I wasted a very long time trying to decide what to write about. There were so many things to comment on. I wanted to use a blog to store and share family memories. I wanted another to aggregate the best food on the Internet. I still want a blog that tracks my spending, and another that aggregates green tips and vids. I started several of these ideas, but never posted more than a time or three.
I envisioned a network of blogs connected through various life threads. Sounds great. THAT is what held me back.
All the figuring out how it would work, how it would look … I’d need a plan, to choose topics – design or find templates that presented each topic with the right personality … profile my audience, outline my content. I just cooked in this stew of confusion. A long time.
Then I was given a very good piece of advice by a wonderful writer – he told me to start. To write. Whatever comes. Don’t analyze, don’t think – you’ll go back and do that later …
I had stressed so hard over what to write about, I didn’t. I was thinking when I needed to be writing. So, now I write. It’s not very good. Most of the time. But I no longer care.
Start. Do it now. Start with something small, or start with something enormous. It matters not. Only that you set out. To move forward. Step out.
Step One | Write. Now.
Maybe you have a name for your ‘writing’, maybe you don’t (you can call it a blog, a web site, a journal, whatever you want). Or, name it later.
1. Decide on a blog platform – use blogger, WordPress or TypePad (I love WordPress).
2. Write. Begin gathering thoughts, photos, videos, whatever interests you. Begin doing this so you can play with the material. Your content. Write one post a day, even if you know you will dump that post later, write it. Write at least one per day. You can write more … write about anything and everything. Short or long. If patterns emerge, or topics repeat, begin making categories to catalog those topics. Assign keywords to each post. I know, you don’t have time. Do it anyway. It will pay off. Be creative. Don’t hold back. You can always post, or keep the material private, or mark posts as drafts … but, write.
3. If you still don’t know what to write about, that’s ok … that really is part of the reward. To let your brain work that out organically …
4. As patterns form, and personality emerges, you may jot down name ideas, do this throughout the process, without getting too tied to any name. Yet.
5. Write. It gets easier, but different things need your attention now. Scheduling your writing, editing it, adding value with photos and video with each post. And, monetizing your writing. If you wish to do that.
6. If a name hasn’t slapped you in the face yet, get some help from someone that knows you, and your project/s. Brainstorming is a fantastic way to touch your creative. I do this regularly. It always produces blog fodder, along with the advantage to hear ourselves discuss it.
Step Two | Don’t Stress.
So you have a blog, you have a few posts. You go weeks without even checking on it. It could be dead for all you know. That’s ok. Stuff happens. Go back to it. Don’t stress that people will wonder where you were from December 2010 to April 2011. You’re back now. For all they know, you’ve been vacationing in Italy. Skiing in Aspen … don’t stress.
1. Make an editorial calendar. More to help you put thoughts down than keeping a strict schedule. Unless you are the strict schedule-keeper.
2. Have content in the bag, so you can post when you don’t have time.
3. Integrate various parts of your life, online. Cross promote, plug and leverage yourself.
4. Even the best writers can flinch writing blog posts or tweeting. I play a trick, if I’m stuck, I pretend I’m writing to a friend from childhood … whatever takes pressure off. We all know how to write a letter.
5. Don’t worry that no one cares. It’s not for them.
6. Money will come. Or so they say … but do it for something more important than money. Do it because you want to.
Have fun. My satisfaction comes in my ability to connect with those I care about via the Internet. Be it Facebook, email or through a text conversation, my life is enriched by technology.