Five reasons why blogging is awesome (and you should do it)

On 22 August 2010 I wrote my first blog post for A Rosie Outlook.  It was called ‘New for the last time‘, and in it I confessed that I’d tried innumerable other writing projects and blogging platforms in the past, but felt ready to commit to blogging – I promised that this was the last time I would start something like that again and abandon it.  I wrote that I was excited to create an outlet for my writing, and a platform to record my thoughts, ideas and adventures.  My first few posts were about my flat, my balcony garden, my recipe scrapbook, a festival I went to, a dog walk…. It wasn’t groundbreaking stuff – it wasn’t going to win any awards or get me a job at The Guardian but it was me – it was a space on the internet for me to tap away on the keyboard and fill a page with things I wanted to share, remember, reflect on.

Fast forward to three and a half years later and this blog has grown beyond my wildest dreams.  The numbers don’t matter to me but the impact on my life has been incredible; it has changed me in so many positive ways, found me best friends, given me amazing opportunities and provided me an outlet that I now could not imagine being without. I never dreamed that my blog would be read by anyone other than myself (and maybe my Mum) so when I was recently asked to  be on the panel of judges for an amazing competition Trek America are hosting entitled ‘Trek America’s Next Top Blogger‘, it’s fair to say that I was pretty lost for words, not to mention incredibly flattered and excited.

The prize is absolutely amazing – the winner of their blogger competition will get to travel on their Westerner 2 tour and blog about their experience; they’ll also get their flights and hotel paid for.  The first stage of the challenge focuses on writing a creative and unique blog post, and, conscious of the fact that some of you out there might not already be bloggers, I thought I’d dedicate my own blog post today to talking about why blogging is awesome and you should start a blog immediately (why are you even still reading this, hey? Hey?) Mr Bear is already starting his own blog right now!

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1. In pursuit of things to share, it makes you notice and capture things differently

One of the things I loved about blogging immediately was the creative inspiration it gave me, and the gentle reminder to notice, and capture things around me more fervently.  When I started a blog it gave me a licence to carry my camera, and to photograph the little details that I previously missed.  Bloggers might jest about instagramming their food and having to surreptitiously take out their camera in a shop or restaurant, but without it would I have remembered that sumptuos Red Velvet cake in a little cafĂ©, that junk shop in France, that field full of flowers that I had to pull over and photograph? Maybe not – but now I have the pictures and the memories.

img credit: weheartit {source unknown}

2. The blogging community is wonderful, supportive, and there are friends out there waiting to be made!

When I started my blog it was in the pursuit of recording memories and sharing thoughts and ideas.  I really had no idea that there was a whole community of people out there that might like chatting about the same things as me, or might want to swap postcards and letters, or go to blogger meetups, and eventually become some of my closest friends.  I feel so lucky to have forged some amazing friendships through blogging, people I go to when I need advice, support, or when I urgently, desperately, need to hang out in a big field and eat picnic food and drink Pimms.  (I’ll let you in on a secret, other bloggers are awesome, and they mostly like eating cake).

3. It will help you develop skills you might not even know you had (or needed)

Blogging has helped me improve myself in so many ways I never would have considered.  It has helped me develop my photography skills, my writing skills, my design skills, helped me learn a little HTML, and even given me more confidence to go to meet-ups and events (something that was way beyond my capability a few years ago).  For those of you looking for a career in PR, marketing, fashion, or any creative field, blogging is a great way to hone your skills and make new friends and contacts.

4. Blogging could be the passion you’re looking for

I don’t know how to describe this point better than to say that for me, blogging filled a gap in my life that I didn’t know I had.  I loved photography but I’d never really had many other hobbies that ‘defined’ me, or that gave me a reason to get out and do something at the weekend, or something to call my own.  These days, blogging is my ‘thing’ – my ‘full time hobby’, my weekend pursuit.  Before blogging, I used to feel envious that Tom was so passionate about surfing and other watersports; now when he goes out I relish the opportunity to sit down and get stuck into blogging.  It’s given me something I can call my own, something I can dedicate myself to.  It gives me time for ‘me’ – unadulterated time to be ‘selfish’ and focus on me and what I want to share with the world.

img credit: sincerely damaris

5. It is incredibly cathartic

Sometimes in life I get to the point where my mind is ablaze with issues, concerns, crises, challenges, worries, and so on.  In challenging times it can feel consuming and it’s sometimes difficult to know where to turn. Blogging has always provided me with ‘therapy’ in a sense – and writing about things that are on my mind helps give them order and a sense of real catharsis.  In the past I’ve written about feeling sad about friendships and politics, about having crises of confidence about fashion and outfits, about anxiety, and about comparison and jealousy.  Not only does it make me feel indescribably better to spill it all out onto a (virtual) page, but it leads me to other people (through comments, Twitter, and so on) who feel the same and who help me not to feel so alone, or like I’m the only person who feels that way.  Sometimes even just a comment from someone offering support or thought can make me feel so much better.

Ultimately, blogging can be an incredibly rewarding and wonderful pursuit, and I can’t stress enough just how great a decision it was for me to start (and continue) blogging on that day in August in 2010.  I hope that this post gives those of you out there who are considering starting a blog but are unsure, that little push towards the Blogger (or WordPress) Register page.  And of course I hope all of you enter the amazing Trek America competition and put yourself in the running to win an amazing adventure.  Good luck!


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