This week, I published two blog posts:
- How Bad Statistics Cause Bad SQL Server Query Performance
- How Scalar User-Defined Functions Slow Down Queries
Let’s talk about the process of writing ’em.
A couple I was putting together this week’s First Responder Kit release, I realized sp_BlitzIndex didn’t have URLs for a couple of common families of problems: bad statistics and scalar user-defined functions. I made myself a couple of Github issues (#2670 and #2671) to track the documentation work I needed to do, and I decided to live stream it on this past Saturday so I could show y’all what my blogging process looks like.
In this two-hour session, I walk you through writing those two posts:
In that session, here are some of the things I talk about:
- Your blog has two kinds of readers: your regulars and people who just found this one specific page via a Google search. These two posts were specifically crafted for the latter. Sure, my regular readers would consume the info, but they wouldn’t be raving about how awesome the posts are.
- Scoping a post is hard: it’s hard to limit yourself to just writing about specific parts of an issue. It’s really tempting to just let the writing flow, and then next thing you know you’ve lost an entire day and you’re nowhere near what you’d consider “finished.” I try to scope my posts with the clock: how much can I actually cover in an hour? Sometimes I write for a very junior-level reader (as Nick says on the stream, someone who’s on chapter 1) and sometimes I write for an expert-level reader (and in that case, I don’t cover a lot of the prerequisites.)
- Anytime you feel guilty for not covering more scope in the post, remember that you can finish the post with a list of recommended reading for the reader to continue their learning journey.
- Writing takes up time. I wrote these posts on a Saturday morning, and about 75 minutes in, I get a text from my wife, making me write with a little bit more urgency. That’s a good reminder that the time you put into blogging needs to pay off somehow – whether it’s in the form of improved mental health for you, or a sense of reward for helping others, or literally making you more money. I’m a consultant and trainer, so the blog posts and videos are effectively marketing material for my “day job.” That makes it easier to put in work because I hopefully see a return on it later.
If you want to learn more about the process of writing to forward your career, check out my 2-hour conference session, 500-Level Guide to Career Internals.