I started a blog five months ago to keep as a living resume. I was getting desperate to find a job, and thought that having an online portfolio would heighten my chances of procuring a salaried position. So far, my blog hasn’t gotten me any job offers, but it has made me a better writer in ways I never expected.

I’m the type of writer who is very protective of her work. When I write in coffee shops, I tend to drape my arm over my Moleskine so that no one can see my scribbles. When a friend comes up to my desk while I’m writing, I often close out of Word. When I blog, though, I am completely open with my work. It gets posted to the internet, and I know that anyone can potentially see it, whether it’s good or not. I’m new to blogging, but it’s a hobby that has already challenged me in numerous, positive ways.

Listed below are the top five things I’ve gained by writing a blog.

I’m less stingy. In college, I always edited and rewrote every essay as many times as possible before submitting it for a grade. I would change poems relentlessly before they were shared in workshop. I even used to proofread all my texts before I would send them to my closest friends and family. Once I graduated, and no longer had strict deadlines for turning in my work, I began to hold onto my writing for months before letting anyone see it.

While there’s nothing wrong with this behavior, it does inhibit my ability to receive meaningful feedback from those around me. Blogging has helped to make me less stingy with my work. Each time I write a post (twice a week), I sit down, write for an hour or two, then immediately publish my writing to the web. I don’t have time to scrutinize it, so I don’t.

I’m more disciplined. Sitting down to write is hard work. Even though I commit to writing poetry and essays on a regular basis, it can be difficult to find time to write more candidly about personal interests of mine. I commit to posting on my blog twice a week, and this schedule disciplines me to write about reading, writing, and books in general. These topics typically don’t surface in my poetry, but they are common themes on my blog.

I’m motivated to keep writing (and reading). Although I don’t have many followers, I tend to attract more traffic to my site every time I publish a new post. I’m able to visually see what types of posts people like, and am motivated to keep writing. Every time a fellow blogger likes something I write, I visit his/her blog. This allows me to find common threads among people I’ve never met, and tempts me to write even more, and to keep reading the work of others.

I’m connected to something bigger than myself. Writing is a solitary activity. It can be lonely spending hours writing in a notebook no one will see. Blogging is different. It allows me to be completely honest (or not), and connect with an audience that is nearly unlimited. I often go to blogs when I want to see how other people deal with certain issues, and writing my own blog gives me hope that others may connect with my writing.

I get to feed my passions. Ultimately, hosting a blog is a way to express myself. Although I love the idea that others can benefit from reading my work, at the end of the day, I write my blog for me and myself alone. I’m able to look back at things that were important to me three months ago, and reflect on how I’ve grown. I’m able to talk about things I love, or things that make me tick, or discuss a book I didn’t enjoy. The opportunities are only limited to my imagination, and that’s a very encouraging realization.

Although I started my blog as a tool to enhance my resume, it has turned into so much more. Blogging has forced me out of my comfort zone, and has allowed me to broaden my writing. More importantly, it’s made me realize that I may never know how others are reacting to my work, but that simply doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I write because I love it, and because I need to in order to stay happy. More than anything else, blogging has supported my belief that I need to focus on my passions, and the way the affect me, without dwelling on the perceptions of others.

Has blogging benefitted you in unexpected ways? Let us know in the comments section below!

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