Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Boomer Business Blogger Part 4: You Have to Like Writing 2

True confession: I love writing. I love short sentences, strong words, making myself understood.

I think most, if not all, good bloggers like writing. Video people do vlogs and YouTube, poets go to Twitter (say, what?), but bloggers are writers. Almost all of my favorite blogs — I’ve got the blogroll on this blog, rightmost column, near the bottom — are written by people who care about writing. Not that they don’t care just as much about business, their main content area; but they’re writers.

Yes, I’ve done all the startups in my bio; yes, I have the MBA degree; and yes, I built Palo Alto Software. But if I could have made a decent living just writing, I would have.

Flashback: 1970, I was 22, wanted to write, studied literature. I was in a PhD program in comparative literature, briefly; ended up with MA in Journalism. UPI, McGraw-Hill, Mexico City, and whoosh, the 1970s all gone.

Flashback: 1979, journalist, bored filling space between ads, enrolled in Stanford University business school. Then I fell in love with business planning, helped to start Borland International, founded Palo Alto Software, founded bplans.com. And grew it, slowly for years, no outside investment. Tough times, good times.

And suddenly it was 2007, 40+ employees and a great management team, me struggling with changed technology, and I changed jobs. And started blogging. That change was Part 1 of this series.

So what helps me a lot is that I like writing. As a journalist I wrote a lot for many different publications. I also wrote published fiction (not very good, by the way, not worth citing, but they paid me) (and I’m not including market research that was wrong, either) and a full-length novel that got some second looks, but never got published.

So now, you can see how much blogging I do by looking at the sidebar here on the right. You can’t see that I’m also writing a lot on a family site, a personal site, and even an anonymous pure writing site.

If you’re going to be blogging a lot, you have to like writing.

  • http://www.ipanemacoffees.com.br/en marcio Paoliello

    Hello,

    Your life history is beautiful because you made your own track. Sometimes young people do not think about it: make your own track following your heart.
    I know that it is not so easy but what is easy in this short and amazing life?

    I would like to express my satisfation on these words below that I read on your post:

    “(…) slowly for years, no outside investment. Tough times, good times.

    This is a harder business track but even though that it is the most beautiful track to reach your dreams.

    Congrats for inspiring me every week!!!!

    Marcio Paoliello
    Brazil Fair Trade Town Coordinator
    Ipanema Coffees representative
    Coocafe Coffees representative

  • http://blog.instructionalsolutions.com Mary Cullen

    Hi Tim,
    I see two strong skills you bring to your blog: strong writing skills (with a real love for writing) AND highly honed analytical skills developed in your business life.

    In my experience, these analytical skills are hugely valuable to writing. They lend vision, organization and a clear understanding of the of inter-relationships of ideas. I hear so often from highly technical professionals that they dislike writing, or it’s not their skill set, but I believe these analytical skills are a huge advantage to writing in any form, including blogs.

    If a business person with strong analytical skills hones grammar and sentence structure and clarity, he or she can become a good blogger. Training and attention will address syntax, while the strong critical thinking/analytical skills gird content.

    I really like your blog, and am happy to have discovered it! Just subscribed.