This post is for you in particular if you have the sneaking suspicion that you’ve a viral blog inside you, itching to come out.
There are tons of reasons to form a writing habit and get blogging.
It changes your life, for one.
Irrespective of what you choose to write about or teach on your blog, writing is incredible for personal growth.
I’ll talk about that some more below, but firstly I want to talk to you about why this is for you – even if your only writing experience is business emails and Tinder taglines.
Everyone has a blog in them
It’s a cliche, but everyone has a story to tell or a unique perspective to share.
When starting a blog, you don’t need anything new to say. Whatever you write about is going to be unique, because it is coming from you. And there aren’t any other yous.
And actually (and counter-intuitively), it’s in losing your attachment to having something new and interesting to say when blogging becomes something you’ll stick at.
Anyone can start a blog, and there are a million tutorials online about how (here’s one I like).
What to blog about
It doesn’t matter what you blog about. The art of motorcycle maintenance. How I travel. How not to be a jerk. How to use lemons to clean absolutely anything.
My opinion is that it’s preferable to write about what you know and care about, rather than what you think the world needs.
- What do you end up getting passionate about in chats with your friends?
- What do you do when you’re procrastinating?
- What has you reflecting and musing the most?
- What have you spent hours obsessing about and learning that could save others a whole lot of time?
- What unusual experience have you had that you think others could benefit from on?
- What’s interesting about where you live or work?
- What do you wish more people knew to do?
- Have you traveled or are you about to go travelling? What challenges have you encountered and overcome?
- Have you performed any health self-experiments?
The above are good starting places for potential blog topics.
On reasons not to
The reasons not to start your blog are endless.
For some of us, it’s the idea of sitting down writing that’s a bit scary. Too quietening; too introverted an activity.
For others, the resistance stems from not looking stupid.
Any which way you look at it, the reasons not to start a writing or blogging habit are always going to be there. And the things we resist the most nearly always turn out to be the biggest and best learning and growth opportunities.
Top blogging benefits
This blog began after some excited chats were had between myself, my boyfriend at the time and his brother (we were all into health and marketing). It seemed like a good idea at the time, and a potential income stream in the future. Not an enormous amount of thought went into it beyond that.
What I have found since I started keeping the blog is that it has grown me as I have grown it – and in unexpected ways.
A lot has been written online about the various benefits of writing and maintaining a blog. These are my top reasons to do it.
It creates and establishes you as an authority in something
If you ever need to demonstrate your expertise in a subject, say if you want to coach or sell training materials, a blog or a website is a lot more convincing then regularly updating your Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. It is a lot more intentional.
Writing a blog helps to establish you as an expert in something. Even if it’s handbags. And even if you are only semi-authoritative to begin with.
You’ll have to overcome yourself to do it
This is both a reason to do it and the main reason you’ll find not to do it.
You’ll be scared others will laugh at you, not read it, judge you and not take you seriously. For this reason, writing a blog is a self-esteem boot camp.
It’ll improve your understanding of the subject
When you teach someone something, you really learn it.
When I started this blog, I wrote a lot of ‘how to’ guides in the areas of nutrition and fitness, which were and are interests of mine.
The impersonalism was comforting, and I knew how to research and present information until I was more comfortable writing in a more personal way.
‘How to’ guides in general are great because everyone knows how to do something. Plus most of us know how to research and present information.
Since then I have moved on to explaining concepts that are much closer to my heart – psychology, self-study and things like how we develop courage and resilience. Explaining these difficult concepts, sometimes not all that well, has improved my understanding and application of them in my life.
It’ll take the focus off you and your concerns for a while
One powerful benefit of writing this blog is it provides me with a sense of purpose, one which I lack sometimes in doing other work and in other life areas.
Who knows where it will go?
Although I wouldn’t advocate this as a good reason to start a blog, your blog may wind up becoming a massive success. What you teach could really resonate with people. You may find yourself going off in directions that you hadn’t foreseen. I have lost count of the number of bios I have read along the lines of ‘this just started out as a way to let my folks know I was alive as I traveled through India/South America/etc.!’
Even if your first blog doesn’t wind up a massive success, it’ll inspire you to create other things.
It’ll grow you personally and professionally
Writing a blog consistently for a year and a half has required much self-discipline, courage and overcoming uncertainty and procrastination.
I have also become a lot better at writing and editing, and developed a more authentic writing voice. Plus, I have created a platform on which to sell instructional digital products.
The skills you gain serve you in great stead, even if you don’t go on to monetize your blog.
It’ll contribute something to the world
In writing a blog, you get to serve others. You’ll either entertain them, or save them time, money or heartache.
Think about it: you are effectively pouring the entire contents of your brain on any subject into someone else’s head.
It is a pretty ideal way to contribute to people beyond your immediate circle.
How not to stop blogging
Many of us muster the motivation to start blogging.
Maintaining a writing/blogging habit seems to be an entirely different challenge. And annoyingly, it often can’t be predicted in advance (which is why it is essential to start.)
Prior to starting this blog, I had started and stopped many, many other projects. That’s probably why when we started this, I had hopes but zero expectations as to its longevity, and didn’t really have a plan beyond some vague notions of creating a health resource.
And then this week I published my 100th post. And it got me thinking, just how have I not stopped doing this?
Reasons I know it isn’t:
- Because I am passionate about writing. Nope. I like writing, but I as with anything, I find it frustrating and annoying at times.
- Because writing is cathartic. Um no. This might apply if I was pouring my heart out on here all the time, but doesn’t really apply when I have written about urinary tract infections and gut health.
- Because I am always highly motivated. Definitely not. More accurate to say that I have gotten skilled at generating a writing state.
- Because I want to make a lot of money. Clearly, it isn’t this. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I can make a lot of money on the blog. That just means that it isn’t the reason that I have maintained the momentum to write.
More likely reasons:
- Because it is just challenging enough, but not so much that I am defeated by it. It’s that much coveted ‘sweet spot’.
- Because it gives me a sense of purpose I didn’t have before.
- Because keeping the commitment seems to have had a positive overall effect on other areas of my life.
- Because I love the idea of getting additional value out of the knowledge and experience that I have acquired.
What have you got to lose?
Truth is, we have no certainty over the pursuits we will maintain and those we won’t. Also, nothing is permanent.
I think that if you know you have the space, or could free some up by losing some meaningless activities, then starting a writing or blogging habit is among the most valuable pastimes.
And you might find yourself developing it in ways you never had envisaged. Or it might just be a source of fun and fulfillment. Either way it’s a win.
You’ll never know unless you give it a try.