Finding A Blog Focus

It’s Sunday, and I’m writing this before the usual chaos of “cleaning day” sets in. The rest of the household is still asleep – even my dachshund, Robbie, gave me one look as I left the room and promptly claimed my spot on the bed.

As the eternally-grumpy Jim Hopper wisely said: “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” As I set about making coffee and thus fulfilling one half of that sentiment, the contemplation finally arrived. Okay, maybe it didn’t arrive until after my first cup.

Jim Hopper coffee and contemplation quote

I came to the realization that not only was this blog officially one month old, but that I still hadn’t fully settled on a focus for it.

This isn’t my first blog. I’ve attempted to get a few others off the ground, mostly unsuccessfully. They were both great learning experiences, of course. I learned how to set up a domain, hosting, WordPress, and the myriad of options that come with all of the above. I would consider those positive results for the time investment – but the most important lesson was yet to come.

The best lessons are learned firsthand.

I really like blogging, despite my amateur attempts. It took me a bit to figure out the best lesson, though. As good as my efforts were, both of my previous attempts were not authentic. It’s a bit like trying on someone else’s clothes – someone with a decidedly different style than your own. They might fit for the most part, but they don’t really reflect you.

With both of my two previous blogs, I realized I wasn’t truly writing them. They were writing me. They were the borrowed clothes from the friend who is more or less the same size, but also not. I was more in love with the idea of writing for them than I was with actually writing for them.

I was also not fully comfortable with the niches I had picked for each site. At the end of the day, I simply wasn’t driven to write for them. When I did write, though, I was extremely proud of the content. I knew that this was something that I wanted to do, I just wasn’t approaching it from the right outlook.

Starting is the hardest part of anything.

One of the most common pieces of advice given to aspiring writers is to simply just write. Write even if what you come up with is crud, write from the heart, and most importantly: just start.

“Just start” can be applied to a lot of things. Speaking as both a procrastinator and a perfectionist (a terrible combination), I have to frequently remind myself to just start with a lot of things. Even before starting this post, I wasn’t entirely sure of myself. What’s the point of a post like this, and why would anyone want to read it? Still, I knew that writing it was going to be important, and sure enough it dawned on me midway through the process.

There are a lot of blogs out there, written by individuals infinitely more qualified than I was on any given topic. It’s daunting to know that, and still yearn to write on the topics I care most about. Once I started thinking about it from a different perspective, though, the pivotal “ah ha” moment finally struck.

You don’t have to be an expert to contribute to a conversation.

I loosely define this as a lifestyle blog but want to be careful in saying such, as it’s a blog type that can be greatly misunderstood at times. I’m calling it a lifestyle blog because I don’t want to “niche down” and encounter the same issues I did with previous blogs. It’s a lifestyle blog, ultimately, because it reflects who I am, and what I’m about.

So what can you expect to see here? My goal is to take the “just start” approach and apply it to everything. Whether it’s learning how to make a basic budget, eat healthier, or finally tackle that Pinterest project, I want to help make these topics both approachable and actionable. After all, it’s one thing to read how to do something, and another thing to start doing it altogether.

What can you not expect to see here? Perfection. I believe that making mistakes is a critical part of the learning process, and there will be times when I’m learning by doing. For that reason, I’m likely to avoid topics where the wrong advice can be utterly harmful (like, say, day-trading). If you’re looking for advanced knowledge on some of my topics, I’ll gladly defer to the experts.

No one teaches you how to get your life together.

But I’m going to try. As so many of my fellow Millennials like to say, “adulting” is hard. It doesn’t have to be, but one thing that does have to happen is that you have to just start.