Why You Should Start a Blog

by Frost on March 7, 2011

I started my blog about 6 months ago, and went live at the beginning of this year. If you’ve got something worth saying, you should do the same.

At a first glance, talking to strangers on the internet for free is a pretty stupid way to spend your time. Very few people who you know in real life will respect you for it, it’s very hard to make money with paid ads, and if there are any legions of blogger groupies out there, I haven’t yet come across them. In exchange for these non-payoffs, blogging will cost you many, many hours, and no small amount of stress and frustration.

And yet here I am, cruelly suggesting you masochistically cannonball into the weird world of internet writing. Is it just because I’m a bad person? Hardly. Here are five reasons why you should open a word document and start drafting your first blog posts today:

Writing forces you to organize your thoughts

If you think you really understand something, if you think you really get it, try writing a 1000 word blog post explaining it to an audience. I get about ten ideas per day for blog posts that feel fully-formed in my head, just waiting to be spat out in a 90-wpm blur. But I don’t update 10x per day.

Writing Freedom Twenty-Five has forced me to confront the reality that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Writing about something exposes gaps in your knowledge. More importantly, it forces you to address those gaps before you write something that makes you look like an idiot.

Writing forces you to live consciously

Writing a blog forces you to try interesting things, read new books, and think about the world in new ways. Otherwise, what the hell are you going to write about?

And you have to do more than just write to reap this benefit – you have to actually submit your work to forums of smart, critical readers, who will tear you a new one if you try to pass some bullshit onto them. If no one but your mom reads your blog, you’ll wind up like one among the jillions of 20-something-bloggers, yammering on about pets and recipes, with zero readers to tell you what a self-absorbed twit you are.

Writing keeps you accountable to yourself

When I set a goal and accomplish it, I can click “New Post” and brag about it. When I set a goal and fail, (temporarily) I feel ashamed and obligated to pick myself up and get back to it.

Whatever content your blog usually features, if you have a personal goal that you’re working on, put it out there for your audience. It would be much easier for me to give up on optimizing my life and settle into comfortable high-mediocrity, if doing so didn’t entail losing face in the eyes of the world.

You can get rich, bitch

Monetizing a blog is difficult and improbable. Succeeding in old-school journalism or publishing will soon be impossible, as both industries die painful, well-deserved deaths. If you dream of writing for a living, putting 95% your content online for free and selling the rest is the most viable business model out there.

You might do some good in the world

The 20th century is dying, and the great lies of our age are going down with it. Will our present culture and constitution be replaced by honesty, stability and justice? Or tyranny?

Fuck me if I know.

But the human race will always be better off with truth than lies. Our present information sources – Academia, Hollywood, the Mainstream Media – are corrupt. If we allow ourselves to be shepherded into the next era by them, we will be as lemmings hurtling towards a cliff.

The world needs an alternative to their mendacity. So far, it doesn’t have one.

The loose collection of websites that currently constitutes the Alternative Blogosphere is not yet a viable competitor to the New York Times. But every time another smart young punk decides to spend 10 hours/week researching and drafting blog posts instead of being hungover and playing video games, the cathedral gets that much weaker.

(This was originally posted at In Mala Fide to coincide with the launch of a new multi-author web magazine. If you’re looking to unleash your inner iconoclast, there’s no better time and place than right now, as an In Mala Fide contributor)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

TonyD June 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Starting a blog was the best decision I ever made. I have about 400 subscribers and I’ve made a total of $50 in passive income, but it’s given me a reason to get up and write every day.

exaequali May 15, 2012 at 7:52 am

Sounds good, I’m gonna try it. I’ve started writing, but now I need to “submit my work to forums of smart, critical readers”. How?

Sajib April 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

A friend of mine recommended to this blog and I honestly like your mindset and the way you think about life and doing things. But, could you not find out some time to reply to those who take time to write comment on your blog? I find that pretty cruel not to reply readers’ comment.

Avatar April 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thank you for this- I’ve begun taking steps on my own personal journey through blogging. Guess you were the last kick in the butt and get to work.

Thank you. Again.

Susan Walsh March 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Frost, I think you’ve really captured the essence of blogging here. For me, living more consciously has been a huge benefit, though it wasn’t one of my goals going in. In fact, I’ve been thinking about finding new ways to do that – take one photo every single day, for example. It’s just been incredibly intellectually stimulating and rewarding to see things in new ways.

We benefit by reading your blog, your POV, your increased consciousness.

Frost March 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

-Neill,

I think there are far too many people out there trying to write about lifestyle design without actually having done much successful designing. IMO, if you expect to position yourself as a guru and make money via book sales and paid ads, you’d better ALREADY be living an exceptional life.

If you’re still a young punk figuring it all out, i.e. myself (and I think you as well) blogging is more useful as a means of pushing yourself, organizing your thoughts, and immersing yourself in a world of people who either have done or are doing what you want to do. Peer group effects matter.

Finally got around to your archives, very good writing and mindset. Keep it up and good luck.

-APM

It’s amazing how many people just can’t write a paragraph. Starting a blog, contributing to a forum or even just drive-by commenting are all great ways to get to a point where you can quickly fire off an email that doesn’t make you sound like a retard.

Currently working on a write-up of some stories about my grandfather for your latest project, I think it’s a great idea.

Cheers,

Frost

theprivateman March 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I resisted blogging for a long time. Ironically, I’m a professional writer with a solid portfolio of published work.

But when my last writing contracted ended abruptly, I had some down time and figured it would be a good time to start writing consistently.

It’s been a good exercise thus far. Writing every day is important for practice and maintaining critical thinking.

Also, learning WordPress is a good career move.

NomadicNeill March 8, 2011 at 4:56 am

One thing I’d point out is to decide early on if you want your blog to be a source of revenue or just for your own benefit.

This will help you decide whether to stick to regular posting schedules, network with other bloggers, advertise etc.

Some people beat themselves up for not treating their blog seriously or like a job. But if you aren’t getting paid for it and don’t have plans for that to happen in the future then you shouldn’t worry about it too much. Better to focus your energy’s on other ways to make money.

I see many people trying to make money online through blogging but as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the least efficient ways to make money on the internet. Far better to offer services, create products or set up membership websites.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: