Working Out Loud: Week 9

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I play the guitar. I like to play the guitar. I’ve been playing the guitar for a little over 10 years now. I’m not very good, but I like playing. 12744335_10153917431997902_20172829185019112_n

When I first began to play the guitar, I did not think I would be an expert on day one, but I wanted to learn how to play, so I stuck with it. I knew it would take time. After 10 years, I know lots of basic chords, I can play some barre chords, and I have fun playing music with other people.

In Week 9 of Working Out Loud, we learn about making contributions in a variety different ways, such as blogging. A key aspect of Working Out Loud is “leading with generosity.” What do we have that we can share? How can we be generous with what we know? How can our knowledge serve others, and be the basis of rewarding, ongoing relationships.

We can tweet useful facts and links to articles. We can email attachments to people we respect, and hope that they will have the time and inclination to open our emails. We can blog. Blogging is a wonderful way to share what you know, and an effective way to be transparent and generous. But, as John Stepper points out in Working Out Loud, while it is a very accessible platform, blogging is not very easy. In fact, just like the guitar, or cooking, or public speaking, most people won’t be very good at blogging when they first try. Mr. Stepper writes “I wrote hundreds of blog posts before I was able to write this book.”

Reading Working Out Loud provided me with the inspiration to try blogging. I accepted the fact that, in order to become good at blogging, I had to develop the habit to write often. Only if I wrote often would I become good. I started my blog on September 1, 2016, and made it clear that I did not know what I was doing. In fact I wrote “I don’t really know how to do this. I don’t know who will be reading my ramblings and musings. I am not even sure what I will be writing about.”

I published the blog. I linked to it from Facebook and Twitter. Zero views. I wrote again, and again, and again. My blog about the day I met Mavis Staples got 10 views. My blog about a very public complaint that was made about my work got 76 views, and the blog I wrote about my experience at the 2016 Microsoft Ignite Conference got over 160 views.

Though I have become somewhat addicted to studying the statistics of my blog, I resolved early on to write only for myself. I love it when people actually read what I write, when people accept my generosity. As I blog more and more, I hope I will become a better writer.

So be generous. Write if you like to write. Write about things that make you happy, things that you care about. Even if no one reads your blog (PLEASE…READ MY BLOG!!!!) it will be worthwhile.

Just as with any other creative or professional discipline, whether  you are writing, coding, leading or playing the guitar…the more you practice, the better you will be. Be good.

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