Alban's Blog

Mostly good advice on how to start something

Ever since I got online in the early '90s, I wanted to write a blog.

The prospect of connecting with people around the world who were interested in the same books, hobbies, daydreams, or ideas was so exciting. But there was always something that would get in the way, so I left abandoned blogs across the internet, most with just a single introductory "hello world" style post.

I'd get hung up on finding the right blog template, the best CMS, or I'd quibble with the URL structure so that I rarely actually wrote anything online.

For the past 10 years, I've helped tens of thousands of people start podcasts. I've gotten really good at giving advice on how to start a podcast, and all of that advice applies to the struggles to launch a blog. So, it's time to start taking my own advice.

My own best advice, for myself:

1. Your "technical problem" is actually just a clever solution

The first step is to recognize that all of your technical problems are just a clever solution to an emotional problem. Podcasters think they have to find the perfect microphone, then master editing techniques, then become experts in interviews, and nail their branding before they can release an episode. I thought I needed to design a great website, buy the perfect brand name, set up the perfect URL structure for SEO, and a million other things before I could actually publish a post.

2. But each of these "problems" is really just a solution to the emotional problem

Your real problem is that you don't want to suck at this new thing, so you're inventing reasons to avoid actually doing it.

3. Your taste has outpaced your skill

If you want to start a podcast, or a blog, or a new instrument, it's probably because you care about that thing. You've listened to podcasts for years, you've admired other people's writing, or you love listening to music. After years of hearing experts, you've developed a pretty strong taste for what's good and what isn't.

Unfortunately, taste isn't skill.

Becoming the best food critic doesn't mean you can even cook a grilled cheese sandwich. So like most people, you're going to start out by sucking at this thing you care about, AND you'll have enough taste to tell that it's bad, AND you won't know how to fix it... yet.

4. Everyone is bad at the beginning

The good news is that everybody is bad at things in the beginning. Everybody was a bad dancer until they started dancing. Everybody was a bad cook until they started to practice. Everybody was a bad blogger when they started.

We see experts perform in their fields and imagine that they must have God-given abilities—that they were just born with incredible abilities. But I think this is just BS.

Just read a few biographies, listen to your favorite artists talk about their craft, or go watch Mr. Beast's first YouTube video. All of the experts will tell you that their competitive advantage was that they worked extremely hard.

5. You can get better, but only by doing the thing

You can get better at podcasting by podcasting, you can get better at blogging by blogging, you can get better at cooking by cooking.

The first few blogs will be bad, but just keep publishing; eventually, they'll improve. The trick is to park your embarrassment for a period while you put in your reps to get better.

This is the genius behind Visakan's post do 100 things. It's an attempt to break out of the expectations, the self-criticism, or the evaluation. Just keep doing the thing over and over, pay attention, and keep going.

Do 100 Crappy Things For No Reason, With No Agenda To Live Up To, At Whatever Pace Feels Comfortable, However You Like. - Visakan

So, that's my goal with this blog.

Push through the crappy blog posts by committing to writing 100 blog posts. I'm not going to evaluate them.

I'm not going to hold them to some high standard or holding any expectations. I'm just putting in the reps.

Maybe a few of them will accidentally turn out well.