I am a creative X, should I blog?

I’ve started writing regular guest posts for Advertising Week Social Club. This is last month’s post and the first of many to come. You can find it here.  (Without the cartoons, for copyright reasons)

You’re a creative of some sorts. You’re a designer, technologist, copywriter, photographer, producer. Hell, a coder. Should you start a blog?

Yes, you should.

There go. You’re done. Article over, go out and start writing.

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In all seriousness, blogging isn’t for everyone. But if you’re here, and you’ve read this far, then you are obviously curious. And if curiosity is all you’ve got, then getting started is easy. Here are four reasons you should start today.

1. It will make you smarter

In his book, Smarter Than You Think, Wired-columnist Clive Thompson argues that technology like the internet is improving human cognition. One reason for this, he argues, is that the internet can give anyone an audience.

The affect of an audience is well documented in psychology, and we see it time and time again in everyday life – particularly sport. A soccer player might practice a penalty kick 10,000 times without fault, but in front of a crowd they often miss.

Going from an audience of zero to ten is more significant than going from ten to a million.

Yet, when it comes to communicating, an audience forces you to pay more attention to what you say – and think through your argument. Studies have found that communicating to an audience as small as a single person improves your understanding of a problem or idea. In fact, going from an audience of zero to ten is more significant than going from ten to a million. So really, you get more out of writing a blog than your audience ever will. 

2. You’ll have something to fall back on in an argument

If you work in a creative industry, you’re going to work with people who have a different creative opinion to you. Maybe it will be over how to start an article, “Short or long sentences?” What kind of CMS should you use, “WordPress or Joomla?” Or your design principles, “Skeuomorphism or flat?”

Often, people take these subjective arguments personally. They might think that you’re simply disagreeing with them to assert authority. However, if you can show them that you’ve previously written something that clearly outlines the choices you make and why you made them, you’re far more likely to convince them your creative choices are well thought out – and importantly, get your way without coming across as an asshole.

3. You’re more employable

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Creative industries are after people with passion. And nothing illustrates passion more effectively than a consistent discussion of your particular profession.

The line on your resume, “I am passionate about user experience/photography/web development/etc.” tells your employee what they’re expecting to hear. A blog shows them that passion.

(And honestly, between you and me, they’re not going to read it thoroughly. As long as it is reasonably presentable, has a recent article and is relatively devoid of spelling mistakes, they’ll be impressed.) 

4. You’ll gain a respect for digital products

If you don’t know anything about HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript or MySQL , you’re at a disadvantage. I don’t care if you sculpt steel with your manly, manly hands or only ever use a typewriter – everyone’s creative work benefits in a digital environment.

Even the most rudimentary understanding of how a majority of people will access your work can improve how it is presented and shared. If you’re a writer you should know why you shouldn’t use flash for your website (SEO). And if you’re a designer you should know when to use .gif, .png or. jpeg (it’s complicated).

So go and get started! There’s a myriad of platforms to choose from. If you want to own your content, use a self-hosted WordPress blog (you’ll learn a lot and there are a number of benefits). But if you just want to get started straight away, try Blogger or Tumblr.

Happy Blogging!

If you’ve got any tips for getting started, favourite platforms, or questions, let me know in the comments…