So, blogging: funny old business, isn’t it?
Every week I sit here and I share these little bits of blogging advice with you, and while I know there are plenty of you who find those tips helpful, I’m sure there are plenty more who read them (or, you know, DON’T read them: because why would you, if you don’t have a blog?), and just think, “Yeah, no thanks: why go to all that trouble? Why blog?”
Well, I’ve already told you why I blog, but there are all kinds of different reasons to start a blog, and here’s the thing:
None of them are “wrong”.
Well, not unless your reason for blogging is “to con little old ladies out of their life savings,” obviously. I’ve never actually heard anyone give that as a reason, of course, but if it’s yours, dude, that is SO WRONG, seriously. Most OTHER reasons, though, are perfectly acceptable to me, and I get REALLY tired of hearing people bang on about how, “If you’re starting a blog just for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reason!”, and all of that nonsense. I mean, you wouldn’t tell your waitress you’re not going to tip her, because earning a living is “the wrong reason” to wait tables, and she should be doing it just for the love of it, would you? So why is blogging different? Why is it supposed to be this pure, noble pursuit, that people get into for love, and only grudgingly accept money for, if people absolutely INSIST on paying them? Whoops, sorry: we’re still only on the introduction and I’m already off on a tangent!
There are tons of different reasons to blog, is what I’m saying. Here are just a few of them…
It’s the creative outlet you’ve always wanted
I mean, if you’ve never actually wanted a creative outlet of any kind, then I guess this doesn’t really apply to you, so feel free to move onto the next point. If you have ever had a burning desire to create… something… however, a blog can be the perfect place to start. It doesn’t even have to be words that you want to create: it could be photos, code, an awesome marketing campaign… blogging requires so many different skills that that you never really know where it’s going to take you. I, for instance, got into it through the love of writing, but I actually really enjoy a lot of the other aspects of a running a blog, too: I love messing around with themes, creating graphics, trying different things to make the site grow. It’s never boring, let’s put it that way: and even if you’ve never considered yourself to be a particularly creative person, the satisfaction of building something from nothing, and then watching it grow, is pretty hard to beat.
It allows you to find your tribe
Despite everything I’ve just said above, the love of writing wasn’t my main reason for starting a blog. No, my main reason was the sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t quite the same as most of the people around me, and the hope that blogging would allow me to find out people who were more like me. And it did.
You’re not alone. There are people just like you, somewhere out there – and starting a blog will help you find them.
(There are also people who really AREN’T like you, and blogging will help you find THEM, too, unfortunately. Oh well, you can’t have it all, can you?)
It can become a career
I started this blog to connect with like-minded souls and indulge my great love of writing about… well, myself, really. I started ShoeperWoman.com, on the other hand, to make money doing something I actually enjoyed. I make absolutely no apology for that, and no one will ever convince me it was the “wrong” reason to start a blog, because we all have to earn a living, right? And why shouldn’t we do it through blogging? Who says a job has to be done in an office, and has to involve working for someone else? Not me: and if you want to make a career out of blogging, then I’m guessing not you, either…
It can open all kinds of doors
Even if you don’t want to make money through blogging itself, running a blog can be a good way to get into other kinds of work, like freelancing, social media marketing, web development, the list goes on. I know a lot of people think blogging doesn’t teach you any transferable skills, but I can only guess the people who think that have never tried to grow a blog from the ground up, huh? I’ve learned SO much from running my various blogs, and I’ve had all kinds of opportunities as a result of them, too: from travel, to networking, to actual offers of employment. Other bloggers, meanwhile, have gone on to write books, start product lines, or become major players in their respective industries. That could be you. Well, it has to be SOMEONE, doesn’t it?
It teaches you discipline
That sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? It’s like the kind of thing someone with one eye and a limp would say to an unfortunate orphan in a Charles Dickens novel: “What you need is some discipline, young man! Now go and stand on that chair in the corner for seventeen hours, and think about what you’ve done!” Yeah, so I don’t mean it quite like THAT, obviously. (Although…) Running a blog, though, like any long-term project or business venture, does require disciple – more than you probably imagine if all you ever see is the end product of that discipline, in the form of shiny blog posts, full of glossy photos and pretty, swirly fonts. It’s not the kind of discipline that requires you to get up at 5am every morning and have a freezing cold shower, thankfully, but you DO have to learn how to manage your time, be as productive as possible, and, above all, to keep on doing that indefinitely. Which is a useful skill to have.
It makes you see things differently
I mean this both in the literal sense, in that you’ll all of a sudden start looking at ordinary objects and seeing them as potential Instagram photos, but also in the more figurative sense, in that you’ll start to look for the stories in everyday life: and once you start looking for them, you’ll start to see them everywhere. This is a good thing, trust me.
It will force you to write
Again, if you don’t actually WANT to write, then the thought of being FORCED to do it probably makes you feel a bit like how I’D feel if someone forced me to do algebra, or watch back-to-back action movies or something. If you DO want to write, though – and to get better at writing – blogging will help you do that, by forcing you to adopt some kind of regular writing schedule, and put your work out there into the world, for people to read. Before I had a blog, I used to write constantly… but I refused to let anyone ever read the things I wrote: it was absolutely unthinkable to me. Now I write every day, and I can’t imagine not doing it. I probably shouldn’t be claiming that it’s made me a better writer, given that my mum had to email me last week to point out a truly horrendous typo in one of my posts, but it’s certainly made me a more prolific writer, that’s for sure.
It gives you a record of your life
My blog has been running for almost 10 years now, which means I have an entire decade of my life recorded right here on the internet. Which is actually a bit weird, now I come to think of it. Strangeness aside, I actually think it’s pretty cool to be able to look back and see what I was doing this time last year, or the year before, or the year before that. I know I’d also be able to do that if I’d just kept a private diary, rather than a blog, but the format of a blog somehow makes it easier to look back on it, and it also encourages you record things in a way you probably wouldn’t if you were writing in a journal. Of course, this blog is a personal one: my other sites provide less of a snapshot of my life at the time, but even posts that aren’t remotely personal can trigger quite powerful memories for me of what I was doing/thinking/feeling at the time, and because I’ve always had a passion for documenting my life, that’s something that means quite a lot to me.
There are some amazing perks
Again, people will tell you that “if you’re starting a blog to get free things, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons!” Honestly, I think that if you want to get into blogging purely in the hope of getting a free lipstick or three, go for it: I mean, it’s your life, right? I don’t think this is a wrong reason to blog (There are no “wrong” reasons, remember?), but it is a pretty strange one, because as soon as you start doing it, you’ll realise that the lipstick isn’t actually “free” when you have to spend several hours creating a blog post about it, and it would actually be a whole lot easier to just buy it yourself if you want it.
With that said, I’m not going to pretend there aren’t some pretty cool perks involved if you’re willing to work hard enough: I’ve been able to wear clothes I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford, to try products I couldn’t otherwise have justified, and to work with brands I’d hero-worshipped for years. Now, please don’t get me wrong: none of this stuff would be worth it on its own, and I’m not saying I’d have been willing to spend years working my ass off just for the freebies (I also object to people referring to them as “freebies”: they’re really not…), but I’m also not going to lie to you and say they don’t make life a little more fun, sometimes. Because they do.
Its’ a good excuse to acquire new things for your house
Last week my mother-in-law was continuing with the clear-out she’s been embarking on this year, and when I saw a bunch of succulents sitting in the “to go” pile, I was all, “HELL, NO! I mean, do you not want to use those on your Instagram or something?” But, of course, my mother-in-law doesn’t HAVE an Instagram account, so I volunteered to take them for mine, instead. I’m pretty much the biggest blogging cliché that ever bought a rose gold candle holder, just because it would look nice in photos, but honestly? I don’t even care…
And you have a great excuse to go places
I mean, I didn’t actually WANT to go to that restaurant, but if I HAVE to go for the sake of the blog, then I GUESS I could force myself…
OK, so those last few were kinda tongue-in-cheek. Here’s a biggie, though…
Sometimes you get email…
… or comments, or tweets, or Facebook messages. They’re from people who’ve read your blog, and have somehow connected with it, been inspired with it, or just plain enjoyed it. And that’s amazing, truly. The fact that complete strangers will sometimes take time out of their day to write a comment or send me a message means more to me than I can say say, so if you’ve ever done that, then YOU are the reason I blog, basically. Yes, you personally. I hope I’m not making this awkward for you?