Today I want to talk about blogging. I know it’s not a topic you’ve come to expect from The Minimalist Vegan—but my journey into minimalism and veganism started because courageous bloggers chose to publish their experiences on the internet.
I learned from Cait Flanders as she shared deeply personal stories about how she fought excessive consumerism with ruthless intentionality.
And Maša and I have been continually inspired by dozens of vegan blogs as their content helps to validate our values and try new delicious plant-based recipes.
But as much as consuming other blogs have helped to shape who I am today, the practice of creating content has been far more powerful.
Very few decisions have changed my life as much as blogging has. Big statement, I know. I assure you, though, after this post, you’ll understand why I’m so high on blogging.
A quick caveat, this is not your typical, “this is why you should blog” article.
Much of the internet is trying to sell us on the financial benefits of blogging. And while we have certainly benefited from building an audience, influence, a book, and business, it’s not why we started The Minimalist Vegan.
It’s been the process of contributing something to the world while also getting incredible personal growth that has kept us going.
I think the value of personal development often goes unappreciated when it comes to blogging, and it’s something that I want to highlight in this post.
I hope that after reading this, you’ll feel inspired to at least try blogging to get some of the valuable benefits that I’ve experienced since starting.
1) Blogging encourages you to learn actively.
Think back to the moments in your life where you’ve learned something significant.
In school, teachers challenged us to research topics to the point where you could deliver the content in your own words—whether it was an essay, report or presentation.
Turning in assignments was hard as we often tackled topics that we weren’t interested in. And even then, to get good marks, you had to demonstrate your understanding of the subject. There were no shortcuts.
This process of learning was designed to be challenging but rewarding at the same time. Through researching, comprehension and delivery, we learned how to learn.
But what happens to our ability to learn after we finish school? Well for one, depending on your employment, you may be asked to be in situations where you have to apply your learning skills—often met with resistance.
And if we’re honest with ourselves, after a lifetime of schooling, we’re not particularly enthused about the idea of pushing ourselves to do self-driven assignments to test our knowledge on a subject—especially when our attention is competing with passive consumption on the internet.
That’s where blogging comes into play. Each piece of content you publish is like a little assignment. Only this time, you get to pick the topic, and the rules of assessment criteria do not bind you.
You can publish whatever you want. However, to make useful content, you need to actively learn about a topic so you can share something of value.
Creating one piece of content on The Minimalist Vegan can take anywhere between 3 and 20 hours, once you consider the ideation, research, reflection, outlining, editing, and publishing.
You might think that this is too much work, especially if you have other commitments. And sure, at times it is—but I promise you, it’s worth it!
Blogging has challenged us to learn about the ethics of eating backyard eggs, the psychology of branding, and the link behind between consumerism and toxic chemicals. And these are just some topics off the top of my head.
Every time we create content, we’re actively learning something—and this kind of development is priceless.
2) Blogging holds you accountable.
If you’re struggling to commit to change in your life, whether it’s a new habit or a different lifestyle, start a blog.
Nothing inspires transformation like accountability—and publishing in public is a powerful form of accountability.
I’ve been eating one meal a day for two months straight because I blogged about it. Could I have achieved this without blogging? Probably—but highly unlikely.
You hear it all the time. People start blogs to hold themselves accountable to some significant change.
Cait Flanders blogged to hold herself accountable to paying off her debt. Leo Babauta blogged to hold himself accountable to new habits.
Blogging also holds you accountable for your intentions. I couldn’t tell you how many times Maša and I have told each other to go back and read our own content because we went away from what we said?
Even recently, I was planning an article on the idea of creating more than consuming, and already Maša asked if she could call me out if I don’t consistently act on what I wrote. I hadn’t even drafted the post, and she was onto me!
Lastly, blogging holds you accountable to your audience. Showing up on time, and on schedule makes you feel like a competent professional that follows through on your commitments.
3) Blogging gives you a way to connect with your people.
Finding common interests with folks is fundamental to relationship building.
When you meet someone randomly, the progress of your new relationship is almost dependent on finding commonalities.
Humans, and it’s only natural to connect more effortlessly with people who like the same things as you.
One time I found myself having an intense conversation with a stranger in my local shopping mall because I overheard them talking about basketball. We spoke for 30 minutes during my lunch break without taking a breath and parted ways content with our connection—despite never getting each other’s names! That’s how important commonalities are.
Blogging about a topic will inevitably attract people who are interested in what you’re interested in—creating a foundation for you to build meaningful relationships.
We’ve found friends through our blog, which takes form in leaving comments, exchanging emails, messaging on social media, and meeting in person.
4) Blogging helps you to develop new skills.
Maša and I have been blogging and creating websites since 2008, and it’s surreal to look back at all the skills we’ve developed in that time.
Here’s a list of the skills we’ve added organised by category:
– Audio engineering
– Video production
– Graphic design
– Domain management
– Web hosting
– CMS (WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, Podia)
– Email marketing
– Social media
I know many of us are hesitant to start a blog because we’re not confident in our skills.
You may be asking yourself, “how do I create a website?” Or, “ how do I take better photos? I need to take a writing class before calling myself a blogger.”
I get these reservations. Looking back, we sucked at all of the skills I listed above—at least, at the beginning.
We didn’t know it at the time, but going through those growing pains would mean that we would eventually become skilful people of the modern internet.
This kind of development was unexpected. But as they say, hindsight is like having 20/20 vision.
I’m in the process of recording a video for my online course, and yet again, I’m learning new skills. However, because I have perspective, I’m ultra-aware of my development as it’s happening.
I know that what I produce initially won’t be the quality that I want, but I understand that in 12 months, as long as I keep on creating, I’ll reach a much higher level. So now I appreciate the process of acquiring skills, knowing that I’ll eventually be skilled.
5) Blogging teaches you about yourself.
Earlier I wrote about using blogging as a tool for learning. I also feel that it’s necessary to talk separately about how blogging can build your personal knowledge.
We often hear that journaling and introspection improve your mental wellbeing. Based on my experience with journaling, I would agree.
Journaling has helped me to get clarity on difficult situations, recognise moments to express gratitude, and has been an outlet for built-up stress and anxiety.
Blogging is a little different from journaling. Journaling is purely for the creator, while blogging is about the creator and their audience.
This means other perspectives challenge your perspective. You get feedback about how you view the world.
Receiving feedback in public is confronting to just about anyone (especially on YouTube, yikes!). But I view this feedback as a gift to get to know yourself better.
It’s only through different perspectives that you start to see things in yourself that you couldn’t see before.
I should also note that publishing consistently on a blog is hard work. To blog prolifically, you quickly start to understand what you like creating and what you don’t like creating. Otherwise, it becomes unsustainable.
You get to see just how much life experience you have to be able to share valuable personal stories with your audience.
Blogging also forces you to use your memory more. It challenges you to reflect, to be vulnerable.
If you blog and blog consistently, you’ll learn more about yourself than you ever thought.
6) Blogging gives you a portfolio.
Documenting your ideas over a long period shows the world who you are and what you can do.
As a result of building your portfolio, you can attract commercial opportunities; whether it’s getting a call with a prospective employer, or working with brands.
You’ll be desirable for any potential opportunities if you can show what you’ve done and how you think as opposed to telling people what you can do. And what better way to showcase your work than through your blog!
Another benefit of developing a blogging portfolio is that you start to see gaps in your thoughts, ideas and skills.
It wasn’t until we organised our recipe archive into categories that we saw that we had limited breakfast or drink recipes. So we focused our attention to create in those categories to better serve our audience while challenging ourselves creatively.
Each blog post is an item in your portfolio–and when you build up a decent archive, it’s incredibly motivating to add more!
Blogging for internal growth.
Starting a blog has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Partly for commercial reasons, but mostly for the development.
You really can’t go wrong by trying. Pick a topic you’re curious about and start publishing what you know about it. But don’t publish to change the world immediately, publish to get better. Then eventually you’ll be able to effectively contribute your voice to your community, and have something to show for it.
Are you a blogger or thinking of starting a blog? If so, I’d love to hear what you think of this article. Leave a comment below so we can connect 🙂