I was checking out the list of referrers to this blog and one of the top referrers was another blog called Red Sprouts that had linked to my post on Coder’s Block. One of the other links on that page was to another blog where the blogger had posted on why he wouldn’t be shutting down his blog. That got me thinking about why ordinary people like you and me, especially student should write blogs. Here are some of the reasons I could come up with:
1. Everyone has a story to tell
No matter how uneventful you might think your life is, there are bound to be some things that are interesting. In fact, you probably won’t even find out what the interesting things are until you sit down and start to actually write about them. Most of us spend our lives just going with the flow without really thinking about what is interesting and what we really want to do. Telling your story is a great way to learn more about yourself. Athletes and musicians don’t get good at what they do just by practicing blindly, they get extensive feedback and then apply that feedback into their training routines. Similarly blogging will make you look at your life and realize what’s good and what’s bad. With that information at hand, you can start working to improving your life story.
2. Organize your thought and ideas
Teaching someone is a great way to test and improve your own knowledge and familiarity with the topic. I think that blogging serves a similar purpose. Much of my blog posts consist of technology related topics and I’ve found that I have to do a decent amount work to make sure that what I write is technically correct and makes sense to someone who doesn’t have an intimate knowledge of the topic. Looking for links and references is especially useful and I’ve made quite a few useful discoveries along the way.
3. You do a lot of writing anyway
Chances are that you’re already writing a lot already. Most of the time it might be mundane things like emails, memos or reports to your superiors. Buried under all that text there’s probably a lot of information that might be useful to someone out there. If you have enough time to sit and down and putting something in written, you have enough time to take it and put it in a blog post. Especially if you’re a college student, you do many pages of writing a semester. And the good thing is, all your writing is already edited for an audience so it requires even less effort to put it out on the net. In fact, I think it’s time college build blogging and online publishing into part of everyday course work.
4. You won’t know until you try
A lot of people I’ve talked to about bloging say that they don’t blog because they aren’t good writers or that they don’t have interesting or useful things to say. I find it hard to believe these people. How do they know that they can’t write a blog if they’ve tried writing one? Like most other things in life you won’t know how good a blogger you are until you actually try it out. Luckily for you, the barrier to entry is extremely low. Free is the average price you pay for having a blog on the net today, which means there’s one less reason for you not to write a blog. Perhaps your blog won’t land you in a book deal or even be very popular, but that’s ok. In fact that is another reason why you should blog.
5. No one will read your blog
Sounds irrational doesn’t it? Why write a blog if no one is going to read it? Well if this was any other medium like books or magazine, I would agree that no readers is a bad thing. But for blogs, I don’t think that’s the case at all. Blogs are the most personal mass communication medium ever designed. Unless you’re an official blog for a company your blogging more for yourself than you are for anyone else. And it’s a great thing that no one else reads what you write. College papers come with the burden of the teacher having to read it and decide your grade based upon it. A lot of people who tell you that they hate writing actually hate people tell them about their writing rather than the act itself. Blogging frees you from having to write to please a professor (or and editor or publisher or some other superior as the case may be). Your blog is your space. You pour out your heart and soul and experiment with your writing in all sorts of interesting, amazing ways. Think about the best class you ever took and just imagine how much better it would be if you could take that class and do everything you did without having to worry about your grade. And guess what, if you do write something that is really good and a lot people enjoy it, the popularity will come without much work on your part.
Of course, this is a problem if you’re in it for the big time. But then again, if you want a reason to blog to make money or become famous, this is not the right ‘why’ post to be reading.
6. You might just become rich/famous/controversial
I guess I need to mention this as a converse of the above. Sure there are extremely popular bloggers out there and a lot of them make a lot of money at it. But I can’t tell you how to get there. Starting a blog for the purpose of making an income from it is a good idea, but it’s a lot harder than if you’re just doing it for the reasons outlined above. It’s going to take work and time and you probably shouldn’t quit your day job while you’re building it up. However, if this is something that you are committed to doing, then there are many sources of inspiration and a lot of great information out there about how to go about it. Good luck, and let me know when you make it.
If you have an interesting reason for writing a blog, or if this post inspires you to write your own, let me know about and I’ll give you a llnk and read your blog (or not if you don’t want me to).