When I first started blogging here on Slaw, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew all the objective reasons why it would be good for me at a professional level, but some of the personal aspects of the process proved to be a genuine surprise.
A few observations gleaned from my first months of blogging:
- It will take longer than you expect to write your first blog posts.
My first post took 10 hours to write. Really. I even hired an editor to review it. I always thought I was a “good” writer. Until I realized how inefficient I can be. I’m getting better, though. (This post took approximately one hour to draft).
- You will feel vulnerable. Blogging can be difficult for perfectionists or anyone who worries (perhaps neurotically) about what people might think of them. This is especially true if your writing is meant for an audience trained to think critically.
- Blogging makes you more empathetic. It forces you to understand other perspectives. When I’m reviewing social media strategies with clients now, at least I can really understand their resistance to blogging. And suggest why they might try it anyway.
- Exemplary professionalism extends to the online legal community. I’m quite sure that there are lawyers and legal professionals who read my posts and either: a) dislike them, or; b) disagree with them. But, being true professionals, Slaw readers are polite about it. Thank you.
- You’ll meet some nice people. It is social networking, after all. This has been the most pleasant surprise so far. I was so worried about writing the perfect post that I hadn’t considered how much I would enjoy interacting with my fellow Slaw bloggers and readers.
- With practice, you’ll find your writing voice. Blogging is a more casual, more personal form of writing than most of us are used to publishing in a professional forum. It takes time to find the balance between sounding like yourself and sounding like you have something valuable to say. I suspect it has something to do with the second point in this post.
None of these observations have anything to do with quantifying the value of blogging as it relates to my work. Of course, those aspects are important, too. I blog because I genuinely enjoy writing, because I’m learning a lot in the process and because I’ve found a way to make that process collaborative. Once in a while, someone tells me that they appreciate what I have to say. This means more to me than any statistic. And it’s also enough motivation to keep going.