After over a decade of blogging – on my own websites and as a guest and paid blogger on others – I’m still a MASSIVE fan of blogging. But with millions of blogs now littering the internet, gone are the days when you could start a blog as a really effective way of generating business, or of easily building a community, or of finding new folk to connect with.

Sadly – once you’ve got over the technical hump of getting a blog going – it isn’t as easy as starting to write blog posts and all of a sudden new folk will discover you and you’ll have a client base, a community or even just a bunch of folk willing to read what you blog!

So really, why bother blogging at all?

Cathartic, Conscious Communication…

First and foremost, for me it’s a really effective way of organising my thoughts and making sense of them.

Having to write about something – with the thought that others will read it – forces me to be more structured in how I’m thinking about something, how to order it, how to make it make sense in my own head.

Very often these days – especially when it comes to writing about some of my personal stuff – I have a very hazy, cloudy sense of a theme which makes very little sense. There are various component parts floating around that I know form some kind of more coherent whole but until I sit down to write about them, they’re jumbled up and don’t make much sense.

This is definitely what happened with my last post about where core values come from. The act of sitting down to figure out just how to write what I wanted to write and what it meant to me – in a way that might actually make sense to someone else – forced me to organise my thoughts and structure them in a far more logical and rational way, than the intangible sense I knew was there but couldn’t clearly ‘see’.

Not only is this process continuously cathartic, it’s a really effective way of practicing how to communicate what you want to say in a clear and conscious manner. Whether you run a business or you simply want to be more intentional about the words you use and how you communicate in all your relationships, blogging is one of the best ways I know of practising that.

Note: While journalling is similar, I think the very fact you write a blog post thinking someone else might read it, forces you to be clearer than you might be in a personal journey, meant only for your eyes.

…To Confidence-Boosting Connections

I have found blogging to be one of the most effective ways of connecting with people through more conscious, clear and intentional communication.

Sure, we can write long-winded status updates on Facebook and wax lyrical on our Instagram posts in a more long-form format but these always leave me wanting.

So far in my experience, nothing connects quite like a well-constructed blog post that pushes a button or two, allows me to express what I really want to say in a more conscious, intentional way and that is easy to (re)find because it doesn’t get lost in a feed that you have no control over.

Through blogging, I have connected with folk who have followed my own journey for the past decade or whose journeys I’ve followed for a while. It’s always fascinating when I realise that some folk know far more about me than I realise because they’ve been reading what I write for years! And if we’ve been following each other’s blogs, it can feel like connecting with someone I already know because we already ‘get’ each other from our blog writing, and usually find we’re very much on the same page already.

Having a ready platform on which to share some of your deepest thoughts, and being able to write so consciously and intentionally – often about topics and themes which others might find challenging – is a great way of distinguishing who your ‘right’ people are (and who they aren’t!). It helps you get below the surface bollocks of inane chatter, and gives you and them a hook to explore things on a far deeper level.

I’ve had folk (what seems like) suddenly make contact and ask to work with me having read my blogs and/or newsletters for years, before feeling ready to reach out and make direct contact…all the while, the things I’ve written have been working to build an element of trust and some form of connection. Whether it’s to work with me or not, every person who reaches out and makes a direct connection is a thrill – even after all these years of blogging.

Though not every response is as affirming, confidence-boosting and uplifting…

…To Being Shot Down In Flames!

It is, admittedly, pretty daunting when you first start writing something for others to read. When you start to blog, it’s a bit like making a public declaration that you want to show up, be seen and yes, stand out. Intentionally making yourself more visible can force you to face your demons and confront your fears, conscious and unconscious…

What if someone laughs at me? What if folk find it boring? What if I’ve got nothing new to say? Is anyone actually going to read it? Will they give a shit? How the hell do I start?”

And it’s easy to dismiss it as pointless, not worth it and an exercise in futility…

Blogging’s not ‘real’ writing anyway. Isn’t it really just a stream of consciousness?

But effective blogging is the exact opposite and requires planning, structure, conscious and intentional thought, and plenty of practice.

So what does happen when you do everything ‘right’ and you’re still shot down in flames?

I’ve had a few unpleasant experiences in my blogging adventures. The most recent happened a mere few weeks ago. A friend of my ex-husband’s (who happens to have been an acquaintance of mine too) suggested to him that they’d get a court order to shut Becky & I up on our Lemonaid blog, and that he should tell me to blog about something else ?

For a start, nothing we wrote about was libellous (for it to be libel, it has to be untrue – what we’d written and write about is very much a truth, even if it is our own, often with a basis in fact), but it was the shocking realisation that somebody – a woman and another mother, no less – wanted to shut us up when we discuss issues around feminism, our own personal journeys and other themes around self expression and personal awakenings.

While it’s easy to suggest that you might want to develop a somewhat thicker skin when you start blogging, this isn’t always the most valuable response. Feedback of any kind is useful fodder to explore more of your own stuff…

What part have you played in creating that dynamic and response? Would you have done anything differently if you knew you’d get that response? If yes, then what?

And sometimes it’s even more useful to recognise that no matter what you do, the response you get is purely and simply someone else’s stuff!

It’s your job to keep on writing, keep on sharing and keep on blogging because it’s your journey and no-one else’s and if you want to share it by blogging – by practising and honing your ability to communicate more consciously and intentionally to better connect with like-minded folk – then go ahead and blog!