Odd as it may sound the title to this post isn’t really odd at all. In fact, most days I blog before the sun comes up and most days I wear whatever I feel like while doing so.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not serious about my blog. It is quite easily the most important business asset I’ve built. Today’s post title, however, is a nod to the freedom that my blog and the Internet in general have created for my business over the last ten years.
This week, my friend and long time blogger, Hugh MacLeod releases his 3rd book, Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear, a sharp tongued tribute to the freedom we now have to work how we want, where we want and with whom we want. Hugh’s humor and wit, expressed through his unique characters and drawings, is one of the most inspirational romps anyone in the world of business can enjoy.
Hugh credits his blogging habit with altering the course of his business and personal life and creating the flourishing business that allows him to work at his craft.
A few words from Hugh:
I wrote the book as a love letter to the blogging, as it were. Blogging matters. Sure, the apps are good things. Sharing photos and finding out new restaurants is a definite positive. But as an artist, I come from a background where getting your work seen and heard was REALLY HARD. Gatekeepers galore. Had blogs existed back when I was a kid, a lot of my creative peers wouldn’t have given up their dreams in order to go do some bill-paying government job.And what’s true for artists is also true for ANYONE who gives a damn about their work. Too many voices, lost unnecessarily.
I too would make a similar claim. While some are quick to rush in and hail the next new online tool as the death of blogging, I would suggest that blogging is never going away. Blogging is the underpinning that launched a revolution of sorts in business and the only thing that will kill that off is a radical retreat in our desire to work in ways that allow us to control our destiny.
See, it’s not really about the tool; it’s about the behavior it unleashed. It’s about the fact that anyone, with any roots, experience, or desire could freely publish information directly to the audience they wished to influence. And that the stories, images, opinions and ideas shared would stand on their own merit and be consumed and shared by others regardless of what the established media, gatekeepers and experts said about it.
And for me it’s not even about the exposure my ideas enjoy. I wrote my first blog post in 2003 and knew immediately it was something important. It’s not that I knew blogging would become an essential tool, but I did sense that the act of blogging would change my business forever.
There are a few about blogging I did not know at the beginning, however, and it is these things that have produced the most profound and lasting benefits.
- Blogging would make me a better thinker – (understand that better is relative!) In an effort to create content for a blog that is succinct, reveals new ways to look at common things, or apply simple solutions to seemingly complex problems, I believe I now think about business much differently.
- Blogging would make me a better listener – When I engage in conversation or listen to radio interviews, I listen with a writer’s ear and often find my head filling up with blog post ideas by simply listening to others discuss sometimes unrelated subjects.
- Blogging would make me a better writer – The fact that I practice writing daily has made me a better writer. It doesn’t mean I’m the world’s greatest writer, but practicing something makes you better at it – hard to deny that. Of course writing publicly like this also allows for community reaction to help you get better faster.
- Blogging would make me a better salesperson – I write like I speak and often I write to sell an idea or even a very specific tactic. It’s amazing, but I find that clearly stating idea pitches in writing has improved my ability to quickly articulate them in a selling or interview setting. It’s like you build up this reserve bank of pre tested discussion points.
- Blogging would make me a better speaker – This one falls nicely from the previous point but I’ll also add that working through blog posts on meatier topics, those that readers weigh in on, has produced some of my best presentation material to date.
- Blogging would keep me focused on learning – The discipline required to create even somewhat interesting content in the manner I’ve chosen requires that I study lots of what’s hot, what’s new, what’s being said and what’s not being said in order to find ways to apply it to the world of small business.
- Blogging would allow me to test out ideas – I’ve made some incredible discoveries about some of my ideas (okay, and had a few flops too) based on the immediate and sometimes passionate response from readers. Many of the ideas in my upcoming book were tested and molded here.
- Blogging would make me a better networker – I have developed hundreds of relationships with other writers that provide me with ideas, tips and resources to share and who willingly pass on my ideas, tips and resources. Some of these relationships remain professionally on the surface, but some have evolved into very strategic and fulfilling personal relationships as well. (Sharing a beer at a conference helps that along)
- Blogging would allow me to create bigger ideas – This one is related to testing out ideas, but the habit of producing content over time also affords you the opportunity to create larger editorial ideas that can be reshaped and repurposed for other settings. I’ve taken a collection of blog posts on a specific topic and turned them into an ebook more than once.
So Hugh, thanks for the inspiration and to all the bloggers, readers, commenters, linkers, sharerers and grammar defenders that stop by, thanks for collaborating on the canvass that gives me the freedom to practice what I feels like art.