I started this blog about two weeks ago now. And a lot has happened in those two weeks, not least that I now have my own sacred place on the internet ready to be transformed into a curiosity shop of wonderful things. In the 16th Century, it was entirely normal to fill cabinets or entire rooms with a scattered assortment of flamboyant and eerie items: human skulls, sea coral, ribbons, or stuffed pigeons.
Now, we have the internet.
So, you might be thinking: there are already so many bloggers out there documenting their lives – why would anyone be interested in what I have to say?
Truly, the blogging world is highly saturated with content creators, but – as cliche, as it gets – there is no one with your particular spin on the world. You are experiencing the human condition in an entirely unique way. I had to affirm this to myself many thousands of times before I realised just how powerful that awareness is.
For me, this recent year has been hugely isolating in many aspects, and I love to share. What I mean is, my greatest interactions with the world are social ones, such that my most developmental learning occurs in these social settings. So, with the recent barriers imposed on social life, a blog can be a great way to open up those avenues for sharing once again.
So what happens when you start a blog?
Venturing Outside Your Village
One thing I’ve noticed, especially over this period of Covid-19, is the shrinking of my social circles. Occasionally, I would meet up with friends and family and have the privilege of connecting with students across the globe.
As for my creative work, on the off chance that anyone was interested, I might send them a poem or read one aloud at a poetry convention. But on the whole, my creations had a limited reach.
Ali Abdaal uses a wonderful analogy for this: life in the metaphorical village. Say that, for instance, that Harry resides in the quiet village of New Haven, only interacting with individuals from the village – co-workers, family and friends. His exposure to new opportunities would be greatly limited. Whereas, if he were more adventurous, travelling to neighbouring villages, interacting with a multitude of others, his development opportunities would inevitably increase.
Starting a personal blog is simply a way to connect with like-minded others in dispersed and far-reaching communities.
You might watch on, with disappointment, as your blog post gets one view from Norway. But fear not! The fact of the matter is, that something you said mattered to someone for a time.
Emancipation from Perfection
It’s funny how easily we apply an exceedingly high standard of perfection to ourselves, but not necessarily to others?
Austin Kleon, perfectly summarises a creative solution to this predicament of perfectionism, with the idea of rejoicing in our amateur selves. While the amateur has no formal training, they commit to life-long learning in the public eye, “so that others can learn from their failures and success”.
Nowadays, our morbid curiosity leads us to wonder about the behind-the-scenes aspect of people’s lives, not only the final product – film, Youtube video, book, or Instagram post. After all, the creative pieces that we produce don’t just occur in a vacuum but the complex and chaotic landscape of life.
If you are trying – regardless of failure – at something, the likelihood is, someone out there is interested in your experience.
Documenting Life and Telling Better Stories
Recently, I’ve made a commitment to journaling about life.
Firstly, when I’m not journaling, it’s terrifying how much of life I forget. Between one day and the next, there isn’t much to distinguish my experience of working from home: work, eat, sleep, repeat. Life appears to follow cyclical patterns, but journaling allows you to magnify crucial moments in your mind – why would you want to forget those?
Secondly, documenting your life can actually make you a more interesting person. Bear with me on this one, maybe this rule doesn’t apply to everyone. Most certainly not Ronald at the party who’s always talking about his chaotic mayhem of a holiday, darling. Surprise, surprise, the best stories you can recount are not about your recent vacation. No one can relate to that, especially not during Covid.
Dare I say, people want to know about the insight you had about that recent book, your future dreams, or what you really think about salmon fish cakes. I don’t know but I think it’s those thoughts you had in the shower that people are much more interested in.
So, by documenting life through a personal blog, you can connect in the most fundamentally human way, practised since the dawn of time: storytelling.
Sharing Good Work
Maybe you’re on board with me by now – maybe not – but nonetheless, you are wondering: what do I write about?
You can start with what you know. Perhaps you are obsessed with the niche topic of curating bonsai trees or making wearable garments for labradors with arthritis. It doesn’t really matter: someone out there is interested in what you have to say. What’s more, the fact that you’re passionate about a certain subject or interest is highly contagious.
We have a habit of internally devaluing the importance of our own experiences when they seem insignificant to the remarkable feats of others. There is, in fact, so much value in what you have to share if it can help just one other person by enhancing their worldview, or their understanding of themselves.
For now, I rest my case.
Those were four very genuine reasons that prompted the creation of this very blog.
Hopefully, this article inspired you to begin your writing journey.
If it did, I’ll be posting a follow-up article with more practical advice about web domains, hosting sites, and how to schedule content very soon.