Blog if you dare...
I am quite new to blogging and I have given this a ton of thought. OK, maybe not a ton, but definitely more than just "a lot": bloggers are brave. I am not saying that we are all nice, do-gooders who are "out to change the world", or that our content is all legitimate, interesting or read-worthy. But I am saying that the act of blogging is not for the faint hearted and here are some reasons why:
(1) Your Mistakes Are Out There
Most formal - and some informal - forms of writing are edited and put through several filters and reviews. Blogging isn't. Your content and your writing are open immediately to scrutiny and criticism. Got a typo? Say something that in hind sight you probably shouldn't have? You will be called out. In the very first blog that I wrote, a friend reached out to me and said: "Congratulations on your blog, but there are some grammatical errors. You should correct them. Maybe for next time you should add a disclaimer?" My response to that is: my mistakes are my own. It's not about being perfect, it's about being authentic.
(2) Your Opinions and Thoughts Are in the Public Domain
Blogging isn't about sitting on the fence or being neutral. If you have started a blog, it is probably because you have something to share. Or at least you think you do. If you are reticent or shy; if you share your thoughts only amongst those who know you best, blogging isn't for you. For me, the fact that blogging is inherently about being opinionated, seems to be the reason that bloggers have become recognised thought leaders and - in some cases - trendsetters.
(3) You Are Redefining Formal Structures
When we were taught the art of essay writing in school, we were taught that good writing is about balance. Composition and layout were to be done according to text book guidelines. Sentence structures could be parsed according to age-old formulations that can be learnt from thick, dusty volumes. Blogging throws the text book out the window - for better or for worse. There are no rules. Each blogger gets to create his or her blogdom, and if it works - more power to them. I don't believe that most bloggers consciously set out to defy laws of grammar or composition, but each one does strive for a unique voice: one that will set him or her apart from the thousands out there who are doing similar things...
Which brings me to my next point...
(4) You Are Not Alone
Most writing professions still require some sort of academic proficiency or certification. Blogging is accessible and free for all. Anyone with Internet connectivity, a virtual space, and a means to gather his or her words, can do it. Whether you blog for fun, or whether you blog for professional reasons, you have to be compelling, relevant and interesting enough to make a blog become anything more than your own online journal. And while, in a business setting, a market can become satiated with a particular service or product, (check out Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne), there seems to be no limit to the number of people who have something to share and are willing to blog about it. If you want to build up your online presence, if it is your aim to become a well-known entity, you have to work hard and to set yourself apart from all the others around you.
(5) You Need to have Confidence
I have a list of topics that I want to share. This list ranges from observations to fore grown conclusions about literature, writing, leadership, creativity, change management and organisational development. Some ideas are specific, and others are abstract concepts still in the making. But sometimes I find myself wondering: is this enough? Is it interesting? Who really cares? Let me be clear, the issue here is not my content: honestly, it's more about confidence. I knew from the outset that I would not be a prolific blogger, not daily, not weekly. Monthly sounds good, if I can muster it. But, I didn't realise, that for me, personally, it would take more than just typing up my thoughts to get something out. It would take encouragement, persuasion and positive thinking - and ongoing dialogue between me, myself and I.
For these reasons, I salute and applaud bloggers all around the globe. For those of you who remain undecided about whether or not you should begin a blog, I say: go for it - if you dare...