When it comes to creative outlets, you guys know I'm a bit biased about writing. I'm a writer. It's tough to NOT go there. And I know there are a lot of you who enjoy writing or want to write more, but fiction isn't your thing. You don't care for poetry. And you are definitely not looking to write a non-fiction book.
So why don't you give blogging a shot?
I've started a handful of blogs over the past ten years, and while only two of them have survived, what I loved and learned from blogging was what an incredible creative outlet it was. There was no box I was trying to squeeze into when I was blogging. Sure, I was blogging on several topics that didn't work together, but that's okay. Blogging was about self-expression.
And real quick, let me just say this is not a post about starting a blog as a business or to make money. Sure, blogs work this way. Yes, this blog is part of my business. BUT what I want to help you do today is start a blog as a Creative. Outlet. For. You. (And you alone.) However, because I know some of you may want your blog to grow into something more one day, I'm including resources in this post that can help you set up your blog to be long term.
All right. Back to my story. I had blogs where I wrote poetry, short stories, non-fiction pieces. I put up images of my art. I posted photographs (sometimes with a caption or quote and sometimes with nothing at all). I blogged for a while about makeup because that was what I was interested in at the time.
The point is: my blog was my own little corner of the internet where I could engage with creativity.
If you're not sure what your creative sweet spot is, blogging is a great place to start.
Why Should You Start a Blog?
- It improves your writing
- It improves your visual composition as well
- It helps you develop a voice or aesthetic
- It builds your confidence
- It builds creativity
- It makes you think
- It helps you learn new things
- It helps you build a community
Blogging has been an incredible way for me to meet new people and build a creative community. While I have support at home, there are times when I feel as though no one really gets it. Unless you're a writer, it's difficult to understand what it's like. If you don't aspire to live your life creatively, it can be tough to figure out why someone would. And if you're not also a blogger, you probably won't understand why your friend is stressing out over SEO, images, and plugins. BUT blogging and building a community can be a chance for you to find others like you. I'm very grateful for the people I've meet so far, and yes, it feels amazing to have these new friends who Get. It.
How to Make Blogging Work For You
- Do what feels right. Don't blog about fashion if you have zero interest in it. Don't feel compelled to become a photographer just so you have images to put on your new blog. What are you into? What do you like? What do you have to say? And don't worry if this changes over time. I have a friend who's currently rebranding her blog because when she first started off, she was a bit all over the place, but because she wrote about so many topics, she now knows exactly what she wants her blog to be.
- Don't have a business mindset; at least not yet. I warned this wasn't your typical start-a-blog-to-make-money post. Using you blog as a creative outlet mean using your blog as a CREATIVE outlet. Enjoy the process of learning about yourself (and learning a new skill: blogging).
- Think before you share. You don't have to tell anyone you know in "real life" that you are blogging. You don't need to let your mom or your best friend or your coworkers know. This is your little space of internet. You can share or not share with anyone you wish.
- Remember YOU. Don't start your blog for anyone else but yourself. Remember, this is about you finding a new way to express yourself. Whether you do this with words, images, or a mix of both, it's entirely up to you. Doing what everyone else wants you to do or expects you do is only going to burn you out and deter you from blogging in the future.
10 Amazing RESOURCES to get you started
What are you going to blog about?
- How to Choose Your Blog's Niche + Focus by Melissa Griffin
- Four Tips for Finding Your Blogging Niche by Lauren Hooker
Choose a name for your blog.
- Melissa Griffin also has a great post on this topic (plus a free worksheet!) Who doesn't love free worksheets?
Choose between hosted or self-hosted.
- This post by Krystal discusses why it's okay to use a hosted site for your blog.
Should I Self Host My Blog?
- If you are looking at self-hosted, you'll hear a lot about WordPress and Squarespace. This post by Latrisha and Company does a great job breaking down the difference between the two to help you know which is right for you.
Wait! I still don't know what to blog about.
- 25 Blog Post Ideas for New Bloggers by Mandy will get your started.
- 25 Blog Posts for the Uninspired by Allyssa Barnes
Learn about SEO from the get-go.
- Allison's 15 Super Simple SEO Tips for Non-Tech Savvy People is really easy to follow.
Stay motivated and organized.
- Another great post by Allison: 10 Tips to be Ultra Productive
- And since most of your blogging will happen in your home, that means you'll be working from home (even if it is only part-time), so check out Christina's 11 Habits for Work-at-Home Productivity.
Don't start a blog to make money. Don't start a blog to be famous or become the next guru in your niche. If you want blogging to work for you, then you HAVE to make it about YOU.