According to growthbadger.com, there are over 600 million blogs in the world today, out of over 1.7 billion websites. In the United States, there are over 31 million active bloggers posting at least once per month. So why blog? Hasn’t everything been covered already? Well I don’t think so. The following are some reasons why I blog, and why you might consider the medium yourself.
It teaches me to write.
Everyone has a story, and I’ve always wanted to develop mine, so I can understand it, and so others might take something from it. Before me, my parents and grandparents had a story of war, immigration, and growth, and writing has encouraged me to start capturing some of their stories before they fade away.
The process of blogging involves spitting the words on the page. Ideas and phrases spill out of my fingers in a tapping commotion until my forearms ache. The words want to get out. Then comes the editing: make it cogent, make it flow. I arrange ideas so they’re more pleasing to the eye and the brain.
Editing and re-editing myself has taught me to express myself better, even off the page. Now, I can get my points across better than before. As a result, I have more confidence. It’s a surprising benefit, for someone who previously had difficulty expressing herself in person.
It’s practice in “putting myself out there.”
Whether because of my introvert nature, imposter syndrome, or a number of other factors, I have struggled to put myself out there in the past. Thinking others would consider my ideas pedestrian, I’ve held back in many forums. Basically, I was worried I had nothing worth contributing. But during my journey into a male-dominated, surgically-oriented field, I didn’t see my perspective or voice out there, at least not in a widely accessible place like the internet. I lacked female mentors, and I knew sharing my story could help others who might feel the same way.
Putting myself out there has helped me verify that I do have something to add to the conversation. I can be a voice for women in male dominated fields like IR.
To share my account, I’ve had to dig into the recesses of my memory, and often push beyond my comfort level. In growing used to putting myself out there, I can now offer my opinion more readily in real life (IRL). Less afraid of what others will think, I can speak up with less hesitation than before.
Now, if I have an opinion or a idea, I’m more likely to “reply to all,” rather than work through one-on-one back-channels. Maybe someone else will join the conversation, or ideas will cross-pollinate. The same thing can happen in blogging.
Blogging has helped me find my voice. People are more aware now of who I am and what I can contribute. When you speak up, you become a leader. When you show up consistently and produce, you become a valuable contributor. These are skills you can hone at your own laptop.
I have even more purpose than I did as “just” an IR.
As a blogger, my brain and hands can produce different work from what I do at the hospital. I feel more multi-faceted. As physicians, we must work within a pre-existing, often flawed system, with its associated constraints. Culturally and professionally, some feel they need to stay in a box, and it can be confining. With my chosen method of self-expression, I can step outside the box.
As I develop this outlet, I see what the world is doing outside of medicine. Outside the medical bubble, my self-worth isn’t all wrapped up in my profession. A different part of my brain is active. And maybe when you read what I write, it activates a part of your brain that’s laying dormant.
As a blogger, I’m not just doctor and mom, I can be an influencer and a thought leader. I’m a developer and propagator of idea and strategy. Maybe you are too.
Blogging feels like mass-mentoring.
One-on-one mentoring will always have its own verve, and personal interaction is so valuable. But some questions get asked repeatedly, especially for women in interventional radiology. I’m banking on there being other women like me, secretly wondering if a male-dominated surgical field or the on-call lifestyle is right for them. My hope is that my account will bolster their confidence in their choices. I believe their lives can be shaped as they wish, despite the benevolent or overtly sexism forces that suggest otherwise.
Through blogging, my time and reach as a mentor can expand to help many more people than I could otherwise impact individually. I can reach hundreds or even thousands of people when I hit “publish” on my site.
I’m a creator.
I value creativity and enjoy cultivating it. Creativity requires space and time. As a working mom, the space exists when I’m waiting for my last case to start. In a silent reading room, all my colleagues are gone. I used to stare at msn.com reading the lifestyle section, until one night, the words poured out.
Putting my ideas down, developing them, and re-working them is gratifying. I relish creating something that didn’t exist before. Growing up, I journaled, scrawling through notebooks in a pre-computer era. This writing inevitably left me with a clearer direction and a quieter mind. Reading and writing help us work through life’s conundrums, like finding work-life balance as a mom on call, for example.
The blogger milieu is filled with fascinating people who love to learn and create. By getting to know each other online, consuming each other’s content, commenting, sharing, and amplifying each other, our connections and impact grow. Many of us met at a conference in September. It was uncanny going out to lunch with twelve veritable strangers who all liked to talk about the same things. As you’d imagine, it was a blast.
When a fellow blogger put on her first online course, I got to help her sell it, spreading the word about financial literacy. Another blogger released his fourth book, and offered to send the series to me, so I could spread the word. As I grow my own platform, if I’m listening to a podcast and have a great idea to contribute, I can text or DM-pitch a creator colleague. I was thrilled to receive a cold-email request to interview on a podcast for IR trainees. I love surprises, and blogging is filled with them.
Creating and promoting weekly content takes time and commitment. For me, it’s been a rewarding way to flex my creativity. What about you- would you start a blog?
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