In 2012, Shawn Blanc marked the fifth anniversary of starting his site by publishing an article titled 50 Things I’ve Learned About Publishing a Weblog. Filled with some of the best advice I have ever read on the subject, I return to this article every few months, gleaning just a little bit more each time. When I look back on the years since I started following Shawn, this piece stands out in my mind as his best work. And so, given how much I enjoyed his advice, I thought I would create my own list of lessons learned over the last few years of writing on the web.
Taking a cue from Shawn, I will do my best to keep most of these brief; however, a few warrant some explanation, and so when necessary I will break uniformity for the sake of clarity.
The incumbents became huge and successful for a reason, and have remained huge and successful for a reason. The former and latter are not always the same.
Failing to fully understand something is often the reason so many discount and disparage it.
Spend more time complimenting others’ work than criticizing it.
"You radically overestimate the average skill of the competition because of the crowd you hang around with.” Credit Patrick McKenzie for this gem I couldn’t resist adding in here.
Never say “I could have done that.” Maybe you could have, but you didn’t, so you have lost the privilege to claim that idea as your own.
Take incredible pride in your own work.
Show up every day prepared to work harder than yesterday.
Never waste your time.
Never waste another’s time.
Realize that everyone values their own time more than everyone else’s; in other words, as much as you value your own.
You will never regret reading more than you write.
Always have a good reason for everything you do.
Never lose sight of an ultimate end-goal informing your every decision, lest you stray from your intended path and fall to ruin.
You probably aren’t as smart as you think you are.
Everyone else is definitely not as dumb as you think.
You may very well be wrong.
You will always be wrong to someone.
For some, you will always be wrong.
Some people will never agree with you, no matter what you say or do or how much evidence you may present in support of your case.
Very few things are categorically anything.
Very few people consciously commit acts of wrongdoing or knowingly state inaccurate facts.
Everyone has their reasons, all of which are perfectly valid and justifiable in their mind.
Simple stupidity rarely motivates anyone.
Confrontation only solves problems when one party can force another to change the way they act and think. You can do neither over the internet.
Pay attention to the people who like you, and those who do not. Both their opinions have merit, both only to an extent. Take everything, both good and bad, with a grain of salt.