It’s not about your comfort…

When it comes to learning, it’s not about my comfort. That is something the leader of The Aji Network has said to its members several times over the last five years, if not over the last 30. Technology, politics, economics and demographics drift endlessly, and if we want to learn and grow, it won’t be”comfortable”.

That is, it doesn’t have to “hurt”, but comfort has nothing to do with learning. Change means not staying the same, it means working out new muscles and developing new insights and practices.

So I am going to start in this post working through some of my struggles learning how to blog – NOT to speak of my own ability, but to share my trials and encourage your comments so we can help each other get better at this.

Actually, I started blogging back in 2006, posting maybe a dozen or so articles and getting some interesting feedback (mostly from colleagues I already knew). Rather than sticking to it, I started thinking if my conversations were mainly with people I knew already, what were my purposes in blogging after all? [That should be worth a comment or two right there!]

So part of this series will be about how to think about various purposes… since we have to get to those as soon as possible anyway. But for now, I am just introducing an invitation to join me in talking about what we can learn together, to help each other in this. If you have put off getting your blog going, or are experiencing similar learning “opportunities”, maybe this will be a great time to travel together. I know at least one blog from a very creative guy started up over the last week from a conversation like this.

I expect you already read others’ blogs. I expect you might even read others’ blogs about blogging. What I propose can’t be that, because I am not an expert. Instead, I am a beginner… and in my book somebody only specifically calls him/herself a “beginner” if they are committed to learn. (That is, unless they want to swagger around as if they know something without showing any real accomplishments.)

So here are some of the areas I think about a lot as I consider my blogs:

  1. My intentions and purposes for blogging, besides others telling me that I “should”
  2. Who would be listening?
  3. How do I help you, and what is relevant to you?
  4. Which things that I write are opinions, and which can I support?
  5. How much is too much coverage of a topic, so that you might not comment back for me?
What do you think? What do you wonder about as you lay out your blogs or plan your posts? Share with me and we can learn together.
–k
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About ken
Creative insights, passion and technical adrenaline - strategist, agile coach and marketer, providing a good life for wife of 20 years & 2 awesome teenagers!

6 Responses to It’s not about your comfort…

  1. bfmooz says:

    Coming from my perspective, the difference in my thinking on blog topics in contrast to some of the format you discussed revolves around the “preparation” for the post. Part of the hangup I had with beginning to blog was that I would struggle with topics and could not think of anything about which to write. For me, the pureness of blogging comes from the random. The most intriguing elements that form into a good conversation revolve around the passing thoughts that someone brings to light that act as a magnet for compelling dialogue. This approach is challenging for sure because it involves a certain level of trust with your audience. It involves being able to take something that was once just an ideal that you were contemplating and exposing it for criticism, both positive and negative. The feedback then serves as the common exchange of that trust, and to some degree serves as a mover of the relational barometer. Think on the theory of the emotional bank account where we deposit and withdraw from the accounts of others with the types of exchanges we have. Blogging interaction is like the “online banking” of that exchange…it serves the same purpose in a medium that gets the job done across the wire a little faster.

    • ken says:

      Michael,

      Thanks for the comment. I can see what you mean.

      When you speak of ‘trust with your audience’, I consider trust to be an assessment of sincerity, reliability and competence over time. I think it would be hard for me to hold a promise of posting relevant content consistently and competently over time if I had to depend on being inspired randomly. That is where the planning comes from for me.

      So I sat down before starting my blog and wrote out probably fifty topics in fifteen minutes… not like that is the “right” thing to do, but just what I needed to tell myself I had enough to get going. Then as I started to write a couple of them, I sensed something a little misaligned, and so I started this thread. Now I am willing to work through this with you and anyone else who wants to join in as co-beginners.

      The deposit and withdrawal metaphors are good to think about. They also suggest the need for consistency and reliability over time, if you want to build up some equity in your writing.

      Again, thanks for thinking with me. Keep it coming.

      –k

      • bfmooz says:

        To some degree I think that the reliability while somewhat undefined is also something that is required for a successful blogger. Especially in terms of a “non-standard” free floating blog. If the idea is to blog about a thought that one has in hopes of building a dialect, it can be said that it is a conscious effort by the author to move that thought out of the realm of the possessive mind and into the arena of shared interactivity. In doing so, there is a concerted attempt to forge a relationship or at minimum and engagement, directly or indirectly, with the audience. A reader, and more specifically a responding commenter, is making the same conscious motion to embed themselves within the dialect and thus closing the circuit of relational communication. They are deciding that whether ongoing or for at least that moment in time, you are deserving of some allocation of attention.

        • ken says:

          Sure. Even when you are “free-floating”, I anticipate your reader will want to develop some sense of why they recurrently read your posts. There should be some theme, even if it is somewhat random like “loose neurons”, “fruit wars”, “rick’s wrong” or “the moose doctrine”. Over time, as you exhibit reliability according to your theme, I would say you have established some consistency and may not be as “free-floating” as you originally thought. You could be defined as much by your readers as by your initial intentions, and to the extent you go in a different direction, your reader demographic will change as well.

  2. Fantastic says:

    Wonderful go through as I was not sure what direction to go and easily discovered my own answer 🙂

    • ken says:

      Thanks for your reply, Fantastic. I hope the conversation is helpful to you.

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