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The Book Hiding in Your Blog

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

Patrick Rhone:

"Derek Sivers is writing a book about surviving in the music industry right in plain sight. Every post he’s made to his blog in the past several weeks is a chapter around this topic.
I not only have done this as a writer but I support it as a reader. I love the idea of being able to purchase a nicely curated and packaged collection of ideas. I don’t have to dig through a blog’s archive or skim through a category to get to the stuff I want. The author has done if for me and that is work worth paying for."

Obviously, this is also what I do, but not in the same way. I don't think in chapters. Some people do, and maybe it's a skill I could learn, but most bloggers I've seen who try this end up posting structured, formulaic chapters that look like chapters for a book (not self-contained ideas). Derek, Patrick, and Austin Kleon don't have that problem. They are the exceptions in my experience.

Here's the struggle as I see it: If you think in short posts, like I do, there's an enormous amount of work to do to piece together a book from all the random thoughts. The upside is that your readers will tell you which of your ideas resonates with them. Just look at your stats once in a great while. It's throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.

I recently spent six months thinking about a post, drafting several versions, and finally posting it. It got a spattering of replies, but most of my audience yawned and moved on to a post they loved that took an hour to write. You never know what they'll love until it's posted, so it's become important to me to get all those ideas out there as quickly as possible. I wasted six months on that lousy post!

Posting in chapters makes the end product very easy to create, but if it doesn't resonate with the reader, no one will buy your book or your buy into your message. It's a riskier model, with the potential for burn out (single topic blogging can do that) or wasted time (time taken from projects you care about that would resonate with readers).

I don't think there's a right/wrong path here, though. As long as you're creating something, you're doing better than the majority. Try both, see what fits, then do the other anyway. It's just blogging, and it's not going to hurt anybody. You might even like it!

I wrote this in 15 minutes. But I don't see it going in any book. Was it wasted?