Since I started Pretty Opinionated back at the end of January, I’ve noticed several really great benefits of blogging that I didn’t expect to find. I’m not talking about the cool loot I get in exchange for my reviews, or the very small income I may eventually make from ads (to date, I’ve only made about $15 on Amazon, and most of that came from family and friends ordering through my link, so I can’t really talk about the monetization benefits yet). Those are awesome, and I’m always excited when I have the chance to try a new product. I’m talking more about personal benefits of blogging, presented here in a lovely bullet-point list, because I have a minor obsession with lists. Since this is all about me, and I like to include images in my post (because the SEO thing screams at me when I don’t), I present you with a rare glimpse of the blogger behind the blog. Aside from the picture on the About page, I usually make my son pose for all the review pictures, because he’s way cuter.
Benefits of Blogging
- The chance to interact with like-minded people.…In the real world, I practically exist in a vacuum. I don’t have a chance to go out much because I’m busy raising my son on my own. I really only have one close friend nearby, and she and I are as different as night and day. But in the blogging world, I get to interact with other avid readers, single moms, people who love trying out new products, gamers, and so on. Whatever interest I have, someone out there shares it, and I can find them through blogging.
- …and the chance to interact with totally different-minded people. While it is always awesome to find others who share my interests, it is just as exciting to find others who are completely different than me. The world is made up of so many different beliefs, interests, and feelings, and only interacting with people who think exactly the same way I do would become very boring, very fast. I follow hundreds of blogs, and learn new things from each of them. For example, I know nothing about fashion, and usually am not too concerned with it, but I still enjoy seeing others who are passionate about the subject, because I learn useful tips for those days when I do need to actually look presentable. Only the ever-spectacular Helena Bonham Carter can actually pull off the unique look all the time. The rest of us actually have to actually dress in society’s version of normal from time to time.
- If you want to succeed, you can’t be shy. This is one of the biggest benefits of blogging for me, because I am painfully shy in real life. I know you wouldn’t know it by reading my blogs, but it takes me a long time to feel comfortable in a group of people because I’m always afraid I’ll come across sounding over-eager or just plain odd. Well, I am a little odd, but that’s beside the point! Blogging forces me to not be shy. It took me five months to finally work up the courage to start pitching companies that I wanted to work with, but once I finally got up the nerve to hit “send” on that first email, good things have come my way. Each time I join a new networking group, I have to force myself out of my shell and just jump in. The more I do it, the less it causes me to hyperventilate.
- Blogging has diversified my writing. I’ve been writing since I was about 14. Mostly short stories back then, and nothing ever came of it (mostly because of the aforementioned shyness). During my early college years, I primarily wrote boring academic papers. I was good at it, but it was never exciting. During my stint as a journalism major, I excelled at writing feature stories, but again, was too shy to actually get out there and make something of myself. For the last two years, I’ve been writing web content for various sites, but again, the flexibility to really be creative is just not there. I got stuck in the rut of writing relatively dry, straightforward “professional” content, and almost made the mistake of turning Pretty Opinionated into that sort of site. Then I realized, “hey, this is MY blog! I can write however I want!” So I started writing for real people, including my own personal stories when applicable, and just having fun with it, and my overall writing “voice” has improved significantly.
- It’s something that is all mine, without any pressure from the outside world. Pretty Opinionated is mine, and mine alone. No one can tell me what to write and what I should or shouldn’t say. I am in total control, from the way it looks to the words on the screen. Even though, as a freelance writer, I have control over my work hours and the jobs that I take on, someone else still calls the shots. I have a client with specific needs and a preferred style, and if I want to keep that client or get paid, I have to stick with that style. But on my blog, I have absolute control. I have created my own little piece of the internet universe where I am the supreme ruler. Really, as far as benefits of blogging go, does it get any better than that?