Blogging for me was always the great idea I could never quite get around to. In my early teens I wanted to be a sports journalist, I would watch football matches on TV and write my own match
reports just for fun – odd child that I was. As I got older and began to think about further education, the dream of being a journalist surprisingly disappeared. I had my heart set on attending Glasgow University (it looks a bit like Hogwarts) and they didn’t offer a Journalism course at the time, so business management it was. For a long time business seemed like a terrible decision, but the journalism industry in truth isn’t in the best shape. Even those at some of the biggest magazines and newspapers in the world are only freelancing temporarily which at times is as secure as a jobbing actor. That was nearly ten years ago now and not until last summer did I finally start writing again.
I often hear people questioning why anyone would want to start a blog, I even hear bloggers questioning why they should continue blogging. There are times in a bloggers journey where it can all seem ever so unrewarding – sitting for hours writing and for what? Everyone is entitled to their own opinions of course, but today I want to explain what blogging has done for me and how if done right, it really can change your life. This post may be about me, but it’s really not if you see what I mean. I want every single blogger out there to make the most of this incredible hobby and enjoy every possible benefit that comes along the way. I’m by no means the finished article (no pun intended) but if my own successes inspire you to start or to keep blogging, then I’ll sit here typing for as long as I have to.
I’d not long returned from travelling in Australia when I started writing. I think the prospect of returning home to another boring office job or call centre was a little too much for me to bare at the
time. Funnily enough I did return to a call centre, but through my writing I had not only revisited a former passion, but I was giving myself every possible chance of finding a way out of the jobs I so heavily despised. I went to the cinema one night and saw a great film written by Jon Favreau called ‘Chef’. I came home that very evening and started an experimental food blog. I was onto something with the blogging idea, but not the subject. Perhaps I’d gotten a little too carried away with the film itself, that blog lasted all of one disastrous jaunt to the kitchen. I then came up with the topic of dating. I’ve said many times before that I don’t consider myself to be an expert, we’re all experts when it comes to relationships in my opinion, but I’m very honest and open about my past experiences – the good and the bad. Some of my previous relationships are quite truly movies in the making, maybe one day I’ll inspire a talented chef to write about dating?
My idea was solid. I was going to be a dating blogger who offered an honest male perspective on all things Dating and Relationships. This right here is the best piece of advice I could ever give any aspiring blogger. Know what you’re writing about and know what your unique selling point is. If you write about Movies, Music, Sports and Video Games and NME or Kerrang are looking for someone to write a post, they’re not going to choose the person who writes fairly well about several different things. The person writing passionately about music on a daily basis will get that job every single time. Know your niche and you’ll progress ten times faster.
Within six weeks of starting my blog I’d gained well over ten thousand hits and had been approached by FHM
to write a post for their website. This was beyond anything I’d ever imagined when I started writing, especially so soon. It still shocked me at this point every single time someone commented on one of my posts. I felt so incredibly privileged that someone had actually taken the time to sit and read what I’d written. This is the most simple reward you could ever gain from blogging – readers. Appreciate every single one of them. As the months progressed I found both my Blog subscribers and Twitter followers steadily increasing on a daily basis and soon I had managed to blag a few celebrity interviews as well (minor but don’t tell them I said that). Engagement is key though, you have to constantly interact with anyone interested or potentially interested in your writing. Network and make contacts, Twitter is an unbelievable tool for this. I now write a weekly blog for two national newspapers and it was through Twitter that my Editor spotted me. Trust me when I say every blogger needs Twitter.
This all sounds great on paper: writing for one of the biggest magazines in the world, two newspaper columns, guest posts for magazines and websites all over the world and even talks with a major production company about turning my blogs into a documentary series. At the end of the day, however, my writing was still just a hobby. I was still a miserable guy working in a call centre spending every single day counting down to five o’clock. That all changed earlier this year when I finally got what I call my big break. It didn’t involve big magazines, celebrities or documentaries, it merely involves a local company who read my writing and were willing to take a chance on me to do theirs. Interestingly enough I blog about business for them, funny how life goes around in circles. Now I’m a full time blogger and social media assistant and have even held discussions with my new boss about setting up our own business on the side.
My life has officially been changed. I still harbour ambitions of making documentaries, but for now the clockwatching has finally stopped and when it comes to my career I am the closest thing to happy I’ve ever been.
Every single success, I owe to blogging.