Following up on Berin’s Rules for Social Media, here are Berin’s Rules for Blogging. A concise set of guidelines and expectations around what I do here in this space, as well as why and even a bit of how I do it. This should be considered a living document, which means I reserve the right to change the rules at any time because I can.
1. I write a blog for my own reasons
Let’s start with this statement made by ace penmonkey Chuck Wendig that rocked my world:
“First, this blog is not a writing blog. It’s not any kind of a blog. It’s just a blog, which is to say, it’s a platform for me to squawk and gibber into the void. Further, like with most blogs, it’s free to you — though, be advised, it costs me a pretty penny to run. Free to you, not to me. Now, my books? They’re the opposite. Those are free for me to write, relatively, and cost you. Which is why my books are for you, and my blog is for me.”
My blog exists to serve my needs. The format will change, along with my frequency of posting and the range of topics that I post about, as my needs change. That said, I will strive to keep things within the theme of simplify-create-thrive, because that’s the mantra of my life.
Which means that sometimes you will find carefully written essays, and sometimes you’ll find random thoughts and drive-by updates about a work-in-progress. When I have time and passion, I might update several times per day. When I’m under the gun or just not feeling it, I might update once per week. As I’m not monetizing the site or incorporating it into my marketing plans, it doesn’t matter. It’s a space where I get to be myself and connect with people on a more human level.
I make this statement, and refer to this as a rule, as much for my own sake as for yours. I need to remove the pressure to update this site, especially when I have deadlines for paid work, or other passion projects to work on.
2. My rules for social media apply here.
Before I post here, I will ask myself the same series of questions. A post has to be useful to readers, reflect my personal and professional brand, respectful to others, and require my voice or viewpoint. You can read the rules to see what I’m holding myself to.
3. Blogging is my proxy for social media.
This blog is a way to maintain a presence on the internet during the times when I do not want to get sucked into social media. Unless and until the comments section here blows up, I can do hit-and-run updates. I fully understand that I will get less engagement on the site than I do on Facebook or Twitter, because it takes a conscious decision to find me here versus falling upon my posts there.
Posting here means I can be as concise or as long-winded as I need to be, without character limits or truncation of my gratuitous verbosity. I can add as many pictures, videos, or links as I feel are necessary. Control of the format is entirely mine.
There is also the issue of changing terms of service on various sites, and who owns the content I generate. My webhost will never try to claim ownership of what I post here, and I will never claim ownership of the comments you leave. Creative control is awesome.
4. This blog should be part of my work process.
This might seem like a restatement of Rule 1, but it’s more of a clarification. I keep a journal as part of my work process, to track what works, what doesn’t work, and to keep myself accountable for productivity. When I have insights there that seem to fit in with the guidelines for this blog, I will share them. If I need feedback, I will ask for it here. When I need a break and feel the need to connect with people, I might do it here. There will probably be more posts about a current work-in-progress or my creative process here, as I write ideas down in order to get my head around them.
5. Feedback is always appreciated, but not always responded to.
I do read all of the feedback I receive, whether it is a comment, an email, or a private message on social. Not everything will be answered or acknowledged. That mostly has to do with time, but it might be that I don’t know what to say, don’t want to get sucked into a long (albeit interesting) conversation, or the feedback doesn’t seem to require a response. It’s nothing personal.