“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” —William Wordsworth
Over the course of my life, I’ve embraced a number of different hobbies: baseball cards, video games, tennis, art, just to name a few. But none of them have changed my life or brought me as much satisfaction as the act of blogging. In almost too many ways to count, it has truly changed me and the way I live my life.
In fact, so much so, that it has become a hobby I regularly recommend to my friends and encourage them to embrace. I started blogging as a personal tool to journal the changes that we were making as we began minimizing our possessions. But somewhere along the line, it became less about me writing the story and more about the story changing me. And while there are many articles written about why you should blog to grow your business or become an expert or make a whole bunch of money—the best recommendations are still found in the personal realization that blogging changes you, the writer.
Consider these 15 thoughts on how blogging will impact your life:
1. You’ll become a better writer. At its core, writing is communication. It is about recording thoughts on paper and compelling others to agree with them. To that end, writing (just like every other form of communication that has ever existed) improves with practice. Blogging will not force you to become a better writer, it’ll just happen as you do it. And becoming a better writer holds important benefits for the rest of your life—whether you are creating a book, a presentation, a résumé, or an anniversary card for your spouse.
2. You’ll become a better thinker. Because the process of writing includes recording thoughts on paper, the blogging process encourages you to stop and think deeper. You will delve deeper into the matters of your life and the worldview that shapes them. Unfortunately, at this point, many will choose not to blog (or write at all) based on the faulty reasoning that they “have nothing to say.” But to that line of thinking I always respond the same way, maybe you just haven’t discovered yet what you have to say.
3. You’ll live a more intentional life. Once you start writing about your life and the thoughts that shape it, you’ll begin thinking more intentionally about who you are, who you are becoming, and whether you like what you see or not. And that just may be reason enough to get started.
4. You’ll develop an eye for meaningful things. By necessity, blogging requires a filter. It’s simply not possible to write about every event, every thought, and every happening in your life. Instead, blogging is a never-ending process of choosing to articulate the most meaningful events and the most important thoughts. This process of choice helps you develop an eye for meaningful things. And remember that sometimes the most meaningful things appear in the most mundane… but you’ll see what I mean once you get started.
5. It’ll lead to healthier life habits. Blogging requires time, devotion, commitment, and discipline. And just to be clear, those are all good things to embrace – they will help you get the most out of your days and life. Since beginning to blog, I have become an early riser, a runner, and can now properly identify my favorite drink at Starbuck’s (Caramel Macchiato). And even if those three habits don’t personally appeal to you, blogging will provide opportunity for new life habits to emerge in yours.
6. You’ll meet new people. Whether it be through comments, e-mails, or social media, you may be surprised at how quickly you meet people on-line. And by meet people, I mean legitimately form relationships that seek to serve one another. The blogging community is friendly, encouraging, and genuinely cheering for you to succeed—the only thing missing is you.
7. You’ll make some money. You don’t need to make money to enjoy blogging. In fact, sometimes making money from your blog can actually start to distract you from the joy that you found in the first place. That being said, whether you make $20/year or $20,000/year, it’s still pretty nice to have a hobby that actually pays you back.
8. You’ll inspire others. Blogging not only changes your life, it also changes the life of the reader. And because blogs are free for the audience and open to the public, on many levels, it is an act of giving. It is a selfless act of service to invest your time, energy, and worldview into a piece of writing and then offer it free to anybody who wants to read it. Others will find inspiration in your writing… and that’s a wonderful feeling.
9. You’ll become more well-rounded in your mindset. After all, blogging is an exercise in give-and-take. One of the greatest differences between blogging and traditional publishing is the opportunity for readers to offer input. As the blog’s writer, you introduce a topic that you feel is significant and meaningful. You take time to lay out a subject in the minds of your readers and offer your thoughts on the topic. Then, the readers get to respond. And often times, their responses in the comment section challenge us to take a new, fresh look at the very topic we thought was so important in the first place.
10. It’s free. Your blog can begin today without spending a single penny now (or ever). I use WordPress and highly recommend it. With an initial investment of $0, why not give it a shot? Or for just a few dollars/month, you can use your very own domain name. I use and recommend Bluehost.
11. You’ll become more comfortable being known. Blogging introduces yourself to the world. It causes you to articulate the life you live and the worldview behind the decisions that you make. Whether you have 1 reader or 10,000, the blogging process opens up your life to those on the outside. It is a good exercise in human-existence to be known by others. Over time, you’ll reveal more and more of yourself to the outside world… and you’ll be excited to find a world that relates to you and enjoys hearing your story.
12. It’ll serve as a personal journal. Blogging serves many of the same roles as a personal journey. It trains us to be observant and gives weight to the personal growth that we are experiencing. It trains our minds to track life and articulate the changes we are experiencing. Your blog becomes a digital record of your life that is saved “in the cloud.” As a result, it can never be lost, stolen, or destroyed in a fire.
13. You’ll become more confident. Blogging will help you discover more confidence in your life. You will quickly realize that you do live an important life with a unique view and have something to offer others.
14. You’ll find a platform to recommend. We all love to recommend something we have found enjoyable or beneficial—whether it be a nice restaurant, a good book, or a new outlook on life. The fullness of joy is not experienced until we have shared that joy with others. A blog provides an opportunity to do that very thing. It provides a platform to share the joy we have experienced and recommend good things we have discovered to others.
15. It’s quite a rush with every positive comment. There’s a certain little rush that accompanies the immediate positive feedback that you receive every time a reader posts a comment, shares your writing on Facebook, or tweets it out to their Twitter followers. While walking the fine line between finding encouragement in that feedback and obsessing over it may take some time to get used to, it’s far better to find that line than to never seek it out in the first place.
Remember, you don’t need to blog as a means to get rich or as a means to gather a huge following. You don’t even need to blog as a means to change the Internet… the change that a blog will cause in your life is reason enough.
In response to this post, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have written an essay titled “How to Start a Blog Today” on their website. If you are interested in starting a blog for the first time, you will find the information to be quite useful and comprehensive.