Despite our instant, live, clickable, 30-second bites of life we now consume on the regular, one longer form model has stood the test of time: blogging.
It’s a little like a zombie. Every time someone proclaims it dead, it surges back in popularity with a vengeance.
You might be thinking that they’re right, that blogging is boring, uncool, or irrelevant, but I’m here to tell you: blogging can actually open a lot of doors in your social impact career.
Done right, a quality blog can help you find new opportunities, create meaningful connections with others in your field, and help you become a thought leader, educator, or other distinction in your field.
Often times, the only thing getting in your way is yourself.
Let’s look at five of the most common excuses people use to avoid starting a blog, and how you can be one of the smart cookies who overcomes them.
1. “I don’t have the time.” —>
You have two hours a week, I promise.
One of the most common and easiest excuses for people who don’t want to do anything, including starting a blog, is that they just plain don’t have the time. “I’m so busy! I just wouldn’t have the time and energy to dedicate to a it!”
Nice try, hotshot.
First of all, I’ve lived with enough roommates who claim how busy they are to the world and then spend seven hours on the couch in a Netflix trance on Saturdays to know that this mythical life of constant busyness is largely a falsehood.
Unless you are an astronaut, living 100% of your time in a space shuttle (and even then, put down the freeze dried ice cream for a minute), you have the time to maintain a basic blog.
How much time do you need?
Two hours a week at first.
If you want to have a web presence, create weekly posts, and put them up, and share them, investing two hours per week is enough to get you started.
Even to create the site takes less than 10 minutes. It’s actually incredibly easy considering all the new platforms out there that have become user friendly as shit. No kidding.
Friendly beginner platforms include Medium, Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace, to name a few.
Take a look at Google calendar, and see where a few nips and tucks could give you the time you need to get things rolling.
2. “I am not a great writer.” —>
Blogs aren’t just for writing anymore, folks. (Plus, great writers become great by, you guessed it, writing.)
This one is one of my favorites.
Everyone has some horrifying tale of evil English teachers publicly mortifying them over a comma, and ever since, they haven’t touched a pen.
I have some good news for you, then: these days, blogging isn’t all about what you write. In fact, the ease of taking and sharing photos and videos, and our weird cultural obsession with memes and gifs have given rise to many different forms of storytelling.
So, maybe you’re not Shakespeare (yet, don’t give up!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t dare to write.
Maybe you’re not the best with punctuation (damn you, commas!). Use a free add-on like Grammarly.
Maybe you had bad experiences before. Consider this new project a clean slate.
Maybe you’re sheepish about sharing your words with the great internet beyond. Make yourself post just one piece. Just one. Then, watch how the world doesn’t end.
I can totally understand the hesitation of posting writing online, especially if you don’t feel so confident and you have nightmares of internet trolls finding your old diaries and going all Mean Girls burn book on you.
But I promise, that ease comes with time, and with recognizing that (most) readers aren’t your enemies. Most of the time, especially at the beginning, they are your friends. And your mom!
You don’t have to be a Pulitzer winner to start a blog.
3. “I’m not X enough to have a blog.” —>
There is no “you must be this tall to ride” for blogging. You can start right now.
Similar to number two, many people believe that they need to be some kind of Harvard-educated expert with a monocle and elbow patches to feel qualified enough to offer their opinion on a particular topic.
But guess what? Your perspective, be it as a young adult, national service member, college student, fledgling professional, or die hard Harry Potter fan, is valuable.
No matter who you are or how old you are, you have something worth saying.
Now, don’t confuse this with me saying that every candid remark you make on your blog is gold and should be treated as such. On the contrary. Some of your thoughts might have no basis in reality (especially if you’re writing about Harry Potter).
However, many individuals talk themselves out of having a seat at the table because they believe that they don’t have this magical factor that makes everyone else qualified to share their opinion.
Statistically speaking, this happens more to women than to men, bt dubs.
So, cast aside that internal dialogue telling you that you have no business putting your thoughts out into the world. Your inner critic, ironically, is just scared of criticism, and thinks it’s protecting you by keeping you afraid.
You know better. Take a deep breath, and then a seat at the virtual table.
4. “No one will read it.” —>
No, if you aren’t thoughtful about it. But you will be.
I remember one of the first legit blogs (post-middle school Xanga) I ever started. I was in college, an one of my journalism professors had just told my class we needed to have a blog. (Sound familiar?)
So, I quickly navigated over to WordPress and began.
I remember being so disheartened by the statistics I saw in the coming weeks. Zero viewers, zero viewers, one viewer, zero viewers, zero viewers. My weekly stats were nothing short of depressing.
I had been operating under a “Build it, and they will come” mentality.
Of course, I questioned the whole point of it. Why even write a blog if no one will even see it?
Years later, I’m older, a smidge wiser, and better understand how the internet works. For our intents and purposes at the moment, there are three basic things you should know about getting your blog read by people:
1. Create good content, consistently.
5. “My LinkedIn is enough.” —>
Wrong-o. Everyone as one of those. What makes you so special?
Ok, speaking of LinkedIn, let’s clear something up. When it comes to your job search, having a LinkedIn profile is approximately the bare minimum you can do. It’s like changing from pajama pants to jeans so you can go outside.
You think that uploading your best-cropped selfie and importing your resume is going to really wow potential employers?
And that your college friends “endorsing” you for all your skills actually matters? (Spoiler: it doesn’t.)
Having been on both sides of the interviewing game, I know that HR people and other hirers have limited time to sift through lots of applications. So, that means that people who have clearly gone way beyond the bare minimum are the ones who get the calls for interviews. They’re the people who have taken initiative done something awesome and unexpected.
Cough like having a blog cough.
To someone scrutinizing your resume and work history, a blog that showcases your ideas, opinions, past accomplishments, or other relevant endeavors, is a refreshing glimpse into who you are. It helps potential employers figure out if you will be a good fit for their team, and vice versa.
It’s a window to your soul! Kidding on that one, but seriously, a blog is like a little piece of you on the interwebs.
Stick out from the crowd. When you get that callback, you’ll know I was write. Er, right.
Have I convinced you yet? Maybe not, there’s always a million excuses not to do something.
But I tend to find that all of them have one thing in common: fear. Fear of wasting time, being criticized, failing, of falling short, of overdoing it.
Yet, most of the time, this fear can be conquered by taking the first step.
Dare yourself to enter into the unknown world of blogging, and see where it might take you. It could open up doors to new people, opportunities, satisfaction, and courage.
Say ciao to the excuses.
See you around the blogosphere.
If you liked this, you might also like: Dance Like Internet Trolls Aren't Watching: Being Creative Online
Let's change the world.
Who wrote this?
Gina Edwards, Impact Explorer founder and lover of all pun jokes, making a positive change in the world, Stephen Colbert, Jif Peanut Butter, and staying inside on rainy days. Order may vary.