In a recent email thread, I was asked:
How come that you manage to post and comment that much? I bet you spend really loads of time on your blog.
The reason why I ask is because roughly a month ago I've decided to roll out my own programming blog. I've made three or four posts there
(in 5 days) and abandoned the idea because it was consuming waaaaay too much time (like 2-3 hours per post)
The only problem is time. If I'm gonna to post that much every day (and eventually also answer to comments), it seems that my effective working time would be cut by 3+ hours. Daily. So here comes my original question. How come that you manage to post and comment that much?
And here is my answer:
I see a lot of people in a similar situation. I have been blogging for 6 years now (Wow! how the the time flies), and I have started from a blog that has zero readers to one that has a respectable readership. There are only two things that I do that are in any way unique. First, my "does it fit to be blogged about?" level is pretty low. If it is interesting (to me), it will probably go to the blog.
Second, I don't mind pushing a blog post that requires fixing later. It usually takes me ten minutes to put out a blog post, so I can literally have a thought, post it up and move on, without really noticing it hurting my workflow. And the mere act of putting things in writing for others to read is a significant one, it allows me to look at things in writing in a way that is hard to do when they are just in my head.
It does take time, make no mistakes about that. The 10 minutes blog post is about 30% of my posts, in a lot of cases, it is something that I have to work on for half an hour. In some rare cases, it goes to an hour or two. There have been several dozens of posts that took days. But while it started out as a hobby, it has become part of my work now. The blog is my marketing effort, so to speak. And it is an effective one.
Right now, I have set it up so about once a week I am spending four or five hours crunching out blog posts and future posting them. Afterward, I can blog whenever I feel like, and that takes a lot of the pressure off. It helps that I am trying hard to schedule most of them day after day. So I get a lot of breathing room, but there is new content every day.
That doesn’t mean that I actually blog once a week, though. I push stuff to the blog all the time, but it is usually short notes, not posts that take a lot of time.
As for comments, take a look at my commenting style, I am generally commenting only when I actually have something to add to the conversation, and I very rarely have long comments (if I do, they turn into posts :-) ).
It also doesn’t take much time to reply to most of them, and it creates a feedback cycle that means that more people are participating and reading the blog. It is rare that I post a topic that really stir people up and that I feel obligated to respond to all/most of the comments. That does bother me, because it takes too much time. In those cases, I’ll generally close the comment threads with a note about that.
One final thought, the time I spend blogging is not wasted. It is well spent. Because it is an investment in reputation, respectability and familiarization.