If you're not a blogger, this is basically a list of reasons you should consider starting one today. Not only is it great fun, but there are so many benefits to you as a person and to your life in general once you get going. And I'm not talking about getting free things in the post.
If you are a blogger, this is a list of reasons that I think you're a total superstar who could give Wonder Woman a run for her money.
1) I appreciate beauty more
To be clear, I'm not talking about 'beauty' here in the way that glossy magazines do. I don't mean genetically 'perfect' people, or a mastery of makeup application - although I certainly do think that's incredible and mass respect to you if you're a whizz at all things makeup related. I wish I was.
No, I'm talking about appreciating the beauty in those everyday things we take for granted. Blogging, along with a whole lotta time spent scrolling through Instagram, has encouraged me to see beauty in places I might otherwise have missed it. Okay, maybe it's borne from a desire to have the perfect Insta grid and raise my blog photo game, but I feel like I take more time to open my eyes and look at what's around me now than I ever used to.
2) I'm better organised
If you blog you'll know what I mean, especially if you don't happen to be one of the magic few who manage to make it your full-time job. Blogging requires so much planning and work behind the scenes. Sometimes I wish it was as easy as just writing something and chucking it online, but the truth is that planning posts, taking notes, proof-reading and formatting all take time. And that's not to mention the effort that goes into taking and editing photos, promoting on social media and pimping your blog out so it looks beautiful.
Blogging forces you to chuck a few (or a whole load) more balls in the air and try to juggle them around along with everything else that's going on in your life. And, trust me, you're a better person for learning how to do that.
3) I'm more confident to be me
I finally took the plunge and started my blog this year after years of wanting to, but never feeling like I could. And if I'm 100% honest, the biggest thing holding me back was the worry that I wouldn't be good enough, so I wouldn't be able to create something that people would relate to and that I could be proud of.
In the end, I decided to just plough in and give it my best shot. Because that's all anyone can ask of you. Now I'm a few months in, I've realised that, actually, being me is not only good enough, it's all I should ever aim for.
After a bit of a learning curve where I tried to be what I thought other people wanted me to be, I'm finally comfortable writing in my own voice. And even more than that, I'm truly okay with the fact that not everybody's gonna like it.
4) I've learned to say what I think, but also when to say nothing
Honesty and authenticity are, to me, the number one thing I look for in a blog. I like to feel like I'm getting to know the real person behind the keyboard and that they're sharing a bit of themselves with me, and the best way of doing that is to say what you really think. You can spot it a mile off if somebody is writing what they think everybody else wants to read. It just doesn't ring true.
However, I think it's equally important to know where to draw the line and to know when you're actually better off not addressing certain things. Some topics are so polarising and personal that, if you try to impose your opinions upon other people, you're just inviting criticism and hateful comments. And in my opinion, it's really not worth the hassle.
It's also worth remembering that this works both ways. If you read something that pushes the wrong buttons, whether on somebody's blog or in a Tweet, you should weigh up whether it's actually worth tackling them on it before throwing something back. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, and of course that means you're entitled to disagree with them. But that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea to respond, because if somebody's prepared to make a divisive public statement the chances are that they're not going to think twice about getting into a big public fight about it. And let's face it, nobody comes out of that looking good.
If you're really offended by something on Twitter and want to do something about it, then consider unfollowing, blocking or reporting (obviously depending on how bad it is). If you read something horrible on a blog, just don't visit that blog again. I've learned from watching other people engage that it rarely ends well and that, most of the time, it's honestly easier to simply let it go.
5) I read other blogs more, for enjoyment and inspiration
One of my favourite things about blogging is getting to be part of a whole online community, especially on Twitter. Because of that, I'm constantly finding great new blogs and posts to read, and they're an incredible source of inspiration for me for my own blog and the goals I set for myself. The 'real life' me benefits from this too, as I've learned so much about other people's lives and found a whole truckload of new things that interest me.
6) I actually tell people when I enjoy something
I now know the real value of simply letting someone know that you enjoyed reading or looking at something they've created. Before I started blogging, I never wrote a single comment on a post, and that was largely because I had no idea how happy it would make the person who received it.
If you've poured a bit of your heart and soul into content, it's the loveliest thing to then receive thoughtful comments from people who've taken time out of their life simply to let you know that they think something you've created is great. So now, if I like something you've done, I will shout about it from the rooftops. I'll write you a comment I've really thought about, share it on Twitter, like it on Bloglovin', follow you, bookmark you and try to pin something to Pinterest.
If you've put so much hard work into entertaining me, I think you deserve a little of my time sharing the love in return.
7) I'm learning a whole new set of skills
Blogging is a really unique form of media that requires an incredibly varied skill set. To be good at it, you're probably going to need at least a basic working knowledge of journalistic writing, photography, PR and maybe even a little coding.
It takes a lot of time to get to grips with these skills, but when you've mastered them you get to keep them forever. And they're super useful skills to have in the 21st Century.
8) My CV will look so much better
Following on from the last point, few things look better on a CV than having skills and interests in addition to the job requirements. Think about it - if you've got two identically qualified candidates in front of you, you're always going to choose the one who can bring something else to the table.
Having skills not directly related to your career makes you a more desirable employee as you come across as an interesting, well-rounded person, and therefore someone who's probably much more fun to talk to around the water-cooler or the office Christmas party. There's also the chance that you could actually utilise your knowledge and skills at work in the future, and therefore help to make the company even better. Win-win.
9) I constantly try to better myself
Just because I'm okay with being myself in my writing doesn't mean that I've stopped striving to improve. To me, each and every new post is an opportunity to further develop what I've done before. This doesn't mean that I'm not proud of the content I've created in the past, but I love the never-ending challenge of trying to be a better writer or taking better pictures because I know that there's absolutely always room for improvement. The moment you think you're doing enough is probably the moment you've stopped truly caring about what you're creating.
10) I push myself to get out of my comfort zone
If you've been here before, you'll probably know that I'm a big fan of a list post. They're my favourite ones to write, and they're the ones that I feel most comfortable with as I think it's probably what I've started off being best at. And that's great! I could spend the rest of my blogging life just writing list posts and getting nice comments on them. Boom, job done.
I realise that this it's a bit ironic that I'm writing this in yet another list post, but I'd rather branch out and try turning my hand to new things. For me, blogging is an opportunity to challenge myself, and creating content that's out of my comfort zone is a great way to do that.
Whilst the most successful blogs tend to focus on very specific content, I know that I would get bored if I worked like that. The beauty of not trying to be a full-time blogger is that I'm not trying to be financially dependent on it, and so I'm afforded a greater creative freedom to try new things. And if they don't work out so well, so what? It doesn't really matter at all.
11) I'm actually okay with not being perfect
When I first started blogging I put a lot of pressure on myself to make things perfect. Any mistakes, or paragraphs where I rambled on too much, were an embarrassment I wanted to either correct or delete immediately to remove any evidence of their existence.
Yeah, you can see I didn't keep that up.
The biggest problem with trying to make everything perfect is that you're always looking backwards - to the last post you wrote, the last set of photos you took or the last tweet you sent. Don't get me wrong, I still try to make sure my grammar and spelling are okay, and I will pop back in and correct a little error I notice from time to time, but I don't lose sleep over the fact that some (or maybe a lot) of my posts have mistakes in them.
This isn't a dissertation or a job application. It's me on a page, and Lord knows I ain't perfect, so why should I expect my blog to be? Of course I still aim for perfection, or as close as I can get, every time I create new content. But by the time you read it, I've already moved on. I'm thinking about what I'm going to do next time, what I'm going to do better. I'm looking forwards, not worrying about what's already gone.
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