As this site begins to get off the ground and get more and more readers, for which I am ever grateful, it dawned on me that I have never shared my reasons for writing a blog in the first place. I’m one of the only regular bloggers I know in my circle of friends, family and colleagues and I guess a lot of people don’t really know why I do it so I thought in sharing my reasons I may hopefully inspire someone else to.
1. It’s a great therapy.
It’s like writing a journal, only better because your blog has a voice – in the form of feedback from your readers – you only have to check my post ‘What’s wrong with being safe?‘ to see some of the amazing comments I received which just helped me get over a painful situation. A paper journal can’t give feedback and you could lose it. Of course you have to be mindful that what you are writing can be seen by anyone unless you password-protect it, but why on earth would you do that when you’ve gone to the trouble of writing it? Blogging is a way of sharing your experiences and I take great comfort in that by sharing my life experiences I am in turn helping others. I have blogged about weight-loss, hair loss and all manner of other things. If that helps just one person deal with their situation in a more positive way, that is an added bonus.
2. It’s a great way of self promoting your skills.
CVs are so nineties, darling! To get ahead in most industries these days you have to have contacts, a healthy LinkedIn account and Twitter…blogging is an extra string to your bow. It proves you are capable of running a website, that you have varied interests and that you are good at promoting yourself. I aspire to be a writer so by blogging I am building up an audience to read my work. When I apply for jobs (which isn’t that often, it would have to be a pretty damn good job for me to leave the one I have), I always detail that I am a blogger. Bloggers have an extra set of learned skills – don’t worry if you haven’t now, if you start blogging you’ll soon learn – that employers find increasingly useful. Web design, marketing, social media campaigning, journalism and copywriting are all skills regular bloggers equip themselves with, yet probably state on their CV that they specialise in something else. If you run a blog, promote that until you are blue in the face. Blogging is not for the faint hearted and it will earn you extra kudos.
3. You learn new skills
As mentioned in point two, although you may not start out as a web designer, a journalist or a graphic designer, these skills come with time. You will soon find that whilst you struggled to set up a Pinterest account in the early days, soon you will know your SEO from your hit count, you’ll learn how to create awesome graphics using Canva, you’ll know the difference between self-hosting and hosted sites, not only will you learn, you will WANT to learn because you will constantly see blogs that are more beautiful, more professional than yours and you will want to compete. Since I set up this site, I have gone from a simple site where I just posted the text, to self-hosting and owning my own domain, which for you newbies means I have a custom web address of www.scribblesparkleshine.com instead of my old myblogname.wordpress.com. I’ve learnt how to block individual IP addresses to stop my a fan/stalker/psycho ex from reading every post. Of course that doesn’t mean they won’t just log-on somewhere else but it is still a small victory to know they will have seen a ‘you have been blocked’ message.
I’ve learnt how to create cool graphics using Canva.com – which is free and really easy. I use it a lot for work too so that’s an added bonus. I’ve learnt how to harness the power of Pinterest, to the point that I’m actually going to be delivering a session at work on how to use it. All from this blog.
4. You become a better writer.
I look at my early posts and I cringe. In a year or two I will probably read this and want to make a ton of changes. I’m what you’d call an impulsive poster, I get an idea and I go with it. Of course I do plan posts too but the majority are a spur of the moment thing. Other bloggers will plan each post, ensuring they add in links to sponsors and other blogs, they hold link parties, they do guest posts. I don’t do any of that yet but I’ve still had thousands of readers – I’m still learning so it will come. In the meantime it does make you read and re-read your text because how embarrassing would it be to showcase your bad grammar and spelling across the world wide web? Not that I take it too seriously, the tone of a blog should be conversational, it shouldn’t read like a thesis. When you read old posts you realise how repetitive you can sound, so you change things. I know I like to use the word mindful and the phrase “not that I…” so I try to mix it up
5. It’s a great talking point
At parties, in the pub, out and about. It is a great way to get talking. I’ve given details of my blog to many people I’ve met over the past few months, from the poet I met in Hampstead (who wrote me a poem, I’m not quite sure what he was trying to say with that, if you read this Alan please get in touch and let me know!) to old school friends at a christening over the weekend. I share every post on twitter and Facebook, I carry business cards with the details. Promote, promote, promote is key.
The proudest moment I had was when I walked into a shop in Windermere last month and the owner shrieked “I love your blog!” before giving me a great big hug and then falling into a lengthy discussion about sound baths and the poet…clearly Rose of No 22 in Windermere is a fan. Love you Rose! It was so nice to know that someone likes what they read. It is always nice to receive positive feedback. Of course there are negatives too, psycho exes can stalk you, hunt your every move and get totally over emotional about the most trivial of things. My motto is: Don’t like it? Don’t read it! I don’t force you to. On the other hand there is always that IP blocker plug in 🙂
6. A blog is your very own memory box.
Remember that time when… your blog does! Archived posts are a great way of looking back at things and taking a trip down memory lane. I bet Lucy at Attic 24 often does this as she blogs about all sorts of lovely things she gets up to with her family, not to mention creating the most beautiful and bright crocheted goodies you can think of.
Finally, I blog because its fun. I enjoy reading other blogs, pinning ideas to my Pinterest boards, jotting down random notes in my notebook to drop into a post later on. I’m constantly on the look out for new material and in a way this makes most experiences more meaningful. If after reading this you are inspired but still kind of on the fence then I say go for it…you don’thave anything to lose.