Lessons Learned From Three Months of Blogging

As the three month anniversary of my first blog post approaches, I thought I would share my thoughts on what I have learned so far.

Here is a list of what I have learned.

  • Have someone read your post before publishing
  • Blog about what is important or of interest to you
  • It is a great way to learn about SQL Server
  • Double check or even triple check your facts and code
  • Blogging isn’t a competition
  • Blogging can be easy or difficult
  • Be yourself
  • Have fun

Have someone read your post before publishing

I have found that this is a great idea.  There have been several times in which I have read my post the next day and found something in my post the I felt needed to be fixed.

These items include a number of areas including the following.

  1. Typos – this sadly happened far more than I would like to admit and included misspelled words and grammatical errors.
  2. Something missing – this is when I mention something in the post that I felt required some prerequisite knowledge that I didn’t mention earlier in the post. Sometimes, this also included an important detail that I simply forgot to include in the post.
  3. Out of order – This happened several times and it happened when I inadvertently placed something in the post earlier than it should have been.  This usually happened when I moved a part of the post to a new location using copy and paste.
  4. Sounded funny – There are times when I wrote something and it sounded great in my head but when I read it after I published it, it just sounded funny or awkward

These are all things that can be found by having someone else read your post.  That person does really need to know SQL Server to be able to help in many of these areas.  When something did slip through and I found it the next day,  I just hoped that I would be able to fix it before anyone read it.

Blog about what is important or of interest to you

When I first decided to start my blog, I talked to several experienced bloggers about what I should blog about.  My first thought was to blog only about topics that really haven’t been blogged about before.  I felt that with so many great bloggers out there, I didn’t think I could do it better.  However, I had several people tell me that I was looking at it wrong.  They suggested that I should pick a topic that is of interest to me and blog about that.  Even though there are many great SQL Server blogs out there, they told me that I would present a topic in a way that no one else has and someone just might connect with the way I say it.  This doesn’t mean that I would say anything better than anyone else, just in a different way.  If even one person has benefited by what I have written, it was worth the effort.  My goal is to help people become better at working with SQL Server.

It is a great way to Learn about SQL Server

Even though I have been teaching SQL Server for almost 20 years, there is always something to learn.  When I started my blog, I decided to blog about SQL Server basics to work on my blogging skills.  However, I found that I learned a lot more than just how to blog.  As I wrote my first blog post on the order of processing of the commands in a SELECT statement, I quickly realized that it is a great idea to go back to the basics sometimes to refresh your memory. Of course when blogging about something new, you will find that there is so much to learn.  Every blog doesn’t need to be very long or cover a complex topic.  Every day there are now SQL Server professionals who want to get better and learn more.

Double or triple check your facts and sample code

For years I found myself frustrated from time to time because of incorrect information or sample code that didn’t work.  This obviously requires knowledge of SQL Server to verify that your post is technically accurate.  Before releasing your post, my suggestion is to confirm the facts and run through your sample code to make sure it works as intended.

Blogging is not a Competition

The SQL Server community is a great community that is really about sharing and helping fellow data professionals.  If you attended PASS Summit, a SQL Saturday or a local user group you have seen this first hand.  The idea of sharing extends to blogging as well.  I believe that most, if not all of the blogs that exist are there to help others in the community.  Luckily there are many great blogs that I have used on a regular basis in my own career.  My goal isn’t to compete with any one, it is merely to put information out there and hopefully help as many people as I can.  As I said earlier, if I can help just one person, it is worth the time and effort.

Blogging can be easy or difficult

The beauty of having my own blog is that I get to decide if my blog posts are easy or challenging.  Some days, I feel like posting something that is more basic and others days I want to go down the more challenging route.  It is my choice.  What I have found for me is that I like to alternate between basic and more challenging.  This allows me to post a bit more frequently. Since there are always new people in the SQL Server community, there is always a need for the most basic topics.  You just need to decide what is best for you to blog about.  Keep in mind, there are always new people entering the SQL Server world and they could benefit from even the most basic blog posts.

Be Yourself

I feel that this is really important.  I am asked quite frequently for advice on teaching.  The first thing is always say is to be yourself.  That advice extends to blogs as well. Your blog should represent who you are.  If you are a bit more on the serious side, then let you blog show that.  However, if you consider yourself to be somewhat of a comedian, then let your blog show that as well.

Have Fun!!

I have found that I really do enjoy blogging.  The thought of helping is what makes it fun.  I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to teach SQL Server for almost two decades and blogging is just another method of teaching!!  I really look forward to what learning opportunities future posts will offer!!!

How to Start a Blog

Hopefully I have given some good advice on what to do once you have your blog up and running.  However, you may be asking yourself how do I start a blog.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is a blog post by Brent Ozar that gives some really good advice on how to start a blog. It is a number of years old, but I think still applies today.  How to Start a Blog

Some of my Favorite Blogs

These are just a few that I have used over the years.  The one that I almost always find myself at is Pinal Dave’s blog.  His was one of the blogs I consistently used when I first started my career and still use to this day.  If it weren’t for the many blogs that are out there, my career would not be where it is, for this I am grateful to the many folks that spend time sharing with us!!

Although I have learned a lot about how to blog, I still have so much more to learn!