10 Blog Lessons I Did Not Learn From Darren Rowse

by Jan Geronimo on October 5, 2009

blogging lessons

Okay, maybe I’ve learned some of them from Darren Rowse himself. After all, in my ten months of blogging I did not exactly reinvent the blogging wheel, did I.

Seriously,  do you celebrate the milestones in your blogging? I do, but not in terms of subscriber numbers or by any other metrics. I realize so much still needs to be done  in this blog.   I’m sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned, including those that  gave me sleepless nights as all hard lessons do.

  • I’ve tamed my lust for saying, “You suck!” I’m now careful what to rail against. It pays to know which are valid gripes from mere inner insecurities and hurts.  Sleep on your post first. Still feel like a genius after reading it the next day? Go ahead, hit the publish button. If not, trash it.
  • The blogger is more important than the blog. Value your friendships. You know who you are – thank you, for giving me another chance to redeem myself, my friend.
  • Mind your p’s and q’s and you’d still be called names. What can I say except that pigs are more discerning than some bloggers.  Keep on improving.  Each blogging day is a chance to better your skill sets as a blogger.
  • Blog meet ups are great. You get to see first hand who among your so-called buddies are the real deal.  A great blogging alliance can be forged this way, you know.
  • Joining contests is great. I’ve got this WP blog because of it. And I’ve won a blog award, too. Now if only I can give it away to those whose self-worth is based on getting one.
  • Staying invisible in chat doesn’t translate into more productive writing. Unplugging from the internet to buckle down to write works.
  • It’s possible to fall in love just from reading a blog. The reverse is just as true by the way.
  • Blogging buddies trump making a quick buck online. Remember things that blogging brought you depreciate in value and they do come apart. The memories you make with your friends don’t.
  • At the end of the day, it’s just a blog. Your family should come first. Even your sanity needs to come first.

If you look at your blog today, what will you say are the most important insights you’ve gained?  Over to you now.

Photo by don2g

Recommended Reading:

  1. Has a Narcissist Tried This Manipulation on You?
  2. Always Be Learning New Skills
  3. Strategic Collaborations:  A Powerful Way to Promote Yourself
  4. Writing to Learn:  The Open Secret Writers Rarely Write About

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  • I agree! a Blog is for human and blogging is just for fun...money comes whether you like it or not. As Google says, "Take care of your readers and we'll take care of your traffic"..blogging couldn't be more simpler that . But somehow, somewhere in the blogshere people makes it complicated.

  • Hmm. People want information - that's the first thing. Sure, you might start off because you need to express yourself, but in the long run you do it for your readers. When I see my blog, I can't believe that putting 30 minutes of your time a day to write an informative blog post could mean so much. ;D
  • I liked this blog. This is the first time I arrived here & i am hapy that I am here.

    I want to say that learning is a never ending process & that can be done in ways that are never limited.

    Thanks for sharing these tips here.
  • That's true. Lots of things to learn. But it's the right mix of learning
    and having fun. There's always this strange compulsion to learn.
    Otherwise, you'd be left out. New technologies, new trends keep coming up
    in the horizon. No rest at all for the wicked as they say... Thanks for
    leaving a comment. Much appreciated. :)
  • Great tips. However, here is the 11th lesson I learned from this post:

    "Mention the name of a Popular (almost celebrity) blogger in your post title if you want to tickle the curiosity button of your first time reader". [It sure did in my case ;)]
  • Thanks. It's a bit presumptuous but somehow it worked. :)
  • It just goes to show that we as bloggers all have our own lessons to learn. Sure there are some similarities, but as each blogger is an individual, the lessons they learn and portray to others also differ.

    I must remember not to use the term 'you suck' in my posts/comments ;)
  • This was an excellent post! I'm actually considering printing it out and framing it as the 10 commandments of blogging. I especially like the last point. I spend so much time on my blog that I often don't sleep at night.
  • Unexpectedly I enjoy this post a lot. Yes, it's a stumble alright. ^^

    I think we all get to learn something along the way. Darren may guide us since started, but I think he knows well we will figure out other things eventually. For example, family is our priority, so are the importance of health, ethics, networking, bloggers collaborations.. and more. I learn that everything comes with a price; also, the need to be grateful for whatever milestones we hit, and numbers is not always 'everything'.

    Social/Blogging Tracker
  • Hi, I'm glad this sits well with you. Wow, the things you've mentioned look like a good list for future posts. Thanks for sharing with us your insights. ",)
  • Welcome, Jan. I learn much from you too. It's great to know your site as well.
  • to me my best achievement was realizing that "it's just a blog" , once I understood that, I didn't snap at people that took time away from me posting and I started to enjoy that thing called 'life'.

    turns out thought that enjoying life gives me more reason to blog.

    go figure!
  • That's a great perspective on blogging, Andy. That common sense approach
    spills over into other areas of life, doesn't it. And when that happens -
    all on account of a genial outlook - life is enriched, and zest for blogging
    becomes an endless loop. Well, almost. ",)
  • Hello Jan, many thanks for your visit to my blog. I am also visiting your blog for the very first time. Great blog you have here. This post on blogging lessons is very useful for any blogger. I learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing such an insightful post. Keep it up !
  • You're welcome, Aswani. Thanks as well for leaving a comment. You've got a
    great looking blog yourself. ",)
  • Thank you so much. Have a nice week ahead !
  • This is all true... Blogger meet ups is one of the best thing I must say. It's always great to see people who you mostly just see and talk to online. Example is when I attended Wordcamp wherein I met really a lot of bloggers personally and it feels good to talk to them in real life. :D
  • Hi, Melvin. Yeah, I know - I've read your account of WordCamp 2009. You're a shy person? That surprised me. I've always thought of you as a gregarious, life of the party kind of guy.
  • Hi Jan,

    These are all valuable lessons. One thing I've found after blogging for over two and a half years is I never stop learning, nor do I want to.

    Your final lesson is the most important. There is life away from the blog. Our friends and family will be very grateful when we remember that. (even though they may not "get" why we blog).
  • That's a great lesson: never stop learning. I thought I was already done with school. But with blogging, oh boy. So many things to do and master. The gaps in my knowledge make me red in the face. LOL. Thanks, Barbara.
  • I like the personal touch your list has, and its focus on community. I am a big fan of people trying hard, being kind and sharing, and you brought that out in your list.

    Well done, fellow PBer !

  • Thanks a lot, Rob. What a great compliment. I can't be anything but personal with this. Most of those points I've learned the hard way.
  • Being personal is the way -- it lets us writers give perspective when we pass along a few of those hard-won points of life! Keep on!
  • Thanks, Rob. Makes for easy writing, too. ",)
  • I love the way you write Jan, so peaceful and soothing.

    The biggest lesson I've learned is not to be afraid to be me. This is sort of a tricky area, and I'd modify the advice for somebody doing corporate blogging, but the times I've hit it out of the park are when I've let loose and been 100% me.
  • I hope you did not fall asleep though. ",) The courage to be yourself - this is one of the toughest one to master. Most of the time, we tend to put up a brave front although there's nothing wrong with that of course. It's the constant temptation to manage how others perceive us through our blogging that can often lead to horrible writing. Thanks, Tracy, for bringing up a very important point.
  • Well the first three and the tenth really suits me... ahahahhahaha... I so love #2... Jejejejejjejeje
  • Thanks, Jaydee. ",) Nabasa mo ba tweet ko about your sweet meet up with
    your friend? Awww! LOL
  • The first and the last point resonated with me.

    Yes, it is important to use simple words and once in a while I fall into the trap of using a big word that leaves my reader feeling alienated. And of course, family should come first. i love it that I work from home so I can take care of my 8 month old.

    See ya at pb.com and great list again.
  • Hi, thanks for dropping from problogger.com. Classmate! ",) Seriously, a
    blog is something you can set aside. After all, you can get back to it
    eventually. Family needs to come first.
  • nobe
    i remember conversations with my sister who is now in med school.

    "stop using fancy words! it bores the hell out of me. i already know you're smart. stop rubbing it in by constantly making me pic up adictionary to find the meaning of words!" lol that's what i call sisterly love.


  • A sisterly wisdom no less. Siblings can be a pain in the butt, but you have to give it to them. They do make sense sometimes. And they have very sharp BS radar, too. LOL
  • Jan, I've admired your blog from way back but I don't know you well enough to find a single fault with you. And I'm good at finding fault.
    When you say you're not tactful, it could be a cultural difference. People in NYC are famous for their rudeness. But when we're this crowded together it can be important to sum up a situation without flattery or layers of sweetness.
    If a cable is crashing from above, it's best to yell, "Get Out of the Way!"
    Of course sometimes people are nasty because they're unhappy or bitter. But in a crunch most NYers are really very tolerant. We're packed nose to armpit in a subway car that stops in a black tunnel with no idea of when or if it's going to get going again. Then people trade jokes. That's when they'll soothe someone who's distressed.
    Sometimes what some people call tact and depend upon for civil discourse, other people would see as time wasting ambivalence. Get Out of the Way and Cut to the Chase may not be polite but they are effective communication.
    So by my lights, you're just tactful enough.
  • This time I'd relent. Thanks a lot, Kathleen.
  • A blog is just a blog, but if you live on it, a blog will be as a job that you live on.
  • Very true. It can be many things to different people. It can be one's bread and butter. Or something you can grow to become a good business. Thanks for pointing it out. ",)
  • I always like to attend a blogger meetups - I'm new in serious blogging so maybe i'll find a group next year.
  • Oh there's a Philippine Blog Awards coming up soon. Maybe you can get in
    touch with your blog buddies and arrange a meet up. One tip if you use this
    occasion is to meet several hours before the event so you can have bonding
    time with the guys. It's hard to do that in the program venue. And not
    many might agree to meet later after the event.
  • So often, Jan, when you write about blogging-- how to be productive, how to disagree with a blogging friend; ideas for better writing, including ways to approach writing, for example, that it works best if one thinks carefully first--your words strike me as true for blogging, yes, but also true for life in general.

    To be a better blogger, following Jan, means: Being a considerate person; being truthful but tactful; generous and energetic; and sharing what you know, what interests you, what matters to you, and why.

    Imagine if everyone lived like that--or merely attempted as much.
  • I still struggle with being truthful but tactful, Kathleen. Sometimes, my enthusiasm gets the better of me. I'm lucky, however, in that my buddies have been generous and understanding as well. I'd be happy to find the right balance lest I offend new readers or first time visitors.

    Thanks for the great summation of qualities I aspire for on a daily basis. Well, what can I say, you've the unfair advantage of knowing me from way back. What a great compliment, Kathleen. ",)
  • Great inputs Jan. I have been blogging longer than you are, but your achievement in terms of blogging is way too far from me. But, I know both of us enjoyed it anyhow.

    I agree, the blogger is important than the blog. Before, I am really into SEO, Page Rank, and the like, but now, I am more enjoying the friendship I build in blogging. So I guess, I give more importance to the blogger than the blog too ;)

    I love your last lesson. That's the reason why I find it so easy taking a blog leave. :D
  • Hey, what achievements are we talking about here? Is there any? The only things that readily come to mind is I've gained lots of friends. And that I've passed the initial critical months (3-month, it is said) when newbie bloggers just suddenly give up on their blogs. I'm proud I've stayed on.

    Well, well, take it from me. That bit of wisdom is brought to you by a blogger with no family of his own. LOL
  • Ei Jan, cannot find an inspiration to write? You surpassed 3-months. But it seems you were now just fond of reading blogposts than writing one yourself. Looking forward for a new post from you :)
  • Maria Carmo
    Hello! I came here after seing a comment on tweeter. Liked the post and the nice feeling one gets from reading it! All the best all the way from Portugal.
  • Good morning, Maria. Good morning, Portugal. Feeling good after reading a post. What a great compliment. Thanks a lot, Maria. :)
  • You've got some really great tips, but what I enjoyed the most was actually the headline :-)

    It was the headline that got my attention. If you would have used a regular headline like "10 important blog lessons" I would probably not have read your post. Now, I've found your blog and will continue to read it.

    There are two lessons that I've learned, that you also write about and that's the importance of unplugging from the internet to buckle down to write, and that the blogger is more important than the blog.

    - jens -
  • I'm glad you liked it - hesitated hitting the publish button last night lest
    I overplayed it. What saved me was I couldn't come up with another hook.
    The blogger is more important than the blog. It nearly cost me a friend
    because of my overzealousness. You know - not leaving a buddy well enough
    alone. Another buddy, however, pointed that out to me. That line was his.
    My only contribution was to adopt it as my own.
  • My sanity will never come before my blog...
    Great lessons though.. I think I need to back off on the "you suck" too... Nah
  • Ah well, some of us really need to stay out there to keep them honest, I
    know. LOL. Thanks, Blake!
  • Most entertaining JG, usually I gloss over top 10's - they can be a dime a dozen. Trusting where yours comes from, I was intriqued, and engaged. Words to live by, most certainly - blogger or not.
  • Good evening, Trina. Thanks a lot!...Hey, I always forget that there are
    readers who don't blog like you do. Yay.
  • Roy
    "If you look at your blog today, what will you say are the most important insights you’ve gained?"

    I don't know Jan, I'm lost... I've lost track of where I am, where I've been and where I'm going to.

    You're right. As you can see, I've been invisible lately... and yet I'm not productive at all.

    Writer's block? Nah! You know I can deal with that. "Episodes" are what I call these types of 'situations' although this time it's taking quite longer.

    To be honest, I've been here 4 or 5 times already, yet it's only now that I'm commenting. Not because I don't like the post (you know it's a great post Jan), but because I don't like to comment, not only in your blog Jan, but elsewhere too... in the same way that I am not making any sensible posts in my blogs lately.

    Oh yeah, I remember an important insight gained... it's a cliche, but it always rings a bell...

    "A blogger is only as good as his last blog post"

    Oh, I expect that Jan. "This comment is quite long from someone who doesn't want to comment."

    You know me Jan, I say things straight, short, brief and direct.

    When I write long, it only means two things - either I really have too much to say, or I really don't have anything to say. (So I go in circles)

    Most of the time it's the second one.

    P.S. I like the first point, by the way. I really don't like consulting the dictionary most of the time. It halts my reading momentum ;)

  • You got me worried there. I asked Jen about you but I haven't got a reply yet.

    Perhaps writing a poem will help give clarity to what you're going through? You can write me when you feel like doing it, Roy.

    How about that! That's me in real life - I don't talk when I don't feel like talking. I don't even laugh even when I'm supposed to laugh - no matter how hard my friends try to cheer me up.

    It's tough trying to pull you back in without sounding presumptuous, Roy. I might be doing more harm than good. Just want to let you know I'm here if you need help with something. Anything.
  • I wish you could say that to me too, Jan. I haven't receive that email or text about Roy...oops are we allowed to divulge these things here?

    Anyway, I was touched by Roy's concern (Thanks, Roy) when we were flooded last week. This is one significant lesson I learned from my months of blogging; that even friends online are genuine friends - ready to help without expecting anything in return, that there are real persons behind blogs- who could be happy or hurt with the things I may have inadvertently done, that being right is not as important as being a friend who empathizes.

    These are all lessons in life I would treasure forever. The most important however, are the memories I had with you - my blogging family.

  • I noticed there's something different in your voice/comments, Jen. You seemed distracted and not your useful self. Just thought you must have lost your fave but problematical keypads because of Ondoy. ",)

    But you managed to make quick peeks from the door so I thought every thing was still all right. Yay - are you okay now?

    Well, you're all too real for me. Not a day passes without me thinking about you... Hey, is this a virus? Roy, you to some extent, even Rey our genial bro is not feeling great as well.
  • Jan,

    Beautiful. Such great blogging wisdom here. Wisdom that kind of rolls over into life as well, methinks. These kinds of posts are what bring me back time after time.


  • Thanks, George. Very generous of you. ",)
  • “You suck!”

    I did? ugh... don't worry as long as I know that I suck then I should accept it with open heart surgery. This means self-evaluation - a room for improvement. Why not.

    That reminds me of the comment you left in the exodians blog,

    There’s a fine line indeed between being passionate about what you write and being obnoxious.

    which made me evaluate/think my writing intention on why i have to press the publish button with my eyes closed.

    Here is I should end.

    At the end of the day, it’s just a blog. Your family should come first. Even your sanity needs to come first.

    Guess what.... sa totoo lang many non-bloggers sa totoong buhay (99.9 percent na kasamahan sa trabaho dito) naniniwalang ang pag blah blog is insanity. Ung aming counselor ang tawag niya sa mga gumagamit ng social networking sites are anti-social daw. hahaha!

    keep my mouth shut na lang.

  • That's surprising, isn't it? Even in my family I'm the lone blogger, but we leave each other well enough alone. They have soap operas, I have my blog.

    Most of my real life friends are not into blogging.

    But it's a way of making sense of this world, right? By committing our experiences on paper, which includes our observations of events and people and ideas, we learn to understand them. Oh, that counselor has a very limited view of things. It's he/she who needs counseling. LOL
  • "Oh, that counselor has a very limited view of things."

    With horror, baka mawalan sya ng trabaho. Lalo na nung na mention ko about therapeutic ung pagba-blog. hahahah!
  • Jan,

    You haven't noticed? The keypads are dysfunctional again, here let me set this right. That should read :

    "...I haven't RECEIVED that email or text about Roy...oops are we allowed to divulge these things here?"

    He he he, you didn't notice that? Pati yata ikaw wala sa mood. Masakit ang ulo ko right now, but I wanted to blog hop sa blogs ninyo. I miss the EBs.

    Perhaps it's a virus. It's spreading fast. We should all watch Nick Vujicic's video.
  • Oh my the keypads...they suck. right Jan? LOL
  • Now, I did notice it. LOL!

    By the way, you can edit your own comment in Disqus. It must be in the More tab. Click it and look for the edit comment. ",)

    Yeah, that video is very inspiring indeed.
  • Jan, You failed to mention your mastery of blog headlines - as evidenced from the title of this very post! Other than that one omission, I think you've put together an amazing list. There is a lot to be said for keeping your blog in perspective: at times I've allowed my blog to take on a life of its own, squeezing out more important personal and professional matters. Keeping a sense of proportion keeps you sane.
  • Ah well, you've helped me a lot in headline writing. Your post of 33 headline writing tips with examples is something I always study whenever I'm stumped. Keeping blogging in perspective is a tough act to master. I'm just hoping I'm making good progress. Thanks, Brad, for this and the retweet, too!
  • I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to post again:) These important lessons that you have learned should be "the bloggers bible" in what comes to blogging. You are absoultely right when you say that the blogger is more important than your blog, and for that matter your family and own sanity.

    It is a pity that I, for obvious reasons, am unable to join your blog meetups (I think they are great), otherwise, I would have been there:) Talking about forging a blogging alliance, hehe.

    Well, if Darren sees this, I'm sure he will think a thing or two about blogging. After all I think that he has gotten to a level that even replying to comments made on his blog will cost you, lol.
  • I hit a wall as you noticed. Last night I decided I'd just write a blog list and be done with it. I'm glad I didn't wait for a brilliant idea. What if it plays hard to get. LOL.

    Ah well, we're in constant contact most nights anyway. Meeting you in person will be just a technicality. I feel like I've known you - and I guess most of our common friends feel the same - all my blogging life. ",)

    I've haunted his blog for so long I'm sure Darren won't mind this name-dropping thing.
  • This post is solid LJ. or should I say "AWESOME!"

    You manage to box everything up. This is really a must read to all bloggers. I wish I could also be there for you whenever you feel down - not only in your blog, but in your life as well.

    Stay happy Lolo Jan! I'll submit this post to Twittley and StumbleUpon. :D Gotta spread the good news. ;P

    Well, I hope everything is going well LJ. Don't forget to pray and as for His guidance.

    God Bless!
  • Thanks a lot, Jed. Wow, you're such a thoughtful friend. ",) It's the lack of energy to write that bugs me. But last night I told myself to just write a list post. And publish it whatever it may turn out to be. I'm a lot chirpier now.

    Something new to investigate today, this Twittley thing. Ahehehe.

  • zorlone
    I just found out that a poet/blogger closed her blog... this saddens me. She writes beautiful heartbreak-poems. I sent her an e-mail asking what happened and hoping that she's okay. I have yet to find that out.

    Interesting lessons Jan, permit me to say this, but we have similar lessons learned. I hope to revise my blog soon, err, not revise, but improve. Still working on it. he he he.

  • it is really heartbreaking pag ung mga sinusubaybayan mong blog na close. this is one of the reasons why i blog. at minsan copy and paste ung content dahil takot din akong baka one day mawala na rin. sana hindi unethical ung ginagawa kong copy and paste. mag-sosori na lang in advance.
  • I've seen a number of your posts and they look okay to me. There's attribution and you make the idea your own with your own insights. Very original nga result eh - a nice mashup, that's the term, right?

    So you see you'd make a poor splogger, Darbs. You've to be more unfeeling and inconsiderate of the rights of your fellow bloggers if you want to excel in that shady business. Just kidding , of course.
  • Ah well, a blog is just a blog. Maybe she needs to get her bearings first. Do I know her?

    Permit you to say? LOL. Well, as my new friend Dave would say, "Publish now, polish later."
  • zorlone
    Her blog is Robin's Nest, the link is on my side bar.

    Yeah, I noticed that. Actually, I didn't ask permission first, just clicked the "post" button then waited for your reply. he he he.

    So, this is Disqus. he he he. Why didn't we use this before JS-kit? LOL

  • "Holly the Great"? LOL!! Thanks, Jan. That was so that you could implement CommentLuv on Blogger, if you recall.
  • It's all right, Doc Z. I just hope she doesn't delete her blog so she can go back to writing again someday.

    Yeah, we should have. But we stumbled into JS-Kit first, courtesy of Holly the Great. ",)
  • That's sad Doc Z, I hope she'll just rest and come back every now and then, like Tasha,
  • Hahha! Well written post bro. I love this one. I went at Darren's blog before coming over here and WTF, he is now having a membership for his blog? I don't know if I got it right...

    I love the first four you listed bro...ehehhe! I can really relate on those stuffs. Are these things listed coming from the cavernous parts of the heart? Are these what you call the politics of the heart that also emanates on our blogging?

    What I have learned from blogging? Keep you sanity! Blogging can kill you and ruin your family and relationships if you are not at all too careful.

    It has some bad dark side too eh.
  • ProBlogger.com is a blog forum. He calls it a walled garden for paying members [$1.95 a month]. It's got tutorials, discussion thread on solicited blog critiques, and several other goodies. I've signed up last night.

    I wrote you an email about domain reg. You haven't read it yet?

    Yeah, some of them are like bullets ricocheting off the cavernous walls of my mind. Writing them down stops the awful noise. LOL.
  • Oh my I totally forgot about that one. I will check on that one again. The cable lines on my head are once again fluctuating.
  • Blogging is one of the most intriguing balancing acts around.

    Thank you for the link in your Recommended Reading list!
  • Your post is very useful guide in online relationships as it is in real life. Dark hearts are everywhere. It's good to share how they operate and how best to handle them. :)
  • In the long run, the people are what stand apart from the get-rich-quick-scheme-du-jour. It's been really interesting watching the web evolve from pure content, information, to a vehicle viewed by a significant fraction of users as simply a way to extract money. Nothing wrong with money, I could use a bit more of it myself... but focusing on just that misses a huge part of what it's all about. And blogs really help capture that original web experience.
  • I started blogging because I thought I'd be able to buy a fancy laptop after the blog pays for its upkeep. Ten months later, it's not about that anymore. If it is, I'd could have just stopped blogging altogether.

    The continuing education to keep up with blogging is its own reward. Strange, I thought I was done with schooling. And here I am learning new things and actually enjoying it. Well, people like you who have acute sense of your readers' concerns make learning enjoyable. You have a nice way of breaking down strange concepts. And that helps a lot. Thanks, Dave.
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