It’s a new year, and I’ve accepted a new challenge. It’s not related to a weight loss or workout resolution, or even a public declaration to overhaul my spending. Rather, I have taken up the gauntlet thrown down by WordPress.com (which hosts In Write Field) to embark on a “Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog” challenge. I’ll receive one blog topic per day, which I can choose to avail myself of… or not. Truth be told, I don’t have the time, stamina or imagination to blog every day, but I figure I can pick and choose.
The challenge seems geared more toward brand new bloggers, who don’t know where to start – whereas I’ve been blogging fairly regularly for nearly two years. Still, I frequently struggle to find something to blog about. “Topics,” I’ll beseech my friends. “I need topics!”
Articles and books for aspiring writers often advise that one needs to just “start writing”, and not worry about the topic. That’s easy to say, for someone who doesn’t have a goal of at least three blog posts per week. Yet, I agree that it is possible to over think when searching for blogging subject matter. When a topic is timely, I sometimes find it’s already old news by the time I’m ready to publish my point of view.
So, off I go…
Today’s Zero to Hero topic: A self-introduction. Why do I blog instead of, for example, keep a journal? What do I want to accomplish with my blog? What do I like to write about?
The first part is easy. I love writing – always have. Professional opportunities for me to write, with an emphasis placed on selecting just the right tone and phrasing, and engaging an audience, feel like work only in the loosest sense. And, as some of you may have noticed, I love to tell a story with words – and images. To me, this kind of writing requires an audience. Telling stories in a journal would be like trees falling in the forest; who cares, if no one but me hears them?
The other questions are trickier. While some bloggers zero in on a specific subject, I started out a generalist – just to get a feel – and have yet to find a niche. I’m not even sure if I want one. While I write a lot about America’s pastime in the summer and early fall, even a rabid fan like me can’t be all baseball, all the time. Perhaps this approach has made it more difficult to build a following?
I recently blogged about some of the challenges of being a single woman of a certain age, and (by my standards) it really took off. I even got a “high-five” alert from WordPress as views and visitors spiked. Engagement was surprising, because it ran the gamut – men, women, single, married.
I’m not entirely sure why the post resonated more than others I’ve written. A friend suggested that I’d really owned the topic, and that’s why it struck a chord. If so, that’s great. When it makes sense, I’ll blog again about single life – but I don’t want to be the next Carrie Bradshaw.
“And so I asked myself… how does a girl know when he’s just not that into her?”
Thus, my Zero to Hero adventure is underway. I’ll take some chances blogging about topics I normally wouldn’t choose, and see where it takes me.
Hope you’ll come along for the ride.