Blogging is Writing with a Thick Marker

Many blogs never make it past the first three months. The authors start with a flourish, then founder sometime between months two and three.

What happens? Is it to do with priorities? Effort? Lack of ideas?

My view is that it boils down to one thing – over thinking.

After a couple of months, a blog starts to develop an audience. The author starts to establish a rhythm and a consistency of voice. Comments start to come in and it becomes thrilling to engage with “your” audience.

But then there is a choking point. The authors lose their way – wanting to dramatically increase traffic, comments and subscriptions. There is an attempt to make each post better than the one before, and increasingly the “fun” of blogging begins to look more and more like WORK.

If this sounds familiar – then one technique to help you smash through the three month barrier is to remember that blogging is like writing with a thick marker. This is how Jason Fried from 37 Signals (see below) describes his idea sketching process. The aim is to NOT get buried in the details – and a thick marker is the tool designed for that very purpose.

Think of your blog as a thick marker – and each blog post a single idea designed to inspire, engage and stimulate. And then, sometime in the future, go back, write a whitepaper, create a presentation or write a book on the ideas that stick.

6 thoughts on “Blogging is Writing with a Thick Marker

  1. Gavin, thanks so much for this idea– I hadn’t heard it before. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger who struggles with complex ideas in a complex domain. I almost always struggle with the concern that I can’t get it all in there… but thinking of the blog posts as a ‘thick mark’ rather than a precise or specific one, and thinking of it as something to come back to, is helpful.

  2. I guess Fried’s advice is OK, but I think what happens with some bloggers who hit the wall you describe is that they either forget WHY they started a blog, or are forced to realize that their reason for blogging isn’t sustainable.
    In other words, if their purpose for blogging was to –let’s say — increase visibility for themselves or their business, then after some period of time, they may run out of things to say, and have no anchor to ground them or beacon to guide them.
    If the blog (as a whole) isn’t about SOMETHING, then trying to find that “one idea” for a post may not be a fruitful exercise.

  3. Interesting that he shops at big box stores while preaching about personal branding. Borders? Crate and Barrel? I’m hoping those who resonate with his message will take the extra steps to support small local businesses as well.Step out of your comfort zone and relate to a small business owner, you just may learn something (and find a new friend).

  4. Sometimes the subject matter lends itself to complexity … Like your posts on organizational change which draw together multiple strands of thought. One technique is to break down the topic into a series of posts that can be later formed into an ebook. Then you have created extra value for your readers as well. Thanks for dropping by!

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