Why you should have a blog
If you’re a writer, creative, freelancer or entrepreneur, you should have a blog. Here is why.
(my original Blogspot header made in Word)
LinkedIn recently notified me that I was celebrating a work anniversary: my blog, Hipstercrite, is six years old.
In truth, my blog is seven years of age; it was conceived from a volatile relationship between me and Los Angeles. Eight people read the site then. It was called PlasticLA, and I mostly wrote passive profiles on the men who dumped me (I’ll never forget that one asshole who thought he was James Joyce).
Six and half years ago is when I left my career in Los Angeles and moved to Austin to work on my writing. My first year in Austin I worked two jobs and a total of 60–70 hours a week, but I made sure to blog my adventures of being a stranger in a welcoming city. Everything about Austin inspired me; the local community helped revive my creativity, which had laid dormant for the five years I was in the City of Angels.
And I guess I’ve never stopped writing on the damn thing. Some months I’ve written multiple times a week; some months I’ve written only once a week (like now). It has all depended on what is going on in my life. What I’ve written about has evolved from a single twenty-something discovering a city and herself to a thirty-something who has, with excitement and apprehension, become an adult.
There have been times when I cared too much about how my blog performed, and there are times, like now, when I just enjoy it for what it is. Though I’ve often felt too uninspired, too tired, to keep the blog up, I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing on it. Even if months go by, I will not shutter it.
My traffic is ok and I make only $500-$1,000 a year through advertising, but the tremendous people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve received through my blog are infinitely more valuable. I always recommend to creatives and entrepreneurs that they should start a blog. Here is why:
P.S. I hope none of this comes across as humblebragging; the accolades and perks I list below are to show that if I, a non-professional blogger, can receive them, so can you.
1.) My blog has become my resume
When I pitch to publications, my blog does a lot of the speaking. As evidence of my writing, I may just send over the link to my blog and a handful of clips. Though my blog lacks formal editorial standards and it may have typos/grammar mistakes, it proves that I’m dedicated to writing. I will not give up on a project. Also, it shows inquirers what my “writing voice” is, and in my experience, people often want to hire you for your own unique voice. (If you have a blog, don’t be afraid to share your weirdness and secrets.) This doesn’t just work for writers; creatives looking for work and entrepreneurs looking to make connections can greatly benefit from having a blog.
2.) I don’t always have to look for work
Publications and companies have found me through my blog. I’d say half of the freelance work I get is through someone discovering my blog. Clients I’ve garnered this way include The Guardian, Sundance Institute, MassMutual and CultureMap. I have a very talented freelance writer friend who I hound about this. If I can get work through my blog, so can you. (Ahem, Meg.)
2.) You get paid in other ways
I try not to whore out myself or my blog when publicists or entrepreneurs inquire, but occasionally there will be a product or app that I’m excited to get behind. And often these brands can be mighty generous. A few gifts have included: a Microsoft Surface, a paid trip to Ohio, designer or fair trade clothing and Bose headphones and speakers. In total I’ve received about $5,000 in merchandise, and as I’ve stated, I rarely accept and promote branded items AND I’m a rinky-dink blog. In other words, if you are super popular blog that whored itself out often, just imagine all the swag you would get!
4.) I’ve met many interesting people
I know bloggers say the above statement often, but it’s true. I’ve met many incredible women (and men) through my blog, including the talented Laurenne Sala and Hannah Miet. I was a fan of both their blogs and had the opportunity to meet Laurenne in LA and have Hannah and her equally awesome boyfriend, Colin, stay at our house on their cross-country trip from NY to LA. In addition, I’ve met so many awesome local bloggers, business owners and sweet-ass Austinites because of my blog. I’m privileged and fortunate to have met these people, and I have the blogging community to thank for that.
5.) It feels good
If you’re not a freelancer or entrepreneur and have zero interest in finding work/making money off of your blog, I still recommend blogging. It can not only be therapeutic, but as mentioned above, it can connect you to a like-minded community. Having a blog can get you through the tough times, the lonely times and the confusing times. Take it from me; strangers have offered incredible advice and support when I’ve written about my anxiety, twenty-something turmoil and fear of dying. And in turn, as a blog reader, you are there for other bloggers going through challenging times.