“So tell me,” she said with crossed arms, a furrowed brow, and the tone of a prosecuting attorney, “exactly why should I start a blog?”
The woman’s question surprised me – sort of.
I was taken aback by the question because the networking event she and I were attending had nothing to do with blogging. But I shouldn’t have been shocked that she would ask me this question because in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, I’m considered the go-to girl when it comes to all things blogging.
In 2011 I started See Jane Write, which is not only a blog but also a membership organization for women who write and blog. I host workshops, panel discussions, networking events and conferences under the See Jane Write brand. Many of our events are about blogging, I started this organization in part because I am a blogger, and I grew this organization primarily by blogging. So to many folks, I’m Birmingham’s blog babe (or writeous babe thanks to my old Twitter handle).
I answered her question with another question: “Why do you want to start a blog?”
“Well, I don’t,” she said.
“Then don’t start one,” I replied. She looked stunned.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of blogging. But if you’re not blogging because you really want to, if you’re only blogging because a chick with curly hair and a hard-to-pronounce name told you that you should, then your blog is most likely going to suck. And the last thing the Internet needs is another craptastic blog.
But if you truly want to start a blog and you haven’t simply because you’re not sure how it could benefit you in the long run, I can discuss that sun up till sun down.
So why am I so in love with blogging?
I love blogging because it is my practice field. In her book Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg reminds us that writing is a practice. Just as musicians must constantly practice to get better at their instruments and athletes must practice to get better at their sport, writers must practice to get better at their craft, too. As a runner I’m not going to just wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon that day. I’m going to train by running shorter distances for weeks, gradually increasing my distance and speed. Blogging is my practice field. With each post I’m trying to get better so that the articles, essays, and books I want to write in the future will transform my readers’ lives.
I love blogging because it helped me find my platform. Both the See Jane Write blog and the personal blog I maintained before See Jane Write started to grow have been my space to write about faith, feminism, fitness and other issues and interests that are important to me. Blogging has also helped me land opportunities to write on these topics for publications like B-Metro and Birmingham magazines and to be a contributor to WBHM 90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR station.
I love blogging because it helped me find my people. When I started See Jane Write I had no idea that the women of this group would become my closest friends, but that’s exactly what happened. We found one another through blogging, but in the process discovered we shared so much more.
I love blogging because it helped me find my purpose. Since I was a teenager I’ve known that I wanted to use writing to empower women and girls. But with the ever-changing state of journalism and the publishing industry, I started to wonder what it would look like to actually live out that mission. Blogging is my way. Not only do I seek to uplift women with the stories I put out into the blogosphere, but I give women the knowledge and support they need to share their own stories, too. And I even turned See Jane Write into a business — discovering a way to turn my purpose into a profit.
If you’re ready to start your blog, but you’re not sure how, click here for my free guide The Write Start: How to Finally Launch Your Blog.