The Arse First Method of Technical Blogging – Review


When you tell people that you are a blogger, you tend to get a couple of generic responses.  The first is laughter or dismissal.  Some people just don’t understand how you can write all the time.  The second response if curiosity.  Usually, this is expressed as a torrent of questions about how to blog.  What do I write about?  How much should I write? How often should I post? And on and on.  For those of us that have been blogging long enough, it’s almost a wrote recitation of our standards and practices for blogging.  Some people have even been smart enough to turn that standard reply into a blog post.  For Greg Ferro, it was time to turn that blog post into an e-book:

ArseFirstCover

Cheeky, isn’t it? Weighing in at a svelte 37 pages, this little how-to guide details many of Greg’s secrets for writing blog posts over his career.  He talks about tools for screen captures and knowledge archiving.  He also discusses hosting options and content creation.  To the novice blogger, it’s a step-by-step guide in how to get started in blogging.  I would highly recommend picking it up if you aren’t sure how to get started in technical blogging, which is remarkably different than blogging about food or pictures or any other non-technical thing.

The Catch

The funny thing about this book is that, while reading more and more of it, I realized that I violate almost every one of Greg’s recommendations for writing a technical blog.  My opening paragraphs are more like story hooks.  I don’t use a lot of bullet points.  I like putting pictures in my posts.  There are many others that I ignore on a pretty regular basis as well.  But don’t think that means that I don’t appreciate what Greg is trying to do with his book.

Greg writes like he speaks in real life.  He doesn’t mince words.  He’s not in love with the sound of his voice.  He’s going to give it to you straight when you ask him a question.  His blogging style is totally reflective of his speaking style.  On the other hand, my blogging style is indicative of my speaking style as well.  I like telling stories and relating things back to universal images through metaphors.  I tend to expound on subjects and give more details to support my arguments rather than restricting that to a simple bulleted statement. People that read Greg’s blog posts and my blog posts would likely be able to pick out which of us authored a particular post.  That’s because we have our own voices.

Greg’s book is a great way to get started with technical blogging.  After you get your first couple of posts down, it’s important to think about finding your voice.  You may like using lots of pictures or video.  You may prefer to keep it short and sweet with the occasional code example.  The key is find a style that works for you and stick with it.  Once you find a comfortable writing style you’ll find yourself writing more often and about more complex subjects.  When you aren’t worried about getting the words down on paper you’re free to dive right into things that are going to take a lot of thought.

The recommended price of this book is $4.99.  If that scares you off, you can pick it up for just $2.99.  For the price of a candy bar and a 20oz soda, you can learn a little more about blogging and using tools to amplify your writing ability.  If nothing else, you can read through it so you know how Greg thinks when he’s writing down information about things.  You can purchase The Arse First Method of Technical Blogging at https://leanpub.com/Technical-Blogging-Writing-Arse-First.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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2 thoughts on “The Arse First Method of Technical Blogging – Review

  1. I bought this e-book too and can recommend it!

    Like Tom, I was surprised how many of the ‘golden rules’ I break. But it has made me think about my approach to blogging both in terms of style and work-flow.

    It’s well worth getting hold of in my opinion, if you’re a beginner or if you’ve been blogging a while.

    Nigel.

  2. “When you aren’t worried about getting the words down on paper you’re free to dive right into things that are going to take a lot of thought.”

    I’m pretty glad to hear this because writing just doesn’t feel natural at the moment. Maybe it’ll be worth pick this book up for a test spin.

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