Why You Should Start a Blog Even Though You Probably Won’t Make Money From It
If you want to get rich as fast as possible, starting a blog is not the best way to do so.
While it’s possible to earn money blogging, it’s not a fast path to wealth. It can take years just to earn a few hundred bucks per month from blogging, let alone enough to support your lifestyle.
As Alyssa Padgett once wrote,
For every “How This Blogger Quit Her Job and Made 7-Figures in Two Months Sitting in her PJs” there’s a thousand “Why This Blogger is Still Blogging After Three Years Even Though It Barely Earns Enough Money for Groceries”.
There are countless ways to earn income much quicker than blogging like tutoring people in stats, selling graphic designs online, becoming a freelance writer, selling items on eBay, or flipping furniture.
However, there are many reasons to start a blog even though you probably won’t make money from it (at least not initially).
Here are five good reasons.
1. The more you write, the better you think.
“When one teaches, two learn.” -Robert Heinlein
Writing forces you to clarify and rearrange your thoughts in a way that makes them readable. This is especially true when you’re writing a “How to” blog post in which you’re teaching a topic.
In your brain, your thoughts are a jumbled mess. Sure, you might intuitively understand how the stock market works, but when you write a blog post explaining how it works to a newbie, you’re forced to put all your thoughts onto paper and arrange them in a way that’s understandable.
When you teach someone about a topic through writing, you’re effectively teaching yourself at the same time. You quickly find out what you do and don’t know about that topic.
You force yourself to gain a thorough understanding of a subject before you allow yourself to explain it to someone else. This is why, as you become a better writer, you also become a better thinker.
2. The more you write, the more connections you make.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” -John Muir
When you develop a regular writing habit, you send a message to your brain that you need to start finding interesting things to write about on a regular basis.
Suddenly your brain starts noticing commonalities between that book you read last night before bed, that podcast you listened to on the way to work, and that movie you watched last weekend with your girlfriend.
For example, a couple weeks ago I wrote a post where I showed how geographical misconceptions are similar to financial misconceptions.
I explained that many people don’t realize that virtually the entire continent of South America is located east of Florida:
This is a common geographical misconception. Similarly, many people don’t realize that renting can actually be a better financial decision that buying. This is a common financial misconception.
I don’t believe that my brain could have made this weird connection a couple years ago before I started writing every day.
Through daily writing, I have taught my brain to always keep an eye out for these types of odd connections and comparisons so that I always have something to write about.
3. The more you write, the more detail you see.
“I took notes on the people around me, in my town, in my family, in my memory. I took notes on my own state of mind, my grandiosity, the low self-esteem. I wrote down the funny stuff I overheard. I learned to be like a ship’s rat, veined ears trembling, and I learned to scribble it all down.” -Anne Lamott
Just as writing teaches your brain to keep an eye out for patterns, it also teaches your brain to look at things more deeply.
A couple months ago I attended FinCon 2018, a financial conference where money bloggers meet to geek out about all things personal finance. During the conference, I had many conversations with fellow bloggers and I made a serious effort to draw insights from each conversation I had.
Then, in a blog post I shared my four biggest takeaways from FinCon:
- Most people want to keep working in some capacity even after quitting their day job
- Most people prefer part-time travel over digital nomadism
- Most people were not experts when they first started their blogs; they learned as they went
- Creativity is contagious; the more time I spent around creative people, the more creative I felt
Through daily writing, I have learned to pay attention to tiny details in everyday conversations because they can provide ideas for blog posts. This has improved my quality of conversations with others because I have learned to listen more closely to what they’re saying.
4. The more you write, the more you learn to start before you’re ready.
“Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.” -Stephen King
Anyone who writes regularly will tell you that pure gold doesn’t start flowing from your fingertips as soon as you sit down to write. Often the first 20 to 30 minutes of writing is complete garbage. It takes time to enter a flow state.
For this reason, writing teaches you that you don’t need to be ready before you start. You don’t need to know exactly how the post will sound from start to finish. You just need to show up and start writing.
A couple months ago I shared the “secret” to writing every day:
Just get moving. Action begets action.
This simple lesson applies to other areas in life as well. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start your website, ask for a negotiation, apply to that job, or start that side hustle. Just get moving. You can make adjustments along the way.
5. The more you write, the more you connect with like-minded people.
This is one of the greatest gifts of writing: when you share a piece of work with the world, you’re sending out a siren call to all the other like-minded people out there to come read your work and connect with you.
Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to hope and pray that you’ll meet people in life who have similar interests as you. You can just blast out your interests to the world and let those people come to you.
Starting a blog is not a great way to boost your income. It is, however, a great way to improve your thinking, see the world in deeper detail, and connect with like-minded people. And I’d argue that it’s hard to put a price tag on those benefits.