and my (now former) business partner as leaders in the technical communication field. But times change. People move on.

Winding up the company gave me some insight into when and why you should pull the plug on a blog.

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A few links for the end of the week