Oct 262012

This guest post is by Bea Kylene Jumarang of Writing Off the Rails.

During one of my blocks of free time, I found myself watching a video from Tim Harford, an economist and a writer. In it, he was discussing his three rules for failing productively, and those rules were the beginning of a love affair for me.

Before you think I fell in love with him, that’s not it. I fell in love with the rules, and they’ve changed my life for the better.

Today, I’d like to share those rules with you, along with a concrete process for applying them to your blogging. It’s my hope that if you care to listen to what this post says, the rules and the process will change your life too.

What you’ll need

  • a spreadsheet or a pen and notebook for your log, though spreadsheets are better
  • the faithfulness to actually log things (more on this later)
  • honesty (very important).

Tim Harford’s three rules—blogger’s edition

1. Be willing to fail a lot

If you’re blogging for the long haul, I can guarantee that you’ll run into hundreds, if not thousands of setbacks. Dozens of your posts will languish without comments, your analytics will be a constant flatline, and it will seem like no one really gives a darn. What matters is that you’ll chug on despite everything.

In simple words, be willing to fail—a lot.

2. Fail on a survivable scale

This rule can mean two different things, depending on what stage you’re at with your blog.

If you’re still a beginner, congratulations. You’re already failing on a very survivable scale. It’s unlikely that a bad post will kill your blog, so you’d better appreciate the benefits of smallness.

On the other hand, if you’re a big blogger, you’ll take a little bit more care. Hopefully, you’ll use your experience to the full, and by this time, you should already know what works along with what doesn’t. If you plan to take a risk, put thought into it so you’ll fail in a way that you and your blog can survive.

3. Make sure you have what it takes to spot a failure, and fix it, early

Don’t let issues or problems fester. As soon as you identify something that needs correction, get to correcting. The faster you respond to a crisis, the faster you can learn and deal with its potential repercussions.

Also, don’t close yourself off from the problems other people point out. When they tell

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