As I approach the one year anniversary of the creation of my blog, A Fork in the Road, I’m noticing that blogging has been a big topic of conversation among my inner circle of friends. A few women, writers and non-writers, have all expressed an interest in starting blogs of their own. They’re not all sure they should, mind you. After all, it’s a bit of a commitment. One mentioned that she doesn’t think she can expose her innermost thoughts; she’d be too vulnerable. Another is wondering why she should give herself another thing to do every week – and on a deadline, to boot. Still another can’t see the benefit of devoting time to something if it’s not going to bring in any additional income.
So all of this made me wonder, why do I write my blog? Why do I hold myself to a self-imposed deadline every week? Why do I force myself to write even when I’m not in the mood? Why do I fight through writer’s block some weeks and idea overload on others? Why do I write when I don’t have the thousands of followers Seth Godin or Oprah Winfrey do? Equally important, why do I think everyone should blog? There are dozens of reasons, and I’m happy to share a few with you below. (Spoiler alert: None of them have to do with money.)
1) Blogging gives you time to consider events, ideas and concepts in a world that encourages you to rush through that process. We all know what it’s like to live in this rat race of a world. We run from one activity to the next, rush through project after project, all in the name of being “productive.” We’ve forgotten how to hear ourselves think, how to consider and reason because our existence removes us from the simple act of contemplation. Blogging forces you to be still and examine how you feel about things, and that benefits you when you’re working on a piece, but also in your day to day life.
2) Blogging reminds you that you have a voice. Writers who write for others can’t be too attached to their own words and work. Editors, publishers and clients all have opinions as to what copy should “look like” in its final form. Blogging preserves your style and voice if you’re a writer, but reminds you that you have something important to say even if you’re not.
3) Blogging connects you to like-minded people, but also to people whose ideas challenge your own. Comments that readers post offer validation in some cases, and provide you with alternate views to consider in others. Both of these are important if you want to be a well-rounded individual.
4) Blogging teaches brevity. I guarantee you that anyone reading this right now who knows me personally is laughing out loud. They know that I’m far from brief, by nature. On the contrary, I love to question, ponder, philosophize – ok, I admit it, I’m downright verbose. Blogging taught me, and will teach you, how to say more with less.
5) Blogging allows you to help others. Everyone has something to teach. Whether you’ve survived childhood abuse or understand the pitfalls of being a single parent, whether you’ve become passionate about cooking or are great at finding the humor in situations – what you’ve learned and what you have to say about it can make a huge difference in the lives of others.
6) Writing weekly and meeting a deadline exercises your mental process and creativity. Just like a muscle, when you stretch and challenge your mind it grows stronger and more flexible. By writing every week, whether you’re in the mood or not, whether you have too many ideas or not a single one to speak of, you learn discipline. You learn to focus on what’s important and to accept that you have to let go of what isn’t. Most important, you learn about yourself – how you work, what makes you tick, just how resourceful you can be. You learn that a great idea can come from the tenacious pursuit of one. You also learn that it’s ok to not be brilliant every time you write. Sometimes, after all, the exploration of an idea can be even more significant than the discovery of one.