e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70

    5 Benefits To Zen Blogging

    It has been almost 3 years since I started my first blog, I knew nobody was reading and it was a simple operation from my bedroom. Each day I would wake up and see if anybody had left a comment (nobody ever did) and then check my Google Analytics stats to see how many people had visited (nobody ever did).

    Each day I would read as much as I could about an industry I loved at the time and then proceed to share the things I had learned on my blog. Nobody was reading, nobody was commenting…I didn’t care. Being quite new to blogging, I loved just having a voice and the ability to write something which was instantly viewable to the world if I ever became so lucky.

    To me, there was just something about blogging that made total sense, something about saying what you want with no restrictions that I enjoyed. In fact, I did more than enjoy it, I absolutely loved it. In this post I want to share the reasons why I think you all should at least try blogging at sometime or another and my guide to Zen blogging. Whether you know how to set-up a website or not, please take the following points into consideration before you decide against what I’m trying to share.

    5 Benefits to Blogging

    1 ~ You get to be creative – most of us get stuck in boring jobs where our only creative daily task is deciding how to put our sandwiches together. With blogging, there are hundreds of ways you can put together a post and there are no rules on which topic you want to write about.

    Great creative, use words you’ve never tried to use. Cover subjects you didn’t think you could cover and mindmap post ideas that you think your potential future readers will enjoy. A little creativity is good for anybody.

    2 ~ You join the community – people my age (I’m 19) tend to forget that not long ago there was a time where there were no PCs in every home and there was certainly no internet. What I love about blogging is that we can connect to people with similar interests and learn more about the things we enjoy.

    Blogging opens you up to meeting some amazing people and reading what they have to say. There are so many talented individuals out there and when you’re a fellow blogger, you feel like you’re apart of an amazing community. It just feels right.

    3 ~ You gain a new hobby – although some people blog solely for the money, not everybody blogs for that reason. In fact, I would say that only a small percent of people blogging are expecting that they can do it full time one day. Why? Because it’s fun. Being creative is fun, being part of a community is fun. Being able to create something out of nothing on a regular basis has to be one of the best hobbies out there. Sadly, fun is a feeling that we rarely think we can get paid to have.

    For all of you out there who are regular readers of WritetoDone / Zenhabits but don’t blog, what is stopping you? I see blogging as something that is relaxing, zen-like (if you follow the next part) and challenging. Every time you write a post it’s up to you what you want to say or what you don’t, but if you give it a try I’m sure you’ll come back to your blog again and again.

    4 ~ You can earn a side income – earning a side income is actually an understatement, if you are willing to work hard and take your passion to your next level then it’s definitely possible to make blogging a full-time gig. Just ask Leo.

    Even if you only make $100 per month from your blog, that’s quite a chunk of change which can help go towards your monthly bills or your weekly grocery shopping. Who doesn’t want to earn money doing something they enjoy?

    5 ~ You learn new skills – I like to think that the day I’m not learning anything new is the day I’ll be dead. As humans, we are creatures that are designed to pick things up very quickly and apply what we’ve learned into all areas of our lives. With blogging you can learn how to:

    • Improve word-processing skills
    • Improve general computer skills
    • Learn how to build a website from scratch
    • Work out how to increase visitors to your website…

    …and a whole lot more. If you are just starting out the last 2 can seem a little daunting, but you’ll be surprised at how easy it all is. The beauty of it all is that you can take things at your own pace and not have to rush for anybody, because it is your website.

    Zen Blogging

    To continue my story from earlier, I actually went on to dislike being a blogger. In fact, for almost a year I didn’t write a single blog post. The reason for this is that I set so many rules on my self and hit so many challenges that I simply gave up, I didn’t know where to turn. The main message I wanted to get across in this blog post is that you don’t have to follow the rules, I set my own and didn’t realise I was doing it.

    • I HAD to reach X visitors per month or I was a ‘failure’
    • I HAD to get comments on a post or I was wasting my time
    • My design HAD to be perfect or I would keep tweaking till it was
    • I HAD to write the best post on a topic or I was just like the people doing it for the money

    These aren’t rules, blogging has no rules. These are the rules that I set-up for myself because at the time I had a ridiculously high standard for success. I can’t control exactly who comments on my posts, how many people visit my site or whether my design would be perfect, it will never be perfect. Instead of continuing to blog in a way that I enjoyed, I started to look at hitting targets and aiming to make a decent income.

    Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with hitting targets, but when they start putting you off from doing the thing you love then you need to look a little closer to home. And that, my friends, is the beautiful thing about Zen Blogging.

    You create the rules, you write whenever you want to write, your posts are as long as you want them to be and you write for your own reasons. If you want to create a photo blog then go ahead, if you decide after 10 posts that you want to move to video blogging then go ahead.

    Bare in mind that if you ever do decide you want to make a career in blogging then you’re definitely going to have to learn a little more and possible tweak things to cater to a wider audience. When you think about it, which income source doesn’t require greater skills or knowledge when you want to move up the financial rungs?

    I’m 19 years old, I dropped out of college and made the scariest decision of my life last year to go and live in Africa without knowing one single person. If you’re reading this now then I’ve just managed to write a post on WritetoDone, one of my favourite and most inspiring blogs. I don’t do it for anything other than loving what I do, which is the only rule in Zen blogging. I made the mistake in the past of putting too much pressure on myself, now I work hard but know that there are limitations to what I can achieve, at least in the short term.

    If you started blogging and gave up, what was the reason? It’s likely that your situation is very similar to mine and if that is the case then I urge you to give things another chance.

    I’ll leave you with some resources that can help you take the leap if you do decide you want to give blogging a go:

    I want to thank Mary & Leo for this opportunity, and thank you all for following me to the end. I know there are a lot of bloggers who frequent the site, but I’m sure there are many more who are just regular visitors. If that’s you then please update me if you give it a shot, I would love to know that I’ve inspired at least one person.

    About the author

      Glen Allsopp

      Glen Allsopp really hopes you enjoyed the article that you've just read. He also hopes that if you really did enjoy it, you'll check out his blog which covers topics like Personality Development and perhaps subscribe to the feed.

    • Zoe says:

      What a great article Glen – I can’t believe you’re only 19 as you write in such a mature way! Your comments about the ‘rules’ you set yourself are exactly the reasons why blogging started to feel like a chore for me too. At the beginning of this year I deleted my old blog and started again from scratch. And no, I’m not getting much traffic, and next to no comments either, but I don’t care any more! Well, I don’t care as much as I did, anyway. Thank you for reminding me of the reasons why I love to blog.

    • Great read. Much of what you have mentioned above lies true with me. I was 20 when i began to write. I started my first blog around June last year. I only posted a couple of times before quitting. Im not sure why this was but looking back i think i put a bit too much thought into it. I started to post again a few days ago. Now, i dont put much thought into it. I just write and write until i have nothing left to say or until my wrist hurts. I wouldnt say im the best writer in the world but i get a lot of enjoyment out of it. This post will give me the motivation and enthusiasm to keep going. Thanks alot.

      http://midnightblotter.blogspot.com

    • Ditto – all of the above. Good one!

      http://frisbeepainting.com

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    • Great read… I just launched a blog for many of the positive reasons you listed but I’ve since become obsessed with tracking numbers and metrics and plotting subscribers… all the things I promised myself only days earlier I wouldn’t worry about. Honestly, a burden lifted as I read your story. If I build an audience great, but in the meantime I’ll enjoy the Zen of a new hobby and creative outlet.

    • midlifemom says:

      I really enjoyed your post. I am new at blogging and for me it is analogous to when I trained for my first (and thus far only) marathon at the age of 38 (with no running experience at all) …why did I do it? Because it was the only thing I had in my life that I did for no one other than me and with no goal (other than to finish) in mind. It wasn’t for my kids, for my husband, for my career…I needed to focus on something else besides what I was for others or what I ‘should be doing’. Training and completing the marathon changed my self-concept more than anything prior or since (including earning a doctorate). Blogging is my new 26.2!

    • Gail says:

      Hi Glen,

      I have been contemplating starting a blog. My problem is, I feel very technologically challenged. But I am feeling very inspired by your post. I know that once I get started, I’ll be fine, but getting over the hump is frustrating. Thanks!

      Gail

    • joylene says:

      Very inspiring. I’ve been making those mistakes. I needed to read this. It’s all about rejection, isn’t it? That is the one thing that binds us and tortures us at the same time: only failures are rejected.

      Zen blogging. Yes, it’s about my connection with my creativity and my relationship with my God. Sheesh, I knew that!

    • Julie M says:

      I agree with everything you said and all the ‘failures’ I think I have because I get little readers and little to no comments. I guess what bothers me the most is my own friends and family do not even read!! Thanks for the inspiration… maybe I will focus my blog on Zen blogging!

    • Glen, I started blogging about one month ago. It has changed my life for all the reasons you indicate in this post. Great article and keep it up. Good luck to you!

    • Josefine says:

      Great, you got me. I stopped blogging last September. But I start feeling this urge in me again to put things on paper (more into the web). Thanks for this great reminder. I will give it a go again.

    • Tiffany says:

      as a (20 year old) blogger i totally relate to having no one visit your blog or comment… But just like you i continue to do it on a regular basis just because i like doing it… Sometimes i use my blog for articles other times for photographs of inspiration, but whatever happens with it. I’m just glad i have a voice that anyone can see at anytime, something that says “Hey! i exist!..Listen to what i have to say!”…
      The article was great by the way… Thanks.

    • Nithya says:

      Hi Glen,
      I started my blog recently and its going through pretty much the same situation that yours went through at the beginning. It’s not very motivating to keep posting under such circumstances.

      Your list does help put things in perspective for me. There are benefits to blogging even when there isn’t any traffic.

      Just continuing with this venture teaches me discipline and the perseverance to keep at it. I believe if our intentions are right, something good always comes out of it.

      -Nithya

    • Glen… You have done a TERRIBLE thing!

      You have just inspired more people to blog… which means there is now going to be more competition.

      j/k

      : D

    • Glen, I love your sentiment.

      If you’re not having fun blogging, then why in the world do it?

      Yes, if you’re trying to make real money from blogging or promote your business, you’ve gotta follow some of the “rules”; simply following your “passion” won’t compel people to spend money on you…

      But, of all writing mediums, blogs are the one where you’re in complete control and can do whatever you want.

      Your statement is spot-on and stands as a bright-red STOP sign to those “blogging experts” who say you must do this or that:

      “You create the rules, you write whenever you want to write, your posts are as long as you want them to be and you write for your own reasons.”

      Ironically, when you relax about the whole thing, enjoying the process of total creativity, your passion will propel you to write better than you ever had before–because you were stifled by the avalanche of blogging rules. Forget it.

      If blogging isn’t your job, you’re insane to treat it like one; or at least, doing so will eventually make you insane.

      It’s your blog so have fun with it.

    • 19 and you dropped out of college to go to Africa! That’s one of the most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard in a long time.

      Every year I take at least 3 months of break to recharge, but before the breaks, I always make sure that my business will be running smoothly.

      To drop everything and go for a journey is what most people dream of yet never quite summon up the guts to really do it.

      More power to you!

    • I still struggle with being an obsessive compulsive blog tweaker, so I appreciate your reminder about how “zen” the blogging experience can be. I own dozens of domain names which testify to my tendency to tweak, redo, and totally go primitive on my various blogs.

      What I’ve learned, and am trying to implement in my blogging life, is I can blog about whatever the hell I want to. I don’t have to own one blog for this and another blog for that. “But that’s no way to run a pro blog!?” Who cares?

      I figure by the time I start making enough money for my blog (I only have one as of today) to go pro, I’ll know what I’m blogging about anyway.

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    • @Carlota – Excellent! Thanks for the kind words. Just get out there and do it, you’ve nothing to lose…

      @Jan – Thank you!

      @Spideymang – I’m glad my energy / passion came across, that was one of my main aims

      @Phaoloo – Awesome, keep it up

      @Monna – thanks for that, I replied to your email 🙂

    • Monna says:

      I loved this post and had a similar response to blogging “rules”. I shared my thoughts on the same topic at: http://slowblogs.blogspot.com/2008/10/read-slowly-introduction.html

    • phaoloo says:

      Thank you Glen for sharing these benefits of blogging. Sometimes I feel so bored and want to stop writing. Then think about the benefits blogging already brings to me, I keep going.

    • Spideymang says:

      Hi Glen

      Thanx for all the energy that you transmit in this post, I’m from Mexico City and my favourite hobby is bloggin. I’m a blogger since November 2007 and in this year and three months I improve my writting to an very good grade, I also trying to post in English to improve it but it’s difficult for me because the school demands a lot of time and I always want to write in a perfect English if it’s possible.

      Hope to read you soon and congratulations

    • jan says:

      You’ve set an good example on how to tough it out in blogging when nobody seemed to read one’s posts. Three years it took you before your blog gains traction. That’s hard when one’s motivation is to reach out and be a part of this thriving community.

      I love your idea of setting your own rules. That’s a liberating thought indeed. It’s all very well to be fully aware of the lessons dispensed by blog masters, but at the end of the day, you’re alone in your own mind while crafting your post. Time to be creative and be answerable only to yourself and your readers.

    • Carlota says:

      Hi Glen, thanx for this inspiring post!

      You write very well for being 19. I’d say you can add that to “reasons to blog”. Writing with readers in mind has definitely improved my writing skills!

      Thank you for the reminder about the fact that the only rules are the ones we impose on ourselves. I’ve been surfing for self-help blogs that are similar to what I want to do with my blog, to see if my ideas with it will fly.

      And then it occurred to me while reading your post that maybe I ought to follow my own creative spirit and let go of that inner critic of mine. HAHA! The irony…(sigh). Anyways, zen blogging here we go!

    • @ Writers Coin – great point, I worked in social media marketing for the last year and a half for some big companies and skills like that really came in handy.

      @ Frances – I can completely relate to that, thanks for joining the discussion

      @ Daphne – Awesome, thank you!

      @ Nate – that’s a cool visualisation. Now that I think about it, I prefer the hockey stick _/

      @ Stuart – Excellent 🙂

    • Stuart says:

      My thoughts exactly. I didn’t start blogging to attract visitors or make money. I blog because I enjoy it!

    • Wow, that sounds like my blog right now. No one comments only a few visitors. I keep plugging along hoping someone will find the information useful at some point. I have a picutre of the S curve in mind, thinking that i’m on the bottom slope of that S. When someone hit’s the upside of the S it should be interesting.

      -Nate

    • Daphne says:

      Glen,

      This was an awesome post. I admire your total honesty about yourself, and openness in sharing your experiences so we can learn from it. I totally understand the stress that comes from setting high targets and not achieving them, and I love the whole concept of Zen blogging.

    • Frances says:

      I’ve just started my blog for all the reasons you listed above. I’m finding that writing my posts after work helps me to unwind after a long day. I proofread and post them in the morning though, just to make sure I was making sense when I wrote it. It’s very freeing to have someplace to say “This is my philosophy. Enjoy.”

    • I would second all those things you listed and add that it could make you a better employee. Being the only one at the office that knows how blogs work, what you can do to make them better, and all the other basics puts you way ahead of the game if your company has or wants to start a blog.

    • Hey Mary,

      Thanks for posting this. I hope the readers enjoy it. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll check back!

      Cheers,
      Glen


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