I’m lucky I got into blogging when I did. Almost three years ago, blogging was only kind of a big deal, but today, blogging is more prevalent than ever. More and more people are generating content on the web than ever before and it’s more difficult than ever to stand out. In some ways it’s become trendy, tainted by too many sponsored posts and bad grammar. The whole business of blogging has changed so much, even in the past year, that it can be difficult to decide if it’s worth pursuing or not. Knowing that everyone and her mother has a blog, why should you?
1. There’s room for everyone.
Every single person has a voice that is worth hearing. Blogging gives any person with access to a computer or device the ability to share his or her voice and connect with a larger audience than ever before. The trick is finding what makes you unique and special, but that’s what makes the journey so enjoyable.
A Beautiful Mess wrote this fantastic post a year ago discussing blogging on a higher level as a young industry rather than just a hobby people pursue. When they mentioned this growing trend of bloggers, they talked about how saturated and competitive the market has become. Instead of seeing this as a flaw, however, they recognized this as an opportunity to produce higher-quality work. So yes, it may be competitive and yes, you may have to work hard to distinguish yourself, but my goodness, you will produce better work than you ever imagined and we will ALL benefit from it.
Don’t let the fear of not being “original” paralyze you from pursuing something like blogging. As the famous choreographer Twyla Tharp writes in her book, The Creative Habit, “Honey, it’s all been done before. Nothing’s original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself.” Might as well join in the fun and share your perspective on the things that matter most to you.
Not into fashion blogging? No problem. Don’t think you can take good photos for a blog? Don’t worry. There are bloggers widely accepted in every niche and format you can imagine. Maybe you’re not much of a writer—try vlogging or recording a podcast. Perhaps you prefer essays and poetry—fantastic! Even if you’re not the typical “creative” type, there’s an avenue for you and an audience ready to listen.
2. Life is worth documenting.
Every blog is different, but regardless of your niche, your blog serves as an artifact. Even if you don’t share your personal life with your readers, your commentary, your work, your words, and photos, tutorials, and eBooks all serve as a piece of preserved history. Years and years from now, when our children and children’s children fathom the concept of having access to so much content, our thoughts, our dreams, and our businesses will show a more detailed insight into human nature as it stands today than we’ve ever known before. Mind. Blowing.
On a less dramatic level, how great will it be to reflect on life simply by looking at your archives? It’s been an amazing exercise for me to browse through old posts on my first blog, The Modern Austen, and see how far I’ve come and understand my thought processes and remember small, but significant moments in my life. I wouldn’t trade this virtual journal for anything.
3. Opportunities don’t grow on trees. You must create them.
I am a firm believer in the idea that you are completely in charge of your happiness and you are responsible for taking action in order to reach your goals. Simply waiting for a promotion at work or hoping that you’ll make some more ambitious friends one day doesn’t make those things actually happen. If you are missing something in your career or in your personal life, you must take the necessary strides to find it.
One of the best ways to create an opportunity is to blog. Not only will you gain and demonstrate desirable skills and knowledge through your blog, but you will also network and collaborate with others, work with brands, and build a community that can lead to so much more than you ever imagined. (I even landed a brand new career thanks to blogging.) Now you have a living, thriving resume and portfolio that you can take with you anywhere.
4. Building community has never been more valuable.
We’re more connected than ever and yet lack genuine fellowship with people more than ever. In a world of social media where thoughts are limited to 140 characters and interaction is fast-paced and fleeting, we are challenged with using this medium to our advantage. Blogs allow us the chance to express ourselves, share knowledge, and reach people we would never have the pleasure of interacting with otherwise. When you make friends through a blog, you are consistently reminded of the importance of connection and often form friendships stronger than some of those around you. This kind of community is supported by a genuine interest in the teaching of and learning from others, often in order to soften the blow of painful experiences and to celebrate life’s surprises and joys. When you bond with someone over experiencing loss together, or when you realize that you have a soul sister across the country, or when you begin to send Christmas cards to people you’ve never met in person—you understand that there’s something much more powerful to this blog thing than meets the eye.
Through blogging and providing useful content to others, you can form a strong community through comments, Facebook groups like The Creative’s Corner, twitter chats like #createlounge, or even through personal email threads. You never know where this community can take you.
Bloggers, your turn to chime in. Why do you blog and why do you encourage others to join in the madness?