Lessons I've learned from 6 years of blogging
For anyone interested in blogging, making friends around the world, and becoming a writer in the process.
I’ve been blogging since 2015, and it’s been rewarding in so many ways. I’ve slowly muddled through and figured out how to ‘do’ blogging, but I remember when I was first researching how to start a blog, I felt overwhelmed by choices like “which platform do I choose?”, “what’s my niche?”, and “how often am I supposed to post?”.
Instead, I want to help you start a blog in a way that feels both simple and enjoyable. Most of all, blogging is meant to feel exciting, and in the early days you don’t need to burden yourself too much.
In this piece I’m going to share:
- A little introduction
- Why blogging, rather than journalling?
- What even is blogging?
- What are the benefits of blogging?
A little introduction
Since I started blogging more than 6 years ago, my life has changed a great deal.
I went from being lost, unhappy and burned out in a recruitment job in the city to living a life that’s in alignment with who I am.
Blogging has helped me discover who I am, what I care about, and I has given me the confidence to pursue the sort of life I want – one that involves creating things, helping others, and freedom to be who I am, do what I want to do, and be where I want to be.
I woke up after 9am this morning as I write this, had breakfast, and walked through the park to a local coffee shop around mid-morning. This Summer, I spent 2 months living and working from the digital nomad village in Madeira.
Quite simply, blogging has been one of the most consistent and impactful practices in my life.
The short summary is that expressing yourself through writing – and connecting with others online doing the same – will change your life in profound ways.
In the rest of this guide I’m going to share exactly how blogging has changed my life, why you might want to start a blog, and how you can get started – in a way that feels easy, manageable and enjoyable.
It might just change your life. To be honest, there’s a pretty good chance that it will.
Why blogging? (vs journalling)
As a writer, I’ve realised that writing is most powerful when it’s done consistently.
I'm a big advocate of journalling, and I also keep a private journal.
But the magic that blogging holds is that it involves a magical combination of 2 parts:
1) writing writing things you're interested in, or are meaningful to you
2) connecting by putting your writing “out there”, you allow others to read and connect with your writing... and therefore connect with you.
In other words, he magic of blogging lies in the WRITING and the CONNECTION... allowing you to connect with yourself and connect meaningfully with others all around the world.
As such, I feel blogging is the perfect way to start a writing practice. Blogging is like turning on a tap which leads to water flow that becomes steadier and cleaner over time. So if you start a blog today, tomorrow you might step into a deeper form of journalling, or into writing a book. The possibilities are endless.
But here's the thing... whatever happens, if you start a blog and keep a blog with some consistency, it will change your life.
(I know I keep saying that but, seriously, it will).
So, what *is* blogging?
I've already described blogging as 'journalling that I choose to publish'.
It might help you to think of a blog as an online journal or diary, where you write and share pieces of your life, things on your mind, stuff you're expeiencing, or topics/themes that you are interested in.
It’s as simple as that.
What are the benefits of blogging?
If writing can change your life, blogging is perhaps the single most transformative practice you can adopt in your writing life.
I've already mentioned the magical combination of WRITING and CONNECTING that comes with blogging. More specifically, blogging can help you:
- develop a writing practice - have a creative outlet - bring your brain and body activity to rest (a form of meditation) - bring you closer to who you really are - find your people and make deep connections
Writing and sharing things will not only change you in and of itself, but you'll find people with shared stories and interests.
In other words, blogging will let you find your people.
And blogging is two-way, reciprocal. Reading the blogs of others helped me realise what was possible in my own work and life. Blogs like those of Scott Dinsmore, Corbett Barr & Chris Guillebeau were truly game-changers for me; they represented the ‘indie’ life I wanted to live, and their authenticity and transparency when it came to their journeys helped me realise what was possible.
They inspired me to stay consistent with my blogging and since then… my blogging has helped me make friends all over the world, people I simply wouldn't have gotten to know had it not been for writing and sharing things online. It's quite incredible really. I've literally gotten to know dozens and dozens of people online – that's exchanging online messages, video calls and even IRL meetings.
Like I said, blogging has changed my life.
And those two big benefits of blogging again are writing more and making deep connections.
But it gets better. In my experience, blogging also:
– Leads to other things... My blog has directly led to my starting a podcast, and then a youtube channel (my podcast started when I had such a great time chatting with several 'friends' I'd met online and interviewed for an introvert summit I co-hosted back in 2020)
– Opens up a bunch of opportunities In fact, I've appeared as a guest on several podcasts to share my story, and even been on local radio when a presenter discovered me on twitter and explored my blog and newly-released book.
– Can serve as a precursor to writing a book Writing a book can feel like a mammoth task. If you can get used to writing and sharing things online, over time writing a book feels more palatable. That's certainly my experiences, as I eventually published The Indie Author, after working on it for 2 years and starting it after I'd been blogging for ~4 years.
– Lets you make a part-time income... or a living(!) My blogging has turned into a business from which I've made a 4-figure income so far, and the journey continues :)
And perhaps the biggest one of all for me…
Blogging helps you find your voice Before I started writing and sharing my thoughts online, I felt pretty quiet and withdrawn. I’m still an introvert by nature, but blogging has let me find my voice, not feel afraid to use it, realise I was worthy of doing so and, perhaps most importantly, become more of who I was as I started to use it.
Were if not blogging, I would not have found and connected with Lauren Sapala, someone I look up to and has since become a dear friend.
We would not have co-hosted a summit together, which would not have led to my starting a podcast, becoming more confident on that platform, and then eventually be comfortablt with recording and uploading videos of myself to youtube.
Quite honestly, I don’t recognise myself from the person I was back in 2015.
Blogging has helped me find my voice, which continues to grow and develop. It’s helped me find the confidence to embrace my identity as a writer, a creator, an entrepreneur.
In other words, blogging has helped me find my voice, and find myself in doing so. It’s helped me find the confidence to embrace my identity as a writer, a creator, an entrepreneur. It’s helped me become more of the person I knew I was capable of becoming when I first started reading the blogs of others who were doing what I wanted to do and living how I wanted to live.
Some final words
Blogging has a bunch of benefits that you’ll experience as your blogging journey progresses.
You might experience some of the things I've mentioned already – and there'll probably be other things that you experience, too.
Everyone has their own experience with blogging. But let me tell you, whatever you experience will be powerful and will see things happen for you, some of them unexpected.
ps. This post is the first part of a guide I wrote for this blog, called: 📔 How to start a blog (and enjoy it).
👤 I’m Jas :) I’m a writer, self-published author and introvert. You can read my story over here. I’m not on social media, but I’d love to send you my little weekly newsletter.