Several months ago, I saw an advertisement on a local website looking for people that would be interested in teaching a “How To” class at the local library. It could be any topic, any interest, any hobby. I thought it would be incredibly fun to teach a “How To Start a Blog” class. I called the local library and signed myself right up to teach this quick 60-minute class, and I was incredibly excited about it.
I had been blogging for over 8 years, surely I would have some pointers to share, right?
Over the next few weeks, I researched and planned. I had an outline, a really super cute powerpoint presentation with accompanying packets for each participant… and I practiced over and over what I was going to say.
I had a handful of people attend the “How To” class that day, and I was excited that they seemed really interested in what I had to say. They really wanted to hear my advice, and listen to my experiences.
In the workshop, I told the participants that the most important thing about starting a blog was one simple task. One thing that needed to be done before deciding on a name, before choosing a platform or a template, and before writing a first blog post.
The almighty advice that I stressed was so important?
Find your niche.
As the class went on, and for days after I came home… I kept thinking about that important piece of advice. And then this crazy question popped up in my head.
WHAT THE HELL IS MY NICHE?
Where do I fit in the blogging world? I’m not a foodie, I’m not a crafter, I don’t blog about anything specific. I don’t write about travel, or photography or even the latest clothing trends. My posts in one week could run the gamut of whatever words I could eek out in a few minutes of free time. My Facebook and Twitter followers were growing by leaps and bounds, but there was nothing of substance that was keeping them around. I had no niche to settle into. No main topic, no specialty that I could call my own.
Well, unless you count “word vomit” as a specialty. I write about whatever the heck I want. I write about something I hear on the news, a book I just finished, a story about something my husband or daughters did, or even a giveaway I’m hosting for the week.
After a couple weeks of thinking about what direction my blog was heading, I learned that my blog was really just a website that had a severe case of ADHD. I hosted giveaways, I had a weekly Sunday linky, a weekly Iowa blogger feature, and then I just threw in whatever else I could think of. I was so busy trying to post something every day that I lost myself in the blog. I had no direction, no plan, no NICHE. Instead of focusing on CONTENT and trying to just write, I spent my time trying to get followers. I didn’t take my own advice that I was teaching to those workshop participants.
And that, my friends, is when I talked myself out of blogging.
So now, here I sit… almost five months later, missing this blog like crazy. So many times I’ve thought of things to write about, and so many times I’ve sat and started at a blank screen. I dropped off the face of the blogging world, and I struggle to find my way back in. The fluff is going bye-bye, and it’s time to get back to basics. While I still don’t have a niche or a specialty, I know that I enjoy writing and would like to do more of it.