I talk about blogging for an audience frequently. But since I’m adding a personal growth section to this blog for my readers, I really want to talk about the benefits of writing a blog for yourself too.
Many people struggle with starting or growing their blogs because frequently they feel like it’s something that they have to write for others. Sure, when you’re writing for your audience, you need to have their needs in mind. But when you’re writing and not getting the traffic you deserve, you begin to wonder if all this is worth it. Why am I putting in all this work if I’m not paid for it? Why should I write every day if no one ever reads it?
That’s usually the natural way people think about it. I see it so much in Facebook groups that made me abandon these groups altogether because it was taking a toll on my own motivation as well.
And at some points in blogging, I think like that too. It just depends on what my goals are at the time.
Here’s the deal.
What if I told you if even if no one is reading (btw, maybe they are reading, but they’re just not people who comment), but blogging will contribute so much to your personal growth?
Yes, ma’am. It’s true.
Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting so much in relation to just list building and online marketing in general. A few weeks ago, I finally came to the revelation that all this A/B testing and experimenting is leaving a void in me. And this is also the reason why I’m starting a personal growth section on this blog. If you think about it, it doesn’t matter what niche you are in, you’ll grow so much. When you’re creating content, you’re teaching others but also testing yourself on how well you know a subject to break it down.
So if you’re struggling to write a blog for others, I also want to point out the benefits YOU gain from writing. You’re still writing for others, but there’s more to it for yourself than you would think.
So here are seven personal “blogging with benefits.”
#1 You become a better writer.
This is an often said cliche. The more you do it, the better you get it at. But the trick I learned here is that you have to write consistently. Once a day. Even if you only write 500 words, you want to do it every day or every other day. Once you get a feel for getting better at it, you won’t need to do it as frequently.
Then, you can space it out more, but not too much where you can’t pick it up again. I’ve certainly started blogs where my passion for the topic fizzled out over time. And because I didn’t write anymore, it also took me way longer to pick it up writing again later.
I personally don’t write for this blog every day, but I’ve picked up morning pages (even though it’s more like bedtime pages for me).
#2 You become a learner when you’re a creator.
You’re not only consuming passively.
I know some people who just started their blogs or YouTube channel so that they can learn and refine their expertise on that topic. They didn’t start it to build an audience, but they knew that if they talked about their signature topic on their blog, they will only get better at it. And surprisingly, that’s also when you start to build an audience by accident.
Ask yourself this… who do you think will learn faster?
Ada who learns something and then goes back to reflect on it? Or Bob who only consumes content online but never revisits it?
When you write about what you learn, you’re being intentional about learning it. Then you’ll learn it quicker.
#3 You become more accountable when you know there’s an audience reading.
You see… people are constantly talking about adding “value” to their audience. To a point, I’m quite sick of the word itself — not that I disagree with the idea.
I don’t know about you, but the times when people actually leave comments on the blog, replies to my tweets, and emails are when I’m most motivated to create more content. Now I don’t always stay on a schedule either and there will be weeks where I just don’t publish anything.
But when you know someone is watching, reading, and actually engages with what you write about, that brings your motivation to another level. It’s like when you have a manager, you know you have to turn in the project on time.
#4 You can experience serendipity.
The ability for reach is organic and comes with so many surprises!
I think it’s important to write for a target and specific group of audience. But at the same time, you never know every person who is reading your blog. She can be someone who knows nothing about your topic, she can be your next best friend or your next client. The beauty of writing a blog or sending out weekly newsletters is that you continue to put out so much free content and value that people begin to actually know you for the topic you talk about. You show that you can go in the depth and the trenches of a topic.
It’s awesome when people actually reach out to you and ask if you’re available for hire just by reading your content. I’ve experienced a few serendipitous moments — and those are seriously the most memorable.
The other serendipitous moment I had while blogging was meeting a friend who became one of my closest friends. Frankly speaking, we met on Twitter, but I did have a blog too. That was about 8 years ago and we have been friends since. I don’t know about you, but most of my friendships in real life don’t last that long considering people make friends due to proximity rather than connection.
#5 You become more honest with yourself.
I don’t use this blog to reflect or write my stream of consciousness thoughts per say, but the writing itself definitely has this ability. Most people just go through about their day (or God forbid, their life), without ever looking back on what they did. Writing has this ability where you spill out what you’ve learned, know, and feel.
I’m an introvert so naturally, I’m a reflective person whether I write a blog or not. I can articulate my thoughts better if I wrote it out.
As a result of wearing myself out over the last few months and losing alignment with myself, I’ve picked up “stream of consciousness” writing. It’s essentially journaling your thoughts. When I first heard about this type of writing, I completely dismissed it as, “I’m too old for this.” I’ve had a couple journals as a kid, but I never wrote consistently.
However, in stream of consciousness writing, all it is is writing from what you feel, know and thinking about at the moment. So lately, when I started doing this, it’s been quite therapeutic. Also, I realize how dishonest I am to myself sometimes.
#6 You can learn by teaching your topic.
One of the top skills to get better at in 2017 is to learn to learn faster. I know that sounds meta, but if you want to learn something, the best way is to try to teach it.
Notice I said “try to teach it” and not “study to get your certification to be a teacher.”
I love this saying: If you can’t teach a five-year-old the topic, you don’t know it well enough. The rule here is that if you can’t tell your niece about it and make her go “Aha!”, you don’t know the topic enough.
Now I wish I had a niece I can play this game with. Ha.
I constantly challenge myself to do this. When you first start blogging, you might not be able to break down difficult topics. I know I didn’t for a few reasons:
- I don’t reflect as well back then
- I always assumed that people understand things the same way I did so even if I wrote big paragraphs and just brushed over it, they would get it too
#7 You take charge of your own growth.
There is no better story to look back in than watching your own growth. I mean, you can write a blog and never publish the content or password protect it. You can do it just for your own growth.
Now that I look back at my own blogging trajectory, the first website that I’ve ever created, I did it to grow my web design skills. That was at least 10 years ago when I was bored and found out how much I can learn from online communities that I couldn’t learn from friends, parents, or teachers. I’ve had:
- Coded a website from scratch
- Played with Photoshop and I would change the layout for my website every 2 months
- Wrote and published content even though I don’t expect people to read it
Now I didn’t learn those skills intentionally back then. Learning HTML/CSS, Photoshop and writing weren’t something I planned on doing. I certainly didn’t take a class to learn it; all of this is what I’ll call accidental learning.
Because work got in the way for the last few years, I’ve pretty much lost all my skills in regards to HTML/CSS and Photoshop. I use writing in my work, reports, and cold emailing every day though.
The skills that I want to work on growing these days are a little different. I’m also a little more intentional about growing them and will take courses if I find someone I connect with and whom I deem is smart and funny.
- Sales (I know sales tend to have a negative connection for some people, but what it boils down to me is connection and finding win-win outcomes for two people)
- Learning languages (I’ve learned how to speak three different dialects of Chinese by accident. How bizarre is that?)
- Teaching (At every point in my career, teaching is a skill that continued to pop up even though I never had the title of a “teacher”)
When you’re writing a blog, a few skills that you are bound to pick up are:
- Web design
- Connecting with people
- How to write an email that converts
- And much much more (It can be as broad and narrow as you wish)
What are the personal benefits you have encountered while writing a blog?