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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is CSO of Linchpin People and SQLPeople, an SSIS Trainer, Consultant, and developer; a Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) developer; SQL Server database and data warehouse developer, community mentor, engineer, and farmer. He is a co-author of SQL Server 2012 Integration Services Design Patterns. His background includes web application architecture and development, VB, and ASP. Andy loves the SQL Server Community!
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On Starting a Technical Blog…

Introduction

My friend and brother K. Brian Kelley (Blog | @kbriankelley | SQLPeople) recently wrote a meta-blog (blog about blogging) post entitled Don’t Wait to Start Blogging. Just before that, I received an email response to an earlier post (I Am Here To Help™) requesting advice on how to get started blogging. I directed the person asking me for advice to Brent Ozar’s (Blog | @BrentO | SQLPeople) awesome series called Blog Better Week.

Getting Started

Starting anything is hard. Steven Pressfield tackles this fact head-on in The War of Art and Do the Work; two excellent books on creating, in my opinion. When communicating with folks interested in starting a technical blog, I’ve noticed a pattern; a theme:

  • “I don’t have anything to say.”
  • “All the cool stuff has been covered.”

Bah! No, no, no!

While the objections may be technically accurate, there’s a lot more to consider:

  • You have a unique way of expressing the technical details.
  • You are writing after other people who have blogged before you.
  • More is better.

Allow Me to Elaborate:

You have a unique way of expressing technical details…

Geeks often suffer from terminal humility. We believe what we know must be easy to learn because, well, we know it. We think the stuff others know and that we want to learn must be hard because we don’t know it. Not all geeks suffer from terminal humility (I wish many that don’t, would…).

How long did it take you to learn the last thing you learned? Did you find a blog post, forum post, article, or book that was exactly what you needed? I bet the answer is “No, Andy. I had to dig around and I found part of the answer here and another part of it there.” That. is. a. clue! Put everything you found in one location – blog about it! Don’t present the ideas as all original because they’re not. You found the information in several locations. Link to them! Always attribute the work of others and never plagiarize.

Do I have to write this? Yes, yes I do: Plagiarism is copying work from somewhere else and representing it as your own. If you find yourself beginning an explanation of how someone’s work got on your blog with the word “But” – that’s also a clue. Don’t rip people off. Never. Ever. Got it? Good. Let’s continue…

Expand on the ideas you found. Some of what you read may not have worked for you. I may be simply incorrect or it may be outdated. This brings me to the next point:

You are writing after other people who have blogged before you…

Why is this important? Because technology changes daily! Odds are the posts and articles that helped you were written months ago. There’s been a new release, Community Technology Preview (CTP), service release, or patch since that time. You have the latest and greatest information available – right there in your head with you. Why not share that?

More is better…

When you did that search for information about your issue and found the answer scattered across 2-17 sites, that search took you five minutes or less, right? Wrong! It took hours. The more information out there, the easier it is to find it! Get your post out there so it can help someone struggling with the same issue.

Conclusion

Brian and Brent offer fantastic advice about blogging. Jump in, the water’s fine.

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Published Thursday, August 25, 2011 10:30 AM by andyleonard

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Comments

 

K. Brian Kelley said:

In the SQL Server community the water isn't just fine, it's perfect. Come on in!

August 25, 2011 9:43 AM
 

Bobby Dimmick said:

Agreed on all counts!  How many times have you searched for a solution and found part of it on a blog, part on stackoverflow and part in a message buried 10 threads deep in a forum?  That's a post right there!  Pull it together, describe why your unique situation required this specific solution.  Tell how you achieved your goals and built value for your company/customer.  In the end you will get: 1. Practice writing/communicating; 2. A great personal technical guide/reference; 3. A gateway into the community; and 4. A line-item on your CV.

August 25, 2011 10:09 AM
 

Matt Nelson said:

I made my start at blogging this month, actually.  www.nelsonsweb.net

August 25, 2011 10:34 PM
 

Siva said:

Nice write-up. Very Practical

August 26, 2011 9:15 AM
 

Kirsten said:

I'm starting up my SQL blog this weekend - ksql.net. Post #1 is exactly what this article describes too! Took me upwards of a week mucking about with LDAP and linked servers and countless forums to figure out a solution. Good article; appreciate the encouragement :)

August 27, 2011 12:25 AM
 

Evandro Junqueira Ramos said:

Nice article!

I had these difficulties and doubts 1 year ago, when I started my SQL Server Blog: "SQL Server Dicas" (Portuguese - Brazil).

I also believe that everyone can contribute in some way!

August 29, 2011 5:08 PM
 

Aaron Lowe said:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, need to start blogging again. :) I actually wrote up a 2 part series last week, just haven't hit post yet, lol.

Seriously though, great encouragement for people!  Interesting how we always think someone else has more things to say then ourselves via blog posts, but get us in person and most of us can't stop talking. :)

August 29, 2011 6:54 PM
 

Rack Organizer said:

I support Barack Obama for president of the US and I see that there are already many incorrect ideas about him. I want to have a Blog that analyzes the information about him and about the American political system, in general. I would appreciate any professional help I can get to do this.

August 28, 2013 3:26 PM

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