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Write With Passion. The Rest Will Fall Into Place

Should You Establish A Blogging Niche?

My brief blogging history

I remember my first step into the non-personal blogging scene (I don’t count my high school Xanga – but I’m at least honest enough to admit I was a part of that club). I managed a blog called “Onside Kicks” where I talked about football…and, well, that’s about it. Around the two month mark I realized no one was reading it and I had run out of things to say. I closed the door and moved on.

My second soiree into blogging had me running the aptly titled “Gradual Revolution” – this was a little more free form but I still focused predominantly on politics and sustainability. I spent a lot of time working on a design and making things look pretty, but couldn’t come up with anything to write about. The desire wasn’t there. A month later I packed up my things and closed up shop.

It took me about a year to try again. It’s funny how the blogging itch never goes away. This time, I told myself I wouldn’t worry about defining a topic. So I came up with the most random name I could think of (Life Without Pants) and starting writing. Through the past 10 months there have been ups and downs, interviews with 90’s alternative rockers, petitions to save the environment, an abundance of Social Media “wisdom”, and philosophy on life aplenty. But even with the wide range of topics, I’ve still managed to find myself a niche.

Don’t let labels define you

At the end of the day I’m going to be labeled as a “Gen Y” blog (although this is rapidly changing as of late). As hard as I may try not commit myself to one market, there’s no denying who I am, the voice I have, and the perspective on life I can share and who finds it compelling, relevant, and/or inspiring. But instead of fighting the “branding” that inevitable comes, finally, with Life Without Pants, I’ve accepted and embraced that it’s OK and natural to establish a reputation and expectation – to become “known” for something.

One of the most common obstacles bloggers are faced with is not knowing what to write about. Or knowing what to write about but losing focus or interest when your niche becomes too narrow. It’s easy to get burned out when you’re writing post after post about the wild word of scrap-booking (no offense to all the scrapbookers out there).

Write because you love to write

My advice? Stop listening to advice. Don’t let me or anyone else persuade you or tell you what you should be writing about. The fine art of blogging, at it’s core, is about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and writing. If you love writing, if you want to write, the rest will fall into place. It’s OK to be “that guy” – to be known for something – that’s how you grow your audience, by becoming a trusted, well respected, entertaining resource.

With time, you’ll figure out what you want to get out of your blog – and what your readers expect of you. But instead of settling in from the get-go, focus on trying new things, stepping outside the box, taking on new projects, and finding ways to involve your community. Some might stick, some might not – but there are a million ways to reinvent yourself, even in your specific niche. Your voice is the only common thread you need.

A sense of direction and a common theme is important – but don’t allow a lack of topical focus keep you from pursuing your passion for writing.

What are your blogging roots? Where did you start and how have you evolved into what you are today?

(Image courtesy debbie)

Great post Carlos – and thanks for the shout-out. We are thinking along the same wavelengths as I have a post in the works along these same lines. I gave up blogging several times before because I was opposed to focus – I thought I was becoming too specific in my topics and approach and I was afraid of ‘branding’ myself.
With Life Without Pants, a new page has been turned – I’ve accepted and welcomed the branding that inevitebly will come as a writer. What am I known for? Maybe not one thing specifically – but people have come to known what to expect when they visit my blog – whether it be thoughts on Gen Y, social media, entrepreneurship, marketing, philosophy, whatever. I’m “that guy” – But it’s OK to be that guy. It’s OK to be known for something.
But with that said – you don’t want to stop there – I am a proponent of keeping my legs moving – trying new things, reinventing myself and what I do – whether it be through writing about new topics, podcasting, video series, design work, etc. It’s that evolution that (hopefully) is keeping me interesting to all of you.
Cheers! And thanks again Carlos!
ITS OK TO BE THAT GUY

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124 Comments

  1. This was a very enjoyable read Matt, I can identify with a lot of what you talk about here. I started my blog in August and all I knew was that I wanted to write about personal development … it’s falling into place and I feel like especially in the last few weeks I am really beginning to find my voice in my blog. I also wanted to get that balance of not making my blog wishy washy,i.e. so that it’s tangible and offering value but also being real and not pretending I have any answers as such. As you say, write with passion .. that is the thing I am noticing makes the most difference. To the feedback I get but also my enjoyment of writing.
    Thanks Matt
    Jen

    • Thanks for the comment Jen. I think this is something most people struggle with as writers and bloggers – providing a tangible takeaway. Something you can learn and apply to your own life. I strive to do that in much of what I do, but I also realize that some posts are going to be more about digestion and absorption rather than application. You can have a mix of both – but if you’re not providing something tangible – even if it’s simply the enlightenment from a new perspective, why should anyone take the time to read what you have to say?

  2. This was a very enjoyable read Matt, I can identify with a lot of what you talk about here. I started my blog in August and all I knew was that I wanted to write about personal development … it’s falling into place and I feel like especially in the last few weeks I am really beginning to find my voice in my blog. I also wanted to get that balance of not making my blog wishy washy,i.e. so that it’s tangible and offering value but also being real and not pretending I have any answers as such. As you say, write with passion .. that is the thing I am noticing makes the most difference. To the feedback I get but also my enjoyment of writing.
    Thanks Matt
    Jen

    • Thanks for the comment Jen. I think this is something most people struggle with as writers and bloggers – providing a tangible takeaway. Something you can learn and apply to your own life. I strive to do that in much of what I do, but I also realize that some posts are going to be more about digestion and absorption rather than application. You can have a mix of both – but if you’re not providing something tangible – even if it’s simply the enlightenment from a new perspective, why should anyone take the time to read what you have to say?

  3. Hi Matt,
    Nice post. I can certainly relate to trying to find an identity as a blogger. Although I’ve always had a passion for writing about location independence, finding the particular voice (location independent family travel, location independent mom, location independent expert?) has been difficult. I have to say I’m still in the evolutionary process. But I think the most important thing you said is that if you don’t have a passion for what you’re writing about, you’ll end up running out of things to say pretty fast.

    • Well said Carmen – and to your point – I think (judging from my own experience and what I see around me) that blogging will forever be an evolutionary process. The minute it becomes stagnant and ceases to evolve and develop is around the same time that you start losing the interest of your readers. One of the biggest challenges is in establishing your niche and voice, and then varying it and stepping outside the box to take on new things. I can only hope that my growth and evolution continues at even half the pace of how I’ve been moving this year.

  4. Hi Matt,
    Nice post. I can certainly relate to trying to find an identity as a blogger. Although I’ve always had a passion for writing about location independence, finding the particular voice (location independent family travel, location independent mom, location independent expert?) has been difficult. I have to say I’m still in the evolutionary process. But I think the most important thing you said is that if you don’t have a passion for what you’re writing about, you’ll end up running out of things to say pretty fast.

    • Well said Carmen – and to your point – I think (judging from my own experience and what I see around me) that blogging will forever be an evolutionary process. The minute it becomes stagnant and ceases to evolve and develop is around the same time that you start losing the interest of your readers. One of the biggest challenges is in establishing your niche and voice, and then varying it and stepping outside the box to take on new things. I can only hope that my growth and evolution continues at even half the pace of how I’ve been moving this year.

  5. When I started blogging about 20 months ago, I thought it was all going to be about the generations. Then I realized that I wasn’t even true to my name. The Gen Y Perspective is my perspective. Sure there will be differences, but I can write about how I think and process, which may be similar to or different from other Gen Y bloggers. Now that I own that I write because I’m sharing my perspective and experiences, I’m always thinking about what to write. Kind of like the rest of social media, it’s like breathing for me. I hope other bloggers get to find the same experience.

    • “Writing is like breathing to me” – I love it Emily. This is how I feel. My best material usually comes on a whim – while I’m sitting in a coffee shop, or taking a shower, I think of something brilliant, find the nearest pad of paper (old school) or computer and start writing. It comes naturally – I haven’t had to “manufacture” any posts here (yet). When writing becomes a chore, something is wrong and you need to rethink your focus and direction. Beautifully said Emily. Looking forward to D-Day tomorrow! :)

  6. When I started blogging about 20 months ago, I thought it was all going to be about the generations. Then I realized that I wasn’t even true to my name. The Gen Y Perspective is my perspective. Sure there will be differences, but I can write about how I think and process, which may be similar to or different from other Gen Y bloggers. Now that I own that I write because I’m sharing my perspective and experiences, I’m always thinking about what to write. Kind of like the rest of social media, it’s like breathing for me. I hope other bloggers get to find the same experience.

    • “Writing is like breathing to me” – I love it Emily. This is how I feel. My best material usually comes on a whim – while I’m sitting in a coffee shop, or taking a shower, I think of something brilliant, find the nearest pad of paper (old school) or computer and start writing. It comes naturally – I haven’t had to “manufacture” any posts here (yet). When writing becomes a chore, something is wrong and you need to rethink your focus and direction. Beautifully said Emily. Looking forward to D-Day tomorrow! :)

  7. Hi Matt,
    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time because I’m suffering from a short writers block. I say short because my last class of an accelerated graduate program has swallowed me alive. It is easy falling into a road block by limited yourself. I started my blog over a year ago and wanted to focus on personal development, but from a LGBT perspective, considering the LGBT community lacks that sort of thing (I can go on and on about this). Like you, and my many attempts at revamping my niche, I would take a hiatus and try to come up with something different to gain more readers. Even to this day I feel that if my blog consisted of more sexual content, my readership would explode, but that is certainly not what I’m about. I agree with you, “if you love to write, then write. Don’t let labels define you”. This is something I live by in my personal life. Be who you are naturally, and not let labels define who you are. I’m not a lesbian, I’m not butch, I’m not femme, I’m not a nerd, I’m not “ghetto”…I’m Patrice. The same goes for writing.

    Thanks!

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m Matt – you’re Patrice. And that’s that. We are who we are – and while we may be able to fake being something we’re not for a while, it won’t be long before we get sniffed out by our readers, and burned out from taking on a role that isn’t “you”. You’re doing something a lot of people don’t have the strength to do Patrice – being yourself and not selling out, even at the temptation of popularity. Cheers!

  8. Hi Matt,
    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time because I’m suffering from a short writers block. I say short because my last class of an accelerated graduate program has swallowed me alive. It is easy falling into a road block by limited yourself. I started my blog over a year ago and wanted to focus on personal development, but from a LGBT perspective, considering the LGBT community lacks that sort of thing (I can go on and on about this). Like you, and my many attempts at revamping my niche, I would take a hiatus and try to come up with something different to gain more readers. Even to this day I feel that if my blog consisted of more sexual content, my readership would explode, but that is certainly not what I’m about. I agree with you, “if you love to write, then write. Don’t let labels define you”. This is something I live by in my personal life. Be who you are naturally, and not let labels define who you are. I’m not a lesbian, I’m not butch, I’m not femme, I’m not a nerd, I’m not “ghetto”…I’m Patrice. The same goes for writing.

    Thanks!

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m Matt – you’re Patrice. And that’s that. We are who we are – and while we may be able to fake being something we’re not for a while, it won’t be long before we get sniffed out by our readers, and burned out from taking on a role that isn’t “you”. You’re doing something a lot of people don’t have the strength to do Patrice – being yourself and not selling out, even at the temptation of popularity. Cheers!

  9. Hi Matt,
    Love your advice. I just recently started blogging and have found myself experiencing writers block often. Though I’ve definitely become aware of the fact that the block sets in when the topic is not something I’m truly passionate about so it feels forced. Can’t tell you how many posts are sitting in the pending files unfinished. Couple that with all the ‘rules’ and labels you mentioned and it is tough to keep things fresh.

    I do believe that once you find your comfort level (and your voice) and staying true to your passions, the words flow more freely. There’s also a certain sense of letting go of what others think so that you can be yourself and speak from the heart.

    Taking this advice to heart today as I sit down to conquer a post that’s long overdue ;-)

    Thanks again for sharing your words of wisdom!

    Charee

    • When you’re starting out – it’s SO easy to focus on all the things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter as much. How many comments a post gets, how many page views you have – you can get so stuck in the numbers and little things that you forget about why you started. We all start a blog because we have something to say – that, whether or not anyone else cares, we care enough to type it out and hit publish. Let your blog be about that first – let it be your voice, your outlet, your platform – and build upon that. Without a solid foundation and passion for the medium, a blog will never be successful.

      I want to be the first to know when you tackle your long-overdue post. Give me a shout when it’s up!

  10. Hi Matt,
    Love your advice. I just recently started blogging and have found myself experiencing writers block often. Though I’ve definitely become aware of the fact that the block sets in when the topic is not something I’m truly passionate about so it feels forced. Can’t tell you how many posts are sitting in the pending files unfinished. Couple that with all the ‘rules’ and labels you mentioned and it is tough to keep things fresh.

    I do believe that once you find your comfort level (and your voice) and staying true to your passions, the words flow more freely. There’s also a certain sense of letting go of what others think so that you can be yourself and speak from the heart.

    Taking this advice to heart today as I sit down to conquer a post that’s long overdue ;-)

    Thanks again for sharing your words of wisdom!

    Charee

    • When you’re starting out – it’s SO easy to focus on all the things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter as much. How many comments a post gets, how many page views you have – you can get so stuck in the numbers and little things that you forget about why you started. We all start a blog because we have something to say – that, whether or not anyone else cares, we care enough to type it out and hit publish. Let your blog be about that first – let it be your voice, your outlet, your platform – and build upon that. Without a solid foundation and passion for the medium, a blog will never be successful.

      I want to be the first to know when you tackle your long-overdue post. Give me a shout when it’s up!

  11. I started blogging because I have opinions about everything, I talk far too much and I LOVE the feeling of writing a blog post. Call it stream of consciousness or call it just typing fast, the writing process itself is a release.

    I tell stories. I don’t write for anyone in particular. I don’t fret about writer’s block.

    I also don’t make any money off my blog, either.

    • Hear, hear Tyler. I’m not after money either – at least – not with this blog specifically. I’d love to write a book someday if I can organize all of my babble here into one coherent piece, but that’s somewhere down the line.

      I agree that writing is a release – there’s something about having a bunch of thoughts, getting them down on screen, organizing and turning them into something that other people might connect with, and hitting publish. It is a great feeling.

  12. I started blogging because I have opinions about everything, I talk far too much and I LOVE the feeling of writing a blog post. Call it stream of consciousness or call it just typing fast, the writing process itself is a release.

    I tell stories. I don’t write for anyone in particular. I don’t fret about writer’s block.

    I also don’t make any money off my blog, either.

    • Hear, hear Tyler. I’m not after money either – at least – not with this blog specifically. I’d love to write a book someday if I can organize all of my babble here into one coherent piece, but that’s somewhere down the line.

      I agree that writing is a release – there’s something about having a bunch of thoughts, getting them down on screen, organizing and turning them into something that other people might connect with, and hitting publish. It is a great feeling.

  13. Good post Matt. My blogging roots start with the similar, humble barely blogging roots of having a LiveJournal in high school. I blogged on MySpace when that was “the thing,” and had a personal blog called “The Antifreeze” for a time.

    Now I’ve got 2: The Writings of a Writer” and “The Prestopedia Blog,” both of which have become a little neglected due to works and the 2 blogs I run on behalf of 2 restaurants I work for. I find myself writing more in the Writers of a Writer blog when I have something to write, and feeling that The Prestopedia Blog gets far less attention because I’ve made the subject of the blog too specific and narrow.

    But I love to write; I majored in Literature, with concentration in creative writing and a minor in interdisciplinary writing. My problem is I need be okay with creating a more free-form blog and not worry about setting such a specific purpose for it.

    Thanks for some good advice, as always.

    • Thanks for coming by Preston. For you I would suggest trying to find a way to streamline everything into one. I’ve tried writing for and running more than one blog with different topics and I just couldn’t do it. Create a name for yourself on one platform and let everything flow naturally through that. I see a much higher rate of success in bloggers who can process everything in on place. Don’t have narrowly focused blogs all over the place – and instead, have one, broader home base.

      • Good call. Now the hard part becomes finding a name, a theme, and a unifying idea or sentiment that all my writings can find a home at. Still have a lot of work, but I’m learning and making progress. And that’s just as good as having a shiny finished product any day.

        Thanks again for the advice and giving me a jump start on this front!

        • Agreed Preston – as long as your moving in the direction you want to be heading, you’re doing the right thing. As always, if you need any help along the way, you know where to find me…

  14. Good post Matt. My blogging roots start with the similar, humble barely blogging roots of having a LiveJournal in high school. I blogged on MySpace when that was “the thing,” and had a personal blog called “The Antifreeze” for a time.

    Now I’ve got 2: The Writings of a Writer” and “The Prestopedia Blog,” both of which have become a little neglected due to works and the 2 blogs I run on behalf of 2 restaurants I work for. I find myself writing more in the Writers of a Writer blog when I have something to write, and feeling that The Prestopedia Blog gets far less attention because I’ve made the subject of the blog too specific and narrow.

    But I love to write; I majored in Literature, with concentration in creative writing and a minor in interdisciplinary writing. My problem is I need be okay with creating a more free-form blog and not worry about setting such a specific purpose for it.

    Thanks for some good advice, as always.

    • Thanks for coming by Preston. For you I would suggest trying to find a way to streamline everything into one. I’ve tried writing for and running more than one blog with different topics and I just couldn’t do it. Create a name for yourself on one platform and let everything flow naturally through that. I see a much higher rate of success in bloggers who can process everything in on place. Don’t have narrowly focused blogs all over the place – and instead, have one, broader home base.

      • Good call. Now the hard part becomes finding a name, a theme, and a unifying idea or sentiment that all my writings can find a home at. Still have a lot of work, but I’m learning and making progress. And that’s just as good as having a shiny finished product any day.

        Thanks again for the advice and giving me a jump start on this front!

        • Agreed Preston – as long as your moving in the direction you want to be heading, you’re doing the right thing. As always, if you need any help along the way, you know where to find me…

  15. I remember reading once of a writer who went to a writer’s conference held by some famous celebrity writer (the name escapes me now). She wasn’t quite sure where to take her writing and the big famous writer gave her a piece of advice that still sticks with me:

    “Just keep writing. Your true message will come out. It doesn’t matter whether you write romance novels, westerns or vampire novels. If you continue to write, your true voice will emerge.”

    This makes sense for blogging as well. I recently shut down my old website in favor of a new niche that is more in tune with my ‘true message’. I don’t think I would have ever gotten there if I hadn’t spent months on a blog topic that didn’t resonate with me.

    Thanks for the insightful post.

    • Love the title of your blog Kenji and I agree with your assessment here. Just keep writing. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s only with experience that you’ll learn what you are and are not interested in and what you can and cannot speak to.

  16. I remember reading once of a writer who went to a writer’s conference held by some famous celebrity writer (the name escapes me now). She wasn’t quite sure where to take her writing and the big famous writer gave her a piece of advice that still sticks with me:

    “Just keep writing. Your true message will come out. It doesn’t matter whether you write romance novels, westerns or vampire novels. If you continue to write, your true voice will emerge.”

    This makes sense for blogging as well. I recently shut down my old website in favor of a new niche that is more in tune with my ‘true message’. I don’t think I would have ever gotten there if I hadn’t spent months on a blog topic that didn’t resonate with me.

    Thanks for the insightful post.

    • Love the title of your blog Kenji and I agree with your assessment here. Just keep writing. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s only with experience that you’ll learn what you are and are not interested in and what you can and cannot speak to.

  17. I started blogging back in July, inspired by a frustrating incident on a Paris bus on my way to work. I had no idea where that first post would take me but once I started getting positive reactions, it fueled my desire to keep going and develop it into something sustainable. I write about what I know, what I’m passionate about and what I live everyday. I may not fit into the gen y blogging club (it does seem kind of like an exclusive group!), but I have readers whose own personal blogs deal with subjects completely different from mine. I think that’s what continues to inspire me – following a plethora of blogs each in a different niche. Food, travel, gen y, social media, politics, celebrity – all provide a well balanced daily reading list that keeps me motivated.

    • That is an outstanding piece of advice Lindsey, and something I think a lot of people neglect. There are many writers out there who only follow other similar writers within their niche. I think it is extremely important to diversify and follow blogs from all different genres and perspectives. Reading about life in Paris from you, personal finance from Adam Baker at Man vs. Debt, and starting your own Microbrewery from a friend in Atlanta is what keeps the creative juices flowing with what I try to do here. If I was only reading other Gen Y blogs, or whatever niche you want to throw me into – I’d probably get burned out pretty quickly. Spread your focus and appreciate that there are a lot of other great writers out there with entirely new perspectives for you to appreciate.

  18. I started blogging back in July, inspired by a frustrating incident on a Paris bus on my way to work. I had no idea where that first post would take me but once I started getting positive reactions, it fueled my desire to keep going and develop it into something sustainable. I write about what I know, what I’m passionate about and what I live everyday. I may not fit into the gen y blogging club (it does seem kind of like an exclusive group!), but I have readers whose own personal blogs deal with subjects completely different from mine. I think that’s what continues to inspire me – following a plethora of blogs each in a different niche. Food, travel, gen y, social media, politics, celebrity – all provide a well balanced daily reading list that keeps me motivated.

    • That is an outstanding piece of advice Lindsey, and something I think a lot of people neglect. There are many writers out there who only follow other similar writers within their niche. I think it is extremely important to diversify and follow blogs from all different genres and perspectives. Reading about life in Paris from you, personal finance from Adam Baker at Man vs. Debt, and starting your own Microbrewery from a friend in Atlanta is what keeps the creative juices flowing with what I try to do here. If I was only reading other Gen Y blogs, or whatever niche you want to throw me into – I’d probably get burned out pretty quickly. Spread your focus and appreciate that there are a lot of other great writers out there with entirely new perspectives for you to appreciate.

  19. Matt: I really like this one. I totally agree that people limit themselves, and their blogs, by worrying too much about labels and categories. I think those who write from the heart, who are powered by passion, and who write about whatever happens to inspire them, are the most interesting to read.

    When I started blogging at the beginning of this year, I remember some people giving me a little grief about the corniness of my theme and blog title “Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates” (ahem, ahem :) ) But, I’m actually really happy with how it’s evolved. Just like one of those big variety boxes of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get from my blog. I write because I love to write. Some posts people like and some they don’t, and that’s fine with me. Thanks for the insight!

    • I think a lot of people thing that if they write with too much heart, with too much passion, they’ll become too personal and know one will be interested in what they have to say. I see it in the exact opposite light. If you are truly passionate about your writing, it will shine through, and people will recognize it. Maybe not at first – but eventually, in time, your personal voice and stories will be the most well respected and accepted posts you write – look no further than my post about gay marriage (http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/current-events/not-moving-to-maine/) to see what impact one person’s PERSONAL voice can have. Thanks for the comment Sam.

  20. Matt: I really like this one. I totally agree that people limit themselves, and their blogs, by worrying too much about labels and categories. I think those who write from the heart, who are powered by passion, and who write about whatever happens to inspire them, are the most interesting to read.

    When I started blogging at the beginning of this year, I remember some people giving me a little grief about the corniness of my theme and blog title “Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates” (ahem, ahem :) ) But, I’m actually really happy with how it’s evolved. Just like one of those big variety boxes of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get from my blog. I write because I love to write. Some posts people like and some they don’t, and that’s fine with me. Thanks for the insight!

    • I think a lot of people thing that if they write with too much heart, with too much passion, they’ll become too personal and know one will be interested in what they have to say. I see it in the exact opposite light. If you are truly passionate about your writing, it will shine through, and people will recognize it. Maybe not at first – but eventually, in time, your personal voice and stories will be the most well respected and accepted posts you write – look no further than my post about gay marriage (http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/current-events/not-moving-to-maine/) to see what impact one person’s PERSONAL voice can have. Thanks for the comment Sam.

  21. Matt! Fantabulous post. Your writing is what you make of it, niche aside, and I think that is what’s important to remember. I especially like the admission of past blogging experience. I recently wrote about that too and it’s funny to think about the things you were doing online before you found the medium that worked for you.

    I love also the combination that you have between what looks great (which all of your stuff does,) and what feels great to write about. Awesome post!
    P.s. i’m finally going to get around to your ebook tonight. Very excited :)

    • Haha – that is only a small spotlight on a much bigger picture of “failed” attempts at blogging (I didn’t get into my super-lame stab at podcasting). But through it all, I’ve learned a lot and it’s gotten me to where I am today.

      Thank you for the kind words – they mean a lot – and I hope you enjoy diving into the Inconvenience of Change tonight! Let me know what you think :)

  22. Matt! Fantabulous post. Your writing is what you make of it, niche aside, and I think that is what’s important to remember. I especially like the admission of past blogging experience. I recently wrote about that too and it’s funny to think about the things you were doing online before you found the medium that worked for you.

    I love also the combination that you have between what looks great (which all of your stuff does,) and what feels great to write about. Awesome post!
    P.s. i’m finally going to get around to your ebook tonight. Very excited :)

    • Haha – that is only a small spotlight on a much bigger picture of “failed” attempts at blogging (I didn’t get into my super-lame stab at podcasting). But through it all, I’ve learned a lot and it’s gotten me to where I am today.

      Thank you for the kind words – they mean a lot – and I hope you enjoy diving into the Inconvenience of Change tonight! Let me know what you think :)

  23. Awesome post. When I started blogging in February, I didn’t know what I would brand myself as, but only that I wanted to start writing about money. Ultimately, it’s what my writing always came back to and what I knew the most about.

    So I just started–it took me almost 6 months to define/realize what I was truly passionate about, and the “branding” kind of followed. I’m still searching today, but I just write about what comes to mind and what I feel most passionate about.

  24. Awesome post. When I started blogging in February, I didn’t know what I would brand myself as, but only that I wanted to start writing about money. Ultimately, it’s what my writing always came back to and what I knew the most about.

    So I just started–it took me almost 6 months to define/realize what I was truly passionate about, and the “branding” kind of followed. I’m still searching today, but I just write about what comes to mind and what I feel most passionate about.

  25. One of my best friends in college was an excellent blogger and I wanted to be like her. (She’s the coolest person I know.) Then one afternoon, after attending an education conference with Alan November, I realized it’s time for me to start blogging. I just passed my 3 year blogoversary. My first 2 years was finding my voice. This past year was establishing myself. This year, I don’t know what is to come but I’m excited.

    • It takes time to find you focus eh? I’m still in the baby stages – but the potential of what I can continue to develop here keeps me 100% committed to writing here. There’s no telling where we’ll be a year from now…

  26. One of my best friends in college was an excellent blogger and I wanted to be like her. (She’s the coolest person I know.) Then one afternoon, after attending an education conference with Alan November, I realized it’s time for me to start blogging. I just passed my 3 year blogoversary. My first 2 years was finding my voice. This past year was establishing myself. This year, I don’t know what is to come but I’m excited.

    • It takes time to find you focus eh? I’m still in the baby stages – but the potential of what I can continue to develop here keeps me 100% committed to writing here. There’s no telling where we’ll be a year from now…

    • Nobody but yourself. The only one holding you back from doing what you want to do and writing about what YOU want to write about is yourself. Funny how often we get in our own way, huh?

    • Nobody but yourself. The only one holding you back from doing what you want to do and writing about what YOU want to write about is yourself. Funny how often we get in our own way, huh?

  27. Great post! I know what you mean by being labeled a “Gen Y” blogger — I started to fall into that category and then pulled myself out of it. On one hand, you do get the connections and exposure that comes with the Gen Y community, but on the other hand you start to feel pigeonholed into writing about certain topics. When really, all I want to write about is myself. :)

    PS: Love that your blog is called “Life Without Pants.” Life is better with no pants… it’s true…

    • It’s easy to fall into those labels and I think ultimately there is no point in trying to deny them – just don’t let them DEFINE you or your blog. Thanks for coming by Teresa, glad you like the title :)

  28. Great post! I know what you mean by being labeled a “Gen Y” blogger — I started to fall into that category and then pulled myself out of it. On one hand, you do get the connections and exposure that comes with the Gen Y community, but on the other hand you start to feel pigeonholed into writing about certain topics. When really, all I want to write about is myself. :)

    PS: Love that your blog is called “Life Without Pants.” Life is better with no pants… it’s true…

    • It’s easy to fall into those labels and I think ultimately there is no point in trying to deny them – just don’t let them DEFINE you or your blog. Thanks for coming by Teresa, glad you like the title :)

  29. Hey Matt! I wrote a very similar post a while ago, when there was so much talk going on about personal branding in blogging: http://akhilak.com/blog/2009/04/04/forget-all-the-rules-and-write-what-you-love/

    I completely agree. Write what you love regardless of what others want to hear, or what is “popular” at the time. You will enjoy it more and you will be much better at what you do and write. You will fall in love with blogging. If you, on the other hand, try to make yourself something you’re not — you will feel artificial and never feel like your blog is the way you want it to be.

    The hard part is putting this into practice. I will say that the entire “Gen Y” annoys me, because every time I write a post about blogging/social media/personal branding, I get tons of hits and comments.

    When I write about important issues that actually matters – like human rights and international development – I don’t really get comments and face a wall of silence. People don’t care about these issues as much and prefer talking about stuff like social media.

    That might be discouraging to some, but like you said, I’m not going to succumb to the crowd’s love for personal branding and marketing and I’m sticking to what I love. I’m not trying to be popular here. If I reach at least ONE person who is inspired and begins caring about human rights and development issues, then I’m happy. If I just tried to follow the crowd I certainly would not be myself or proud of my blogging.

    • Loved that post back in the day – wow – that seems like forever ago, huh? I know what you mean about writing “buzzworthy” topics. Social Media and blogging topics always draw a bigger crowd. However, I don’t think it’s that people don’t CARE about the more ‘meaningful’ topics you mention – I just think it is unanimous that people are much more willing to discuss topics they already understand. The old concept that ‘everyone claims to be an expert’ you know? We can talk about Twitter all day but when it comes to ending poverty in Iraq, we may not know enough or understand to have an opinion to share. Very interesting observation though Akhila – but let the record show that I have ALWAYS respected you for staying true to your passions and activism – something that is rare in this day and age of blogging.

  30. Hey Matt! I wrote a very similar post a while ago, when there was so much talk going on about personal branding in blogging: http://akhilak.com/blog/2009/04/04/forget-all-the-rules-and-write-what-you-love/

    I completely agree. Write what you love regardless of what others want to hear, or what is “popular” at the time. You will enjoy it more and you will be much better at what you do and write. You will fall in love with blogging. If you, on the other hand, try to make yourself something you’re not — you will feel artificial and never feel like your blog is the way you want it to be.

    The hard part is putting this into practice. I will say that the entire “Gen Y” annoys me, because every time I write a post about blogging/social media/personal branding, I get tons of hits and comments.

    When I write about important issues that actually matters – like human rights and international development – I don’t really get comments and face a wall of silence. People don’t care about these issues as much and prefer talking about stuff like social media.

    That might be discouraging to some, but like you said, I’m not going to succumb to the crowd’s love for personal branding and marketing and I’m sticking to what I love. I’m not trying to be popular here. If I reach at least ONE person who is inspired and begins caring about human rights and development issues, then I’m happy. If I just tried to follow the crowd I certainly would not be myself or proud of my blogging.

    • Loved that post back in the day – wow – that seems like forever ago, huh? I know what you mean about writing “buzzworthy” topics. Social Media and blogging topics always draw a bigger crowd. However, I don’t think it’s that people don’t CARE about the more ‘meaningful’ topics you mention – I just think it is unanimous that people are much more willing to discuss topics they already understand. The old concept that ‘everyone claims to be an expert’ you know? We can talk about Twitter all day but when it comes to ending poverty in Iraq, we may not know enough or understand to have an opinion to share. Very interesting observation though Akhila – but let the record show that I have ALWAYS respected you for staying true to your passions and activism – something that is rare in this day and age of blogging.

  31. I started blogging because I needed an outlet. I continued blogging because it helped me find the most incredible people I’ve ever met, and I keep blogging because without regular writing and out loud reflection, I’m pretty sure my entire life would be ass backward.

    • I think you have described my blogging mantra in a nutshell. You have the innate ability to REALLY connect with your readers Nicole – something I am noticing with every post that you write – it’s such a breath of fresh air that as ridiculous and crazy as your life may be, it makes sense, we get it, people can relate to the shenanigans.

      Blogging has led me to some pretty amazing people as well – the friendships I’ve forged in such a short amount of time can never be replaced, and without a platform to speak my mind, I’d probably go pretty crazy myself.

      Keep doing what you do Nicole :)

  32. I started blogging because I needed an outlet. I continued blogging because it helped me find the most incredible people I’ve ever met, and I keep blogging because without regular writing and out loud reflection, I’m pretty sure my entire life would be ass backward.

    • I think you have described my blogging mantra in a nutshell. You have the innate ability to REALLY connect with your readers Nicole – something I am noticing with every post that you write – it’s such a breath of fresh air that as ridiculous and crazy as your life may be, it makes sense, we get it, people can relate to the shenanigans.

      Blogging has led me to some pretty amazing people as well – the friendships I’ve forged in such a short amount of time can never be replaced, and without a platform to speak my mind, I’d probably go pretty crazy myself.

      Keep doing what you do Nicole :)

  33. Great post! I’ve been tinkering witht he idea of starting a blog myself but I just haven’t been able to narrow down a focus. Everyone says the most successful blogs have a purpose and follow it and to an extent I believe that. To another extent I don’t think it’s because they have a purpose, perhaps they just have a passion. The person who writes about tech may throw in the occasional pottery post or lifestyle but that’s what makes the blogger different, right? I mean go check out my twitter…I tweet mostly about tech but I also tweet about yoga/fitness, decorating, and stuff. I’m all over the map but only 25% of the time :P

    What are your suggestions when it comes to building your audience? Do you work at it? Do people just find you? Do you get a lot of fdbk (both positive and negative) about your work?

    Tell me more. :)

    • Hi Alisaan. I think you are on the right track of thinking – you do need to have a general focus. If your blog is too disoriented, your readers wont know what to expect from you – but that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out from time to time and write about other things. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR blog to do with what you please.

      As for building an audience – have I put in work? Do I continue to put in work all the time? YES. Since starting this in February I have constantly been involved across the blogging and Social Media scene, and I do a lot to keep my community involved here by coordinating projects, allowing guest posts, etc. Building your audience will never end – and while a lot of people have stumbled here through word of mouth and search, I brand myself as a ‘community builder’ and stick to that daily.

      If you want to shoot me an email I’d be happy to answer any questions for you! Cheers!

  34. Great post! I’ve been tinkering witht he idea of starting a blog myself but I just haven’t been able to narrow down a focus. Everyone says the most successful blogs have a purpose and follow it and to an extent I believe that. To another extent I don’t think it’s because they have a purpose, perhaps they just have a passion. The person who writes about tech may throw in the occasional pottery post or lifestyle but that’s what makes the blogger different, right? I mean go check out my twitter…I tweet mostly about tech but I also tweet about yoga/fitness, decorating, and stuff. I’m all over the map but only 25% of the time :P

    What are your suggestions when it comes to building your audience? Do you work at it? Do people just find you? Do you get a lot of fdbk (both positive and negative) about your work?

    Tell me more. :)

    • Hi Alisaan. I think you are on the right track of thinking – you do need to have a general focus. If your blog is too disoriented, your readers wont know what to expect from you – but that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out from time to time and write about other things. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR blog to do with what you please.

      As for building an audience – have I put in work? Do I continue to put in work all the time? YES. Since starting this in February I have constantly been involved across the blogging and Social Media scene, and I do a lot to keep my community involved here by coordinating projects, allowing guest posts, etc. Building your audience will never end – and while a lot of people have stumbled here through word of mouth and search, I brand myself as a ‘community builder’ and stick to that daily.

      If you want to shoot me an email I’d be happy to answer any questions for you! Cheers!

  35. ha, I totally started a blog once that lasted for a few posts. I agree the blogging itch never goes away. Glad we finally found blogs we’ve “stuck with.”

    Another interesting thing is how you note being a “Gen Y” blog. Obviously I am too, since I named my silly blog “Y-rd.” Do you ever get sick of the Gen Y label? I’ve decided the Gen Y aspect of my blog doesn’t always have to be explicit. I think it’s boring as hell to just say “Gen Y!” every five seconds, even though I also enjoy talking about Gen Y.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Ellie. I think the Gen Y label can be annoying if you let it. The perception of our generation by many is not good – that we’re over-entitled know-it-alls who claim to be experts. I think in some cases, many Gen Y folk can come across that way – but I see us in a different light – I see us as a Generation who is hungry for knowledge, who wants to do more, be more, find meaning in everything. We’re a generation that asks questions, and challenges one another – so in that regard, we have a good thing going. I’ll never try to “opt out” of my generation, but I do try to steer clear of any and all ‘labels’ that seek to define who I am.

  36. ha, I totally started a blog once that lasted for a few posts. I agree the blogging itch never goes away. Glad we finally found blogs we’ve “stuck with.”

    Another interesting thing is how you note being a “Gen Y” blog. Obviously I am too, since I named my silly blog “Y-rd.” Do you ever get sick of the Gen Y label? I’ve decided the Gen Y aspect of my blog doesn’t always have to be explicit. I think it’s boring as hell to just say “Gen Y!” every five seconds, even though I also enjoy talking about Gen Y.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Ellie. I think the Gen Y label can be annoying if you let it. The perception of our generation by many is not good – that we’re over-entitled know-it-alls who claim to be experts. I think in some cases, many Gen Y folk can come across that way – but I see us in a different light – I see us as a Generation who is hungry for knowledge, who wants to do more, be more, find meaning in everything. We’re a generation that asks questions, and challenges one another – so in that regard, we have a good thing going. I’ll never try to “opt out” of my generation, but I do try to steer clear of any and all ‘labels’ that seek to define who I am.

  37. This is some great advice man, appreciate it.
    I’m still working on my blog and I am really trying to use my own personality to write about what I am really interested it, and you are right, the rest will fall into place.
    Great article!

  38. This is some great advice man, appreciate it.
    I’m still working on my blog and I am really trying to use my own personality to write about what I am really interested it, and you are right, the rest will fall into place.
    Great article!

  39. Hey Matt, great discussion you got going here. The beginnings of my blogging career, huh? Well, the first two or so months revolved around me just writing generic college advice posts. I’m sorry to say that what going me into blogging was the money. Ha ha, writing this now seems hilarious – I’ve made zero, zip, nada during my blogging career as of now.

    Anyway, I thought people would throw money at me simply because I had a blog. After two months, I got bored with giving generic advice and looking for money. I switched to just simple personal development and motivation (topics I love) and people started reading. I was surprised. I mean, really surprised. Who knew a 19 year old, could give decent advice?

    So now, I’ve just been writing about life, its ups and downs, and what it takes to keep going. What makes it worthwhile is when people tell me I’ve inspired them. It makes feel good inside.

    You’re doing the same thing, Matt. You’re simply inspiring all of us. I’m happy to have stumbled upon your Twitter profile and find this great community :) Keep blogging strong, into the future and beyond!

    • Thanks for the words of encouragement John. In short, a blog alone won’t earn you money. But this blog has opened up a world of opportunities for me – both from a freelance perspective and in my current career path. A year ago I had nothing to show for ONLINE marketing experience – now, with this, and through the clients I work with – which has all come via word of mouth, I have real tangible evidence of what it means to build a community, the power of collaboration, and how, in a short time, with a real time investment, great success can be had.

      And I agree with what you said – blogging for me isn’t about the money or the fame or any of that – what means the most, seriously, is when someone sends me a personal email and says that I’ve inspired them, that something said here has helped them for the better. That’s more than I could ever ask for, and something I never expected to happen when I started this back in February.

  40. Hey Matt, great discussion you got going here. The beginnings of my blogging career, huh? Well, the first two or so months revolved around me just writing generic college advice posts. I’m sorry to say that what going me into blogging was the money. Ha ha, writing this now seems hilarious – I’ve made zero, zip, nada during my blogging career as of now.

    Anyway, I thought people would throw money at me simply because I had a blog. After two months, I got bored with giving generic advice and looking for money. I switched to just simple personal development and motivation (topics I love) and people started reading. I was surprised. I mean, really surprised. Who knew a 19 year old, could give decent advice?

    So now, I’ve just been writing about life, its ups and downs, and what it takes to keep going. What makes it worthwhile is when people tell me I’ve inspired them. It makes feel good inside.

    You’re doing the same thing, Matt. You’re simply inspiring all of us. I’m happy to have stumbled upon your Twitter profile and find this great community :) Keep blogging strong, into the future and beyond!

    • Thanks for the words of encouragement John. In short, a blog alone won’t earn you money. But this blog has opened up a world of opportunities for me – both from a freelance perspective and in my current career path. A year ago I had nothing to show for ONLINE marketing experience – now, with this, and through the clients I work with – which has all come via word of mouth, I have real tangible evidence of what it means to build a community, the power of collaboration, and how, in a short time, with a real time investment, great success can be had.

      And I agree with what you said – blogging for me isn’t about the money or the fame or any of that – what means the most, seriously, is when someone sends me a personal email and says that I’ve inspired them, that something said here has helped them for the better. That’s more than I could ever ask for, and something I never expected to happen when I started this back in February.

  41. This post is very “Garyesk” as in Gary Vaynerchuck, he’d love to read it. Simple strong take away here. Take your passion, write about it…the rest will follow if you’re open and aware. Good call to passion on writing. I don’t like to write, but I like to share my thoughts…perhaps the writing will come later…or I’ll just switch to video! ha!

    • Thanks Robert – maybe GaryVee will swing by. And for you, video might be best – everyone may not like to write even though they have a lot to say. Find the medium and outlet that works for you and go with it! Thanks for the comment!

  42. This post is very “Garyesk” as in Gary Vaynerchuck, he’d love to read it. Simple strong take away here. Take your passion, write about it…the rest will follow if you’re open and aware. Good call to passion on writing. I don’t like to write, but I like to share my thoughts…perhaps the writing will come later…or I’ll just switch to video! ha!

    • Thanks Robert – maybe GaryVee will swing by. And for you, video might be best – everyone may not like to write even though they have a lot to say. Find the medium and outlet that works for you and go with it! Thanks for the comment!

  43. Great post, Matt.
    I’m actually an almost completely egoistic blogger. At least, so far. The main point of my blog is to help me improve myself. Of course I want to share my experiences and I hope that my readers can benefit greatly from following my self-experiments and reading my book-reviews, for example.
    But I ultimately don’t care about what I’m “supposed” to write or what I should write or what niche I’m in. I put on my blog whatever I want.

    Haven’t been doing it for long, so you got me curious to see whether I will experience my voice emerging at some point as well.

    • Shane – I think a lot, even most of us, start out writing for ourselves. There is a lot that can be learned through self-improvement – Better yourself and in turn, better other people who take the time to read. As you grow, you’ll continue to find ways to relate your own personal growth to your audience and community. That’s what it’s all about.

  44. Great post, Matt.
    I’m actually an almost completely egoistic blogger. At least, so far. The main point of my blog is to help me improve myself. Of course I want to share my experiences and I hope that my readers can benefit greatly from following my self-experiments and reading my book-reviews, for example.
    But I ultimately don’t care about what I’m “supposed” to write or what I should write or what niche I’m in. I put on my blog whatever I want.

    Haven’t been doing it for long, so you got me curious to see whether I will experience my voice emerging at some point as well.

    • Shane – I think a lot, even most of us, start out writing for ourselves. There is a lot that can be learned through self-improvement – Better yourself and in turn, better other people who take the time to read. As you grow, you’ll continue to find ways to relate your own personal growth to your audience and community. That’s what it’s all about.

  45. I’ve been blogging before wordpress and blogger! Back in Livejournal days (I had that too), I had my own personal web page where I hosted a “journal” and manually uploaded and archived my entries! Those were the days. Every Monday, I post archives from back then [6 years ago] that I could find on archive.org. I’ve had a fitness and health blog but my current blog, The Solitary Panda, is my most popular venture. It’s still a personal blog… And I’m finding myself stuck in this box and wanting to branch out a bit and not knowing how =/ When I write about less personal topics I notice I don’t get as many comments, etc. because I haven’t reached out to that type of demographic. Not sure what to do/how to expand, but I AM looking to expand my brand soon! :) Exciting stuff!

    • Well if you need any help growing and expanding your reach Floreta, let me know. Would be happy to help. And I remember back to the good ol days of LiveJournal and Myspace blogging – funny how far we’ve come so quickly, eh?

  46. I’ve been blogging before wordpress and blogger! Back in Livejournal days (I had that too), I had my own personal web page where I hosted a “journal” and manually uploaded and archived my entries! Those were the days. Every Monday, I post archives from back then [6 years ago] that I could find on archive.org. I’ve had a fitness and health blog but my current blog, The Solitary Panda, is my most popular venture. It’s still a personal blog… And I’m finding myself stuck in this box and wanting to branch out a bit and not knowing how =/ When I write about less personal topics I notice I don’t get as many comments, etc. because I haven’t reached out to that type of demographic. Not sure what to do/how to expand, but I AM looking to expand my brand soon! :) Exciting stuff!

    • Well if you need any help growing and expanding your reach Floreta, let me know. Would be happy to help. And I remember back to the good ol days of LiveJournal and Myspace blogging – funny how far we’ve come so quickly, eh?

  47. This is a really good post!

    In my own blogging history, I’m barely transitioning away from the high school Xanga. I recently got a Tumblr cuz that’s the trend with kids these days. I started a pop culture blog called “The Popcorn Kids” back in March of this year, but by July it kind of died.

    Now that I have my own domain name, I’m trying to figure out my ‘brand’ and discover something I’m passionate enough to write about. I’m still working on it…and it’s mighty hard to work at being a n00b. Stop listening to advice? Uh oh.

    • Hola Dariane – thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods. There’s something about “owning” your own domain name that makes things seem more “legit” – you know? It’s like…before I was screwing around on Xanga, but now…I own this! Haha – good luck to you and I have no doubt that whatever you come up with will be grand. Looking forward to staying in touch moving forward!

  48. This is a really good post!

    In my own blogging history, I’m barely transitioning away from the high school Xanga. I recently got a Tumblr cuz that’s the trend with kids these days. I started a pop culture blog called “The Popcorn Kids” back in March of this year, but by July it kind of died.

    Now that I have my own domain name, I’m trying to figure out my ‘brand’ and discover something I’m passionate enough to write about. I’m still working on it…and it’s mighty hard to work at being a n00b. Stop listening to advice? Uh oh.

    • Hola Dariane – thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods. There’s something about “owning” your own domain name that makes things seem more “legit” – you know? It’s like…before I was screwing around on Xanga, but now…I own this! Haha – good luck to you and I have no doubt that whatever you come up with will be grand. Looking forward to staying in touch moving forward!

  49. Great post Matt.

    Its all about testing the waters and finding out what works for you!! For some people writing is the key to their blogging success and for others video blogging or audio is. People need to find out what work to them, and there is only one way to find out, try it! Its inspiring to hear about your blogging past – and to see the level you’re at now. Right now I’m experiencing a blogging transition and seeing what type of content fits me, I definitely know if I write/talk about my passion everything will fall in place.

    • Thanks Tony – it’s been a fun journey to get to this point – and I anticipate a long journey ahead of me with only bigger and better things. I know if I keep writing, keep following my passion, that everything else will work itself out for the best. Cheers!

  50. Great post Matt.

    Its all about testing the waters and finding out what works for you!! For some people writing is the key to their blogging success and for others video blogging or audio is. People need to find out what work to them, and there is only one way to find out, try it! Its inspiring to hear about your blogging past – and to see the level you’re at now. Right now I’m experiencing a blogging transition and seeing what type of content fits me, I definitely know if I write/talk about my passion everything will fall in place.

    • Thanks Tony – it’s been a fun journey to get to this point – and I anticipate a long journey ahead of me with only bigger and better things. I know if I keep writing, keep following my passion, that everything else will work itself out for the best. Cheers!

  51. My blog has only been up for a few months and I recently spent a few days trying to decide in which direction it should be headed. And of course, I couldn’t figure it out. So your post here has definitely provided me with an encouraging perspective…to just write what I have to write, whatever that may be and the direction define itself along the way. I might experiment with just deleting the posts that I struggle for days to write (which are the ones I think I am supposed to be writing) and concentrate on the ones I enjoy writing and which come naturally.

    • Let it come naturally Earl. You want to establish a consistent scheduling of posts (I typically do 2-3 per week) so people know when to expect new material from you – but let the writing come naturally. I get in moods where I can crank out 4-5 posts in a sitting – and then when I hit a dry spell, I have one of those saved and ready to publish. Write when you want to write, don’t force it. When you do, your material will never be as good.

  52. My blog has only been up for a few months and I recently spent a few days trying to decide in which direction it should be headed. And of course, I couldn’t figure it out. So your post here has definitely provided me with an encouraging perspective…to just write what I have to write, whatever that may be and the direction define itself along the way. I might experiment with just deleting the posts that I struggle for days to write (which are the ones I think I am supposed to be writing) and concentrate on the ones I enjoy writing and which come naturally.

    • Let it come naturally Earl. You want to establish a consistent scheduling of posts (I typically do 2-3 per week) so people know when to expect new material from you – but let the writing come naturally. I get in moods where I can crank out 4-5 posts in a sitting – and then when I hit a dry spell, I have one of those saved and ready to publish. Write when you want to write, don’t force it. When you do, your material will never be as good.

  53. Hi Matt,

    I’ve read into this post thrice because I’m trying to find “my blogging self”, and was perhaps too worried about finding a niche and all that. I think I’m going to try your approach Matt.

    • Hi Miguel – when you focus TOO heavily on your niche it’s easy to get burned out – you tell yourself that you can’t write about anything else because you’ve established yourself as an expert in one particular area. Don’t worry as much about your niche and instead, let the writing flow naturally. Cheers!

  54. Hi Matt,

    I’ve read into this post thrice because I’m trying to find “my blogging self”, and was perhaps too worried about finding a niche and all that. I think I’m going to try your approach Matt.

    • Hi Miguel – when you focus TOO heavily on your niche it’s easy to get burned out – you tell yourself that you can’t write about anything else because you’ve established yourself as an expert in one particular area. Don’t worry as much about your niche and instead, let the writing flow naturally. Cheers!

  55. Yes, I must agree Matt, you are well-spoken and the message hits home. I have been keeping my blog for about a year and a half now. I just write and writie and write and I love it. But, recently I’ve been thinking about how I can make a few bucks off of it, now that I’ve built up a name and a small following. And i worry if i do how will my readership respond. Anyway, I like what you said about expanding and doing different things. i’m certainly not trapped into anything and there’s no reason why I can’t start a new blog or a branch/spin off of my current one. Anyway, thanks again for your eloquent words of encouragement and inspiration.
    Sincerely,
    Loco in Yokohama

  56. Yes, I must agree Matt, you are well-spoken and the message hits home. I have been keeping my blog for about a year and a half now. I just write and writie and write and I love it. But, recently I’ve been thinking about how I can make a few bucks off of it, now that I’ve built up a name and a small following. And i worry if i do how will my readership respond. Anyway, I like what you said about expanding and doing different things. i’m certainly not trapped into anything and there’s no reason why I can’t start a new blog or a branch/spin off of my current one. Anyway, thanks again for your eloquent words of encouragement and inspiration.
    Sincerely,
    Loco in Yokohama

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  58. Thank you for this. I seriously am at battle with myself when it comes to what I should focus on. All around me girls my age are writing about fashion, name brands and posing in every blog post with new outfits. As much as I’d like to be that girl…I’m just not. I know I have a good writing voice but the thing that puts me off is the fact that theres already so much to read out there. Thats why I guess people do a lot of photo blogs because it’s easy for people to keep up with. I want to be heard and I want to write. I’m in school as a liberal studies major and my plan was to become a teacher. A math teacher! Since I’ve started blogging I’ve found my passion! So not what? I want to get my masters in journalism but UC Berkley’s journalism school is competitive and all I have is my blog. I think I’m answering my own question but I know that I have to get myself out there and advertise my talent. Anyways…thanks for this again. “If you love writing, if you want to write, the rest will fall into place.” This is truly my answer. Great post.