Why I Blog (& tweet, podcast, make videos)

October 5, 2012

There are millions of blogs. Probably hundreds of thousands of new ones being created every single day.

Most just sit there and die out. Others are total garbage. Some (including me) may argue I’m just contributing to the noise out there with my own content.

There are so many others who are smarter, more accomplished, and better looking than I am. Right?

These are the people who are actually changing the world. They write best selling books. Are able to proficiently speak in public. They even go on Ted Talks and share their brilliant insights in front of some of the smartest & richest people in the world.

So who the hell am I, just a dude that no one knows, putting out content like it matters?

Ok – enough with the self deprecation.

The reason I blog is simple. I do it for myself.

It makes me a better person.

Sure, I hope you enjoy reading my stuff and I desperately want you to like me. I hope it becomes one of the best blogs of all time, bring with it all the accolades, wealth & fame my ego desires: including being applauded by Oprah Winfrey herself.

But, I really blog because it makes me a better person. There’s the well-known idea that if you want to learn something new, really cement that thought into your mind, teach someone else that exact thing IMMEDIATELY. I’m talking within 24hrs.

I learned that tip from Eben Pagan (aka David DeAngelo), the famous internet marketer & creator of Double Your Dating + Get Altitude.

Something in our brain switches on when we go from student to teacher. We think differently in order to teach someone else and in the process, really deeply understand that thing better for ourselves.

Whenever I blog, I get a rush of energy. Thoughts, ideas, inspiration etc flood into my mind & body. I become restless with energy. It’s infinitely better than red bull!

As a matter of fact, I’m writing this post right after I spent 1.5 hrs writing & editing my previous post about habits & exercise.

And that post was written just a few hours after my post on Jim Rohn.

Why?

Right after I finished writing the post about habits, the idea for a bunch of different new post topics flooded my mind. I quickly opened the note app on my mac to jot them down before losing them into the winds of time.

I thought I would write this post another day.

But my mind was too wired & hyped up. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. I went to the washroom to pee and all I could think about was writing this post.

I started playing…

…and just started writing.

Something in my brain is turned on & clicking. Thoughts are firing. Ideas are flowing. Creativity is on overload. I’m pumped up.

I’m in the flow state.

The fire hydrant of creativity is open and flowing and I want to catch as much of it as I can in my cup.

A lot of writers talk about encountering writer’s block. I’ve never experienced it – maybe because I’m not an experienced writer.

But I know that right now, I’m experiencing the opposite of writer’s block. I literally can’t type fast enough to get all the thoughts from my mind into this post.

And as I’m writing these words, the gods are giving me more and more topics to talk about. I’ll write as much as I can, saving the rest as notes in my app hoping the muses will still talk to me when I’m ready to write again.

Why do I tweet?

Simple. Twitter makes you a better & happier person.

And that’s not coming from some homeless hippie. It’s the theory of one of the most successful CEOs of our generation, Tony Hsieh.

He created & sold his internet company Link Exchange to Microsoft for $200+ million. Then he funded Zappos, eventually becoming its CEO, turned it into a $1B company & sold it to Amazon – under the agreement that Tony & his team will get to run Zappos exactly as they see fit – with little to zero interference from Amazon. And Amazon agreed! First time ever that’s happened.

If Tony tells me twitter makes you a better & happier person, I’m going to listen.

Of course, with twitter – the hardest part is writing something in 140 characters or less. This activates a different part of my brain – the one that deals with brevity.

I’m naturally a verbose person. I ramble & repeat the same thing over and over. With twitter, I can practice becoming precise.

Why do I make youtube videos & podcast?

Because it’s fucking fun! Super fun.

Of course, I had to overcome the shyness & self-consciousness of putting my trembling voice & awkward video making out there to the world.

Am I proud of all my audio/video so far? Hell no!

I cringe at the thought of seeing my videos or hearing my own voice. It’s tough.

But I also understand super successful people had to overcome these same hurdles. Everyone experiences these things.

Johnny Depp, one of the most beloved actors in our era, has NEVER seen any of his own movies. He can’t.

I’m sure he’s not alone in that type of quirk.

When I make a video, a different part of my brain lights up. Youtube has a 15 minute video limit. So I have to be brief in a different manner. With twitter, I can edit my thoughts and post when I want. In a video (without editing), there are no second takes. I have to get it right, for 15 or more minutes, in one shot.

Of course, I have to make sure I look ok. That means being dressed. I have to look into the camera. I have to smile or at least not look grumpy.

I have to convey my thoughts properly without being too distracting to the viewer. I have to limit my verbosity.

I know I wave my hands too much in my videos. It’s just a habit. I know I look all around when I should be focusing just on looking at the camera. Nervous habit? Maybe.

But I never noticed those things until I had to start making videos. I noticed the small things I do and am able to correct them.

Same thing goes with my audio podcasts.

Making an audio seems easier than a video but it’s actually tougher. We’re used to podcasts being at least an hour long. That means I need to talk about something (hopefully interesting) for that amount of time.

Thoughts like: do I need to prepare my topics in advance? Should I have clips ready that I should play? What if I freeze and forget what I’m talking about. What if I’m just rambling. If I mess up, should I just restart another one or edit it later. What about the awkward silences. What if I cough, etc etc etc.

These are all thoughts that didn’t exist in my mind until I had to press record the very first time (and still exists every time I press record).

How I overcame them is to just say fuck it. I make it super easy on myself with no expectations of greatness.

I don’t have set topics. I don’t edit. I keep the awkward silences, coughs and ramblings in. I play a song if I can find it on youtube while live recording. If I can’t, oh well.

The way I make a new audio podcast is usually after I get a topic idea in my head in my daily life. I’ll quickly jot that phrase down into my notes app. Then either I’ll make a blog post about it or record an audio. Just depends on my mood. Talking is easier than writing & editing.

I talk for as long as I feel like talking. There are no time limits. This is not a one hour podcast. This is a – I talk for however long I want – podcast. Usually that comes to around 1-1.5 hrs. Sometimes less.

But that’s not the point.

The point is, since I started recording podcasts, my mind is rewarding me with amazing insights.

My life is improving. I’m becoming a better person. I read more. I’m calmer. I’m smarter. I’m more interesting. I have more ideas to talk about. Things I had forgotten years ago are coming back to me – real golden nuggets of wisdom I had read along the way & not remembered since.

Is this something you want to do?

Then, I highly encourage you to just do it. Sure, it’s going to suck in the beginning. It’ll probably suck in the middle also. Maybe it’ll always suck. Maybe no one will like your content and your site will be littered with negative comments (ok that one won’t happen. Trust me. I haven’t gotten a negative review & my stuff isn’t even that great).

But that’s not the point.

Something inside you will change as you tweet, blog, podcast & make videos. Trust me. And all these mediums light up different parts of our brain.

And you’ll get better with time.

It’s impossible not to improve as long you keep doing something. Like Louis CK, Jay Leno & Jerry Seinfeld say when people ask them how to become a successful comedian. Their answer: just show up. That’s it.

Just keep doing it for as long as you can and hope to gain a few insights along the way – something Charlie Munger says.

For example, I’ve been making websites since I was 16 – so about 15 years now. And the current version of this blog has existed for close to a year.

In that whole time, I never thought of changing the font size of my main post content. The size was on default of 14pt font. That’s way too small. I never noticed it.

Yet, when I go to other people’s blogs, if the font is too small – I click away. I naturally go towards blogs with large font.

As I was writing my exercise & other habits post a couple hrs ago, my mind just told me to increase the font size. It had never told me that before. A light clicked in my mind.

And I changed the font to 16pt. It looks great. Then I changed the font size of sidebar headers. I think it was on 11pt font or something – I made it much larger. And that also looks much better.

I really think it’s impossible to not improve if you keep doing something over and over – it helps if you like what you’re doing.

Best of all, doing all of this is pretty much free.

WordPress is free to install. Buying your own domain name costs around $5/yr. Hosting – you can do yourself for free from your home computer (not recommended) or you can buy for $4-$6/month. I use bluehost.

If you don’t want to pay for your own domain & hosting – you can also do it for free. You can blog thru wordpress.org, blogger.com, tumblr.com, facebook pages, etc. There are tons of free blogging platforms.

Twitter is of course free to use.

Youtube is free to upload. You can use the camera on your smartphone or laptop and upload something right now, within a few minutes.

Recording a podcast is free if you have a laptop with a mic or a smartphone. I recorded my first few podcasts on my iphone. You can self host your podcasts for free or upload it to libsyn for $5/month. There are also free podcast hosting sites (just google them). Submitting your podcast to iTunes is free.

Everything is free!

At the most, maybe you’ll spend $10/month for a high end setup (own domain, site & podcast hosting, etc). That’s it. The cost of one burrito bowl at Chipotle.

While a burrito bowl is pretty great, the lasting effects of unleashing your creativity will be much more rewarding. Better yet, write a blog post while eating a chipotle salad bowl w/ extra meat & gauc (double win).

Last thoughts:

Of all the things I’ve ever done in my life (at least the things I can remember), nothing compares to how awesome I feel when I record a new podcast. The moment I finish recording & start posting it is like a super high.

I feel great making videos too. Blogging is super fun. I like having my own website and designing it exactly the way I want. Every single detail is up to me.