Recently I’ve written about maintaining your blogging focus, I frequently advocate smart time management and why you should plan things out (even though sometimes the best plan is not having one), and a couple weeks ago I passionately shared my advocacy for the blogging platform as a means to (literally) “change your life“. Serious shit people.

Through the past year (yes we’re finally only a couple days away from the big ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY here at Life Without Pants – if you can believe it’s only been a year) – I have received countless emails and have sat down with some amazing, passionate, articulate people that all present the same dilemma:

“I want to start a blog but I don’t know what to write about”

So, I get it – I understand that starting a blog is a daunting task and when you go and read this “big names” out there – you can’t help but think “I’ll never be where he/she is”. I’ve been there, and every other blogger out there was there once, even the big-wigs up at the top sipping Mai Tai’s while they have other people ghost writing, pretending to be them. Oh yeah, it’s out there people. (Anyone want to ghost write for Matt Chevy? Now taking applications).

Here is a basic rundown of objections I commonly come across (which are all extremely valid) – and more importantly, how to overcome each one:

You don’t have to focus on one topic

We all think that a blog has to have a specific purpose – that it has to be about ONE thing and speak to one very targeted audience. The more you dwindle on this – the more you try to force yourself to only focus on one thing, the faster you will get burned out. I’ve been there, thrice times. My first “blog” was about sustainability and green business – It lasted 6 posts. The second, a sports blog – lasted less than a month – no one read either, and I was bored to tears writing for both.

Then came Life Without Pants, started in a time of much transition and (as many of you folks in Chicago know) I was in a very different place then – a networking machine, with no job, no money, moving to a new city, needing to put myself out there as much as possible (and probably annoying some people in the process – but we’re friends now, so it all worked out). So, looking for a job in online marketing, I thought it only natural to focus on all things Social Media, Web 2.0, etc – if you go back in the archives, you’ll see quite an evolution of style from month to month.

Again, I was getting burned out. Why? Because I have a lot of passions (we all do), a lot of interests, to rope them all down into one targeted topic just doesn’t do my mind justice. You HAVE to be willing and open to write about a multitude of things – and you have to get over the idea that you need to have a highly targeted blog. Yes, focus is important – but instead of trying to manufacture that focus from day one – let your writing “do the talking” and allow yourself to approach each blog post with a free attitude.

The focus, the relating it to your audience, developing your skill(s) as a writer, it all comes in time. I think (know) I’m a much better writer today than I was on day one.

You don’t have to be a great writer

So you really admire so-and-so here, or whatshername there – but the fact is, we/they may not be as good as you think. I’m young and totally inexperienced when it comes to this writing thing. Do I think I’m OK? Sure – but more importantly I know that I LOVE doing it – so even if the quality isn’t A+ every single day, even if I happen to use “your” instead of “you’re” – I love every minute of everything I write. Very little of what I’ve done here has felt like a chore – I haven’t had to sit here and manufacture anything for the sake of getting a post up.

It’s not about being good – it’s about being passionate, honest, transparent, and someone that other people can relate to, being opinionated and thought provoking – providing takeaways, and opening discussion. You do NOT have to be a quote “good writer” to be a good at this game. You don’t have to have a masters in Journalism to be a rock star in this scene. It’s all about being you, exuding passion that other people can’t help but connect with.

You do have to invest (some) time into it

A blog won’t run itself. Before you ever make the jump into the world of blogging you have to be willing to commit some real time to running the show. It doesn’t mean you should be giving something up, it doesn’t mean you need to become a hermit and do nothing but crank out brilliant blog posts – but consistency = success. I repeat, CONSISTENCY = SUCCESS. People want to know what (generally speaking) you’re going to write, and when you’re going to write it.

Don’t be the type of person who writes a blog post every day for a week, then falls off the face of the earth for the next month. If you think something like that is going to happen, if you anticipate a busy schedule ahead. Be smart about it and plan for the future. Write 5 blog posts this weekend and then schedule them to publish over the course of the next two weeks (everyone has done it folks – there’s nothing non-genuine about it). With a little up-front work, you can essentially coast and focus purely on that whole thing called “engagement” – or spend more time reading other people’s content – not to mention maybe doing more “IRL” stuff.

Before you set out to get started, and throughout the process, think about what makes sense for you from a timing perspective, and stick with it.

You have to make it past the three-month-milestone

This is my last plea to you. The first three months are going to sort of suck. No one’s going to read your blog, you’re traffic numbers are going to be low, and the only person commenting may be your mom telling you she likes the picture you used. Yeah, been there. It’s a tough stretch starting out, especially when you see all these other bloggers out there with their massive, thriving, interactive communities. It can be intimidating.

BUT, all I ask of you is that you keep at it – keep going strong – keep posting consistently – keep replying to all the comments that come your way – keep networking and getting involved with other communities. The more breadcrumb trails you leave around the web that direct people back to your neck of the woods, the better.

And, don’t be afraid to self promote – VERY few people are fortunate enough to start out with a booming community – your content isn’t going to be read if you don’t tell people to read it. BUT, the goal with self promotion is again, to create some awareness and buzz – you may have to lay it on thick to start, but as time passes, you’ll build a community of evangelists, loyal followers, and most importantly, friends – who will be more than happy to tell the whole world about you. Then you can sit back and put more focus on…yep, you guess it, WRITING.

The first three-six months are going to be tough, they are/were for all of us, but if you can make it through (which a high percentage of people don’t) the rest will come much, much easier and more naturally.

Stop doubting and start doing (you’ll be glad you did)

If you fall into one of these categories and aren’t sure what to do – I’d be happy to chat with you. To everyone out there: What advice would you give? What blogging obstacles did you overcome to get where you are today?

Join the conversation! 159 Comments

  1. Another awesome post, Matt! A year and a half later, I’m still in the infancy stages of building my audience, but I LOVE writing my blog, just as you do. And I really don’t mind that there were very few people reading along in the first year – my posts are cleaner, my writing is better, and my photos are light-years better that when I’ve started, and I’ve even published a book of recipes (and free ebook version). And I know that the blogging and networking I’m doing now is going to lead to the next opportunity, whatever it is.

    Reply
    • That’s awesome Jenn – do you do all the photography on your site yourself? It’s beautiful. Major kudos to you there. Sounds like you are on the right track and have set yourself up for a bright future ahead!

      Reply
  2. Another awesome post, Matt! A year and a half later, I’m still in the infancy stages of building my audience, but I LOVE writing my blog, just as you do. And I really don’t mind that there were very few people reading along in the first year – my posts are cleaner, my writing is better, and my photos are light-years better that when I’ve started, and I’ve even published a book of recipes (and free ebook version). And I know that the blogging and networking I’m doing now is going to lead to the next opportunity, whatever it is.

    Reply
    • That’s awesome Jenn – do you do all the photography on your site yourself? It’s beautiful. Major kudos to you there. Sounds like you are on the right track and have set yourself up for a bright future ahead!

      Reply
  3. I started to write a comment to this but then realized that my comment was long enough to be a post.

    In short, well-said. I’m posting my reaction later tonight. :)

    Reply
  4. I started to write a comment to this but then realized that my comment was long enough to be a post.

    In short, well-said. I’m posting my reaction later tonight. :)

    Reply
  5. these are great…especially: “You don’t have to focus on one topic” and “You don’t have to be a great writer.” I’m in the infant stages of my blog and I’ve already gone through 100 different ideas of what I want it to be about and I realize it can be about all of those 100 things!

    I also believe the more you write, the better you’ll become at it. At first it’s intimidating, especially when you visit great blogs like yours, but the key is to simply be yourself (in my opinion). I’m still struggling, but I hope it’ll get better.

    Reply
    • Your skills and the platform in general will develop over time, without a doubt. As for focusing on 100 topics – I think that is perfectly over time – and over time, you will streamline this as well – developing a clearer focus with each post. Just give it some time, things will be a little clearer and “on point” as you continue moving forward. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  6. these are great…especially: “You don’t have to focus on one topic” and “You don’t have to be a great writer.” I’m in the infant stages of my blog and I’ve already gone through 100 different ideas of what I want it to be about and I realize it can be about all of those 100 things!

    I also believe the more you write, the better you’ll become at it. At first it’s intimidating, especially when you visit great blogs like yours, but the key is to simply be yourself (in my opinion). I’m still struggling, but I hope it’ll get better.

    Reply
    • Your skills and the platform in general will develop over time, without a doubt. As for focusing on 100 topics – I think that is perfectly over time – and over time, you will streamline this as well – developing a clearer focus with each post. Just give it some time, things will be a little clearer and “on point” as you continue moving forward. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  7. Matt,

    We don’t know each other that well, but we will soon. Thanks so much for this post – it’s funny how certain things hit you at just the right time.

    My blog launches today! (I’m holding myself accountable in front of your readers)

    Reply
  8. Matt,

    We don’t know each other that well, but we will soon. Thanks so much for this post – it’s funny how certain things hit you at just the right time.

    My blog launches today! (I’m holding myself accountable in front of your readers)

    Reply
  9. Matt,

    The don’t be afraid to self-promote is key. Believe in what you are writing and don’t be fearful of asking people to read. Even if you start with a few friends, it’s cool. The numbers will come! I’m at one month plus on my blog and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

    Jason

    Reply
    • Self promotion is a part of the “game” Jason – it’s inevitable in the marketing process – even as turn-offish it may seem, from the beginning, the only way people will know about you is if you let them know. As long as you’re enjoying it, that’s all that matters.

      Reply
  10. Matt,

    The don’t be afraid to self-promote is key. Believe in what you are writing and don’t be fearful of asking people to read. Even if you start with a few friends, it’s cool. The numbers will come! I’m at one month plus on my blog and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

    Jason

    Reply
    • Self promotion is a part of the “game” Jason – it’s inevitable in the marketing process – even as turn-offish it may seem, from the beginning, the only way people will know about you is if you let them know. As long as you’re enjoying it, that’s all that matters.

      Reply
  11. So true, Matt. I tried to focus my first blog solely on HR stuff and I got bored after the first post. Now with TMoM, I’m enjoying what I’m writing about and it’s exciting to see so many more people begin to get engaged. Now I just have to adhere to being consistent and investing the time necessary to really get things rolling.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Reply
  12. So true, Matt. I tried to focus my first blog solely on HR stuff and I got bored after the first post. Now with TMoM, I’m enjoying what I’m writing about and it’s exciting to see so many more people begin to get engaged. Now I just have to adhere to being consistent and investing the time necessary to really get things rolling.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Reply
    • No problem man – when you focus TOO heavily on ONE topic, you get burned out SO quickly – you have to diversify to keep your own mind fresh AND your readers interested. Cheers!

      Reply
  13. Matt, Matt, Matt.

    You don’t know me well, but you really targeted me with this post. I’ve put off blogging because I didn’t think it would be good enough, I couldn’t focus on just one area or idea, I couldn’t think of a great name or a catchy tagline — I forgot that I really enjoyed blogging and hadn’t been doing enough of that.

    Hoping I make it past the three month mark!

    Great post. Merci beaucoup.

    Reply
    • Awesome Jen – I’m really glad to see that you’ve decided to “give it another go”. One word of wisdom – throw up an RSS subscription link on your blog so people can subscribe – I went over there to subscribe myself and didn’t see it. I want to keep up with you and make SURE you get past that three month milestone and beyond!

      Reply
      • Thanks Matt — it took me awhile to figure out the widgets on WordPress, I’m a newb (was using Blogger before, I guess you could say I’m movin’ on up). However, the option to subscribe is now there. I appreciate the tip.

        Keep in touch!

        Reply
  14. Good advice, Matt. Incredible it will only be one year here at Life without Pants. Seems to be around much longer, and it certainly is a big success.

    I think the main point really is “plan as you go – but go”. On my blog, topics are still very diverse, but I also notice in which direction I am heading. “Relaxed lifestyle and personal development”, something like that.
    Also, speed is adjusting over time. I will write 1-2 posts a week and feel fine with it, while other people will write much more or a little less. There’s just no fixed rule to it, but it’s about finding your own “tempo giusto”.

    Reply
    • Right to both of your points here. Plan as you go – but don’t worry too much about planning BEFORE you go – most of this is learned “on the job” so to speak.

      And from a timing and consistency perspective – you’re right, there is no right or wrong, the point is to decide what works within your schedule and then do everything you can to stick to that schedule.

      Reply
  15. Matt, Matt, Matt.

    You don’t know me well, but you really targeted me with this post. I’ve put off blogging because I didn’t think it would be good enough, I couldn’t focus on just one area or idea, I couldn’t think of a great name or a catchy tagline — I forgot that I really enjoyed blogging and hadn’t been doing enough of that.

    Hoping I make it past the three month mark!

    Great post. Merci beaucoup.

    Reply
    • Awesome Jen – I’m really glad to see that you’ve decided to “give it another go”. One word of wisdom – throw up an RSS subscription link on your blog so people can subscribe – I went over there to subscribe myself and didn’t see it. I want to keep up with you and make SURE you get past that three month milestone and beyond!

      Reply
      • Thanks Matt — it took me awhile to figure out the widgets on WordPress, I’m a newb (was using Blogger before, I guess you could say I’m movin’ on up). However, the option to subscribe is now there. I appreciate the tip.

        Keep in touch!

        Reply
  16. Good advice, Matt. Incredible it will only be one year here at Life without Pants. Seems to be around much longer, and it certainly is a big success.

    I think the main point really is “plan as you go – but go”. On my blog, topics are still very diverse, but I also notice in which direction I am heading. “Relaxed lifestyle and personal development”, something like that.
    Also, speed is adjusting over time. I will write 1-2 posts a week and feel fine with it, while other people will write much more or a little less. There’s just no fixed rule to it, but it’s about finding your own “tempo giusto”.

    Reply
    • Right to both of your points here. Plan as you go – but don’t worry too much about planning BEFORE you go – most of this is learned “on the job” so to speak.

      And from a timing and consistency perspective – you’re right, there is no right or wrong, the point is to decide what works within your schedule and then do everything you can to stick to that schedule.

      Reply
  17. Whhoopy Matt!!, Brilliant post again, every single post I read here pushes me to implement things and change the way I think.
    As a matter of fact I have thought of quiting blogging quite a few times, but one thing starts dawning on me every time – that is I love blogging, thats my life blood….gives me all the thoughts and confidence and top of the list the opportunity to meet people like you.

    Reply
    • That’s great to hear Akash – if I’m providing some clear takeaways, I know I’m doing something right! Glad we’ve connected and just followed you on Twitter (sorry I wasn’t already). Be in touch!

      Reply
  18. Whhoopy Matt!!, Brilliant post again, every single post I read here pushes me to implement things and change the way I think.
    As a matter of fact I have thought of quiting blogging quite a few times, but one thing starts dawning on me every time – that is I love blogging, thats my life blood….gives me all the thoughts and confidence and top of the list the opportunity to meet people like you.

    Reply
    • That’s great to hear Akash – if I’m providing some clear takeaways, I know I’m doing something right! Glad we’ve connected and just followed you on Twitter (sorry I wasn’t already). Be in touch!

      Reply
  19. Matt,

    You’ve made some excellent points here. It’s really easy to get caught in the plan of “I’m going to wait till I have something brilliant to say.” In the first three months that strategy will definitely fail. I wrote almost every single day for the first three months. With regards to writing skill, it’s like anything else. The more you do it, the better you get. I think people should write every single day even if they don’t post every day. I think more than being a good writer, you have to be good at building relationships (which I think you have become a master at). Add some marketing+consistency and you are well on your way to success.

    Reply
    • Good stuff S – I make an effort to write daily – and that can come in many, many different forms. If not here on my own blog, or working up drafts, then I stay very active on other blogs and do everything I can to REALLY get involved in those conversations. The more you talk, engage, read, and write – the more inspiration you’ll gain for you own writing.

      Reply
      • “The more you talk, engage, read, and write – the more inspiration you’ll gain for you own writing.”

        So true and so important! Inspiration comes from being active in all forms. If you never left your house, you’d never experience anything and have very little to write/film/sing/compose/photograph.

        Reply
  20. Matt,

    You’ve made some excellent points here. It’s really easy to get caught in the plan of “I’m going to wait till I have something brilliant to say.” In the first three months that strategy will definitely fail. I wrote almost every single day for the first three months. With regards to writing skill, it’s like anything else. The more you do it, the better you get. I think people should write every single day even if they don’t post every day. I think more than being a good writer, you have to be good at building relationships (which I think you have become a master at). Add some marketing+consistency and you are well on your way to success.

    Reply
    • Good stuff S – I make an effort to write daily – and that can come in many, many different forms. If not here on my own blog, or working up drafts, then I stay very active on other blogs and do everything I can to REALLY get involved in those conversations. The more you talk, engage, read, and write – the more inspiration you’ll gain for you own writing.

      Reply
      • “The more you talk, engage, read, and write – the more inspiration you’ll gain for you own writing.”

        So true and so important! Inspiration comes from being active in all forms. If you never left your house, you’d never experience anything and have very little to write/film/sing/compose/photograph.

        Reply
  21. Hello Matt,

    I really enjoyed this post! It has even motivate me to actually WANT to blog. The thing is, how do you find the time to blog in the midst of all the work? The reason I would want to blog is to gain loyalty in readers to be drawn to our company. Is this wrong motivation? I know from experience if you begin something with the wrong motive, you’re likely to fail.

    Please let me know your thoughts. You can find us one twitter @WebDesignBarrie, or on facebook http://www.facebook.com/#/pages/Whetham-Solutions-Website-Development/125340864905?ref=nf . I look forward to finding out what you think.

    Sabrina

    Reply
  22. Hello Matt,

    I really enjoyed this post! It has even motivate me to actually WANT to blog. The thing is, how do you find the time to blog in the midst of all the work? The reason I would want to blog is to gain loyalty in readers to be drawn to our company. Is this wrong motivation? I know from experience if you begin something with the wrong motive, you’re likely to fail.

    Please let me know your thoughts. You can find us one twitter @WebDesignBarrie, or on facebook http://www.facebook.com/#/pages/Whetham-Solutions-Website-Development/125340864905?ref=nf . I look forward to finding out what you think.

    Sabrina

    Reply
  23. Thanks for your great post! I too have only been blogging for a short time. I fell into the trap of wondering what my focus was to be. I don’t have all day long to work on my blog (Iwork full time). The more I do this the more I realize like you that it is about building relationships and just F*#$%ing writing! Let your creativity flow! The knowlege will come. You will not be Tim Ferris or Gary V overnight!

    Reply
  24. Thanks for your great post! I too have only been blogging for a short time. I fell into the trap of wondering what my focus was to be. I don’t have all day long to work on my blog (Iwork full time). The more I do this the more I realize like you that it is about building relationships and just F*#$%ing writing! Let your creativity flow! The knowlege will come. You will not be Tim Ferris or Gary V overnight!

    Reply
  25. My hardest thing? I was SO nervous to put myself out there and be judged by my peers. It took a couple mentors – Arik Hanson and David Mullen – to tell me to “stop bitching and just do it.” Alrighty, then.

    Since that point, my blog has grown into something I put a lot of time into and really love. It’s a commitment and a way to get my voice out there.

    Reply
    • I was on the exact same page as Lauren. In fact, up until right before my blog launched a couple weeks ago, I was nervous to even comment on blogs. You can feel pretty vulnerable, that’s for sure. But the amazing response from everyone else who have also been there, too, just makes doing it soooo worth it! :)

      Reply
      • Just keep being you, and you’ll be great. :)

        Reply
      • Lauren – You are an amazing writer, and I am not at all the only person who thinks that – even yesterday meeting people for coffee, other people were talking about how much they admire you. The fear of judgement is something that isn’t always easy to overcome, but you have done a great job of putting yourself out there and really cultivating amazing conversation

        Sara – It has been so great getting to know you over the past couple months, and you have not (at all) dissapointed with the amazing content your putting out there. So many great things to come and I’m really happy you got over that initial “fear”.

        Reply
  26. My hardest thing? I was SO nervous to put myself out there and be judged by my peers. It took a couple mentors – Arik Hanson and David Mullen – to tell me to “stop bitching and just do it.” Alrighty, then.

    Since that point, my blog has grown into something I put a lot of time into and really love. It’s a commitment and a way to get my voice out there.

    Reply
    • I was on the exact same page as Lauren. In fact, up until right before my blog launched a couple weeks ago, I was nervous to even comment on blogs. You can feel pretty vulnerable, that’s for sure. But the amazing response from everyone else who have also been there, too, just makes doing it soooo worth it! :)

      Reply
      • Just keep being you, and you’ll be great. :)

        Reply
      • Lauren – You are an amazing writer, and I am not at all the only person who thinks that – even yesterday meeting people for coffee, other people were talking about how much they admire you. The fear of judgement is something that isn’t always easy to overcome, but you have done a great job of putting yourself out there and really cultivating amazing conversation

        Sara – It has been so great getting to know you over the past couple months, and you have not (at all) dissapointed with the amazing content your putting out there. So many great things to come and I’m really happy you got over that initial “fear”.

        Reply
  27. Great post.

    At one point, I started a personal finance blog. It quickly died. I didn’t have the passion for it. I also was too worried about what others thought.

    The biggest change that I made was the change in my attitude toward blogging. I don’t take it nearly as seriously. I mean this in the sense that I *know* that some people won’t like what I write, so there is no sense worrying about it. I’m just going with it. It’s a lot more fun this way.

    I still try to be professional and write good content, but I am going to have fun with it or not do it at all.

    Reply
    • YES! Professional is fine but you still have to have fun with it – blogs are (for the most part) supposed to be informal, they allow both individuals and business reps to show a little (or a lot) of that “human” side. Good stuff man.

      Reply
  28. Great post.

    At one point, I started a personal finance blog. It quickly died. I didn’t have the passion for it. I also was too worried about what others thought.

    The biggest change that I made was the change in my attitude toward blogging. I don’t take it nearly as seriously. I mean this in the sense that I *know* that some people won’t like what I write, so there is no sense worrying about it. I’m just going with it. It’s a lot more fun this way.

    I still try to be professional and write good content, but I am going to have fun with it or not do it at all.

    Reply
    • YES! Professional is fine but you still have to have fun with it – blogs are (for the most part) supposed to be informal, they allow both individuals and business reps to show a little (or a lot) of that “human” side. Good stuff man.

      Reply
  29. Hey, this post is great especially the stay with it ideas. I am a month into the blogging universe and I can see why many give up. I have been disappointed with numbers on some days but I now know that it is just paying your dues in the blog basement, I can almost see the stairs and the door is open.
    Thanks again
    Justin

    Reply
    • No problem Justin – thanks for the comment. I hate the phrase “paying your dues” but you are very right here – you have to do a bit of that at the beginning, and it really wears on people, discouraging a lot of folks and leading to them giving up. Keep with it man. As long as you like what you’re doing – you’re golden.

      Reply
  30. Hey, this post is great especially the stay with it ideas. I am a month into the blogging universe and I can see why many give up. I have been disappointed with numbers on some days but I now know that it is just paying your dues in the blog basement, I can almost see the stairs and the door is open.
    Thanks again
    Justin

    Reply
    • No problem Justin – thanks for the comment. I hate the phrase “paying your dues” but you are very right here – you have to do a bit of that at the beginning, and it really wears on people, discouraging a lot of folks and leading to them giving up. Keep with it man. As long as you like what you’re doing – you’re golden.

      Reply
  31. Don’t be afraid, just jump in and do it! You’ll be glad you did if you’re thinking of starting a blog today.

    Matt, I couldn’t agree with you more. I started reading blogs and decided I wanted one, but I didn’t know what it would be. After a week, I threw that to the wind and just started. I still don’t know if my blog has a “theme” other than just “me” practicing my writing and journalling my life, but I love writing it, I love interacting with my readers, and I love discovering new bloggers who inspire me daily! The first few months were tough; I felt like no one was reading my blog, and I really wanted to “get out there.” But, one day, it just happened. I started frequenting blogs and commenting, leaving my link behind. I joined 20SB. And it happened.

    So, as Nike says, just do it!

    Reply
  32. Don’t be afraid, just jump in and do it! You’ll be glad you did if you’re thinking of starting a blog today.

    Matt, I couldn’t agree with you more. I started reading blogs and decided I wanted one, but I didn’t know what it would be. After a week, I threw that to the wind and just started. I still don’t know if my blog has a “theme” other than just “me” practicing my writing and journalling my life, but I love writing it, I love interacting with my readers, and I love discovering new bloggers who inspire me daily! The first few months were tough; I felt like no one was reading my blog, and I really wanted to “get out there.” But, one day, it just happened. I started frequenting blogs and commenting, leaving my link behind. I joined 20SB. And it happened.

    So, as Nike says, just do it!

    Reply
  33. Great post Matt! I totally agree with you that the first few months can be brutal, which is another reason why it won’t work if you’re not really passionate about what you’re writing about. I would say my biggest obstacle was (and is) getting out of my own way. Like you say, stop doubting and start doing. Stop overthinking and start writing. Stop worrying about six months from now and just start. Today. And then start again. And every time you get stuck, take a breath and start again. I’m beginning to think that life, whatever you may be trying to achieve, is very much a matter of getting good at starting.

    Reply
    • Not over-thinking is a real challenge – I sit here and stare at a draft for a couple hours sometimes, it’s sick, really – LOL. I’ve been doing a lot better lately at forcing myself to just hit publish without analyzing and reanalyzing every word. It’s a critical step to trust yourself and your writing. Thanks for the comment Jess.

      Reply
      • Hah! So glad that it’s not just me. After your post the other day about 20 minute blog posts…

        My boss used to do something we called “with/not without”drafts where she would switch the same tiny phrases back and forth countless times. I swore I would never write like that. Famous last words.

        Reply
  34. Great post Matt! I totally agree with you that the first few months can be brutal, which is another reason why it won’t work if you’re not really passionate about what you’re writing about. I would say my biggest obstacle was (and is) getting out of my own way. Like you say, stop doubting and start doing. Stop overthinking and start writing. Stop worrying about six months from now and just start. Today. And then start again. And every time you get stuck, take a breath and start again. I’m beginning to think that life, whatever you may be trying to achieve, is very much a matter of getting good at starting.

    Reply
    • Not over-thinking is a real challenge – I sit here and stare at a draft for a couple hours sometimes, it’s sick, really – LOL. I’ve been doing a lot better lately at forcing myself to just hit publish without analyzing and reanalyzing every word. It’s a critical step to trust yourself and your writing. Thanks for the comment Jess.

      Reply
      • Hah! So glad that it’s not just me. After your post the other day about 20 minute blog posts…

        My boss used to do something we called “with/not without”drafts where she would switch the same tiny phrases back and forth countless times. I swore I would never write like that. Famous last words.

        Reply
  35. Matt – great post! I love that you are telling me I don’t have to be focused. Like a lot of the other commenters, I have been hesitating on starting because I have too many ideas and I couldn’t figure out how they were all going to work together under one heading. Well apparently they dont..thanks for that bit of advice. Coming soon ~ a blog by @kellylux. Take care :)

    Reply
    • A lot of folks will tell you that you have to be super-focused, but it’s this mentality that really causes you go get hung up and stuck in a rut. Write about your passions and interests, whatever they may be, and the rest…eventually…will come naturally. Can’t wait to see you kick-start your own blog Kelly!

      Reply
  36. Matt – great post! I love that you are telling me I don’t have to be focused. Like a lot of the other commenters, I have been hesitating on starting because I have too many ideas and I couldn’t figure out how they were all going to work together under one heading. Well apparently they dont..thanks for that bit of advice. Coming soon ~ a blog by @kellylux. Take care :)

    Reply
    • A lot of folks will tell you that you have to be super-focused, but it’s this mentality that really causes you go get hung up and stuck in a rut. Write about your passions and interests, whatever they may be, and the rest…eventually…will come naturally. Can’t wait to see you kick-start your own blog Kelly!

      Reply
  37. Matt:
    I agree with you about most people having unnecessary fear of blogging, but wouldn’t you say some kind of plan should be in place before they start? After all, the last thing you want is to start something that goes nowhere, and ends up being a dead space on the web with your name on it.

    Also, I shivered when you said you don’t have to be a good writer. I totally agree with you – good writing and a successful blog don’t necessarily go hand in hand – I’m a little distressed by how poor some of the writing out there really is. Not sure what the solution to that is, though, besides for more writing education.

    Reply
    • I agree with you Caleb on the plan idea. While you don’t need a 5 year business plan, you definitely need a direction and some goals for your blogging journey. Just writing randomly ever day without a definitive purpose isn’t a very effective way of moving forward, in my opinion.

      The bad writing thing is sad, because it gives blogging and bloggers a bad name. Just a few weeks ago, on SVU, the line “bloggers and important? Now that’s an oxymoron!” was said. While being an amazing writer isn’t necessary to be successful in blogging, you do need to know how to write! There are standards when using this platform (as with any platform) – it’s definitely not for everybody.

      Reply
      • Hear what you guys are saying, and I think you are going to have SOME sort of plan regardless – if you “plan” to start a blog, you’re already planning and you’re no doubt thinking about what it’s going to be – but you don’t have to let that hold you back from diving in and starting to write, even if that writing isn’t 100% planned out. Thanks for the comments guys.

        Reply
  38. Matt:
    I agree with you about most people having unnecessary fear of blogging, but wouldn’t you say some kind of plan should be in place before they start? After all, the last thing you want is to start something that goes nowhere, and ends up being a dead space on the web with your name on it.

    Also, I shivered when you said you don’t have to be a good writer. I totally agree with you – good writing and a successful blog don’t necessarily go hand in hand – I’m a little distressed by how poor some of the writing out there really is. Not sure what the solution to that is, though, besides for more writing education.

    Reply
    • I agree with you Caleb on the plan idea. While you don’t need a 5 year business plan, you definitely need a direction and some goals for your blogging journey. Just writing randomly ever day without a definitive purpose isn’t a very effective way of moving forward, in my opinion.

      The bad writing thing is sad, because it gives blogging and bloggers a bad name. Just a few weeks ago, on SVU, the line “bloggers and important? Now that’s an oxymoron!” was said. While being an amazing writer isn’t necessary to be successful in blogging, you do need to know how to write! There are standards when using this platform (as with any platform) – it’s definitely not for everybody.

      Reply
      • Hear what you guys are saying, and I think you are going to have SOME sort of plan regardless – if you “plan” to start a blog, you’re already planning and you’re no doubt thinking about what it’s going to be – but you don’t have to let that hold you back from diving in and starting to write, even if that writing isn’t 100% planned out. Thanks for the comments guys.

        Reply
  39. Great post Matt. I’ve had a huge amount of trouble coming up with some sort of cohesive topic in my blogging attempts, but this reassures me that the direction is allowed to shift. Maybe I’ll give it another go!

    Reply
    • Do it! And if you EVER need some help or just want to bounce some ideas around – feel free to shoot me an email – mncheuvront (at) gmail. Trust me – it helps, and I’d be more than happy to lend and ear and brainstorm.

      Reply
  40. Great post Matt. I’ve had a huge amount of trouble coming up with some sort of cohesive topic in my blogging attempts, but this reassures me that the direction is allowed to shift. Maybe I’ll give it another go!

    Reply
    • Do it! And if you EVER need some help or just want to bounce some ideas around – feel free to shoot me an email – mncheuvront (at) gmail. Trust me – it helps, and I’d be more than happy to lend and ear and brainstorm.

      Reply
  41. You’re right. It does suck in the beginning. Unless you go out there and grab some readers, no one is going to show up. Self promotion is huge. The lack of audience can be disheartening to some, but that is just how it works. In blogging you have to stick it out for any kind of success.

    I agree that you don’t need to be a great writer, but if helps if you are decent. A few mistakes are fine. But do you read a full post of terrible writing? I don’t. If the blogger can’t get a point across I’m not going to stick around.

    Reply
    • I agree with you on this – I won’t struggle to read a badly written post, especially if it’s a long one. But I also suspect many people are less particular about that than I am!

      Reply
      • Yes..of course both of you are right here, I hope what I said above wasn’t taken TOO literally – you need to have some talent and of course the “good” writers really stand out from the rest – but a lot of folks think they’re just not good enough or not interesting enough and they let that hold them back. You can be a passionate writer and use spell check to fill in the gaps :)

        Reply
  42. You’re right. It does suck in the beginning. Unless you go out there and grab some readers, no one is going to show up. Self promotion is huge. The lack of audience can be disheartening to some, but that is just how it works. In blogging you have to stick it out for any kind of success.

    I agree that you don’t need to be a great writer, but if helps if you are decent. A few mistakes are fine. But do you read a full post of terrible writing? I don’t. If the blogger can’t get a point across I’m not going to stick around.

    Reply
    • I agree with you on this – I won’t struggle to read a badly written post, especially if it’s a long one. But I also suspect many people are less particular about that than I am!

      Reply
      • Yes..of course both of you are right here, I hope what I said above wasn’t taken TOO literally – you need to have some talent and of course the “good” writers really stand out from the rest – but a lot of folks think they’re just not good enough or not interesting enough and they let that hold them back. You can be a passionate writer and use spell check to fill in the gaps :)

        Reply
  43. Great post Matt! Your posts never fail to encourage and stimulate me. I’ve been struggling with my personal blog for several weeks now and your post sorta got the wheels turning again for me.

    By far I feel the biggest challenge I face is not being able to write about a topic that initially came as a brainwave of amazingly fabulous ideas, at a time when I was in the middle of a totally unrelated chore during the day! Sounds funny but I wonder how many other people face the same problem (I know Seinfeld did in one particular episode). Jokes apart, I tend to jot down broad points that pop up in my head, and then am at an utter loss of thoughts when I get the time to sit with my PC / laptop and type. Any sugesstions for dealing with this?

    Reply
    • I think you’re on the right track Sabera (and PS I love that Seinfeld episode and PPS I am the exact same way when it comes to getting inspired at “inopportune” times. You’re doing the right thing though, carry around a notebook and jot down notes as they come to you – just be sure you jot down enough to know what the heck you were thinking later on!

      Thanks for the comment – glad it could do a little to inspire you.

      Reply
  44. Great post Matt! Your posts never fail to encourage and stimulate me. I’ve been struggling with my personal blog for several weeks now and your post sorta got the wheels turning again for me.

    By far I feel the biggest challenge I face is not being able to write about a topic that initially came as a brainwave of amazingly fabulous ideas, at a time when I was in the middle of a totally unrelated chore during the day! Sounds funny but I wonder how many other people face the same problem (I know Seinfeld did in one particular episode). Jokes apart, I tend to jot down broad points that pop up in my head, and then am at an utter loss of thoughts when I get the time to sit with my PC / laptop and type. Any sugesstions for dealing with this?

    Reply
    • I think you’re on the right track Sabera (and PS I love that Seinfeld episode and PPS I am the exact same way when it comes to getting inspired at “inopportune” times. You’re doing the right thing though, carry around a notebook and jot down notes as they come to you – just be sure you jot down enough to know what the heck you were thinking later on!

      Thanks for the comment – glad it could do a little to inspire you.

      Reply
  45. Great post – I always like your stuff, and this one definitely hit home!

    I started my blog last August, and am hitting walls here and there, and doing some posts that I am thrilled with and proud of, and some not so much, and picking up some followers, and yes getting frustrated at times too. It’s all part of the process, and I am doing it because i love it as a form of expression, as my art, as my therapy, as my ‘alone’ time and more.

    Your advice to ‘jsut do it’ to steal a phrase is bang on — there will always be obstacles, do it because you love it, and the rest will follow!

    Reply
  46. Great post – I always like your stuff, and this one definitely hit home!

    I started my blog last August, and am hitting walls here and there, and doing some posts that I am thrilled with and proud of, and some not so much, and picking up some followers, and yes getting frustrated at times too. It’s all part of the process, and I am doing it because i love it as a form of expression, as my art, as my therapy, as my ‘alone’ time and more.

    Your advice to ‘jsut do it’ to steal a phrase is bang on — there will always be obstacles, do it because you love it, and the rest will follow!

    Reply
  47. I just started a blog about two weeks ago. It is tough in the beginning – but I will take your advice and see it through the 3-6 month mark. I have committed myself to the time it will take to get it “out there” because I know it will not only benefit me (by keeping me accountable for pursuing my dreams) but also help others out there who are in the same boat as me (slowly dying in cubicle land). Oh – and I’ve never thought of myself as much of a writer – so that section helped me feel better too. Thanks for the inspiring post.

    Reply
  48. I just started a blog about two weeks ago. It is tough in the beginning – but I will take your advice and see it through the 3-6 month mark. I have committed myself to the time it will take to get it “out there” because I know it will not only benefit me (by keeping me accountable for pursuing my dreams) but also help others out there who are in the same boat as me (slowly dying in cubicle land). Oh – and I’ve never thought of myself as much of a writer – so that section helped me feel better too. Thanks for the inspiring post.

    Reply
  49. Sweet advice man. Its inspiring to here your story of building LWP. The great thing is its not ever over!! Great things to come for the both of us.

    Reply
  50. Sweet advice man. Its inspiring to here your story of building LWP. The great thing is its not ever over!! Great things to come for the both of us.

    Reply
  51. Great post Matt! Just started reading your blog lately after seeing some links from @saradavidson. Posts like this definitely helped me as a blogger that is just getting started (less than a month ago). Keep it coming!

    Reply
  52. Great post Matt! Just started reading your blog lately after seeing some links from @saradavidson. Posts like this definitely helped me as a blogger that is just getting started (less than a month ago). Keep it coming!

    Reply
  53. Hey, I have to tell you, good writing IS this: passionate, honest, transparent.

    Grammatically correct writing … not so much.

    You’re a good writer.

    Reply
  54. Hey, I have to tell you, good writing IS this: passionate, honest, transparent.

    Grammatically correct writing … not so much.

    You’re a good writer.

    Reply
  55. As a foreigner who has often written in English I can tell that Grammar and style are your friends. The harder you strive to write the better; but don’t let Grammar stop you. If you are unsure, then be simple. Go for short sentences and common words, and if anybody makes fun at you (it does happen) admitt the mistake, correct it and forgive the little guy who lives under a bridge.

    Reply
  56. As a foreigner who has often written in English I can tell that Grammar and style are your friends. The harder you strive to write the better; but don’t let Grammar stop you. If you are unsure, then be simple. Go for short sentences and common words, and if anybody makes fun at you (it does happen) admitt the mistake, correct it and forgive the little guy who lives under a bridge.

    Reply
  57. This is great Matt! Your story pretty much mirrors mine. I had a couple stops and starts with more targeted blogs, but I just didn’t have the passion for it. I’m not in the very early stages of starting a more general, personal blog that I think will better represent me as well as my ideas. Once I think up a good name and actually get it online (already have some posts written!) I’d love for you to check it out (see, I’m already taking your advice and shamelessly promoting my non-existent blog). Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Haha way to be ahead of the game and self promote before it even exists. I like your style. Create some anticipation :) Be sure to come by and share a link to your blog once you get it up and running!

      Reply
  58. This is great Matt! Your story pretty much mirrors mine. I had a couple stops and starts with more targeted blogs, but I just didn’t have the passion for it. I’m not in the very early stages of starting a more general, personal blog that I think will better represent me as well as my ideas. Once I think up a good name and actually get it online (already have some posts written!) I’d love for you to check it out (see, I’m already taking your advice and shamelessly promoting my non-existent blog). Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Haha way to be ahead of the game and self promote before it even exists. I like your style. Create some anticipation :) Be sure to come by and share a link to your blog once you get it up and running!

      Reply
  59. I totally agree about the 3 month mark, it really is the truth. My issue was that once I decided to go back to school, change jobs, start a blog, and start a new workout program all at the same time. Guess which thing got chopped? It’s ok though, I’m not worried about it. When I have time I’ll pick it up again. I did try the scheduled posts, but still, right now I’m just too stressed, and it’s ok to take a break (for me anyway- I’m just blogging for fun). I also agree with not writing about one topic…that would be really boring. Even though I know pretty much what to expect when I come here, you still throw in some interesting info that I wouldn’t have expected (like your super bowl prediction for one). I learned the hard way because I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was reading a lot of ridiculously upbeat happy girly blogs that talked about shoes and clothes and things that I didn’t care about. I thought that was how I had to write in order to fit into a community. It just frustrated me, so I changed my whole format and decided to just be me. Suddenly I had more readers. Crazy how that works.

    I’m really grateful for your advice Matt… keep it coming!

    Reply
    • Thanks Jen. And believe me – I know that “life” can get in the way of your blog. But honestly, I went through a TON of transition last year and blogging really helped me through it and kept me sane. I really think this space can be therapeutic during times of great turmoil and change…Thanks for being such a great part of this community!

      Reply
  60. I totally agree about the 3 month mark, it really is the truth. My issue was that once I decided to go back to school, change jobs, start a blog, and start a new workout program all at the same time. Guess which thing got chopped? It’s ok though, I’m not worried about it. When I have time I’ll pick it up again. I did try the scheduled posts, but still, right now I’m just too stressed, and it’s ok to take a break (for me anyway- I’m just blogging for fun). I also agree with not writing about one topic…that would be really boring. Even though I know pretty much what to expect when I come here, you still throw in some interesting info that I wouldn’t have expected (like your super bowl prediction for one). I learned the hard way because I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was reading a lot of ridiculously upbeat happy girly blogs that talked about shoes and clothes and things that I didn’t care about. I thought that was how I had to write in order to fit into a community. It just frustrated me, so I changed my whole format and decided to just be me. Suddenly I had more readers. Crazy how that works.

    I’m really grateful for your advice Matt… keep it coming!

    Reply
    • Thanks Jen. And believe me – I know that “life” can get in the way of your blog. But honestly, I went through a TON of transition last year and blogging really helped me through it and kept me sane. I really think this space can be therapeutic during times of great turmoil and change…Thanks for being such a great part of this community!

      Reply
  61. Thanks Matt! This was a great post for this newbie! I am looking forward to improving my blog and growing along with it. It’s a journey and I am totally on board.

    Reply
  62. Thanks Matt! This was a great post for this newbie! I am looking forward to improving my blog and growing along with it. It’s a journey and I am totally on board.

    Reply
  63. Amazing amazing amazing.. Thats so amazing blog Post and I really like your thoughts…I really need that. I was trying to FOCUS but NOW after reading this, I’m realizing that focus is needed but not that type of focus what i was thinking.

    also 3 months Tip is really Nice. and ya I read it everywhere that Consistence is the Must have in blogging.
    Regards
    Ali R. Khan

    Reply
  64. Amazing amazing amazing.. Thats so amazing blog Post and I really like your thoughts…I really need that. I was trying to FOCUS but NOW after reading this, I’m realizing that focus is needed but not that type of focus what i was thinking.

    also 3 months Tip is really Nice. and ya I read it everywhere that Consistence is the Must have in blogging.
    Regards
    Ali R. Khan

    Reply
  65. Matt! How did you know this is just what I needed? I’m always struggling with: Should I stick with one topic? Am I going to burn out before the fun is over (even though it’s been one year), should I build a project plan, should I take more writing classes? And I recently decided to just let it all go and be more consistent in my posting. That’s it. I’ll tackle the rest later, and I think it’s going to be perfectly OK.

    Have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • I’m a mind reader…come on Laura, you know that by now. How do you think I’ve been so wildly successful here? :)

      You have a great plan in front of you – once you realize everything doesn’t have to me laser focused, once you lets yourself go, the rest of the process becomes MUCH much easier.

      Have a great weekend yourself!

      Reply
  66. Matt! How did you know this is just what I needed? I’m always struggling with: Should I stick with one topic? Am I going to burn out before the fun is over (even though it’s been one year), should I build a project plan, should I take more writing classes? And I recently decided to just let it all go and be more consistent in my posting. That’s it. I’ll tackle the rest later, and I think it’s going to be perfectly OK.

    Have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • I’m a mind reader…come on Laura, you know that by now. How do you think I’ve been so wildly successful here? :)

      You have a great plan in front of you – once you realize everything doesn’t have to me laser focused, once you lets yourself go, the rest of the process becomes MUCH much easier.

      Have a great weekend yourself!

      Reply
  67. so much truth — i thoroughly enjoyed this post and reading it made me chuckle a couple of times. thanks. just added you to my reader.

    Reply
  68. so much truth — i thoroughly enjoyed this post and reading it made me chuckle a couple of times. thanks. just added you to my reader.

    Reply
  69. First time visitor. Can’t wait to read more.

    As I learn more and more about blogging, the only thing I realize is that there are very little rules. It’s like what Gary V says, “care.”

    It you can care, you can be successful.

    Reply
  70. First time visitor. Can’t wait to read more.

    As I learn more and more about blogging, the only thing I realize is that there are very little rules. It’s like what Gary V says, “care.”

    It you can care, you can be successful.

    Reply
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  75. Thanks, Matt. Very encouraging. I’m into that situation where i am researching on how to be a good blogger but having a second thought on starting it. Really like it.

    Reply
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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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