Why technical blogging is hard

Writing blog posts of a technical nature can be a difficult experience. That’s because you are trying to appeal to an audience of opinionated developers. There are other factors to consider too.

I used to write a lot of how to blog posts. Each time I came across a new way to do something, I’d write a post about it.

That wasn’t a bad thing. But it can get a bit soul destroying when you see the reaction to what you’ve written. It’s usually no reaction at all, or a bunch of people telling you there is a better way.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep sharing useful stuff though. You just need to watch out for a couple of things.

Writing web code for a living can cause you to drink (even) more coffee. But you find topics that seem like a good idea to write about.

Well, maybe. But first, some facts.

As I’ve said: developers are an opinionated bunch.

That’s because of:

All the coffee and late nights spent looking for a bug (there’s always another bug, right?) When normal people are out enjoying life.

The amends (last minute and often not scoped) we battle with from our clients.

Often wrecking our brains to figure out how to put in place another impossible request . And build it by yesterday.

Cue maniacal laugher…

Then you want me to blog about code too?

Tumbleweed rolls across the desolate landscape

It’ll make a great post topic though.

Yes. Yes, it will. You’ve battled long and hard figuring out how to do something. Why not share it with the world? That is after all, the true spirit of the web.

So you begin writing.

But it’s not easy. You need a site with the code in it so you can write about it. So you begin to build the site/app. That’s more coding on top of the gazillion lines of code you’ve stared at all day.

Through blurred eyes and caffeine-fuelled keyboard bashing the post comes alive. And developers can download the code from Git Hub ready for scrutiny.

A few more hours of toil and it’s finally ready.

Great. Hit publish and collapse into bed. WAIT…

What if it?s? a bit shit? What if other developers read it and laugh at you? They’ll point and snigger. They’ll say: “he can’t code for shit. Did you read that hopeless blog post? There were so many things wrong…”

Leave it until the morning. Then (maybe) we’ll publish it.

So, later that morning (1am was still yesterday) you take in your first caffeine and read back your post. You read expecting to hit delete soon.

But wait…

This is alright. This is a post you can publish and be proud of. It even sounds like you know what you’re talking about.

Great, press the button (and tweet the link).

And it’s live. Now we wait.

The next thing to happen is:

Nothing.

No re-tweets, no comments.

No complimentary emails.

Nothing.

Your shiny new post sits out there like a lonely satellite taking it’s last few orbits before the power cells finally die.

The cold sweat starts. It must have been shit. Nobody’s read it.

Tweet the link again.

Still nothing.

Or:

The comments start coming in. Detailing why your technique is wrong. Explaining why using the ‘x’ framework is a bad idea. Telling you that your post is like someone else’s – except theirs was better.

And so the self-loathing begins. Why did you write it? You know you’re rubbish at coding. Don’t write any more technical blog posts…

After a month of not writing any more blog posts, you get another idea. You think about writing it. You’ll make a better job of it this time. And you won’t be bothered by all the negativity/silence.

Technical blogging is hard for many reasons. But at least your posts serve as a reminder for how you managed to solve a problem. There is that at least.

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