What We Have Here Is Failure To Communicate

High school remembered

I am not happy with the post you will read below. I don’t see it as being representative of my best work.

You might wonder why I am sharing it with you and not saving it as a draft for me to work on later. It is because I see an opportunity here to do something different here that is still beneficial and that you might find useful.

Let’s start with the issues I see here:

  1. There are multiple ideas but the transitions and segues aren’t as smooth as I would like them to be.
  2. It needs a photo or visual element at the top and maybe in the middle to secure it. The video is nice, but it is at the bottom and its purpose is murky.

What Happened?

You can attribute this to fatigue and multitasking. I was tired and working on too many different things so we ended up with that small mess below. The way I would approach fixing this is to follow some very basic guidelines.

Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. I’d begin by identifying whether I did a good job of making those three sections clear to the reader. If I didn’t feel like I had done a good job of it I would probably do some slicing and dicing.

That might include creating an outline and then taking some time to determine whether all of the pieces of the puzzle are necessary and whether it would be made stronger by adding or subtracting.

Show Your Warts

Some times the best way to build a connection and community is by showing your warts and sharing your mistakes. That is part of the point and purpose of this post. This is me saying I think this post could be better and here is why.

In the process not only am I trying to learn a few things I am hopeful that this will intrigue some of you and encourage you to stick around. The human side of blogging is what I am reaching for now. I guess time will tell whether this works or not.

Ok, time to show you what I am speaking about.

 What We Have Here Is Failure To Communicate

The hardest part of writing isn’t coming up with great ideas or building a readership to read those words. That is not to say those are easy things either, because they can be challenging too.

Content is king is the mantra you will usually hear. Surf the mighty blogosphere and you’ll see it repeated…everywhere. Close your eyes and listen to the people chant at the altar of content is king. But don’t get too close because you might be splattered with blood from the sacrifices offered to the mighty Lords of Content.

I take exception with it all and it is not because I don’t believe in great content.

Great content is what turns a passerby into a subscriber but it is not the hardest part of this gig. The hard part comes down to two things:

  1. Put Pen To Paper.
  2. Sustain Your Effort.

Sometimes Writing Is Lonely

Writing can be hard and when it feels like no one is responding to your words it can be even harder. If you are writing a business blog and you don’t see much in the way of comments, users, subscribers or pageviews it can feel like a lonely world.

It doesn’t get any easier when your supervisor and or colleagues ask you why your copy isn’t generating hundreds of leads that lead to millions of dollars in sales. Those moments don’t always lend themselves to discussions about what metrics are truly significant and what aren’t or discussions about whether your sales team is effective or not.

As a writer you can’t allow a lack of validation to stop you from writing. It is no different from playing for the Lakers or the Dodgers.  What happened your last time at bat or at the free throw line can’t be a part of your thinking.

I know, that is easy to say and harder to do. Missed free throws and strikeouts make you wonder if the problem lies within you. They make you question yourself and they affect your game.

It is not any different within the blogosphere. People find a million reasons not to put pen to paper and that has a negative impact upon their blog/brand.

Just Write and Sustain Your Effort

The most effective way to combat this is to just write. Put pen to paper and finger to keyboard and let the words flow. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to produce great content because you should.

But if you only want to take a crack at it when you feel like you are going to hit a home run you are going to hurt your efforts. No one hits a home run or writes a post that goes viral every time.

You can’t build a community without consistency and without regular posts you will find it difficult to build that community.

The Value of Community

There is a reason why I keep writing about community. It is because a great community becomes the heart of your blog and or your brand. A great community provides you with critical information and feedback.

They serve as your best ambassadors and create the best testimonials. A great community supports you and helps prop you up when things are hard.

The formula for sustaining your effort is simple:

Discipline, Practice and Community.



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  1. Pingback: What We Have Here Is Failure To Communicate « denniscoble

  2. Mary Stephenson October 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Josh

    Got some good points to your post. Out of curiosity I went back to one of my sites and looked to see how many posts I have sitting in “draft” status. I have six! Maybe they seemed like a good idea at the time or I just ran out of steam on them or was it that something with more interesting content popped up. I think maybe some are just titles that was inspired at the time and nothing else wrote or maybe one actually did have an outline of what I was thinking at the time. If nothing brilliant comes of them soon I will have to figure out why I even put it down and maybe put them in the “trash”.
    I agree keep writing and writing, somehow things just start to materialize.

    • Josh October 18, 2012 at 1:11 am

      Hi Mary,

      I save most of my drafts. It is very rare that I trash them. I look at my drafts as being a sort of junk drawer which contains miscellaneous parts that I might need to use some day.

      It is not unusual for me to pick and pull those parts so they can be used somewhere else. Saves a lot of time and it is green too. 😉

  3. Kaarina Dillabough October 17, 2012 at 4:36 am

    It takes discipline to write when you don’t feel like writing, but it’s essential to the craft. That, and reading. This topic is forefront in my mind because I’m currently reading Stephen King’s book, “On Writing”, which is really good. It was nice to see that my habit of reading voraciously is one of the things that he says writers must do:)

    There’s a phrase that goes, “nothing was ever created and perfected in the same moment”, and that certainly goes for writing. I don’t know why we put pressure on ourselves to “get it right” the moment the ink flows from the pen. The task is to do it…and to edit later. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Josh October 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Kaarina,

      I love that book. It is one of my favorites and I keep it close by. It is chock full of good advice and what is the definition of good advice?

      That is easy. Good advice is the advice we like to hear, but in this case I think it is more. It is a pleasure reading about his process and ideas.

      You and I are in agreement about writing. Turn off the inner critic and let the words flow.

  4. Brian D. Meeks ( October 17, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I think the key is to find a rhythm. I’ve blogged every day for over 1000, now. I didn’t even know I had hit the milestone until 1008. It is the one constant in my day, the thing I like best, even when I don’t like it.

    I’ve written more than my fair share of blog posts that were of lower quality than I wanted, but, like you, I am fine with admitting the effort was sub-par. It isn’t self-bashing. It is just being honest. Sometimes I don’t bring my A-game. Sometime, I’d rather be napping/

    • Josh October 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Hi Brian,

      Let’s be honest, if we told you that your ‘A’ game would reward you with two tons of bacon your posts would be better. 😉

      I agree with you about finding a rhythm. I have noticed that when I am feeling good about my posts I hear the words in my head in a rhythmic fashion.

      But there is no way to improve our writing without practicing and no way to measure that improvement without having a chance to compare posts. So I see real benefits in posting the good and the..less good.

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