Blogging is immensely valuable for your career, other people, honing your skill-set, and more. This is something I only learned about recently. Here I explain the reasons behind why I started, and why you should do it too.
To help others
No matter who you are, the fact is you're one step ahead of someone else in at least something. This means you can provide value to others.
Even if you're a novice, are naive, or think you're not worthy of sharing your story and what you know—you're wrong. Others can learn from your knowledge, even if that means learning from your mistakes.
And even if what you know is already being shared, the fact is you and your story are unique. The same information can be presented in many different ways, and you can provide an edge that appeals to a particular audience.
These were fears I had before starting. But I realised as a self-taught developer I've learned a ton about software development over the past 3+ years. I also have experience as an entrepreneur and from life in general. This is value I can provide to others.
To provide a genuine, untainted insight into software development and entrepreneurship
Of all the people who succeed, how often do you find a genuine, in-depth insight into the journey that led to their success? And even rarer, how frequently do you learn about the people who don't succeed and why that was the case?
Sharing your journey is a vulnerable act, albeit an immensely valuable one. Today's society unfortunately praises the fruit but not the tree. The result is a white-washed insight into navigating this messy thing we call life. That's destructive and needs to change.
Although I have confidence in myself, the truth is I don't know what the future holds. But whatever happens, good or bad, there's value to be extracted. And that value is applicable to others.
To benefit my career
The value of blogging for your career as a software developer or entrepreneur is something I only learned about recently. It's something not many people do, and even less do consistently.
Through becoming one of the few people who frequently create content, you're positioning yourself where opportunity can find you.
Many successful developers credit blogging or other forms of content creation as the greatest advancement in their career. This is primarily because it demonstrates your ability.
Prospective clients or employers receive a genuine insight into your work, how you think, and who you are. It builds rapport and generates leads. This is true even if your blog isn't popular, since the first thing many recruiters will do is Google your name. Clients will also probably be interested in checking out what you have to offer.
And if you're an entrepreneur, sharing means building a following. Whenever you launch something, you already have a group of people listening who are genuinely interested in what you do. This is an advantage.
To keep myself accountable and combat procrastination
Publicly documenting my work is a commitment I'll naturally fear to break, meaning I'll be more compelled to work and not procrastinate. If I didn't publicise it, however, it'd be easier for me to slip up.
To solidify my knowledge and understanding
Through the act of conveying your thoughts into words, you are forced to logically and concisely structure your own thoughts. This process in itself solidifies your understanding and knowledge of your work.
Although many teachers understand this, it's something everyone can benefit from. It's akin to the practice of rubber duck debugging in software development.
To document my evolution over time
Through sharing everything I do, I provide myself and others an overview of how my skills and personality evolved over time.
Not only can others learn from this, it's interesting history for myself. I'm looking forward to looking through it in the future.
To improve my writing skills
Through making a commitment to write on a regular basis, your skills will consistently improve. It's pretty simple.
Writing is something I enjoy. Although this isn't true for everyone, the fact is it's a valuable skill in today's communication-driven world. DHH and Jason Fried sum this up well in their book, ReWork:
Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking.
Alongside the other things the authors mention, this is a quality prospective employers desire in any candidate. You better make sure you're good at it 😉
To dump my brain and collect my thoughts
To expand on the last point, writing down your thoughts not only helps solidify your thoughts and ideas in your work, but also in your life.
You might not want to blog about everything in your personal life. That's fine, you can share as much or as little as you like.
Regardless of whether you publicly share your words, however, the act of blogging in itself is journaling. And journaling is immensely beneficial in staying grounded and on-track, which is why many successful people ritualise it.
These are some of the objections I had that you likely have, too. Through evaluation, however, I realised the pros significantly outweigh the cons:
Lack of privacy
This is a valid point, but remember, you can choose to share as little or as much as you like. Your content is your choice.
You can also share anonymously. Although redacting your identity will remove some of the benefits, you'll still gain from the others.
Investment of time and effort
With the investment comes rewards. If the benefits are something you'd like, there's no way around the work. Action is a mandatory step for getting what you want in life.
Being afraid of putting yourself out there
This happens to everyone. Imposter syndrome is pretty normal—especially if you're a developer 👨💻
Getting out of your comfort zone is important if you want to grow and succeed, though. So although it may be uncomfortable, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
Being afraid of people judging you
No matter who you are, you're going to be judged by someone. People are probably already judging you. And that's fine.
When you’re trying to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one.
Not everyone is going to like what you or what you create, but it doesn't matter. You can't please everyone. Try to do that and you'll create dull, boring content that no one gives a shit about.
The key is to be your true self. Those who resonate with your message will listen, and because you're being authentic, they'll genuinely connect with you and what you're saying. Don't worry about anyone else, because this is where the magic is.
Hopefully this inspires at least a few people to start a blog, YouTube channel, book, or anything of the sort.
You don't need to be an amazing writer. You don't need to be a unicorn, either. You just need to start. And as mentioned, you'll learn and improve over time, help others, and personally benefit from the investment.
It's going to take time, that's inevitable. Don't expect results overnight, but if you stick at it you might succeed eventually. And even if you don't, it's definitely still worth the effort due to the benefits mentioned above.