March 13, 2011

Get More Value from Blogging, Part VII: Inspiring Yourself and Inspiring Others

March 13, 2011 - Categories: blogging, tips, web2.0, writing
This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Get More Value from Blogging

Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on the professional and personal value of blogging. When I brainstormed some of the things I’d like to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just the value I get from blogging, but also tips for how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this blog series! You can also see other resources in this value of blogging series.


1. Making your goals real

Writing about your goals can be scary. You might feel that people will laugh at your goals, or that they’ll embarrass you if you don’t achieve them. You might worry about sounding over-ambitious, or not ambitious enough.

But there’s a lot of value in writing about your goals, even if you start by doing so in a private entry. When you write about what you want in life, why you want it, and how you can get to that point, that path becomes clearer. When your goals dim and your willpower fades, you can inspire yourself by reviewing your notes, reminding yourself of your goals and why they matter.

Tips: Set a goal for yourself. Write about it. Write about why it matters to you. Write about your plans for achieving your goal. Review your notes when you need a burst of energy.


2. Connecting with inspiration

The Internet can make it easy to connect with other people who have similar goals. Look for blogs that inspire you. If you share your reflections through blog posts of your own, linking to the posts or people who’ve inspired you, you can build unexpected relationships and learn from or even help your role models in surprising ways.

Tips: Comment on inspiring blog posts. If you have more to say, write a blog post that refers to theirs. Share what you’re learning from people and how you’ve tried those ideas in your life.


3. Progress

Change can be long, slow, and tiring. If you can look back at the progress you’ve made, though, you might find it easier to keep going. You can use your blog to keep track of your progress.

If you’re trying to establish a new habit, you might write about how well you’re doing, or what you can do to make it easier to do what you want to do. If you’re working on improving your skills, your blog posts can help you keep track of your growth. For example, when I started learning more about drawing, I blogged my stick figures. Thanks to my blog, I can see how my drawing techniques have evolved over time, and I get less frustrated because I know I’m making progress.

Tips: Write about your progress, and think about sharing examples of your work so far. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, lapse into old behavior, or slide backwards. Focus on the positive, and keep going.


4. Inspiring others

Inspire others? Yes, you can do that, even if you’re just starting out. If you share what you’re learning and how you’re living life, you might be surprised by how you touch other people’s lives. And it gets even better – you might learn a lot from the people you inspire, too.

One of the things that makes it easier for me to think out loud – to share whatever I’m learning about or struggling with on my blog – is that I often hear from other people who’ve learned a little from what I’ve shared, or who are glad to find someone else dealing with similar situations, or who are happy to finally have words for something they’ve struggled to describe. We’re all in this together, and it’s great to be able to help and inspire other people.

Tips: Don’t be afraid of sharing what you’re learning, even the parts that are hard. Who knows whom you might help along the way?

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