You should start a blog.
- Writing helps you figure out what you think. Even if no one else in the world reads your blog, there’s huge value in writing. Consider this from Nilofer Merchant:
I write to hear an idea unfold. I need to write with space because what I think will come out and what comes out are not the same and it’s as if the story is unraveling itself letter by letter, sentence by sentence.
It’s the same for me. It’s probably the same for you too.
- Writing helps others learn. Blogs were invented to teach. This week Dave Winer called for a return to blogging – saying:
The mission of blogging is to empower all of us to go directly to each other with our expertise. So if you know something as well as anyone else, or you learn something or know something that should be shared, then you should share it on your blog.
- Blogging helps you turn your flow of ideas into a stock of content. Stock is important – it is findable, and searchable. Austin Kleon says:
My favorite way to think about how I operate online is the “stock and flow” metaphor that writer Robin Sloan has borrowed from economics: your “flow” is the steady stream of stuff: the tweets, the posts, etc.; the “stock” is the more permanent stuff that people find over time, like, say, books or products. What I like to do is constantly turn my flow into stock: a tweet will become a blog post which will become a blog tag which becomes a book chapter.
- Blogging is fun! Lots of fun.
- You create opportunities. I’ve met a ton of cool people through my blog. I’ve been able to collaborate with with great people like Ralph Ohr and Nilofer Merchant. Ralph’s blog helped him get a new job. If you share ideas that help people, it opens doors.
- A blog is your own piece of real estate on the internet. John Battelle makes a strong argument that you need to be building permanent content, and that you need to own the real estate that you build on:
As publishers – and I include all marketing brands in this category – the question then becomes: “What terrain do we claim as ours?”
Deciding where to lay down roots as a publisher is an existential choice. Continuing the physical metaphor a bit further, it’s the equivalent of deciding what land to buy (or lease). If your intention is to build something permanent and lasting on that land, it’s generally a good idea to *own* the soil beneath your feet.
- Finally, blogging helps you build your skills. Remember, the big gap is the one between doing nothing and doing something, not the one between lousy work and great work. Why am I willing to consistently put some of the world’s worst drawings on my blog? In part, because they’re still better than what we get from everyone that says “but I can’t draw” and then doesn’t. Because it helps me build my skills. And because, very slowly, I’m getting better. That is how we build a craft. You might feel that you don’t write well, but the best way to get better is to write. Write all the time.
That’s the why. What about the how?
Sacha Chua covers that in her No Excuses Guide to Blogging. You should download it and read it. She looks at these issues:
Blogging is important. It puts a stake in the ground. It helps you learn. And it helps you connect.
I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.
Why not start now?