Saturday 1 March 2014

Why you should blog

Almost a year ago, I started this blog on a whim. I was a highly unlikely person to do so: I knew precisely one blog (A Beautiful Mess). I didn't journal, or keep a diary, or have a job related to writing. I didn't know for the longest time what a blog even was. I didn't know any bloggers personally.

So why did I do it? 
Because I felt restless. And I wanted to create a space where I could put the pictures I took with my cellphone. 
And somehow, deep down, I hoped that it would help me to figure some things out. But that thought was more subconscious, or maybe I project it now in hindsight - a year ago I did not yet know the power of blogging.

So I got started on March 15, 2013. I remember my first post well: I was writing it on the bed, and was really nervous and excited before I hit the "publish"-button. Somehow, I felt, that this could be the start of something special. 

Of course, nothing happened in the beginning. Nobody in the online world knew about Farm Girl. I had no idea about networking, didn't know until at least 4 months in what link-ups were, didn't realize that commenting on other blogs would result in them coming to me.

But I loved it. Right from the start. If you read posts from the first 2 months or so you can tell how excited I was by it all (exhibit A: Crazy in love)

There are lots of reasons why I love it so much. It has improved my life in so many ways that I want you to start a blog, too!

Here are 7 reasons why:

1. It helps you figure things out.
I didn't know it when I got started, but blogging is excellent therapy. It makes you think a lot more about life and people, because you are always searching for your next topic. 

My big struggle for a few years was the question of whether I wanted kids of my own or not. I have since decided that I'm not full-time mother material - I loved being a part-time stepmom when they were younger, and enjoy now tremendously hanging out with my grown up stepdaughters from time to time.

But the road to this revelation was a long one, and blogging helped me in ways I never imagined. First, it is very therapeutic to write things down, get them out in the open, and organize one's thoughts. Second, and more important, it is immensely helpful to find like-minded women. 

You see, in my real life there isn't anybody I'm close to who is in a similar situation. All my girlfriends are either mothers already, or want to be. So I didn't really have anybody who can relate. But then I found a few like-minded women in this blogging world: Shannon from Brass Honey; Amanda from Voyage of the MeeMee who wrote a brilliant post about it here; Anna from A Dash of Quirky (whom I just discovered and am obsessed with), whose post On (Not) Having Kids is my new mantra; and Mariah from Food, Booze, & Baggage. Mariah actually created the page Childfree Are We where she lists other bloggers who choose the childfree lifestyle, and features articles and sites on the topic.  

Phew, that turned out way longer than I expected. All I'm trying to say is this: if you have problems in your life and blog about it, you will eventually find a solution. Because there are so many kind people out there who will help, either willingly (by giving advice) or inadvertently (by sharing their own stories). Try it!
2. It nurtures your creative side. 
I have never considered myself to be a particularly creative person. I don't DIY, crochet, knit, sew, or do any of the other creative things people do. Before I discovered blogging I worked, walked, read, hung out at the farm, and watched TV. Yup, it is an exciting life I'm living here. 


Three+ years ago I got my first "cool" phone, a Samsung Nexus. After about a year of not doing anything with it apart from texting and using Facebook (and, very occasionally, actually making phone calls) I discovered that it had a pretty decent camera. Up to that point I was not interested in photography at all. I had a camera, but rarely used it. 
My phone was always with me though. And I didn't need to know anything about photography: just point and shoot. As soon as Instagram came along, I started to get hooked. 

My love of creating pictures led me to blogging, which made me realize that I actually really, really enjoy writing. I need it. It makes me happy. It makes me feel creative. And for someone who didn't know the feeling of possibility and excitement that comes with the creative process, this was a revelation. It opened up a whole new world, and I'm loving it!

3. It's inspiring. 
This is the continuation of the previous point. Like I said, blogging has opened up a new world for me. A world full of creative people: I admire Katie's style. Love Rachele's amazing portraits. 
Follow Allison's 6-month journey on a boat. Will forever be amazed at the success of Emma and Elsie. I adore (and sponsor) Melyssa for her positive and inspiring outlook on life. Learn every day from Jenny's astounding vocabulary. Can't get enough of Rachel's quirkiness. 
And there are many, many more. This is just the tip of the iceberg. 
All these people make me want to live a creative, full life. Thank you for the continued inspiration!

4. You won't feel lonely. 
This may seem like a stretch, but let me explain.
Once in a while, we all feel lonely. I wrote about Being different, and feeling like the odd one out. For a long time I thought only I feel that way. (Remnants of being a overly dramatic teenager I'm afraid.) What I didn't realize is that everybody feels that way sometimes. I have come to accept this as a fact of life. And what a relief that was!

I also find it really helpful to learn about other people's lives. Every life has ups and downs, good and bad days, struggles and triumphs. On some level we know that of course. But the abstract isn't that helpful. Reading about real people is! It has opened my eyes, made me more humble and grateful, and appreciate my life way more than I did before.

5. It makes you brave. 
Sometimes, you get this overwhelming need to write about something that's very important to you. That's been on your mind a lot and wants to come out. And sometimes, it scares you to put it out there. Because it is personal, and you don't know what kind of reactions you will get. Only three weeks into my blogging journey I wrote about my depression. I remember that day well: This time I was writing in the kitchen, and I was so nervous about publishing it that I read it to Richard first (something I never usually do). But he encouraged me to publish it, and so I did. 

The response was beyond my wildest dreams. I had a ton of people come up to me: they told me their stories. They told me how brave I was. They shared my story with people who struggled with the same demons. It was kind of bizarre in the very best way. It showed me how similar we are despite our differences. I had felt so alone in this for so many years - now I wasn't any more. I think that's when I first realized the power of blogging. 

6. The community.
If you let it, blogging is very social. It took me a very long time in blog years (at least 6 months) to start networking. I'm not sure why, but I believe I needed to find my voice and my footing first.
Since I hadn't been involved in any way before (I didn't follow any blogs) it took me a long time to figure it all out. Not to say I have figured it out yet - not by a long shot! But I definitely know more now than I did a few months ago.

You share your life, or parts of it. It is very difficult to explain what the attraction is - to me it is liberating and empowering. I feel I don't have to hide, or pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm just me, and people respond! It is really incredible when you think about it.

My favourite blogs are the ones where the writer is honest, positive, and funny. There are many that make me feel like they are my friends, even though we have never met in real life. I feel that I know more about some of these women than I do about friends in my real life! 

I'm strange in that I like people, but I need lots of alone time. I like friends at a distance? It sounds bad, but I don't know how to explain it better. Blogging is perfect for me: I feel close to quite a few people, but with the distance that I seem to need. 
Oh, I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with this! Analyze This, Billy Crystal!

7. The goodies.
Well, this is something I can't tell you from experience (yet?). But as you may know, you can make money with blogging. Through offering sponsorships, advertising, e-courses, maybe a design or photography business at the side, or having an etsy shop. I really can't say much about it, but the possibilities are endless (from what I hear)!
So far I have been very reluctant to try to get into that game. I'm afraid it may feel more like work and less like a hobby, and I already have a job, I don't need another one.

But there is one thing I'm sure I couldn't turn down: free clothes. That's my not-so-secret ambition: getting someone to send me free dresses! Anybody listening? Check out my fashion page to see what I like: bright colours, prints, patterns. Very much obliged ;-)

Now I turn the stage over to you, fellow bloggers: 
Why did you start blogging? What do you get out of it? Can you think of more reasons why someone should start a blog?

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

Love, Miriam

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  1. I agree with ALL of these... except for the goodies because I haven't gotten any of those, haha! :) I got into blogging to get OUT of my comfort zone. See, I'm not shy AT ALL... but I'm not one to share my feelings very easily - I was scared that I would eventually just shut down completely and that's not what I want at all. My favorite part is definitely the community. :)

  2. I really related to just about everything you wrote, Miriam, nearly word for word! Blogging is so wonderful for all of these reasons you mentioned, so therapeutic, healing, and comforting! :)

  3. Marian this is one of the best posts I have ever read. I couldn't have said it any better, I don't think any of us could. There's truth behind every single one of your points. I can't believe how much blogging has done for me in such a small amount of time. It really has been life-changing. Happy one year my friend. Hugs

  4. Honestly, sometimes I wonder why I spend so much time blogging and why I like it so much, but this sums it up so well! It's a great creative outlet, and I love what you said about being brave. And meeting friends! It's all so fun :)

  5. Great post Miriam! Totally has really gotten me to get out of box and explore all kinds of new skills. I love that it provides a bit of a reason to try new things. Thanks so much for the mention! Are you ready to claim your spot on the page then?

  6. So well said!! It's interesting how I think that having this blogging community and really branching out in it has made me even more comfortable in real life. Not that I was ever uncomfortable or really lacked confidence, but I was oddly shy and didn't always feel that I fit. Since finding my way on here more I realize that I also have created a great balance in my day-to-day life with other moms, that I feel comfortable opening up because I've read over and over again how similar we all are. It's been wonderful, and I feel so much community online and off.

    And then the writing for creativity part? Spot on. I always feel much more accomplished on days that I write, and feeling accomplished can be hard (for me) when staying at home raising kids. It really does help work out feelings too! I love going on walks and thinking things through, coming up with ideas to write about, and really letting them work their way through me.

  7. These are great points, Miriam! (and thanks for the shoutout!) I love your point on blogging making you brave. I completely agree. In addition to making you write about things you are scared to write about, it also forces you to become comfortable in your own skin, you know? If you are going to publish something, you need to be confident about it. And that also means coming to terms with it yourself. I am so glad you found blogging and so glad our blogs found each other. ;)

  8. So happy I stumbled upon your blog Miriam! I really loved reading this post - especially being a very very new blogger. I actually just started my blog ( a few days ago. Like you said I was nervous and excited to press the publish button because it's a big commitment to start a blog but I'm so happy that I did and so excited to see where it can go! I started it because I'm just getting ready to embark on a great new adventure and I want to document it plus I've just been itching to get writing again and this seems like the perfect release :) I can't wait to read more of your great posts!!

  9. I love this post! It's so true - every word - I think that blogging can be hugely beneficial to people and be a great creative outlet. My blog has helped me so much - to feel like I'm part of a community (in actuality I'm quite introverted), to feel like I'm reaching out to others, to feel comfortable with myself as I am enough to share with others, and to show others the pictures and experiences I have! It's so great! I've always loved writing and blogging is such an amazing way to do just that. I can write about everything; I have complete control over my posts and what I write and I love reading comments and knowing that people actually read {and hopefully enjoy} what I have to say!
    Hooray for blogging!
    ~ Samantha

  10. I love your honesty! I just started blogging. . . really about less than a month ago. I started blogging because I used to have a semi-brilliant writting mind. Poetry, journals, essays, amature books, etc. I loved writing it all. However, I have lost that side of me. I am blogging to discover that girl who love to be creative. I also started blogging for the goodies. Not going to lie. I know that this is not a get fast quick type of business so I am in it for the long haul. I am looking forward to sharing with the world how my boring life at home as a SAHM has an adventerous, humorous, and real side. I hope you can check out waht I've done so far. Trust me, I know it is a work in progress, but I would love feedback!!

  11. Hi fellow step-mom, nice to meet you! The best way to learn about blogging is by blogging, so you are off to an excellent start! It also does wonders to spark creativity, and made me fall in love with writing. Good luck with it, and thanks so much for your kind comment!


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