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At least once a week someone tells me they want to start a blog. Five years ago I would have excitedly invited them over for coffee and walked them through it.
At some point my enthusiasm gave way to just giving interested people links to sites that might help them, and wishing them luck. But I would politely decline to help them myself – except for one person, every single blog I’d helped start had gone nowhere. The reality of how much work and dedication it takes to keep up even a simple hobby blog would usually hit people in the face after two or three posts, and they’d drop it.
And that tells me that they never really wanted to write in the first place. They just wanted to be a blogger, which is different. Its kind-of why I took up flute in high school: I wanted to say I was in the band, but didn’t really want to do the work. I finally dropped it in college when “being in the band” meant hours and hours of practice. I didn’t really want it once it got hard.
At this point, when someone tells me they want to start blogging I look them in the eyes and ask “What do you want to get out of it? What do you want to be the blog’s purpose?”
And the answer is usually not “I want to share my story” or “I want to express myself through writing” or “I want to help people (craft/travel/whatever).”
It’s usually more along the lines of “Bloggers get to do a lot of fun stuff. I want to do that.” Or, “Bloggers get free stuff. I want to get free stuff and write about it.”
And I’m here to tell you, those are completely shitty reasons to start a blog.
I’m sure that the next great blog is just waiting to be written, and it could be written by you. But for every great blog that starts on a whim and grows into greatness organically, thousands and thousands more get started by people who have nothing to contribute, who just want to take. Don’t be one of those blogs.
I can’t even tell you exactly why I started to blog. I just fell into it, first writing about our house renovation, then about movies and TV shows that were filming near my neighborhood, then finally here on Selfish Mom, about whatever I wanted. If someone asked me now why I’m blogging, I’m not sure I could give them a good answer, and that’s a problem every time I have to pitch myself to a client.
But I love what I do. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I can be very choosy about which events I attend, which trips I go on, which products I write about. But it took years to get to this point. If I didn’t like was I was doing, those years of scrambling would have been torture.
So have a reason. Have a point of view. Have a plan.
Write about what you know and love, so that if having a few readers and a small community is all you ever get out of it, you’ll be OK with that.
Because the free stuff and trips? IF you ever get to that point, you’ll find that all of it comes with massive obligations and takes a lot of time to deal with. And if you’re actually trying to make money blogging, you’re going to spend way more time dealing with the business side than on the writing. Know that going in.
Reasons To Start A Blog
|You want to tell your story||You want likes and retweets|
|You love to travel and want to write about it||You want to take free trips|
|You love writing about and reviewing products||You want to get free shit|
|You live and breathe Disney and want to blog about it||You want to get free Disney shit|
|You love TV and movies and would be excited just to be near a celeb – you’re a total fan girl!||You think getting your picture taken with celebs will make you famous|
|You’re a coupon goddess and want to share your money-saving knowledge with the world||You heard somewhere that coupon bloggers make a shit ton of money|
|You love writing about parenting issues and want to connect with other parents||Your kids are the cutest kids in the universe and you want to write about them because OMG who wouldn’t want to read about your special snowflakes?|
|You want to help people||You want people to help you make money|