This post is from my upcoming book “Punch Failure in the Face; Then Shake Hands and Buy It a Beer”. It’s been slightly modified including a couple adorable cat pictures to suck you into reading it.
“Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field” Penelope Trunk
Oh, blogging, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
As a global platform, blogging is incredible! It has the ability to help fledgling writers grow and expand their skills; and can literally change lives, one post at a time.
But that’s not the only reason I love blogging; my amorous feelings arise from the good stuff that regular writing has brought into my life. I’m talking a better understanding of language, word usage sentence structure; and above all, written communication.
I first began blogging as a way to share my ideas and thoughts with the world; okay, more like with the five or six friends who I begged to read what I’d write each week.
And I won’t lie; in the beginning it was tough because I was a bloody awful writer. I’m not kidding: I totally sucked, which means those readers were some loyal friends!
In an effort to improve I sought out mentoring advice from a couple of well-known books, being “The War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield and “Bird By Bird” by Ann Lamott.
Besides giving practical guideline on how to write effectively, these books enforced two of the greatest lessons creative folks need to understand:
1. The struggles and overwhelm we all experience as writers are, and is, completely normal. Real writers expect these challenges as part of the creative process.
2. Real writers don’t sit around each day waiting for divine inspiration, or expect a muse to slip clever ideas into their subconscious for them to later claim as divine epiphanies – they wish! Their methods for inspiration is far less mysterious…
Real writers schedule regular time each day to sit at their computers and hammer away at their keyboards, hoping – praying – that their (hopefully) loyal muse shows up to provide inspiration to feign off the many distractions that appear when working alone.
Pressfield calls them resistance; and these little fuckers are the nemesis of every writer.
Resistance shows up as frequent trips to the fridge because we think we are hungry; or as an excuse for checking our email the fifth time in as many minutes.
Resistance shows up as those annoying phone *pings* that after eliciting Pavlovian responses cause us to drop whatever creative thought we have to attend to.
Resistance is getting sucked into the social media vortex wasting time commenting on a video of a cat riding a vacuum; but only after spending three minutes watching it.
Resistance is all these things, and much more. And I only mention this because anyone who wants to become a real writer needs to be aware who the enemy is. It’s resistance.
Because it’s not like writers don’t already have enough to contend with, what with our insecurity and self-criticism; things I’m starting to see as double-edged swords.
On one hand, after pounding out a few thousand words and believing that 98 % of what they’ve written is crap, writers often sit back and beat the living shit out of themselves.
On the other hand, constant self-criticism causes writers to press on do better, which inevitably they usually do. The trick is to know when enough revisions are enough; a skill or line in the sand that sadly, most writers haven’t learned. God knows I sure haven’t.
Then you know what real writers do? They persist. They get up the again the next morning and – between gulps of black coffee – go through the process all over again.
They keep searching for those passionate, soul bearing and gut wrenching nuggets that succinctly express their innermost thoughts and feelings, and that they can pass on.
And it’s in this hedonistic process where something changes. Somewhere along the line writing morphs from being a task to something they absolutely must do. Writing goes from being a chore, to becoming their crack.
As a fledgling blogger I knew I lacked both the discipline and emotional security needed to handle the time commitment and criticism real writers endure on a daily basis.
I’d thought I’d frivolously dash off a few posts here and there all willy-nilly and call myself a writer, but apparently not. (Thank God) Good writing demands thought and discipline and structure, and why not? It’s called GOOD writing, not shit writing.
Once I got serious and committed the time and effort and routine needed, I slowly began to see results; enough to make me believe that maybe – just maybe – one day I could be a good writer.
Three years later I’ve published over two hundred and fifty posts, and am almost finished writing my first book, of which this is Chapter Thirty Three.
It took time, but I’ve learned to set aside time each day to write that’s (reasonably) uninterrupted resulting in improved vocabulary, word usage and sentence structure.
Resistance is still my foe, and I’ve finally made peace with – Oh wow, is that cat video ever funny! Oh wait; where was I?
I can honestly say that well I still struggle to produce good content, I’m 100% confident that everything I publish is clear, clean and concise; and best of all, that my words bring value to the reader. In fact, today my business card says “Writer”, and that’s awesome.
Blogging has given me so much confidence in my not just my written communication, but has taught me many other skills. It’s made me more focused, productive and forced me to follow deadlines.
It’s done all this for me, and can do the same for anyone who is willing to commit to the process. So with that said, here are ten features regular blogging that can help anyone:
1. Writing a weekly blog demands discipline and commitment; distractions will show up, and need to be dealt with swiftly!
2. Well written blogs earn credibility for the writer and often positions them as experts in their chosen subject or field
3. Blogs allow us to connect with and build an audience of people who share common interests. They can build a tribe of our “peeps”.
4. Blogs can be used to promote hobbies, professions or passion projects; they allow like-minded people to sharing valuable information
5. Blogging allows us to work through our challenges in a public forum, and then use what we’ve learned to help others overcome their own challenges
6. Blog Interviews create the opportunity to meet some very interesting people!
7. Consistent writing builds confidence; the more we research and write about something, the more of an expert we become on it
8. Finding ways to present new topics constantly challenges us as writers, and demands that we grow and develop our style each time we write a post
9. Having a well-written blog is like having a super-charged resume; you can send people to your site, and let see a huge body of work, written and compiled by… YOU. And how great is that? (I can tell you, it’s pretty great!)
10. Blogging makes us all-around better communicators
I’d go as far as saying that writing a blog has transformed my life, and I think it can do the same for you, and you know why? Because of who you become by doing it.
In other words, blogging helps bring out the brilliant linguist that resides inside each and everyone of us, and that’s pretty cool, right?
If you are still on the fence, here’s the best reason of all to start blogging: It’s way cheaper than therapy!
CALL TO ACTION
• Find a free platform like Word Press or Wix and get started
• Get your site built and hosted (There will be an annual cost for this)
• Begin writing in your voice
• For inspiration, read “The War of Art” and “Bird by Bird”