After almost five years, I think it’s safe to say that I’m a blogger. Not a famous one and not a paid one—nevertheless, I’m still a blogger.
I’ve been asked over the years why I keep doing it. They ask, “If you’re not getting paid, then why waste your time?”
It’s true: Blogging is a commitment. I dedicate at least three hours a week—and usually more—to writing the blog post, designing its header image, scheduling the social posts to promote it, monitoring the analytics and brainstorming new blog post ideas.
And that’s just for my blog. That doesn’t count the time I scroll through my go-to hashtag feeds and read other bloggers’ content.
But it’s all worth it.
I’m not big on commitment (just ask my inner circle), but blogging remains a priority in my life. And to understand its value in my life, you have to understand my journey for the last five years.
Let Me Tell You My Story
I started blogging back in November 2012 because my job search hit a wall. I was fresh out of grad school with little to no leads on a full-time position.
I was bored. I felt useless. I needed something productive to do.
So I decided to blog. I had an educational background in creative writing to exercise and a marketing network to investigate. At least now I had my own website to add to the header of my resume.
It took off better than I expected. Within weeks, I landed an internship with a digital marketing agency—and I still kept on blogging.
I kept on blogging when I packed my car to the brim and moved 2,000 miles west for my first full-time marketing job at a university.
I kept on blogging as I learned the ropes of writing marketing content by someone I consider one of the best in the copywriting business.
I kept on blogging when I was fully managing the university department’s social media, then blog, then email campaigns, then web content—until I was overseeing the department’s content strategy.
I kept on blogging when I didn’t get that promotion (or raise) and didn’t get that new position in another department.
I kept on blogging when I took on freelance marketing work, pushing me to work 60 hours a week while exposing me to great industry markets.
I kept on blogging when the university faced 18 million dollars in cut state funds and I saw the writing on the wall: Jump before your team gets cut.
I kept on blogging when I moved 2,000 miles (again) for a content marketing manager position at a tech startup—a job that ended up not working out so well for me.
I kept on blogging when I had to decide which way my career needed to go, deciding that hospitality and travel marketing was best for me.
I kept on blogging when I found that perfect fit at Red Roof Inn—and was offered a fitting position there.
I kept on blogging as I packed up my car and moved (again) 250 miles to a new life in a new city.
And I keep on blogging today, even though my career is on the up, even though I don’t get paid to do it, even though some weeks I don’t seem to have the time.
TL;DR: Why I Keep on Blogging
There are many reasons why my friends and former colleagues think I should not keep blogging—yet these are my three reasons why I stick with it:
Blogging Keeps Me Current
I decided to write about, well, writing on my blog because when I first started, I was trying to make it as a paid writer. As my career evolved into the digital world of content marketing and social media, I chose to diverse my blog to include all the forms my writing takes.
At first, I write about what I know. When that well runs dry, I plug myself into some research. That includes reading powerful content tagged with my favorite hashtags, skimming content aggregators like Medium and WordPress to find insightful articles as well as browsing through industry news.
Blogging encourages me to stay on top of the latest news. If I wasn’t blogging, I wouldn’t have known where in the world Klout is today, Twitter’s recent change to character count and that more and more schools are not teaching cursive.
Staying on top of the latest news and industry conversation keeps me knowledgeable and topical for blog posts as well as conversation in real time. You know, at the workplace, at industry events or simply a one-on-one conversation with one that shares my interests in writing or marketing.
Not to mention the fantastic professional and person network I now have thanks to blogging.
Blogging is a Teacher
My blog has come a long way from its first days live on the Interwebs. My early days featured no images purple-on-purple layout, calligraphy font and horrendous headlines.
I suppose the only direction my blog could go is up.
My blog has undergone serious makeovers over the years, but one thing is certain—I’m learning on the job.
Blogging lets me take chances. I’m willing to test out experiments—from blog post topics and style to visual layout and user experience—on my own blog where the consequences for failing only affect myself. When I can conclude that the experiment is a success, I transfer the new strategy to my professional practices.
Learning from my blogging mistakes prevents me from making these mistakes at the office. I also have a valued voice at the table when making marketing strategy by bringing my personal experience to the conversation.
Blogging Keeps Me Writing
When you write for a living, the last thing you really want to do when you come home is write. By five o’clock, wearing pajamas sounds super comfy and the couch is calling my name.
It’s easy for a writer to lose his or her writing self to the work grind. Writing is a taxing job that takes both sides of the brain to accomplish. After a solid eight hours of pure mental work (and a nice workout for your typing fingertips), the thought of writing more sounds more like a job than your passion.
The biggest reason I keep blogging is to keep writing.
Blogging is my commitment to writing weekly for myself. No matter what kind of week I’m having or how busy my life gets, I always dedicate at least a few hours a week to the sanctuary of my blog.
And that’s enough reason for me to blog.