People start blogs for all kinds of reasons, both good and bad. One of the most common bad reasons I hear is, “Because I need a blog to be successful.”
Success will comprise different things for different people, and blogging might very well be part of that package, but blogging for success alone is a self-defeating motivation. Why? Because blogging is very much about process and persistence. To do it well, you need to do it, do it again, and keep on doing it. High-impact results rarely happen overnight, so if you’re only blogging for the end-game, you’ll burn out.
That being said, I’m a huge fan of blogs. I used to encourage anyone and everyone to start one, without questioning whether it would be a good fit. Experience has made me a little wiser when handing out advice, but I still believe blogging provides many benefits worthy of consideration. For example:
1. Blogging makes you a better writer.
It’s you’re not a writer, this is a plus. If you are a writer, it’s an even bigger plus. Blogging is a unique (and free!) publishing platform. The best posts are short (a few hundred words) and concise, with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. Blogging forces you to clarify your message, trim rabbit trails, and choose your words carefully to achieve the greatest impact in just a few paragraphs. As a writer of longer works, writing short used to feel restrictive and pointless, like working out core muscles when what you really want to do is go for a run. Blogging has forced me to do the hard work of improving my writing core, and the result has been a stronger game overall.
2. Blogging teaches you to pay attention.
The highest-impact posts usually reveal authentic snapshots of life. This is as true for topical and business blogs as it is for personal and artistic blogs, because people learn and remember through story. So if you have a point to make, a lesson to teach, or a product to discuss, do it through story.
The result is that the more you blog, the more you notice. Little moments of everyday life that could have slipped by are suddenly rife with meaning. You recognize beauty in simple things, see patterns in the world around you, and find your brain drawing connections you never knew were there.
3. Blogging provides a chronicle of events that might otherwise be forgotten.
Related to #2, blogging can act as a sort of public journal. I started my first blog to keep friends and family up to date on our adoption process. What began as a simple chronicle of paperwork progress turned into an intimate exploration of maternal longing, spiritual struggle, and the modern-day orphan crisis. Along the way, I noted little day-to-day moments with my children, then preschool-aged.
Now years removed from that stage of life, those memories have blurred around the edges. I find comfort knowing I can look back and re-immerse myself in them with a richness that goes beyond a simple Polaroid. In essence, my blog serves as a high-resolution photograph of my emotions and perspective. Those old posts weren’t always well written or even particularly interesting, but to me, they’re priceless.
4. Blogging builds credibility.
Some bloggers obsess about numbers, worrying that they don’t have enough subscribers and wondering if anyone out there is even reading what they write. The struggle is real, but numbers aren’t everything.
Blogging consistently, regardless of readership, is an investment in your credibility. You’re creating a written portfolio for current or future readers, customers, editors, or employers. A well-populated blog tells those people you’re disciplined, devoted, and knowledgeable.
5. Blogging opens the door for topic-focused engagement.
Blogging isn’t intended to be a monologue, in which you send your words out to the world to be passively received. At it’s best, blogging is a conversation.
Some of my most rewarding moments as a blogger have been when readers responded to my posts with additional thoughts, and we’ve had the chance to go deeper together. These interactions often provide insight into my audience’s needs and interests, and can inspire new blog posts or material for other writing projects.
I hope some of these benefits have given you a new perspective on blogging. If you’re still wondering if starting (or keeping) a blog is worth it for you, drop me a comment and let’s talk. Or, check out these links to read up on why other bloggers have decided to take the plunge and keep on swimming.