Why Do You Write?
Sounds like an odd question at first, doesn’t it? The reason why you write actually has a big impact on how you write and what you write about, and understand that identifying this reason can actually help you write better and work faster towards achieving that goal.
For example, when I first started writing online, I was writing a personal diary of sorts. Since I was writing it more as an outlet for self-expression and not as something for public consumption, the blog didn’t look very pretty, it was unstructured, and I didn’t care much about editing the content or writing regularly. However, when I started writing my first social media blog, I approached the matter very differently. What changed?
Why I Started and Continue to Write
1. Educating Others and Myself
I started writing my first social media blog about 8 months after I really got involved in the space. I was frequently reading other blogs and commenting on them and would often think to myself that my comments could be blog posts of their own (and would offer a worthy contrarian viewpoint to what I was reading). So I started my own social media blog with the intention of doing three things: a) Talking about my experiences in the social space and what others could learn from them, b) Discovering topics that I thought were important but were being undeserved and talking about them, and c) Providing a contrarian viewpoint (or my insight) on the meme of the day. I started blogging not just because I thought I had something to say but because I believed (and still do) that it would create value for people and help others.
2. Personal Branding
There has been a growing reciprocal relationship between my blog and my personal branding. Since I already had a presence in the social media sphere, it gave credibility to my blog, and since I was blogging about my experiences, my social media presence gained more exposure through it. When I say personal branding I don’t mean celebrity for the sake of celebrity. What I mean is establishing your brand as the [something] guy, and I was establishing myself as the social media guy, just as Darren has established himself as the ‘make money through blogging’ guy (unlike John Chow, whom I like to refer to as the ‘make money by bending the rules’ guy).
Through being active in the social media space, blogging was a natural progression for me. Social media is all about community, networking, and collaboration, and one of the best mediums to do that through is blogging. I started blogging not just because I wanted to establish myself as an authority on something and I wanted to help other people understand that niche, but because I also wanted and still want to network with other people in the space and hear what they have to say and learn from them. We all have unique perspectives on things and as much as we like to believe that we know it all, someone always comes along and enlightens us further. I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from people commenting on my blogs, or messaging me via email or instant messenger. After all, as John Donne wrote, “All mankind is of one author…No man is an island, entire of itself.”
I don’t think anyone said it better than Rollo May though,
“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
I started writing seriously when I was in college, and I remember that I would write the most (and perhaps some of the most substantive stuff) when I was stressed about something or the other. The more I wrote, the more passionate I became about writing and it was an incredibly easy and enjoyable way to ‘get away from it all’. No more Econometrics or Statistics, I could spend hours just researching, writing, and commenting before I had to go back to the books. Similarly, many of the most unique blogs I see today (such as WebUrbanist and Deputy-Dog) are from people who hold regular jobs but use their blogs as their creative outlets.
When I started to blog, I never dreamed of making money through blogging. Not only was I not aware that it was an option, but I was mentally trained and culturally brought up to want to be a financial consultant – it was set in stone. But the more I blogged, the more people started asking me to blog for them for money. While I never guest blogged for money (I think it defeats the purpose of ‘guest’ blogging), I did end up writing regularly for multiple sites on a per post basis and thought it was absolutely perfect. Think about it, getting paid to do what you’re passionate about – it’s not a job if you enjoy doing it!
Ultimately, whether it be out of a passion or to make some cash on the side as a Freelancer, we all have a unique voice and a unique reason for why we should be heard. The single reason why I wrote this post is because I am genuinely interested in hearing each and everyone’s story. Why do you write?