I have been blogging ever since I was nine years old. Yes that’s right, nine years old! We setup a blog for our robotics team, the LEGO Imagineers and I became a regular contributor there and for our family blog.
Initially I was skeptical of the value of blogging and it felt like a chore, but over the years I’ve become convinced of the value of blogging. I often see posts that promise incredible financial benefits from blogging, but I want to share five other reasons why I found blogging to be invaluable:
1. Blogging helps you become a better communicator
Writing is a skill that can be developed and improved over time. The more you write, the more effective you will become at writing. I find that when I’m writing for an audience, I write differently and with more attention to detail than when I write in a journal or for myself.
Blogging forces you to condense your thoughts into short yet complete posts. Since the more successful bloggers are those who stick to a schedule, I find that blogging is also a fantastic tool in holding you accountable to write and produce quickly. While not every post is going to be life changing, the sheer act of disciplining yourself to write regularly will cause you to become a more effective communicator.
“I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write” – Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Your blog serves as your online portfolio and networking tool
Blogging can serve as a networking tool by other people with common interests, passions, or skills to find you.
When I first started blogging for my robotics team, I didn’t think anyone would listen to me and I didn’t see the value in it. My dad, however, was insistent that we keep recording and sharing what we were learning.
Then something happened…
The Microsoft OneNote team got wind of what we were doing and agreed to sponsor us with software to help us learn. We had a visit from Channel 9 Guy and began to get more traffic on our site. One day in my 6th year of competing, I became completely stumped by a programming challenge. My dad insisted that blogging about the problem would help and I begrudgingly made the post. To my shock, Chris Rogers from Carnegie Mellon University, who helped develop the ROBOLAB programming language I was using, responded and offered to help! That launched a few collaboration meetings that turned into an offer to become a beta tester for a new project he was working on.
Repeatedly I saw opportunities pop up (sometimes quite literally) as I continued to blog. In a world where who you know is as important as what you know, how can you afford not to blog?
3. Blogging regularly causes you to become more observant and think more deeply
Whenever I’ve been actively writing posts, I’ve noticed that I become just a little more aware to the world around me. In my constant pursuit for new topics to explore, every adventure, conversation, or lesson learned takes on a greater meaning. This greater meaning helps me to be more present in each moment.
When we are in the middle of a conversation, we often don’t have the luxury – or take the time – to think deeply and analyze a topic from all angles. The time I spend drafting a post has caused me to refine my thinking before I share.
4. Blogging allows you to better understand and reinforce topics as you teach them to others
A large part of my professional career thus far has been spent breaking down complex and often daunting topics and teaching them to others. I remember when I was first asked to teach professors how to setup their grading systems in their Learning Management System, or fellow employees how to build a PowerApp, I felt grossly underqualified and overwhelmed.
As I dived into each of these topics and began finding answers to the “why” questions that I knew my audience would ask, the puzzle pieces began to click together. I began to see each tool as a series of smaller components or building blocks that comprised a greater whole and I saw how each of these parts functioned in the greater whole. This process of teaching and forcing myself to explain complex and often technical topics in a way that anyone can understand helped me to solidify the concepts in my own mind.
Do you write regularly? Comment below with how this habit has benefitted you and tips for staying consistent.