Why blog is a great networking tool

People ask me all the time why I created this blog.

Once they are done with the why question, the next popular question is how to come up with what to write about, and then it follows with how I can possibly have time to write weekly.

All valid questions…I myself ponder on years ago before the blogging adventure started; they were wondering if I had some grand vision for this huge project such as how this blog was going to transform me into a super blogger who was going to get fame and fortune.

Although, I was definitely open(?) to the super blogger status, I was also realistic. With less than stellar writing skills combined with trying to build my architecture business at the same time, I knew achieving the superstar blogger status was unlikely.

Now, going back to the why question.

“Why did I start the blogging adventure knowing that it was going to be long and a difficult process?”

The answer – I had time, quite a bit of time…

While building my architecture practice, there were many “down” moments; getting rejections from various project proposals, clients deciding not to actually build the project I spent months designing, not getting a response to marketing emails I sent out….endless down moments.

In the flurry of activities with no results, I decided that I was going to create something that was not going to be rejected: my own blog!

 

How the blog started

I am one of those people who need to have clear direction and outcomes when it comes to  projects, goals, tasks anything I was going to spend time on. I need to know why am doing certain things and how I was going to do it and even when it’s going to be completed.

It sounds like a positive trait…until it isn’t.

I drive myself and also the people around me crazy throughout the process. Therefore starting something, especially a project that is going to take time, but with unknown outcomes was not an easy decision to make.

However, I decided to push through the unknowns.

tips_coverThe easiest decision I made at that time was that I knew what the topic of my blog was going to be: DESIGN. Having definite opinions about all things design whether they are architectureinteriorfashion comes easy for me…Don’t get me started on the sculptural quality of certain leather thigh-high boots and how we all need to have one! I can spend hours.

With well-defined (?) blog ideas, I was ready. Ready to conquer the blogosphere! (is this a word?)

After the decision, my type-A personality kicked in as I had done in the face of tackling a project. I wrote down all the todo lists for starting the blog. After spending a day researching technical requirements like the domain name, hosting, etc, I was finally ready. Ready to share my amazing design stories with gazillion readers!

 

Unexpected benefits of connecting with like minded people

Initially, I planned to write one piece per week.

I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult… It was not like I was writing an essay for professors. I will just spend some time thinking about the ideas, write an outline for the piece, and then start talking to my iPad. How hard could it be?

Oh, how wrong I was.

Not only writing blocks which I expected, but I also had design blocks as well.

2012-02-04-during critSuddenly, I became a person who had no ideas, opinions…I was kept going back-and-forth about what I “should” write about. I was questioning everything…myself, writing topics, style/tone of writing etc. I was afraid to enter the “publish” button to post the blog.

While I was struggling to write one piece per week, I came across an article about a famous author and how he dealt with his writing difficulties.

He states that his writings “become” clear while he writes rather than in the beginning. 

He did not have all the ideas in the beginning, but with some ideas, he starts typing away. To get clear about the writing topics, he said, “just start writing” and wait for those unclear ideas taking a certain shape.

He also stated that his “true” writings happen at the editing process, not in the first draft.

I decided to try his method: bad first draft and better drafts afterward. I approached the writing as if I was having a phone conversation with one of my close friends.  Instead of thinking about the structures, vocabularies, styles, tones etc, I started talking into my iPad pretending it was a friend who I had not seen years.

 

Helping with connecting with local designers, architects 

While experiencing the “easier” writing process, I noticed something else on the blog: stats. The blog had the information on the readers; who was reading the post, how many, from which countries, what time of the day…helpful information for struggling writer.

That was how I found my regular reader from Brazil!

I was floored. The reader’s comment about how she appreciated my writing style- funny, honest and yet informative-made the day! I felt like she was a friend who understood what I was trying to do.

With that encouraging comment, I decided on my target audience for the blog:

design enthusiasts who appreciate things in life with a keen sense of design with funny and straightforward communication style.

d2683-pale-pink-moodboardFrom that fateful day of my first follower, I slowly started getting more readers, followers, likes, etc including the local ones. I was approached by several designers in Toronto who wanted to submit their own design stories to the blog.

With more readers coming to the blog each day, it also created more physical connections to designers who wanted to connect outside of the digital community. Meeting these designers in person, and learning about their stories was an unexpected benefit I never thought of when I started my blog adventure.

From these get-togethers, I came up with even more blog ideas.

 

My blog is helping me with my business

I did not see this coming…. when I started my blog adventure years ago.

Remember why I started the blog…..time on my hand. (code word for slow or no business). I started because I had time, and also wanted to improve writing skill, and possibly make tons of money through being the superstar blogger:)

Although the super blogger stardom illusion doesn’t seem within my reach, there were many unexpected/happy surprises along the way.

Beginning of this year, I was contacted by one of my LinkedIn contacts who was a structural Engineer looking to find the architect for his client. He wrote to me through a LinkedIn message that he read the blog piece I wrote and wanted to talk to me about a project!

Logo_Final

It was like the moment the Brazilian leader who made the first comment on my blog! Except that it was 10 times better. Ok, 100 times better!

Not only for the potential project possibility but the perfect stranger who wanted to recommend me to his client because of my writing piece! I was ecstatic,

The project is on hold at the moment due to the client’s financing options… From this experience, I learned to appreciate the biggest WHY of the blog. It was the best networking tool connecting like-minded people, whether digitally or even through physical meetings.

Since that fateful connection back in January this year, more and more people contacted me through social media platforms due to my blog. There are even non-designers who appreciate the writing style/ information as well as many people who want to sell things to me.



Final words

These days I “try” not to ask the why questions too much…. especially, when it comes to long term / unclear but interesting projects. I am realizing that you cannot have all the answers before you start something…

Sometimes you just need to drive-through the unknowns.

I learned that there might be a much bigger prize at the end of the long tunnel even with unclear, fuzzy efforts if you have the energy to push through to see it.

What has been the big adventure you tried without having all the plans, strategies, contingencies etc.? Do you agree with my assessment?