I distinctly remember the feeling of excitement and “What have I done?” when I announced on Twitter that I launched a blog a year ago today.
I launched a blog!! This is something I've thought about doing for a while and with an interesting topic to talk about it the timing seemed right. It will be mostly about SwiftUI development but don't be surprised if theme parks or turtle content shows up. https://t.co/om5qbc10uZ pic.twitter.com/7MPjonRMbV— Chris Wu (@MuseumShuffle) July 13, 2021
For anyone that’s thinking about starting a blog I wanted to outline the ways I tried to talk myself out of it and why I’m glad that I didn’t.
Here are the excuses I remember telling myself the most:
- The most popular iOS blogs are updated frequently and are at a technical level far beyond me.
- This was a hard one to get past mentally initially. When you look at the most prolific blogs (which I reference often while developing) it’s easy to think there can’t be anything that you could add to the conversation. I’ve come to realize that writing from the perspective of someone less experienced could be appreciated by others who are at a similar point in their development journey. Also, for some topics I was able to provide my perspective as to what it was like experiencing them for the first time: My first WWDC lab, Being featured in the App Store for the first time, Translating my app into another language, My first in-person WWDC, etc. You might also find an instance where you could fill a void that could help other developers. After WWDC 2022 I couldn’t find anything about getting UIKit’s UICalendarView from iOS 16 fully functioning in a SwiftUI app so I wrote a post about it myself.
- I don’t have enough topics to write about.
- I said that there were “no promises” about how often I’d update. I’ve posted as often as two posts in two weeks while I’ve also gone two months without posting. Both of those are fine! Having something out there is more important.
- What if I make a mistake and look like an idiot?
- This was another one that was hard to get past. “Putting yourself out there” with a something such as a blog is tough. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my posts. What I do is post corrections people have made including sometimes me trying out new code with their suggestions. Now I don’t worry about this and take it as a learning opportunity.
- I have no idea how to make a blog.
- This is the one instance where I feel that my concerns were valid. It would be easy to post a blog on a blogging site, but I had some very strict requirements: there had to be absolutely no advertising, had to be nothing behind a pay wall, and I had to feel confident that the company running the site would not get acquired by someone that would do these things (or go out of business). To get around these issues I decided to just build the site myself. Roddy Munro mentioned that he used the static website builder Hugo for his website. Buckling down and learning AWS and Hugo was not fun, but it was very worthwhile. I like having control over my site.
Increase your visibility
If you create a blog something you should absolutely do is register it with The iOS Dev Directory run by Dave Verwer. It’s a great resource that puts so many more eyeballs on posts you make. I think it’s a big reason why I’ve been featured by these this year:
It’s a lot of work
Just to be clear, it’s a lot of work to make a blog. Every post that I make takes hours. SO many more hours than I anticipate each time. Still, it feels great when I get comments about the posts that I’ve made.
Starting a blog has given me untold respect and admiration for people who regularly produce high quality content. Be kind to people that put content out for you because it’s no small feat to do so.
I’ve said many times that I only do iOS development as a hobby in my spare time. Because of that I always feel behind and less knowledgeable than people that do it full time (hello imposter syndrome!). It would have been easy to quit and feel justified in doing so. But looking back at my posts from the last year helped me understand how much I’ve continued to grow. Who knows where I’ll be in another year?
If this post was helpful to you I’d love to hear about it! Find me on Twitter.