So, blogging: funny old business, isn’t it?

Every week I sit here and I share these little bits of blogging advice with you, and while I know there are plenty of you who find those tips helpful, I’m sure there are plenty more who read them (or, you know, DON’T read them: because why would you, if you don’t have a blog?), and just think, “Yeah, no thanks: why go to all that trouble? Why blog?”

Well, I’ve already told you why I blog, but there are all kinds of different reasons to start a blog, and here’s the thing:

None of them are “wrong“.

Well, not unless your reason for blogging is “to con little old ladies out of their life savings,” obviously. I’ve never actually heard anyone give that as a reason, of course, but if it’s yours, dude, that is SO WRONG, seriously. Most OTHER reasons, though, are perfectly acceptable to me, and I get REALLY tired of hearing people bang on about how, “If you’re starting a blog just for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reason!”, and all of that nonsense. I mean, you wouldn’t tell your waitress you’re not going to tip her, because earning a living is “the wrong reason” to wait tables, and she should be doing it just for the love of it, would you? So why is blogging different? Why is it supposed to be this pure, noble pursuit, that people get into for love, and only grudgingly accept money for, if people absolutely INSIST on paying them? Whoops, sorry: we’re still only on the introduction and I’m already off on a tangent!

There are tons of different reasons to blog, is what I’m saying. Here are just a few of them…

12 reasons to start a blog

It’s the creative outlet you’ve always wanted

I mean, if you’ve never actually wanted a creative outlet of any kind, then I guess this doesn’t really apply to you, so feel free to move onto the next point. If you have ever had a burning desire to create… something… however, a blog can be the perfect place to start. It doesn’t even have to be words that you want to create: it could be photos, code, an awesome marketing campaign… blogging requires so many different skills that that you never really know where it’s going to take you. I, for instance, got into it through the love of writing, but I actually really enjoy a lot of the other aspects of a running a blog, too: I love messing around with themes, creating graphics, trying different things to make the site grow. It’s never boring, let’s put it that way: and even if you’ve never considered yourself to be a particularly creative person, the satisfaction of building something from nothing, and then watching it grow, is pretty hard to beat.

It allows you to find your tribe

Despite everything I’ve just said above, the love of writing wasn’t my main reason for starting a blog. No, my main reason was the sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t quite the same as most of the people around me, and the hope that blogging would allow me to find out people who were more like me. And it did.

You’re not alone. There are people just like you, somewhere out there – and starting a blog will help you find them.

(There are also people who really AREN’T like you, and blogging will help you find THEM, too, unfortunately. Oh well, you can’t have it all, can you?)

It can become a career

I started this blog to connect with like-minded souls and indulge my great love of writing about… well, myself, really. I started ShoeperWoman.com, on the other hand, to make money doing something I actually enjoyed. I make absolutely no apology for that, and no one will ever convince me it was the “wrong” reason to start a blog, because we all have to earn a living, right? And why shouldn’t we do it through blogging? Who says a job has to be done in an office, and has to involve working for someone else? Not me: and if you want to make a career out of blogging, then I’m guessing not you, either…

It can open all kinds of doors 

Even if you don’t want to make money through blogging itself, running a blog can be a good way to get into other kinds of work, like freelancing, social media marketing, web development, the list goes on. I know a lot of people think blogging doesn’t teach you any transferable skills, but I can only guess the people who think that have never tried to grow a blog from the ground up, huh? I’ve learned SO much from running my various blogs, and I’ve had all kinds of opportunities as a result of them, too: from travel, to networking, to actual offers of employment. Other bloggers, meanwhile, have gone on to write books, start product lines, or become major players in their respective industries. That could be you. Well, it has to be SOMEONE, doesn’t it?

succulent and planner

It teaches you discipline 

That sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? It’s like the kind of thing someone with one eye and a limp would say to an unfortunate orphan in a Charles Dickens novel: “What you need is some discipline, young man! Now go and stand on that chair in the corner for seventeen hours, and think about what you’ve done!” Yeah, so I don’t mean it quite like THAT, obviously. (Although…) Running a blog, though, like any long-term project or business venture, does require disciple – more than you probably imagine if all you ever see is the end product of that discipline, in the form of shiny blog posts, full of glossy photos and pretty, swirly fonts. It’s not the kind of discipline that requires you to get up at 5am every morning and have a freezing cold shower, thankfully, but you DO have to learn how to manage your time, be as productive as possible, and, above all, to keep on doing that indefinitely. Which is a useful skill to have.

It makes you see things differently 

I mean this both in the literal sense, in that you’ll all of a sudden start looking at ordinary objects and seeing them as potential Instagram photos, but also in the more figurative sense, in that you’ll start to look for the stories in everyday life: and once you start looking for them, you’ll start to see them everywhere. This is a good thing, trust me.

It will force you to write

Again, if you don’t actually WANT to write, then the thought of being FORCED to do it probably makes you feel a bit like how  I’D feel if someone forced me to do algebra, or watch back-to-back action movies or something. If you DO want to write, though – and to get better at writing – blogging will help you do that, by forcing you to adopt some kind of regular writing schedule, and put your work out there into the world, for people to read. Before I had a blog, I used to write constantly… but I refused to let anyone ever read the things I wrote: it was absolutely unthinkable to me. Now I write every day, and I can’t imagine not doing it. I probably shouldn’t be claiming that it’s made me a better writer, given that my mum had to email me last week to point out a truly horrendous typo in one of my posts, but it’s certainly made me a more prolific writer, that’s for sure.

It gives you a record of your life

My blog has been running for almost 10 years now, which means I have an entire decade of my life recorded right here on the internet. Which is actually a bit weird, now I come to think of it. Strangeness aside, I actually think it’s pretty cool to be able to look back and see what I was doing this time last year, or the year before, or the year before that. I know I’d also be able to do that if I’d just kept a private diary, rather than a blog, but the format of a blog somehow makes it easier to look back on it, and it also encourages you record things in a way you probably wouldn’t if you were writing in a journal. Of course, this blog is a personal one: my other sites provide less of a snapshot of my life at the time, but even posts that aren’t remotely personal can trigger quite powerful memories for me of what I was doing/thinking/feeling at the time, and because I’ve always had a passion for documenting my life, that’s something that means quite a lot to me.

clichéd blogger photo

There are some amazing perks

Again, people will tell you that “if you’re starting a blog to get free things, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons!” Honestly, I think that if you want to get into blogging purely in the hope of getting a free lipstick or three, go for it: I mean, it’s your life, right? I don’t think this is a wrong reason to blog (There are no “wrong” reasons, remember?), but it is a pretty strange one, because as soon as you start doing it, you’ll realise that the lipstick isn’t actually “free” when you have to spend several hours creating a blog post about it, and it would actually be a whole lot easier to just buy it yourself if you want it.

With that said, I’m not going to pretend there aren’t some pretty cool perks involved if you’re willing to work hard enough: I’ve been able to wear clothes I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford, to try products I couldn’t otherwise have justified, and to work with brands I’d hero-worshipped for years. Now, please don’t get me wrong: none of this stuff would be worth it on its own, and I’m not saying I’d have been willing to spend years working my ass off just for the freebies (I also object to people referring to them as “freebies”: they’re really not…), but I’m also not going to lie to you and say they don’t make life a little more fun, sometimes. Because they do.

Its’ a good excuse to acquire new things for your house

Last week my mother-in-law was continuing with the clear-out she’s been embarking on this year, and when I saw a bunch of succulents sitting in the “to go” pile, I was all, “HELL, NO! I mean, do you not want to use those on your Instagram or something?” But, of course, my mother-in-law doesn’t HAVE an Instagram account, so I volunteered to take them for mine, instead. I’m pretty much the biggest blogging cliché that ever bought a rose gold candle holder, just because it would look nice in photos, but honestly? I don’t even care…

And you have a great excuse to go places

I mean, I didn’t actually WANT to go to that restaurant, but if I HAVE to go for the sake of the blog, then I GUESS I could force myself…

OK, so those last few were kinda tongue-in-cheek. Here’s a biggie, though…

Sometimes you get email…

… or comments, or tweets, or Facebook messages. They’re from people who’ve read your blog, and have somehow connected with it, been inspired with it, or just plain enjoyed it. And that’s amazing, truly. The fact that complete strangers will sometimes take time out of their day to write a comment or send me a message means more to me than I can say say, so if you’ve ever done that, then YOU are the reason I blog, basically. Yes, you personally. I hope I’m not making this awkward for you?

Now go and start a blog, already!

23 Comments
  1. Much like the idea of being an amazing diarist, like Pepys, or Anne Franks or (sure you get the idea), I have always wanted to write a blog, and for a little while I did… I wrote some rambling posts about things that were going on in my life at the time. I think they were read by about 10 people! But I stopped because I realised two things
    1) I don’t have anything in my life that is interesting enough to share with the web-iverse
    2) no discipline!! None!
    3) (yes I know I said 2, but what did the Romans ever do for us….) i do “stuff” such as zentangles and crochet but there are already a gazillion blogs for both so I can’t imagine anyone being interested in my thoughts on either subject
    4) And finally (honest) pure laziness! (Or should I just refer back to 2 as I think they go hand in hand!
    But maybe, just maybe, one day, I will find the thing that inspires me to write about it every day and share with the world… I live in hope!

  2. I dream about one day making a income from my blog, but I know that I have a long way to go before I can make that a reality.
    But blogging have already helped me to find people that are more like me. I live in a subburb where no one looks like me, I mean no one. And I deal with bad anxiety so it’s not like I can just take the subway into the city to see I’m not alone. But with blogging, and even more Twitter, I can find those people from my home and that is amazing. And to get compliments on my look instead of just having old folks staring at me is nice for a change too.

    And succulents are for real the best photo props there is. Can’t wait until it’s Mars so I can replant the ones I have and also but me somenew ones. It will really add some new life into my blog photos.

    xoxo

  3. I was nodding along to everything you said, Amber. I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years (as a hobby, not a career), and I still regularly tell everyone who will listen how amazing and life-enriching blogging is. I even go as far as referring to the timeline of my life as “BB'” (before blog) and “AB” (after blog) – ha, no, not really, but I might as well.
    The biggest revelation was the discovery of not being alone – like you, I always felt a bit different from the people around me. Now that I know that I have a tribe out there, I don’t mind any more – in fact, I finally enjoy it!

  4. See, I’ve always had the opinion that the concept of “If you’re starting a blog just for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reason!” is an important one, because blogging can be SO MUCH WORK. And if it’s *just* for the money, the blogger probably isn’t going to be very successful because they’ll get burned out. I feel that you have to enjoy the process and the writing and the blogging itself in order to be successful—it’s crucial in order to be able to make money with blogging!

    But I totally agree that there is NOTHING wrong with making money from blogging (and bloggers should be charging so much more for ad space and sponsored posts). It’s definitely a good thing if bloggers make money! But when making money is the first priority, I can’t help but wonder if that blog is doomed to fail. In my experience of working for non-profits, in public relations, and running my own freelancing business, it has been becoming a professional blogger that has been the most time-consuming (and the most awesome, of course :)).

    <3 all the blogging.

    1. Well, I can only hope my blogs aren’t doomed to failure, but I guess time will tell!

      I think one of the things that interests me is that people don’t seem to apply this “money is the wrong reason” idea to other jobs – I mean, I used to work in PR, and I absolutely hated it, but I had to keep doing it to pay the bills. No one ever told me that I should be writing press releases “for the love of it”, or that the most important thing was that I enjoyed it, and I don’t hear them say it to other people, either. In fact, the majority of people I know who have traditional jobs do them primarily for the money, and if they enjoy the work, that’s an added bonus. Many don’t enjoy the work, but continue to do it anyway because they have to keep a roof over their heads – to me, that’s as good a reason as any other, really!

  5. I have wondered about starting a blog but to be honest I don’t see who would be sad enough to want to read it. I mean a trainee teacher might be interesting but it would be way out of order to talk about school in anything but a general way..Which leaves a life less interesting…On the other hand I am eternally grateful to those clever and inventive people who have allowed be to join their tribe, welcoming me in with wit and a joi de vivre that brings a smile on the dullest days. So thank you Andrea for being the (slightly distant) next door neighbour..

    1. I think anyone could say that about themselves, though, really: I mean, I live in a small village and work from home, so I often wonder who on earth is going to be interested in what I have to say. Somehow people are, though: I think people are mostly just interested in other people, so you don’t necessarily have to have a wildly-exciting life in order to have a blog – sometimes it’s the quite ordinary stuff that can be the most interesting!

  6. I started my blog seven years ago, and it enriched my life in ways I could have never imagined. The funny thing is that I probably would have never started a blog had it not been for my husband’s assignment in one of his graduate classes which required him to start a blog. So I decided to start one, too…

    Also, I don’t comment often, but I read every day. Your posts are always a joy to read!

  7. i always enjoy your posts about blogging, but that is probably because I have a blog 😉 i started mine just to keep in contact with a friend, and it’s kind of evolved a bit from there… barely, ha.

  8. I think the discipline part is very important. I started my blog in september, but then I never managed to make myself be consistent with it. I don’t know why, I have always loved writing, even though I haven’t done it in a long time, but for some reasons I find it hard to set a schedule and stick to it. Probably it is because being home I always get distracted and start doing other things. Any suggestions on how to plan a schedule and stick to it?

  9. This may just be the kick I needed to get my blog up and running again. I started it in college for a class and loved the process (code, graphics, writing about things I’m interested in!), but after I didn’t have a grade hanging on whether I posted or not, I let it fall by the wayside. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about starting a personal style blog because I love cloths/style and I would love to be able to connect better with a lot of the blogs I follow. Maybe this is the time to finally do it!

  10. Looks like it takes a lot of work to do it. Glad you can make it. Glad you are here for us to provide inspiration and good thoughts. I am considering to start a new blog for myself. Thinking about it like a journal on line. Gonna pin your post on my desk. Thank you!

  11. Amber,

    You’re an inspiration to me.
    I’m french from Quebec, Canada and I hope my english is ok.

    Just wanted you to know that reading your “reasons to start a blog” helped me a lot. I always thought that I had nothing interesting to say. However, I’ve had two blogs but was not consistent and disciplined enough to write every day.

    By reading you, I realized that I much preferred direct interaction with readers on a forum or on Facebook. Less often on Twitter. What is that idea of writing your opinion in 140 characters!!!!

    Anyway, I think I have new tools to help me be more focused and write more on my blog. (My title is: Wild at Heart!).

    I also have a very peculiar life story. Not one that everybody has had and I sometimes play with the idea of writing on my life experience but I always leave it dormant as I thought I should write about it chronologically but… I guess I can do it in another manner like flashbacks or else.

    So thanks again, I’ll be thinking about how I can write daily and maybe will have other ideas in doing so.

    Have a great day.

    1. Aww, thank you, that’s so nice to hear! One thing I would say to you is that you don’t necessarily have to blog every day – I think a lot of people seem to have that as their aim, but as long as you’re reasonably consistent with whatever schedule you go for, that’s really all you have to worry about 🙂

  12. I enjoy your blog because it’s very entertaining. You should continue if only for that reason, so far as I am concerned. 🙂

  13. Hi Amber! I really loved this post (like all the others…), and I want to feature it as part of an ongoing ‘Friday Favorites’ I have on my blog. I wanted to ask for permission to share the image from this post along with the link if that’s okay with you? I can send you a link with previous posts in the series if you want to see how it’s going to look.
    Thank you for making this amazing blog!

    x

  14. Hi Amber,
    I´ve been a regular reader of your blog for a few months and with your blogging posts you are a great “fuel” for me. I have been writing my own blog for 3,5 years – I started just for recording my own thoughts or when something interesting (read: weird) happened, I wanted to share it with…to be honest, at the beginning only with myself or only with couple of my relatives and close friends. In November 2015 we moved our family to Switzerland and I slightly changed my focus: now I´m trying to write about living here (what is different in comparison with Czech Republic, where I am originally from), interesting places to see etc. I know I still dont have as much readers as I want to have, but nevermind – I hope in the future my blog will be at least a logbook of our stay here 🙂
    So thanks again for sharing your ideas, tips and of course outfits (I love them, in spite of the fact I am short haired blonde :D)
    Have a nice day!

  15. Well, I’m a year late ahah, but you just posted this on facebook and thank you for doing that, this was quite inspiring! Hopefully now I can concentrate on studying and maybe when I’m less busy I can try and do some writing of my own 🙂
    Hope you’re feeling better with everything that’s been happening!
    Love,
    Raquel

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