There are some activities in life that shouldn't be subjected to maybe-it's-not-for-me analysis. Activities like reading and exercising. Blogging is now part of those activities.
Having a blog is now like having an email account. You lose more by not having it than by having it. And just as you'll still find people whose email address reads firstname.lastname@example.org, and are always forwarding you annoying mails. You'll also find several blogs that are a complete trash. But just as you won't deactivate your email accounts and start using snail mails only, you should not neglect having a blog.
Your blog does not have to be like mine, very personal and updated daily. It doesn't have to be like Linda Ikeji's. It doesn't have to be like BellaNaija
It only has to be yours, and updated only when you've got something to share. Just like your Facebook or twitter account.
You could decide to share lessons from your daily meditation (quiet time, as we often call it). You could decide to share advice on relationships. You could decide to share your special knowledge on your favorite hobby, your field of specialization, or places you've visited. Or you could be like, and share all there is to you.
And as is my favorite way of doing things, I will share with you benefits of having a blog, with a personal touch.
1. Readers are Leaders; Writers are Bigger
We've all heard that readers are leaders. But the other part we are not told is that writers are bigger; it's writers that write what readers read. No writer, no reader.
Blogging encourages you to write more, and about the things that interest you. I found my unique voice through blogging.
I started this blog in 2009. Then, I had a big notebook, where I had compiled all my poems and articles. So, I saw blogging as having an online version of that notebook. I put up all the poems I was comfortable sharing with the world and the articles I didn't mind a cousin reading.
There were years I didn't make a single post for months. I only updated my blog when I had something interesting to share. To me, my blog was too personal and dear to fill with junk. And I didn't bug my friends on Facebook about it, some still don't know that I have a blog.
For 4 years, less than 200 people visited my blog daily. Some days, less than 100. At first, I was sad about it. Then, I got used to it.
2. It made me Buy a Book on Grammar
While in the university, I was always surprised when a friend points our my grammatical errors. I was surprised because of two things: I didn't notice the error and I didn't think that the one I made was as bad as the one he was claiming I made.
Blogging revealed my common grammatical errors to me. I particularly had issues with Past Perfect Continuous tense and all the conditional tenses. For over 3 years I avoided reading my previous posts. I wouldn't read through my own blog!
That I wasn't getting enough eyeballs on my blog was discouraging enough, I wasn't ready to take on the grammar monster.
But a few months ago, with vital push from good friends, I swallowed my pride and bought grammar books. Then, I dedicated a week to editing all my blog posts. It was a very humbling experience. My grammar skills took a big leap. And I'm no longer ashamed to read my own blog posts.
Blogging helped me become a better communicator, both in spoken and written words. And though I still make grammatical errors; I'm proud of myself, knowing how greatly I have improved recently.
3. It helped me to discover myself
You must have noticed that I write a lot about myself. And for someone like me, who has lived more than half of his life bottled up in himself and extremely shy, it's a mighty good thing!
And it all started when I discovered that no one was really reading my blog. I had nothing to fear. I began writing about everything. I would spend days thinking hard about my life just to be able to put up a post. I liked the feeling afterwards. It was like a treasure hunt, I was mapping my own life and discovering new things about myself.
It opened a way for me to become like my heroes, the people whose lives inspire me. To be able to express my thoughts like Socrates, working at fixing all logical loopholes. To be able to write like Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), they very way I would like to be read. Knowing that I have a blog to update with interesting posts gave me the extra push to go after the life I really wanted, to take a shot at everything like Leonardo da Vinci and to give it my all like Steve Jobs.
Blogging helped me find my creative bone. It turned me to the ever-happy fun-to-be-with guy.
4. Personal Branding
Some of you got to discover my blog via the guest posts I made on other blogs - BellaNaija, YNaija, DonCaprio, Oscarmini, OgbongeBlog etc.
On several occasions I have run into people who said they knew me via my blog. I even get business offers via the reputation I've built on-line. Most of my business clients found me online and contacted me.
I remember once sending, via an expensive courier service, an excerpt of my writings to all the major newspapers (Punch, Vanguard, The Nation...) and gave wonderful reasons to have me contribute regularly on their newspaper. None responded. I had done my due diligence, researched well and got the mail addressed to the right person. But in the end, no reply.
But blogging gave me that access they weren't interested in giving me. I dominate the search results page of all the search terms I want to show up for. Google Excel Consultant in Nigeria, and I'm nearly all you'll see.
5. Gave me a Side Cash
I'm expecting my first cheque from Google Adsense. And it seems I'll be getting a cheque every month.
I hope you're now convinced that you need to start a blog.