“Writing is more valuable than gold.”
A few years back I added a simple item to my personal success to-do list: “Start a blog.” But maintaining a blog is hard work and it’s not easy to see the benefits early on. For these reasons, many blogs are abandoned after a short time. So starting a blog stayed near the bottom of my to-do list until last week, when Isaac Morehouse, founder of Praxis, sent an email to me and the other Praxis participants with the subject line: “Writing is more valuable than gold.” He challenged us to begin to write regularly and furthermore to “ship” our writing by putting it out for consumption and criticism.
Mainly for my own encouragement and hopefully for yours too, I made a list of three reasons why blogging is key to personal success based on advice I have gleaned from Isaac and Praxis Education Director T.K. Coleman.
Blogging builds brand.
Whether or not I choose to acknowledge it, I have an online image that has developed from the accumulation of my online activity and what others have posted about me. In today’s world, my online brand will often be the first impression others have of me. Even if I have a good online presence that currently helps me in my personal success, I don’t want to entrust my image to somebody else. I cannot control what others post about me, but I can control what I post about me.
A blog is often the greatest influence on its author’s online brand. How influential is a blog? I Googled the names of a few people I know who regularly maintain a blog. For nearly every one, their blog was the top result. When somebody else is looking to learn more about me, I want the opportunity to tell them my story before others can tell it for me.
Blogging fosters creativity.
Some people make the excuse that a lack of talent, skills, or training, or that they are simply “not a creative person,” puts creativity out of their reach. I disagree. I believe that God designed us with a purpose to participate with him in creation and that we find personal fulfillment in creative expression. A lack of creativity in my life makes me feel stagnant and restless, and in my stagnation I believe those excuses too. But the truth is that there is no prerequisite to creativity. All that is required to be creative is to create. All that is required to be a writer is to write.
Once I take that first step and begin creating, the creative juices start flowing through me again. Soon I find that my imagination is more active and I am thinking creatively not only in traditionally “creative” activities (e.g., writing) but also in every other part of my life. My personal growth and even my work performance benefit. Creativity begets creativity. Blogging regularly is one way for me to keep stirring up creativity so that I do not become stagnant.
Blogging confronts insecurity.
It is easy to express myself honestly within my social circles because I already know that my friends accept me. However, the world is not as kind to strangers. Expressing myself publicly makes me vulnerable to criticism and rejection and leads me to question my personal success. As far as I am insecure in my identity, vulnerability becomes an obstacle to creativity.
All expressions of creativity are vulnerable to criticism. If I let insecurity paralyze my creativity, then I may live my entire life never fulfilling my purpose to create. Instead of taking criticism personally, I should recognize it as an opportunity to improve. After all, even I concede that my idea will never match my ideal. Blogging, as a public and creative activity, challenges me to be vulnerable so that I overcome my insecurity.