Woah. You guys…the comments section on yesterday’s post. Just wow.
You guys gave me a lot to think about with this blogging thing, and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one struggling to find my niche. And after hearing all of your thoughts, concerns, opinions, et cetera, I think I have a little better focus now.
To me, the overarching theme in the sentiments that almost all of you expressed was this: different people like different things.
For instance some of you expressed a desire for a blog to be focussed on one topic, for it to have some overriding theme that connected all of it’s posts together. Others said that as long as a blogger speaks with passion in his own true voice, that is enough to build a following.
And here’s the thing: I don’t think either side is wrong. There is no blog that is going to appeal to everyone. This is something we bloggers know, but then often manage to ignore.
Also, some bloggers are far better at writing topically than others. For instance, I love Jody Hedlund’s blog where she writes in a very informative manner about writing and social media, but I also enjoy Jess Witkins blog where she talks about her life and occasionally discusses the speed bumps she encounters on the way to writing her first book. And my main man Don Whittington somehow manages to combine the two by talking about a particular piece of art each week, and then transitioning into incredibly moving and deeply personal thoughts inspired by the piece.
So I’m here to tell you that no one has the definitive answer as to what to write about on your blog. Chuck Wendig is proof you can get by rather handily writing about writing (though as we saw yesterday, not everyone is going to like his approach). But you can’t be Chuck Wendig and neither can I. That’s not to say you can’t write about writing. Just do it your way.
Which leads me into the first of my two rules for bloggers:
1. Be yourself.
Unless you’re a serial killer. Then maybe try being someone else.
Actually you know what, scratch that. I bet people would throng to read a blog written by a serial killer.
You can fake being someone else for a little while, but in the end you’re going to burn out. Which leads us to rule number two.
2. Stick with it.
And really this is good advice for anything you want to do in life. You want to write a book? Stick with it. Want to build a good marriage? Stick with it. Build a one to one scale model of the entire world in Minecraft? Stick with it.
Because lets be real here: you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have posts that bomb. You’re going to have moments of crisis where you wonder if your blog is going in the right direction. All of that is fine.
Screwing up is not the end of the world.
Giving up is.
Huh. That’s has a nice ring to it.
Anyhoo that’s it. Really. On those two principles I believe you can build a successful blog. It’ll take time. All good things do. But if you keep pressing forward eventually you’ll find the right path.