The greatest hope of internet generation is that you can share your thoughts with everybody in the world.  The greatest letdown of the same generation is that nobody cares.  Still, that doesn't keep us from trying.

Bloggers are good people, generally.  We're self confident in a passive aggressive sort of way, we're opinionated, and best of all, we can type quickly.  But what separates bloggers from each other?  Those who can break exclusive news usually have a good following, but what about the rest of us?  How do you actually get better at blogging?

Not that you asked for it, but this is my advice: read more, write less.  By "read more", I mean books.  Newspapers are useless, because the job of every newspaper editor is to remove any semblance of personality from all of the text.  It's just facts, and facts are fuckin' boring.  If you want to cruise programming.reddit a few times a day and write reactionary articles, fine, live with that crowd.  It's not an interesting place to be, though.  Telling the world why you think DHH is wrong about some programming methodology isn't going to get you a column at Rolling Stone.

Getting on the front page of Digg is not an accomplishment.

Blogarrhea begets blogarrhea.  There's a continuous global discussion on the internet, and if you're not the one who started it, you're just background noise.  People like Paul Graham and Dave Winer never really say anything original, they just enjoy the act of typing.  Graham has been re-writing the same three essays for almost a decade, and Winer, well, Winer doesn't have much to do during the day, and at least blogging keeps him away from drugs and rap music. I guess it's a positive influence.

If you want to keep that company, do so, but like programming, writing is so much better when you value elegance as well as functionality.

Which brings me to my second point.  Write less.

For the last two months, I have been working my way through a pile of books: everything ever published by Chuck Palahniuk (tl;dr: the guy who wrote Fight Club).  I'm almost done, a book and a half to go.  Chuck likes to do these writers' workshops, and somebody once asked him what he does when he's stuck.  He knows where the story needs to go, but just doesn't know how to get it there.

Chuck's response: "Did you ever go into the bathroom and try and take a shit when you didn't have to go?"

Whenever I sit down to write a post here, it's because I really have to take a dump.  Incidentally, sometimes when I write for The Register, it feels like I'm really trying to squeeze one out.  If I end up dead from an aneurysm, that's what happened. Setting a post-per-week quota for yourself is like setting a lines-of-code quota at work.

Don't write just because you want to spend some time on the pot.  Do it because you really have to go.