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Why you 100% need a blog if you want to be a writer.

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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I’ve been writing a blog for the last 10 years.

Wow, it’s really weird to say that. Sometimes I cannot believe how many years, hours, spellchecks, and caffeine I’ve put into this little corner of the Internet. But I can confidently say this: Every good and beautiful thing in my career as a writer is in someway connected to this space where I come to breathe, write, practice, and publish for all of you.

I get emails from so many people who want to be a writer. And my first thought? Well, my first thought is to jump on a chair and scream and clap and tell them, “YES, you can absolutely be a writer!” I believe this. I was a young girl who only ever wanted to be a writer and I had to turn the volume down on any critic in my life who told me I couldn’t. I knew in the deep of me I was made for this thing. I would give and do anything to prove these people wrong.

But being a writer is tough work. And a lot of work. And it is not for those who do not want to sit down in the spare moments of the day and tap out words furiously onto a computer screen. It is not for those who romanticize the profession but don’t actually want to put in the blood, sweat, and tears that come from writing on a daily basis.

My first suggestion to anyone who wants to become a writer? Start writing.

My second suggestion to anyone who wants to become a writer? Create a blog and figure out how to be consistent with that space.

001. BLOGS ARE NOT DEAD

But should I create a blog if podcasts are what is popular right now?

Well, do you want to be a writer or do you want to host a podcast? Because those are two different things. You are working two very separate groups of muscles. I’m not saying you shouldn’t create a podcast if that is what makes your heart beat wildly but I am saying that either of these paths will be a ton of work and you have to ask yourself: Where do I want to put in the hours?

People asked me for so long to create a podcast and I finally had to get confident with my answer. I had to figure out how to say, “All I’ve ever wanted to do is write and so I have to write every single day and put my best hours towards that.” For, the blog is what helps make that aspiration a reality.

Blogs aren’t dead though. People still use Google and other search engines. People are still looking for good words and valuable information. People still love reading. So if you dream of writing words that people will inhale and pin to their hearts then I would say a blog space is the best place to start.

002. YOU NEED A WEBSITE, ANYWAY.

Maybe you have a big social media presence. Maybe you’re Instagram has hundreds of thousands of followers. You still need a website. At the end of the day, Instagram is someone else’s platform. It can change at anytime, just like Facebook did. You can lose everything you’ve built in a day.

By creating a website, you drive people to a space that is your own. You have them at their fullest attention. I always think of websites like a house. You get this crazy chance to invite someone into your world. They get to come into your home and look around, maybe take a seat or have a cup of coffee. It’s your chance to fully introduce yourself, give them the best collection of your words. Your website is a showcase for all you offer. If what you want to offer the world is words then why not start with this space?

003. IT’S A PERFECT PLACE TO PRACTICE WRITING

I’m not a blogger. I decided that ten years ago when I created my blog in the midst of the blogging boom. Back then, everyone was setting out to blog. It was like the Gold Rush of the digital age. But I decided in my college dorm room that I was not going to be a blogger. That I wanted to be a writer and this blog would be my practice space. My chance to show up and try. My place to work out my thoughts and figure out what I really had to say. And that’s what it has been for the last 10 years— a space to practice writing.

This is also why I never hesitate to hit the “publish” button because I am not expecting perfection out of these posts. This is my practice grounds and it won’t always be perfect. To me, it matters more that I stay in the practice than it matters to make the practice perfect.

You cannot be a writer without practicing the art of writing. And you maybe you would argue that your practice happens in notebooks and Google documents that only you see. That’s completely okay. But the reality for the digital age is that building an audience is important, especially if you want to write books, and you cannot build an audience by keeping all the writing to yourself.

004. PUBLISHERS WANT TO SEE YOUR AUDIENCE

This is truth. As a writer of three books that are all published (or being published) through traditional publishing houses, your audience matters. It matters because, without that audience, who are you going to sell books to?

Now I know this can feel really daunting. And it’s usually the thing that stops people from writing altogether: the fear that you will never have a readership for your words.

But that is not in your control. You don’t control who becomes your reader or who stays up til 2am devouring the words on your blog. All you can control is how consistent you are with showing up to give people the best of your words. If people like the words, they can subscribe to a newsletter or blog updates. If people feel moved, they can send you an email through your contact page. If people want more, they can go ahead and follow you on different platforms. You don’t control what people will do when they come to your blog but you can be prepared with different actions they can take, material they can read, and ways they can cheer you on as you write your little heart out.

I don’t look at my audience as a number. I hate the mere thought of doing that. My audience is made up of individuals. People who email me. People who need my words at different seasons. People who are brave and bold and putting themselves out there. I am amazed by these people and I write to spur them on and keep them going into all the things God has for them. That’s my motivation and, with a motivation like that, I cannot quit.

005. DO YOU WANT NEW OPPORTUNITIES?

If you apply for a job, there’s a good chance an employer will look at your blog if you have one. If you want an opportunity to work with a brand then they are going to want to see your website.

When I applied to work at Save the Children (a dream job of mine coming out of college), one of the big factors in me landing that job was my blog. My employer was able to see from the stacked posts that I was a good worker, that I worked hard, that I was consistent, and that I knew how to show up.

A blog is evidence that you are putting in the hours and the work to make an impact. And people are crazy attracted to the ones who get out into the world and desire to change it. A blog is proof that you are showing up and making things happen. You are not off in the corner dreaming of “what could be.” You are putting in the sweat to make things happen for yourself.

006. IT’S TIME TO FACE THE CRITICS

I would say the number one reason I see people talk about writing but stopping their dream when idea of pressing the publish button comes up is because they don’t want to be judged. They are afraid of what people will think or, even worse, what they will say. They don’t want to ruffle feathers. They are afraid to stand outside the lines.

But the reality in that is you are letting the fear win. You are allowing other people to dictate what you want for your life. You are playing small to keep other people feeling comfortable and that is not your God-given purpose. Someone in Australia may need your words desperately today… they might need your story… but you may never have the chance to change that person’s life if you always bow to the people who will look at you strange for standing outside the lines.

Mark my words: critics will come. One-star reviews on Amazon will come. Mean emails will come. You cannot be everyone’s cup of tea. Some people don’t even like tea or they’re more coffee people. You don’t have to morph to fit what other people need. That’s the beauty of there being so many good writers and storytellers out there. Stand boldly in what you offer.

I know, I know— we are people, we will always see the negative over the positive but I can promise you that I would have missed out on so much goodness— and so many chances to change the lives of others— if I had shut up the first time a critic came a’knocking.


I’d love to know what questions you have about blogging in the comments below. If you are a writer who has a blog then I would absolutely love for you to paste your link so, when I get a spare moment, I can brew a cup of coffee and do some reading. I am ALWAYS looking for good words to add to my morning reading list.


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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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