I can’t believe how freaked out I was about starting this blog. I’m a writer; I write books; I write content for other people; I’ve written all sorts of complex transportation studies; I’ve kept a journal since age 6 (seriously, I still have that journal)–yet the idea of writing freestyle via a blog freaked me out. I guess because as a writer there’s this expectation that everything I publish be perfect (I feel myself editing this as I write). Yet the whole idea behind blogging is to just express your thoughts, ideas, tips, tools, whatever, via your own uncensored voice…so here I am.
What I hope to accomplish with this blog is to share with you everything that I have learned and continue to learn about writing, editing, publishing, project organization, and growing a business. I started my company in 2005 as a vehicle to publish an illustrated coffee table book, and I can’t believe how much has changed since that time–not only with my company, but with the world. Print books are no longer dominating our lives, and there’s an ever growing market for digital content. Of course I don’t believe that anything will ever replace the experience of reading a book, just like YouTube will never replace going to the movies, but the Internet has created a landscape full of opportunity. Websites are a must for any small business, social networking sites are huge for viral marketing, and blogging is becoming the tool for interacting with your community. I want to share all of this with you, because sometimes I read so much during the day about publishing trends, e-commerce, how to grow your business, and why Facebook is better than MySpace, that I think my brain will explode if I don’t start writing it all down.
For this first blog, I want to end with my first tip for ’09: Don’t think too much about it, just start blogging. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there; there are billions of people out there; that’s a 1 to 10,000 ratio (approximately). Seriously, blogging is a great way to connect with people, it’s a great way to establish yourself as a professional and expert, and you’ll be surprised by how much you know and how much people will enjoy your insight. For example, my girlfriend started a blog about her pregnancy experience last year, and I’ve surprised myself at how into it I’ve gotten (it’s made me tear up more than once). I’ve also started reading about all the money-making opportunities a blog can create (more on that in a future blog). So…if you are serious about sharing with the world what you know and creating all sorts of interesting opportunities for yourself, start blogging! You know where to go: wordpress.com and blogger.com are the two I’m most familiar with, and sometimes, we really don’t need more options.
By the way if you’re interested in where the heck the term “blogging” came from, I found this interesting information on wikipedia.org (where else):
In 1993, Dr. Glen Barry invented blogging, defined as web based commentary, linking to other articles. The “Forest Protection Blog” (originally entitled “Gaia’s Forest Conservation Archives”) at http://forests.org/blog/was also the first political blog, as Dr. Barry campaigned there for forest protection and documented these efforts as his Ph.D. project. The blog initially used the gopher protocol, and has been on the web continuously since Jan. 1995, making it the web’s first and longest continuously running blog.
Early blogs were simply manually updated components of common Web sites. However, the evolution of tools to facilitate the production and maintenance of Web articles posted in reverse chronological order made the publishing process feasible to a much larger, less technical, population. Ultimately, this resulted in the distinct class of online publishing that produces blogs we recognize today.
If you have more questions or need more insight, contact me through my website: www.aohwrite.com, I am always happy to help. Now go forth and blog!