Little did I understand that when I started playing around with AOL Journals back in 2003, I’d become a big proponent for blogging and self-publishing. The world was quickly moving away from the middlemen and experts who chose what we were to be exposed to by granting everyday people from all over the world a platform from which to share their stories.
Blogging is important because it makes you part of the universal conversation — more than 140 characters on Twitter, or a stream of thought on Facebook.
With blogging, you have to actually develop an idea and follow a train of thought to a conclusion for readers. You don’t have control over who is reading you, and if you value transparency, you allow feedback in the form of comments that aren’t exclusively family and friends.
You place your vulnerability in front of strangers — and not just a few of them — but eventually thousands upon thousands if you stay with blogging past the two year mark. It can be a long haul that will test your willingness to stick to something difficult and see it through.
It’s one thing to tell people you are going to spend however long it will take to create a top blog on the Internet and quite another actually writing about it for 174 posts over two years. It ain’t for the faint of heart, baby.
A guy I was dating once said to me, “I don’t read blogs and I just don’t see how this will benefit you.”
Hmmm . . . didn’t AOL just pay $315 Million for Huffington Post? Yes, the last time I checked Huffington Post was still a blog. Granted, a very large, well-funded one — but still, a blog.
If that buyout doesn’t make you see the benefits of blogging, and the fact that I didn’t need to be dating that guy, then I probably can’t sell you on the advantages of going after a big dream and blogging about it all . . . even if I could promise life will be more interesting, or maybe even, exciting.
Why blog your dreams?
1. You’ll honor a commitment.
Blogging your dream makes you show up for it once a week like an appointment with a doctor for a checkup. There’s no getting around the commitment of showing up to post a confession that you are stuck, hating life, or blowing off your dream. You have to show up or quit. Showing up is better, trust me.
2. You’ll change.
When you first begin blogging, you will tend to be very narcissistic. It’s naturally part of the process. You have all these ideas and stories that you want to push off your chest out on to your readers to digest.
It takes about a year (if you are smart) to realize the blog isn’t about you at all, really — it should be about your readers and adding value to their lives. If you wrestle with a problem, you’ll become obsessed with finding an answer and save some stranger from the pain of what you’ve just experienced. It becomes less you, more reader — more about making the world a better place.
3. You’ll write better.
Blogging helps you become a better writer. There will always be mistakes and typos. Bloggers turn out an impressive amount of publishing in a very short time-frame. There will be mistakes. You learn to publish and fix. You let go of being perfect for being considerate and sounding like a real person.
4. You’ll become an Internet celebrity.
When you write compelling enough content, people share it online and you will find you have a following (and fans) in all corners of the world. You will be attending some random event where people will walk up to you and ask you if you are that blogger . . . their loving feedback will add value to what you are doing.
You suddenly want to do everything in your power to complete your dream so they are inspired to complete theirs.
5. You’ll meet new people.
Blogging connects you with strangers on the Internet as well as other bloggers who use your posts for their inspiration, just as they have inspired you. People will email you directly and tell you heart-wrenching stories.
6. Slogging through the Dip will make you stronger.
Sticking with something as difficult as blogging over the long haul makes you a stronger person. Suddenly you find yourself showing up for other commitments in your life. This is why many bloggers will begin working out, eating healthy and making other positive changes.
Sometimes they even reach for bigger dreams.
7. It will bring new opportunities.
Blogging has enabled me to write for other publications who first read my thoughts on this blog and then decided to hire me. Blogging helped me recognize real Internet professionals who know what they are doing in the online publishing world — not just faking it.
8. Your problems will seem smaller.
Working on your dream through blogging somehow make your daily problems appear less important. There’s something to be said about working on a shared project where you don’t have the time to think too much about your everyday life.
Blogging is like looking at your world through rose-colored glasses.
How do I know? Because all of the above (and more) has happened to me since I started blogging. It can happen to you too. I’m not just looking at the online world through blogging rose-colored glasses, I’m actually wearing rose-colored glasses and participating — and it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever done. Just ask Seth Godin.
He says it best –
Catherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in when needed.