Writings from the Web of Words

There were a great couple of blogposts this week that fall into my broad ‘working in the open’ / ‘web of words’ category of interest.

Matt Webb (the man I tend to credit/blame for #weeknotes) wrote a great post about his 15 rules for blogging.

These five rules were my personal favourites and closest to my approach. Though (7) is easy as my stuff has never been popular!

6. Give up on saying anything new. Most people haven’t read my old stuff. Play the hits.

7. Give up on trying to be popular. I try not to filter myself based on what I believe will be popular. Some of my favourite posts get ignored. Some posts get popular and I have no idea why. Besides, terrible posts get buried fast if I’m posting three times a week. So post with abandon.

8. Give up on trying to be interesting. Readers will come to my site for what’s interesting to me, or not, it’s fine, just say what I think about whatever I’m thinking about.

10. Only write what’s in my head at that exact moment. It’s 10x faster.

11. If it’s taking too long to write, stop.

There were a few that I wasn’t as keen on though –>

5. Give up on providing full links and citations.

12. Don’t use a post just to link to something elsewhere. If there’s a point to make, start with that.

13. Titles should be descriptive and have the flavour of the post. And rewrite the lede once the post is done so the whole thing gets to the point faster.

I understand (5) – adding all the links etc is a grind and I definitely don’t do it as much as I used to but I’d never commit to not doing it. The web IS links and if not us then who.

Well I’m essentially doing (12) – sorry Matt! As for (13) I agree really but I always have too much fun coming up with silly and alliterative titles – I mean they are useless for SEO etc but I don’t really care.

Giles also published a guide to (team/org) #weeknotes. These are a different flavour of #weeknotes than the personal reflections collated at Web of Weeknotes. These are all business. For my own clarity I’ve tended to call them #sprintnotes just for a bit of separation in my head.

He expands on his top tips in the post and it is well worth a read beyond these headings –>

Don’t worry too much about structure

Sometimes there’s not much to say, and that’s fine

You can include jokes

If you’re a leader, write your own weeknotes

Let team members take turns to write weeknotes

If you treat weeknotes like a burden, they’ll feel like a burden

One thing I’d say is that when Giles talks about how flexible #weeknotes – especially regarding audiences – this can be a bit of a double edged sword. Decide who your primary targets are and let that influence the tone. It is hard writing something that has be be all things to all people…and if you are sharing the authorship make sure everybody knows who you are writing it for!