In 2012, Shawn Blanc marked the fifth anniversary of starting his site by publishing an article titled 50 Things I’ve Learned About Publishing a Weblog. Filled with some of the best advice I have ever read on the subject, I return to this article every few months, gleaning just a little bit more each time. When I look back on the years since I started following Shawn, this piece stands out in my mind as his best work. And so, given how much I enjoyed his advice, I thought I would create my own list of lessons learned over the last few years of writing on the web.
Taking a cue from Shawn, I will do my best to keep most of these brief; however, a few warrant some explanation, and so when necessary I will break uniformity for the sake of clarity.
- The incumbents became huge and successful for a reason, and have remained huge and successful for a reason. The former and latter are not always the same.
- Failing to fully understand something is often the reason so many discount and disparage it.
- Spend more time complimenting others’ work than criticizing it.
- “You radically overestimate the average skill of the competition because of the crowd you hang around with.” Credit Patrick McKenzie for this gem I couldn’t resist adding in here.
- Never say “I could have done that.” Maybe you could have, but you didn’t, so you have lost the privilege to claim that idea as your own.
- Take incredible pride in your own work.
- Show up every day prepared to work harder than yesterday.
- Never waste your time.
- Never waste another’s time.
- Realize that everyone values their own time more than everyone else’s; in other words, as much as you value your own.
- You will never regret reading more than you write.
- Always have a good reason for everything you do.
- Never lose sight of an ultimate end-goal informing your every decision, lest you stray from your intended path and fall to ruin.
- You probably aren’t as smart as you think you are.
- Everyone else is definitely not as dumb as you think.
- You may very well be wrong.
- You will always be wrong to someone.
- For some, you will always be wrong.
- Some people will never agree with you, no matter what you say or do or how much evidence you may present in support of your case.
- Very few things are categorically anything.
- Very few people consciously commit acts of wrongdoing or knowingly state inaccurate facts.
- Everyone has their reasons, all of which are perfectly valid and justifiable in their mind.
- Simple stupidity rarely motivates anyone.
- Confrontation only solves problems when one party can force another to change the way they act and think. You can do neither over the internet.
- Pay attention to the people who like you, and those who do not. Both their opinions have merit, both only to an extent. Take everything, both good and bad, with a grain of salt.