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Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat?

We’re celebrating! It’s been three months since we launched Your Life@Work. It’s been a challenge to test our ideas and a big thrill to connect with you through your online comments, emails, phone calls, and hallway asides.

So the big question we have for you, our readers: How are we doing? First, a bit of history:

Why We Did It

We (Leslie Wolf and Lena Zentall) started Your Life@Work to give something back to the community: sharing hard-earned wisdom from our varied careers; exploring answers to the problems we now struggle with at work; and providing a forum for dialog and connections. We wanted to expand our own horizons, meeting like-minded people within and outside academia. And of course, we wanted to challenge ourselves to do something meaningful to bolster our spirits during the 12-month furlough period at the University of California. Read our first post, Looking for Some Inspiration in Your Career? for more about our objectives.

How We Did It

We spent a great deal of time thinking about who our audience might be. We decided it’s anyone who believes they have a career instead of a job — or who wants to have a career instead of a job! We looked at other blogs for inspiration and read extensively to find best practices, tips and tricks from the blogging experts. We worked to create an engaging format: first person stories, ideas from experts, links to helpful blogs, appealing images, inspiring quotes, and a call to action (“Now It’s Your Turn”).

We wanted to distill our experience and the wisdom of the blogosphere in one place so you don’t have to hunt everywhere for advice. Our biggest goal is not to waste your time (and ours). We laid out a schedule of topics that could easily stretch beyond 2011 and used Google Docs to track our progress, draft our posts, and build plans to increase our community over the next several months.

At the end of March we started publishing, and found to our delight that we fell into an easy rhythm. We’ve learned a lot, finding our writing skills getting stronger as we work to produce thoughtful, polished mini-essays. We’ve taken turns writing about the issues we care most about and have found that our styles blended early on to create a shared “voice.”  We appreciate each other and the insights, experience, and skills we each bring to the partnership. Our collaboration is stronger than ever.

What We’ve Learned
  1. There’s never enough time in the day. While it’s time-consuming to post every week in the mini-essay format we described above, refining our process over the past dozen posts has helped.
  2. Blogging is addictive. We have experienced the powerful allure of blogging; it’s gratifying to share career development resources with our readers and to learn from you in turn.
  3. Commenting is essential to blogging. We’re thrilled with the comments we’ve received — thank you! In fact, reading the thoughts and experiences you share with us is our favorite part of blogging. It tells us you are interested in what we write about and it gives us the opportunity to learn things from you. Then it occurred to us that we weren’t actively commenting on our favorite blogs. D’oh! We have vowed to show our appreciation and engagement to the bloggers we regularly follow by commenting on their blogs.
  4. You are what you write. We’ve enjoyed discovering what we really care about as we choose the topics and shape our posts. We hope our readers will find at least one thing that speaks to them — a gold nugget — in each post.
  5. Spontaneity is a challenge. While we’ve discovered a good formula for delivering our blog posts on a regular schedule, our blog’s consistent structure with its many “includements” (lists of tips, images, quotes, things for you to try) has prevented us from being more spontaneous. We also blame our perfectionism. We know you are concerned with perfectionism too, since The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good has been our most discussed post to date.
What’s in the Works
  • Guest bloggers. We’re inviting our co-workers to write on their areas of expertise and interest. Stay tuned!
  • Video. We actually made a video to introduce our blog and then realized it was just not that interesting. We’re looking for better ways to use video — for things that are hard to describe in writing and for live interviews.
  • New formats. Three areas we’d like to try: 1) brief, single-thought posts in a social media forum like Twitter or Facebook — especially for current events; 2) posts that bring together the “best of” on a topic; 3) a short list of useful links on a single topic in lieu of a longer post.

Whatever we do, we’ll strive to make it truly useful and not just more social media “noise.”

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” — Brian Clark

Now It’s Your Turn

Did you know you can subscribe to the RSS feed for Your Life@Work and get our weekly posts sent to you?  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Your Life@Work home page
  2. Click on the orange RSS icon in the top right corner: 
  3. Indicate how you want to subscribe (via e-mail, Google Reader , etc.)

More about RSS: What the heck is RSS? And why should I care?

Did you miss some posts? Check out all previous Your Life@Work posts.

Help us plan for upcoming posts!

We’re looking for your ideas on what’s working and what’s not working. You can comment below or e-mail us at (Leslie and Lena’s joint e-mail account).

  • Do you have any special topics you would like us to cover?
  • Would you be interested in other topics like marketing or strategic planning?
  • Did any of our posts inspire you to action? If so, we’d love to hear about it.