Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

A Helpful Writing Exercise to Focus Your Blog Content

Camera lens focusing

Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’m getting a lot of questions about blogging these days.

Friends and strangers are all emailing me, asking the same thing:

Am I doing this right?

Most of the time, unfortunately, the answer is no. But not for the reasons you might think:

  • Not because they’re not good writers.
  • Not because they don’t have a good design.
  • Not because they aren’t promoting their work and getting their name out there.

The simple reason a lot of blogs struggle to succeed is because of lack of focus. Many bloggers haven’t taken the time to develop a unique purpose for their blog, and as a result they’re just writing — with little thought as to what they’re hoping to accomplish.

Hence, the frustration and insecurity. They’re moving in a direction, but not sure where they’re actually headed.

This a natural tendency (confession: I did this for four years). But eventually, it’s time to get serious. And every serious blogger eventually moves away from a lack of focus and starts to tackle blogging more intentionally.

So what do I tell these people?

I share with them one easy exercise that has helped thousands of people (I walk them through this lesson and others in my free blogging course).

Before getting started

My basic rule of thumb for writing (especially blogging) is this:

The more you narrow your focus, the more you broaden your audience.

Most bloggers think they have a focus for their blog. They don’t. Really, all they have is a subject.

It’s important to identify three core areas of focus for your blog to succeed. Here’s a nifty exercise I learned from a speaking seminar. It was intended to help us write a speech, but it works for writing, too.

Before you begin writing, consider your subject (what you want to write about), then boil it down to a theme (your specific angle and area of focus), then an objective (what you want to accomplish).


The subject is the broadest area of your writing. It can be stated in a word or two, probably, but most bloggers struggle to identify it. In order to find your subject, try asking yourself:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • In what topic do I have expertise or a desire to learn?
  • What could I write about for a year without running out of ideas or energy?

Exercise: Spend 10 minutes brainstorming one-word answers to the above questions. Don’t take too long. Let intuition guide you. Then, pick one (and only one).

Example: Writing


The theme is a narrower version of your subject. It’s like a subset of your main topic — a particular area of concentration. To find it, ask yourself:

  • How can I break this subject down into its various components?
  • What do I want to concentrate on?
  • Is there a specific manner in which I want to attack this issue? What will my writing “voice” be? (e.g. Humorous, sarcastic, practical, anecdotal, etc.)

Exercise: Spend 15-30 minutes mind-mapping or listing out key phrases that describe various angles of your topic. Then, pick the one that makes the most sense and immediately inspires 10 writing ideas.

How writers can use the Internet to build a platform for their writing.


The objective is the main takeaway; it’s the goal. If everything else fails, this is what you want your blog to do. If you’re not sure what yours might be, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish with my writing?
  • What impression do I want to leave?
  • What’s my goal? How do I measure it?

Exercise: Spend 5-10 minutes answering the above questions. Think hard about what you really want to do. Wanting visitors is not enough. What do you want to do with the traffic once you get it?

Think about what would make the time you’re spending blogging worth it. It should be an action verb. Is it making money? Increasing your influence? Growing in authority? Write it down.

Example: To establish credibility as a writer and land freelance writing gigs.

As you begin to practice this exercise (if you’re not doing it already), you’ll find that it’s easier to come up with ideas for specific posts. While it seems very limiting, it’s actually quite freeing. It’ll also make it easier for you to connect with your readers and call them to action.

Ironically, the more you focus on a single objective, the more possibilities for writing emerge.

It’s counter-intuitive, but it works.

Does your blog or writing have a focus? I’d love any feedback you have. Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Subject: Writing
    Theme: How folks who are not necessarily well-read or trained in writing can become authors of fiction.
    Objective: To chronical my journey as one of the folks described above, and inspire others to join me.

  • Subject: Story

    Theme: Celebrating the power and potential of true stories well told.

    Objective: A professional editor helping entrepreneurs, advocates and creatives to develop stories that reach new clients, new allies, and new fans.

  • Rick Thomas

    Subject: Succeeding in life

    Theme: That the true definition of succeeding in life is through living it authentically and helping each other get there. And by doing so, that is how we heal a broken world.

    Objective: To motivate and inspire people in an original way. I’ve started by sharing my own stories of marriage, parenting, faith, business and life in general. My hope is to curate not only my own stories but those of others and their journey in life.

    Blog: succeedinginlife.com

  • I boiled everything down to this:

    I believe that every person is a leader, because they have influence on the world around them. I believe that everyone can grow their influence and have a greater impact on the world by continually growing as an individual.

    My goal in help young leaders understand their potential, grow their influence and lead well.

  • Kalei Stern

    Just joined the Intentional Blog Challenge, and feeling a little behind because I haven’t fully launched my blog yet…but this exercise really helps! Here goes:

    Subject: Leadership

    Theme: Leadership development for GenX and Millennial leaders

    Objective (external): To provide coaching and guidance rooted in Hawaii’s unique sense of place for the next generation of leaders.

    Objective (internal): To build upon my personal brand and reputation, and expand my skill sets around coaching and leadership development.

  • Subject: Laughter. The world is both wondrous and stupid, and sometimes wondrously stupid.

    Theme: Funny stuff is all around us. We may as well laugh at it! Sometimes, we can even see God in it.

    Objective: Brighten the reader’s day…get them looking for funny stuff today, and keep them coming back for more.

  • Mali Korsten

    This is definitely something I struggle with – I want to write about so many things that I find it hard to stick with one area of focus. However, I’m choosing to narrow it down to this:

    Subject: Writing and Songwriting

    Theme: How to increase creative output by actively seeking (and harnessing) inspiration in every day life.

    Objective: To encourage writers/songwriters to take their craft seriously and be proactive in the pursuit of prolificness.

  • Subject: LoveDreamDo

    Theme: A call to love deeply, dream loudly, do boldly

    I plan to split it into three sections:

    1. Work – How to find the intersection between passion, talent & cause and practically pursue that
    2. Home – How to do married life well
    3. Personal – How to be more creative

    Objective: Build a writing portfolio, increase influence through encouraging others and land other writing gigs.

    If anyone is interested, you can read more about me on kwanannlim.wordpress.com

    Thanks Jeff for starting this, it is only day 2 but I have already been impacted by this! Appreciate you.

  • Carol Swan

    I want to teach…

    About helping the poor/poverty

    About the study/application of scriptures

    About communication, both the spoken and written word and
    effective listening

    About leading in the ordinary

    About contributions to work and to relationships

    About creating and refining programs

  • Patti H

    I just want to entertain, to tell stories.
    Subject: Life’s everyday adventures.
    Theme: Living joyously, having fun
    Objective: To make the reader smile, maybe even laugh a little

  • Sarah

    Subject: Cosplay (Costumes)
    Theme: Cosplay on a Budget
    Objective: Saving people money on cosplay through budget-friendly tutorials and sharing sales/coupons.
    You can check it out here: http://www.cosplaycents.com

  • Heather Benn

    subject partnering with Christ
    Theme become an intercessor
    Objective seeing lives changed through prayer and practical help

  • Amanda

    Subject: Positive Thinking
    Theme: Positive thinking for those suffering from anxiety and depression.
    Objective: To use my optimism and experience with dealing with anxiety and depression to give hope to sufferers who have lost hope. I want to tell people that I am living proof that things can get better if we believe in ourselves.

  • Subject: Growth
    Theme: Life and Leadership Development
    Objective: To improve people’s lives by providing practical, useable, biblical strategies and steps for personal growth in multiple life dimensions.

    Like others I am having a hard time narrowing it down. My three areas of interest are spiritual, personal and leadership growth. I have been blogging for almost a year and am starting to wane in energy. This challenge is what I need.

  • Christelle Rojano

    Subject: A student’s life transitioning to becoming a professional (soon)
    Theme: Living a Christian life in this worldly generation
    Objective: To chronicle my growth with Him, and to inspire other youth that it’s worth it to live for Him

  • Subject: Crafts
    Theme: Living Life Inspired
    Objective: To inspire people with my journey in crafting, sharing ideas/tips n tricks of making ordinary things extraordinary, and to encourage people tap into their creative self.

    My blog: http://www.peachy.ph

    Jeff, thank you for doing this. I’m a little left behind but I’m really learning a lot! Thank you for helping me develop not just my blog, but my blogging skills as well. You are truly a great mentor!

  • Great idea as I was feeling lost as a newbie blogger. This is tougher than I imagined.

    I still don’t have it narrowed down but here’s a start:

    Subject: Harmonious Living for Women
    Theme: How to live in tune with oneself, with others, with the planet
    (This is very vague! I would like to cover varied topics such as recycling, feminism, economy, education, crafting, volunteer work…)
    I will use a story-telling approach.
    Objective: To inspire women. To create dialogue. To make them think in novel ways. PLUS to sell artisan made products.

  • Teresa /Hollyhock Farm Alpacas

    Subject: Alpacas
    Theme: Raising alpacas and using their fiber in knitting, spinning, felting, dyeing
    Objective: To educate about alpacas, tutorials on using their fiber, make money selling fiber and products

    I’ve had my blog for several years, and I seem to have hit a wall. Seems like the same topics rotate and I’m finding it hard to keep the same old things fresh.

    • Perhaps it’s time for a break. Or reduce the frequency of your posts. I can imagine hundreds of topics just on raising the animals, let alone on craft and marketing. Maybe you’ve been too intense and some space would increase your enthusiasm

  • Mollie

    This was quite difficult, but hopefully I can get some feedback on the direction this could take!
    Subject: Lifestyle for Young Millennials
    Theme: How to survive transitions, graduate school, and New York City.
    Objective: To encourage other young adults to find joy and peace with difficult transitional phases in our lives and encourage them to bloom where they have been planted. I would love to share lessons I have learned from my first year in New York City, graduate school, and of course, God.

    I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time now, and my own recent transition has spurred me on to actually start. Looking for any and all help! Thank you, Jeff, for giving me the push I needed.

  • Charmaine Grace

    Subject: Evolution

    Theme: How can we design for evolution?

    Goal: to discuss ideas; to connect; to inspire; to have a meeting place for my business.

  • David I. Adeleke

    Subject: Self-improvement/development.
    Theme: How people can use everyday experiences and the stories of others to improve themselves daily.
    Objective: To establish myself as a people-builder and teach folks what they should do to be better every passing day.

  • Abby Hatch

    Subject: Growth
    Theme: Tools and strategies that help you grow (research-based and personal anecdotes)
    Objective: To inspire readers to courageously try something new and guide them to a breakthrough in their personal life.

  • Guest

    Subject: Writing

  • Anthony and Tracy Erler

    Subject: Writing
    Theme: How seemingly ordinary people can see the uniqueness in their lives to pursue their dreams. (personal anecdotes)
    Objective: By sharing stories about my transition into the writing life, I want to inspire and encourage others to break away from the stereotype of their dream and forge their own path in the life that is unique to them.

  • Hi Jeff. This questions scared me. What is my blog’s focus?

    I have been struggling for this for a loooong time. Do I want to write about fashion because I sell accessories? Do I talk about food or travel? What do I do now that I do not have the liberty to move around that much? Do I talk about corporate life and all the politics behind it or probably, all the lessons I have learned? I couldn’t wrap around what I wanted to do… until this challenge. Until now.

    Subject: Homemaking
    Theme: The Before and After of a Corporate Junkie (Tales of a New Stay-at-Home Mom)
    Objective: To encourage, converse with, inspire and get inspired by the life of women who are transitioning from working in a corporate world to being a homemaker

    This is an excerpt from my blog: https://www.iamcorporatejunkie.com/2014/10/focus-focus-focus.html. Let me know what you think? Thanks!

  • Subject: Entrepreneurship
    Theme: Enriching Lives through interesting perspectives.

    Objectives: Inspire people to live a life of fulness. Opportunities abound in this world for a willing mind. The only lack is a willing mind. All business is about satisfying or fulfilling need / want. I want to inspire people to look at their surroundings and identify opportunities for enriching their lives. Enriching the life of others consistently results in a successful entrepreneurship.

  • Eddie Paley

    Subject: Free Thinking.
    Theme: To dig through the cloud that covers our life and find the truth.
    Objectives: To inspire people to free think everything. To help them get out of the crowd stream and find themselves. To help them live life in the best way that could be.

  • Patricia Mirasol

    Site: ideacrib.net
    Subject: Health
    Theme: Practical ideas on healthy living.
    Objective: To inspire people to lead healthy lives by sharing my personal journey in healthy living.

  • Site: bronwynmilkins.com/blog
    Subject: Advocacy
    Theme: How to inspire action that achieves better mental health for individuals and a better mental health system for all
    Objective: To show readers that working as a community can create change that results in better health for all. To shape public policy and date. To establish credibility as a communicator of ideas that inspire action and as a public speaker in the areas of mental health and science.

    Thanks for the blog Jeff – a massive help in narrowing down my focus (I even surprised myself with what my focus actually was!)

  • thanks Sir Jeff! 🙂

  • Ashleigh Jones

    Subject: Faith
    Theme: Leading women towards spiritual breakthrough by practising faith in every aspect of their lives.
    Objective: To encourage and challenge Christian women to consistently grow in their faith, becoming the women God created them to be, by sharing my own faith experiences and the lessons I’ve learnt from God.

  • Amy E Patton

    Subject: Faith
    Theme: Finding and Living in Freedom
    Objective: My blog exists to help people with painful pasts and overwhelming now’s change the way they view their stories so they can make the impact they want on the world.

  • christen lawrie

    so helpful. and concise.
    thanks very much!

  • Skye Cascadea

    Thank you for this very valuable exercise!

    My Subject: Happiness + Creativity for Women
    My Theme: How you can become more creative and happier and less stressed.
    My Objective: To inspire and help women. Give them helpful tips to calm down, get more body energy and therefore more energy to be creative. To encourage them to change there lives and become creative. And to sell my textures and later on an eBook.
    Site: cascadea.com

  • Patricia

    Hey fellow ginger! Thanks for this blog post. I can’t wait to try this exercise. Not having been able to narrow my focus has been preventing me from doing ANYTHING! I have been agonizing over this forever and it has spun me into a maddening kind of paralysis. Having multiple disparate interests has left me feeling very hesitant about throwing any one hat into the ring. I think this exercise may help me to finally distill my creative impulses into a usable topic. As a bonus, I am always happy to get my colored markers out and create a whimsical mind map. That alone can lighten the heaviness of this topic for me! I will duly report my results.

    • Shalagh Hogan

      Patricia, I so get the too many hats. Creative people that we are, so many things interest us. And we don’t want to overlook or exclude anything. What if we had permission to add it in later? A guest spotin life or blog perhaps.
      I think this exercise is scary and liberating all at once, right?
      And colored magic markers for mind mapping makes me want to do that too!
      Ps My two year old daughter ended up a ginger too.
      Good Luck!
      Shalagh of http://www.shalavee.com

  • Lyssa Michelle

    Site: https://therebelliousmillennial.com/

    Subject: Millennials

    Theme: Millennials who want to go against the grain from what they’re “supposed” to do and do what they WANT to do.

    Objective: Help Millennials quit their 9-5 and follow their “unconventional” dreams.

  • Rebecca Reich Rose

    Focus: Sjogren’s Syndrome (a little known Autoimmune Disease)

    Theme: Thriving with Sjogren’s

    Objective: To inspire people with Sjogren’s to not give up, to keep working towards living a better/healthier life by my own story of Thriving.

  • Subject: online business

    Theme: How to create a online lifestyle business

    Objective: Helping Start ups started by women to grow and love their life amd business by doing meaninful work.

  • Mary

    Subject: online business

    Theme: How to create a online lifestyle business

    Objective: Helping Start ups started by women to grow and love their life amd business by doing meaningful work.

  • Jan Schröder

    Subject: Teaching German as a foreign language

    Theme: How teachers can deliver inspiring classes.

    Objective: Show ‘amateur’ freelance teachers without academic background how to turn pro.

  • Edmar

    Subject: University Life

    Theme: A Journal-like blog

    Objective: Tell the readers everyday experiences and show them what it’s like being a student in the University of the Philippines.

    Site: http://www.updlife.wordpress.com

  • Kayla Nicole Bonar

    Focus: To use my personal, emotional and physical health issues battling epilepsy to inspire empathy and encourage others to seek comfort and hope through writing and sharing their story.

  • Blogging, but lacking method, objective, and focus. Now I can focus on my passion, Copywriting. Thanks to Jeff Goins ‘Intentional Blogging’. More on my journey @ http://www.Innerblogger.com.

  • Sathyanand S

    Clarity in your words and the authenticity in your voice is inspirational. Thank you Jeff for sharing your hard-earned wisdom to us all. It has given me yet another reason to continue blogging – carry forward this message of inspiration to world across.

    Thank you again

  • Victoria Clayton

    Hi Jeff and Blogger Friends,
    This is a topic I have really struggled with because I have so many interests and want to write about them all! Archaeology, archaeological theory, museums, travel, dogs, teaching English, books, writing memoir, depression and moving on, dementia and memory, career and the purpose of life!! it just goes on and on. However, I have managed to find some common threads on which to base my blog:
    Subject: archaeology (Near Eastern, going on digs, going to archaeological places)
    Theme: ancient figurines and how they are displayed in museums
    Objective: to start a conversation with people who are enthusiastic about archaeology (including – but not particularly aimed at – professionals) especially figurines and to raise awareness of how figurines are interpreted and used by special interest groups without much knowledge of the archaeology behind them.

    This all sounds rather obscure and academic, but I’m really hoping to reach people who enjoy reading generalist books of archaeology, visiting archaeology museums, watching quality documentaries about archaeology, but have little knowledge of how archaeologists actually come up with their theories and to be more critical of how figurines (particularly human images) are displayed in museums. Archaeology is concerned with the past, with (re)creating the past and collective memory. It’s not really connected with teaching English and walking the hound, but I couldn’t see how to tie them in without becoming confusing for the reader!

  • danielgrant

    Theme: Raising alpacas and using their fiber in knitting, spinning, felting, dyeing. Objective: To educate about alpacas, tutorials on using their fiber, make money …

    fiber optic light

  • Samuel Chauke

    I have started a blog already but I was running out of ideas sometimes. Thanks to you Jeff I have found my leg now and will stay focussed. Samuelchaukeauthor.blogspot.com

  • Jack Allen

    Subject: Writing
    Theme: Writing a fictional book based loosely on my own past.
    Objective: To learn how to get published and eventually publish my own book.
    Link to a blog post I have written https://oilpro.com/post/9625/boomtown-rats-an-oilfield-story

  • JRosemarie

    Very informative. Writing the objective here has clarified for me what I really wanted to achieve with my blog.
    Subject: Single mothers
    Theme: Relating my experience as a single mother for the past 18 years.
    Objective: To help other single moms in their journey, clarifying the myths of single motherhood, and sharing tools/strategies for successfully navigating raising children solo.

  • Clara Meierdierks

    Dear Jeff ! this is splendid. Thanks for your Patience .I know that i am so slow. I have been struggling to be focused. I want to have my voice everywhere and ended up not being focused, and this made me so angry, frustrated and wanted to give up. I would want to talk about the pains in my life and how i dealth with each Moment, as you can see i still have not gotten the right Courage to talk about that , perhaps as i get stronger in writing. I am also tempted to get started with a book ” Letter to African leaders and having Flair for Poems , i got also divided . I started off with free wordpress.com , since i am yet to get confident with Blogging. I wrote something about Africa and instead of saving as a draft , i pressed on post . I believe that is the lane every Newcomer like me will Need to go through.
    I decided at the Moment to settle with this subject :
    Subject ; Our dreams
    Theme: Go Catch your dream
    Objective ; There were Moments in my life when i got stuck, splitted and lost. I remenber reading this post ” One of the hardest decisions you II ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away from your dream or work harder ” i choosed to work harder and intend to use this Topic to encourage everyone to work harder to ” Catch their dreams”

  • Caroline DePalatis

    Thank you, Jeff, for this exercise. Very helpful. And yes, a tad painful! It can be hard to narrow down, especially when one has been kind of a “Renaissance” type, enjoying so many interests and passions. (That’s the kind way to say “Jack of all trades….”) But narrow I must! For me, it is world cultures. I have loved everything international since I was a child! It is that fuel that keeps me going – people, languages, travel, int’l politics & economics, etc. I am also passionate about Jesus. The angle I am taking is about bringing to light God’s unparalleled creativity as expressed through the people and cultures of our world through narrative non-fiction. My background is 20+ years of working with internationals, plus numerous experiences living, working and traveling abroad (outside of the U.S.). My husband and I would like to get our blog up and running to pave the way for the development of a business that offers storytelling/sharing, cross-cultural training and travel-with-purpose opportunities. Working on developing that blog!!!

  • Candace Nicole

    Bravo! Thank you so much for giving me a road map! I really appreciate you!

  • I really appreciate the help in providing direction. I would love to get feedback or help from anyone in the community that might be able to help me navigate the answers to these questions. My writing on ijeremymorris.com seems to follow a theme, but again, any feedback or outside opinions are greatly appreciated. Here is what I think I have figured out:

    Subject: Transformation

    Theme: How Christians are transformed when they encounter Jesus.

    Objective: To establish credibility as an authority on Biblical transformation.

    Does this sound right or accurate?

    I feel like I could write all day long on the topics of reading & meditating in the Word, prayer, praise & worship, renewing the mind, etc. – But I think I’ve been trying to reach addiction recovery because I have life experiences with that, but every time I try to write my heart wants to just write about seeking and encountering God. This is why I’m a bit confused.

  • Ashlee G

    This was a great exercise! I feel refocused and refreshed as I look forward to my writing: https://walkingworthyywmn.blogspot.com/2015/10/walking-worthy.html

  • Sunumi

    Thanks a lot, Jeff. Amazing exercise. I am sure many will benefit from this article as it has helped me too, to get on the track. 🙂

  • Jan

    Site: https://devotedamomsfaithquest.blogspot.ca/?m=0

    Subject: Christian motherhood

    Theme: Discovering beauty and meaning in every area of motherhood and fighting overwhelm with courage, faith and humor.

    • Jan: You have two powerful themes in one sentence. The second half really resonates with me (as a woman because I’m not a mom). Would you be happy if the focus was there. eg Helping Christian mothers conquer overwhelm with courage, faith and humor? Good luck.

      • Jan

        I’m super slow here but just realized I never replied and I really appreciated the great feedback! Thanks Susan! 🙂

  • Janice G

    Thank you, Jeff, for this very helpful basic structure to begin blogging. I’ve had a website for a few years with the theme of Looking, Living, Learning: IN GOD’S IMAGE. i wanted to do a blog but did not know how to get started. You gave me the impetus. Through this lesson, I found my Subject to be Worldview, and my objective to be impacting people to joyfully live out a Christian worldview. I am a bit unsure of how to measure the outcome. All I could think of, at thiis point, is a review of comments to see if my posts are having the desired effect as my audience grows. This is my second day of posting, and I already have one follower!

  • Thanks, Jeff. This is very helpful to think through the structure for blogging. It reminds me of my acting days! Somewhere, I think I knew why I was doing things, but this exercise helps me to see more clearly the direction in my blog. My focus is:

    Subject: Legal

    Theme: How entrepreneurs can use legal to protect their business as they grow.

    Objective: To inspire entrepreneurs to not only understand the legal that impacts their business every day, but also to use legal to protect the business they work so hard to build.

  • Doug Spurling

    It’s easier to use a shotgun, no need to focus… but it’s
    messy, and doesn’t go very far. Rifle fire on the other hand is intentional and
    goes the distance. That’s what I want, need. But right now it’s kind of blurry
    from all the scattergun dust. But, I think, looking back across my writing,
    just like you said, there is a theme, a common focus and I believe it’s this: HIS
    Voice echoes everywhere—especially through children and old people…Hearing HIM
    is a matter of intentional listening.

    • Kathryn McClatchy

      I like your shotgun/rifle analogy. I’m cleaning up the dust also. Good luck building your blog!

  • Hi, all!

    Today’s advice is really essential. Thank you, Jeff.

    When it comes to my blog The Alchemy of a Wish (https://thealchemyofawish.com/) the subject are wishes, obviously. 😀 The theme is the exploration of our wishes in order to find our true and truly ours. The objective is to help people find their true and truly their wishes, so they could live lives of their dreams.

  • Thanks Jeff! Focusing is hard and feels risky, but it’s a must to being successful!

    As a two-time caregiver — to my first husband who died at the age of 47 (I was 38) and now my 82-year-old father after complete independence was taken away by stroke — and having worked in and around healthcare for over 20 years, I want to help others navigate healthcare through my site http://www.MyHealthVoice.com.

    Subject: healthcare and caregivers

    Theme: navigating healthcare, receiving the best care, achieving quality of life

    Objective: I empower patients and their caregivers through information and inspiration to receive the best quality of care and live the highest quality of life possible.

    • Fiona Tarr

      Now that is a really clear theme. Good luck

    • Katharine

      Susan, a site you might enjoy, written by a nurse who was injured, and so, has seen the world through both lenses, is: https://braininjuryselfrehabilitation.com/
      Edie writes about her lengthy journey through the maze of finding good health helps and writes for helping others get what they need for better health. She loves helping people like you, and is a deep well of information. 🙂

  • mtbandrews

    Thanks Jeff, I’m loving the daily emails.

    My focus is to write about the cars we want but won’t necessarily get to experience. The long term plan is to build a physical club around this subject. Keen for feedback. http://www.autoscriptorium.com #autoscriptorium.

  • Sandy Blackburn

    It’s hard to admit that both here and in Tribewriters, I get stuck on the first lessons. I pressed through on this one this time. My focus is writing about how I go from struggling with a situation to praising God that he had the answer, with the intention of inspiring others to see things in a new perspective. I think that’s close, but maybe not totally accurate. “God, I could use one of those answers now.”

    • Katharine

      Sandy, this sounds so good. Cannot wait to see you in print. You might try reading Merlin Carothers’s book, Prison to Praise, and the several he wrote as follow-ups, to see how your ideas could easily be brought to the public. A different slant, but long overdue for a new name and new words to express thankfulness for His overarching power and knowledge. 🙂

  • Monica Lobenstein

    I *think* I do have a focus. It’s living your dreams every single day. Not just on the weekend. Not just in your free time. Every day. And making it happen a little at a time. When I started reading this page, I thought I already had a focus, and the more I read, the more I realized I had some work to do. I feel good about getting more focused and find myself wondering if it might not narrow down even more as I think/write about it. Thank you! I needed this!

  • Crisie Hutchings

    I think this may be part ofmy issue. I am going to do these exercises and find my FOCUS!!! THANKS! !!!

  • Molly Totoro

    I normally shy away from sharing a work-in-progress in such a public forum… but when I wrote “I’m in” I decided to fully commit to this process. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your wisdom and inspiring me to take this one step forward.

    I’m still noodling on a proper focus, but for now this is what I have developed:
    Subject: Revising Life After 50
    Theme: Pursuing purpose, meaning, and joy in the second half of life
    Objective: To connect with and inspire other empty-nesters to risk following our hearts’ desires in this new phase of life.

  • Wow thanks, this is helpful. It’s true that focusing makes it easier to think of great stuff to write about. My subject is ‘living a contented life’, and I’ve narrowed down the theme to ‘the significance of thoughts, and how the way in which we think defines our ability to walk in our destiny.’

  • Kathryn McClatchy

    THIS!! This is where I’m stuck ;( I have a number of passions and interests and areas of expertise, and I certainly can’t manage five separate blogs. I am a stroke-survivor who used to be an English teacher. Now due to my disabilities, I am pursuing my dream to write novels. I want my blog to be a platform to promote those novels as I publish them, but I also want the content/blog posts to share what I’ve learned and experienced through the novel-writing process and what I’ve learned from the crazy amounts of research I’ve done for my stories. After two years of inconsistent blogging, I have 78 posts about my life, invisible disabilities, travel, writing, Bible studies and devotionals I’ve created and taught, crime, advocacy, and miscellaneous. As I’m working to revamp and refocus my blog, I’ve looked at my top ten posts, and they are a mix of all the above. There’s not one thing that seems to stand out. I know I don’t want a blog just about writing or book reviews. I’m trying to narrow down my focus, but I need help. I think if I was to make a change right now, my over-riding, one word subject would be FREEDOM. But then I have four themes I want to concentrate on, because these are the themes that I’m passionate about and that keep finding their way into my stories: 1) Religious Freedom–shedding light on scripture and persecuted Christians and Jews around the world; 2) Human Freedom–advocating for the estimated 27-30 million enslaved today; 3) Universal Education and Literacy–Freedom to learn has been proven to do more to improve life and health than anything else; and 4) Invisible disabilities and chronic health issues steals the freedom of millions to pursue their hopes and dreams, trapping them in their own bodies, and so few understand because we “don’t look sick,” I can’t separate these issues in my mind or heart. Must I really choose, or create separate websites? Suggestions and advice very much appreciated. My site is https://kathrynmcclatchy.com/ in case you want to look at it.

  • Rebecca Kojetin

    So, if the focus of my blog is writing, would it be bad to change the theme and/or objective of it monthly or bimonthly?
    For example, I might for the month of November address NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month); for December, writing family Christmas information letters and thank you letters.
    I taught high school English/language arts and creative writing for 34 years. I am so attuned to changing the theme and objective of what I am doing that I am finding it hard to stay with ONE theme and objective.

    • Fiona Tarr

      I hear you. I think I have found the core of my subject matter though. Many people write on lots of subjects but with a core value they are trying to share. If that value stays the same, then your themes would still probably work fine.

  • Abbi

    This is a hard lesson for me as I tend to have a very wide range of interests, activities and things that I write about. I think I may still need to work at focusing more but for now this is what I have figured out.
    My focus for my blog is Christian Homemaking. My objective is to
    encourage other women to have Christ centered homes where the family grows and
    thrives as well as being a place we can invite others into and share with them
    the love of Jesus as well.

  • Fiona Tarr

    I have two blogs and I keep tossing up the idea of combining them, but they are very different in subject matter. I do feel that they both have the same voice though. They are about self empowerment; one in business and the other in life for the most part. What would you say about trying to combine them or would it be best to keep them apart. Time wise, I feel I am stretched between the two and neither have ‘taken off’. As I also write fiction, my business blog seems to be the most likely to go first as I have my book info on the life empowerment blog (which is still finding its feet). Would love your feedback.

    • Hi Fiona,

      I am honestly torn between two subject matters as well ( I posted about this on the IB facebook page) Mine is on personal growth, one in leadership and the other one in faith. I share your dilemma and your thoughts. Personally, I felt that you can empower plenty of people who thought that their business and their life needs to be kept separate. Perhaps, if you combine the two and write from a new angle of : “How your involvement in business can empower you in life?” or “How you can continue being you both in business and in life?” (You don’t have to be a different person in business and at home) . That’s my thought for you. I hope this feedback is useful! Good luck with your blog and book!

      • Fiona Tarr

        Thanks Suwandy. I am combing my blogs in 2016.
        The theme which crosses personal and business life is positivity with a focus on personal growth, empowerment and community development.

  • anel conradie

    This has been so helpful. I have had several blogs over the years and honestly, they all have been a bit all over the place. The intention was always the same but there was never a clear focus, which made it very ineffective. So having worked through this second lesson I have come to the following conclusion (it is still a working progress but seems more defined):
    Subject – life and purpose
    Theme – finding purpose and passion in life
    Objective – to inspire others to live passionately

  • I am applying these and the other activities in this series to my photo-blog, Permie Peeks (https://permiepeeks.blogspot.com/).

    Subject: the presence of nature in the an urban or built environment
    Theme: the unexpected delight this can bring when we take the time to notice and appreciate that.
    Objective: to help others develop this appreciation in order to create their own personal oasis, a midst the hustle and bustle of modern living in general, but particularly in an urban setting.

  • Cheryl

    Thanks Jeff! I’ve been toiling over the focus for my blog for a long time. I think these exercises have helped me to finally define what I’m trying to do. Here is what I’ve come up with:

    -Subject: Self-Improvement
    -Theme: Improving Life After Living Through Abuse or Bullying
    -Objective: To Help Survivors of Abuse and Bullying To Overcome Their Past & Live Healthy & Successful Lives

    I hope to get a self-hosted domain for my blog soon: https://mindredesignsblog.wordpress.com

  • Katharine

    Mostly wanted to nail down what I learned, to make it more easily shareable when I encounter folks who need a boost or are just starting out. I’d written for 16 years for various home educating magazines, and had a wealth of information to share with a ready-made and ever-increasing audience. Some of it is in the process of becoming a book, too.

    However, my heart’s desire, and I believe my true calling, is to relaunch my second site to become my true thrust, which is helping women see what on earth we are here for. I call it TheConqueringMom, and that title narrows the focus, although it may seem still, very broad.

    Nevertheless, as its tagline states, it’s about what God says a woman should do to fix her life, when her own way was not working out so well. “Woman. How it was meant to be. When your way is not working.”

    Hoping that is narrow enough.

  • GW Observer

    Super helpful tips. What would have taken me 7+ hours was accomplished in 2.

  • Bailey

    I love practical exercises. 😀 I’ve narrowed my blog/website to “blending faith with holistic health practices and creative activities” and plan to launch the new theme by 1/1. Thanks, Jeff!

  • Krystal

    Subject: Sustainability.
    Theme: How to live more sustainably.
    Objective: Educate people about sustainability and establish credibility in this area.

  • Are you still running the free blogging course as when I enter in my e-mail address I get the invalid address???

  • Janet Givens

    Finally, I’ve got it. Three different webinars, two retreats all geared to helping me identify my niche, my focus. I’ve been blogging for over three years under a vague umbrella of “Cultural differences.” Big yawn. I’m working my way through all the freebies you offer and came upon THIS post, which has helped me identify the “what” (culture), the “angle” (its powerful effects on the individual are often unconscious), and the “goal,” (to open hearts and minds, increase curiosity, increase awareness. TO CONVERT). Yuk. I’ve never much appreciated folks who want to convert others. But that is what I’ve wanted to do. As our world gets smaller, I believe it’s what we need to do. Very helpful. My voice will change as a result. Thank you, Jeff.

  • Felicia B

    OI this is hard! Never had this issue writing in University! I remember having to write papers and it is so true that once you narrow the focus of a paper the more there was to write in most cases. I’m praying through these exercises and looking at brainstorm notes that I’ve been collecting for years. I’m thankful that I’m finally connecting with what God has put in my heart and I think I’m finally getting there. I think I still have some narrowing to do but this is what I’ve got so far and I think this is really going to help push me in the direction i’ve been looking to go for a long time!

    Subject: Women/Women’s Issues
    Theme: Sharing grace in aspects of what it means to be a woman/feminine
    Objective: To share my ups and downs with womanly issues and encourage women to see God’s grace in their everyday struggles.

  • Still trying to figure all of this stuff out. Recreational writing is definitely different than academic writing, but I am excited about my future as a blogger, author and presenter.

    Subject – Encouraging others
    Theme – You are evolving to be the person God made you to be
    Objective – Helping others to move forward to be the best they can be

  • H.A. Raynes

    Subject – Mothers wading through Tweendom
    Theme – Parenting tweens is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.
    Objective – Creating an online community where moms can vent, share and help one another through this emotionally fraught stage in parenthood.

  • Amy Luning

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m getting clarity about my blog every day and your ideas and methods for intentional blogging are really going to help me. So thank you!
    Here’s my blog https://pastpresentfuturewordpresscom.wordpress.com/
    Here’s a few words about finding focus:
    My Blog: I write about ordinary things that hold special significance for me.
    Focus: Healing myself by examining family history and preserving shared experiences a story at a time.
    Healthy Bi-products of my blog:
    · It’s not just my family history. It’s the HISTORY of FAMILY
    · Healing grief
    · Connection with others navigating their own grieving process
    · Reconnecting with family members in new and positive ways
    · The more family stories I write, the more I remember – one story is leading to at least 3 more
    · Finding ways to connect to others outside the family through my personal stories. Inviting others in to examine their personal stories

    Thank you! – Amy

    · Connecting other families near and far – one person at a time through story

  • Kylan Jahnel

    I really loved this post. I recently started my style blog but it’s been difficult figuring out if my message or purpose is clear enough. I am definitely going to try this exercise today. Thank you!

  • Meghan

    Thanks for this post! Very helpful exercise. The subject of my blog, https://thrivesensibly.wordpress.com (don’t worry – getting a real domain soon!) is healthy living through smart spending. It’s about saving money while building healthy habits. My objective is to help others save money and inspire them to, you guessed it, thrive!

    By the way, I was pushed to starting my blog after reading your book, You Are a Writer. I waited too long for the conditions to be perfect, to have enough posts pre-written, to have enough money for hosting/domain. Turns out there is never going to be a perfect moment – you just have to jump right in!

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Prima Gravigardian Chandra

      “I waited too long for the conditions to be perfect, to have enough posts pre-written, to have enough money for hosting/domain.”

      Glad to know that I’m not the only person deal with this stuff.

  • dan pre

    uniqueness keeps you alive in blogging community don’t just copy like chinese piece https://www.buyadsenseac.com

  • Muhammad AFFAN SHARIF

    Shamoon Khan – Broadcast your stuff!

    Tonight at 11:00 PM (PST)

    if youre online from Android then kindly download this app and watch me

  • Brittany Villalona

    Hello there, my name is Brittany and I just entered the blogging world. I want to focus my blog, but at the same time, I feel as though I really do have a lot I would like to write about. What I originally thought my focus could be is “I am writing to discuss controversial topics and expose the underbelly of culture”

    In a perfect world, I would like to have a certain day for a certain topic. Such as, Tuesdays for Trending News, Feline Fridays, Music Mondays, something along those lines. I figured that this would give my blog a focus on certain days but still allows me to branch out. What do you think about this? Should I just choose one and focus on that? Or could this kind of approach pass as focus for my new blog? Thanks for the help!!!

    for anyone interested, my blog is http://www.hungryhornyhonest.wordpress.com

  • Veronica Allen

    Well Jeff, thanks to you I’ve finally found the courage to be a writer.
    I am reviewing my methods to remain focused and enjoyed the exercise you suggested.
    Subject: People.
    Theme: Awareness of cultural backgrounds and traditions.
    Objective: I am inspired by the diversity and natural capacity of life and want to share and debate compelling issues.

    • Eleanor Hope

      really like your topic, do you have a blog i can view?

  • Jeff, thank you so much for putting together the Intentional Blogging course. I have blogged on and off since 2008, but never felt it was sustainable in the long run for me. A few months ago (after being tired of the Hound of Heaven hounding me to write), I started a new blog centered around the idea of christian apologetics for women. I wanted to inspire Christian women to learn how to defend their faith, and make apologetics feel accessible for them.

    I’ve also come across many ExMormon Christian women who are uncertain as to what they know to be true and always ask me “Is this Mormon or Christian?” So I’ve added a component to my blog to answer those specific questions.

    Lesson 2 of Intentional Blogging (Finding Your Focus) has heped me sharpen the focus of my blog a little more.

    Subject: Christian apologetics for women
    Theme & Objective: sometimes humorous, sometimes sarcastic; always practical and accessible answers to understanding the deep things of God


  • Great post – really made me think. Here are my thoughts:
    Subject – Empowerment
    Theme: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs. Choosing how to live your life is ultimately up to you. You are not a victim of your circumstances unless you choose to be. Writing Voice: Anecdotal, motivating.
    Objective: I want my writing to inspire others to take action in their life. I want to build an online community to share stories of living unconventional lives, of pursuing passions, overcoming challenges. I would like to increase my influence.

  • Colleen Golafshan

    Thanks Jeff!

    I first did this lesson in late Nov 2015. Since then I’ve been writing reasonably regularly & thinking through this.

    My subject is abundant living
    My theme is unconditional love
    My objective is to inspire as many as possible to live fully forever, including myself.

    Goal: Publish on my blog at least weekly from end Nov, publish 10000 word manifesto late March 2017 & find a way with all my abilities to be self supporting then.

    • Colleen Golafshan

      I forgot to add: my writing voice is primarily informative, with anecdotes and humour (though the latter I’ll be working on to develop++)

  • Lauren Outlaw

    So. Initially my subject was yoga, healthy recipes and essential oils. Now I feel like it has changed to Wellness(was always this, but now simplified).

    Theme is now cooking for wellness in a simple, practical and tasty way.

    My objective is to empower others with the necessary tools to transform their health starting with the grocery cart.

    I’m wondering though, can there still be a place for yoga and essential oils? I cook with the essential oils in place of certain spices so I know I can incorporate them, but what to do with my yoga experience? Do I let it go and just keep a personal practice or have a yoga page with tutorials and such. Hmmm….Help?

  • Ava Mitchell

    Hey Jeff, thank you so much for this exercise!

    I was encouraged to start a blog in 2014 as a means of ” expanding my reach” through the Professional Life Coaching course I was doing. With no practical guidelines on blogging, and not really understanding the purpose behind it, I posted once about starting a blog, then went six months before I posted again, this time managing four posts over a couple of months. Then it would be ten more months before I visited it again. The blog become a means of connection with friends and family, which was far removed from the original intent when I set it up.
    In October 2016 I decided to revisit my desire to write, questioning if it was something I really wanted to do or if I should just let it go. I started a webinar with someone else and ended up leaving it, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information!
    A few weeks later I managed to get into your webinar 10 minutes before it started.
    I finished it totally inspired! Timing can be so important!
    As I did this exercise everything literally come into “focus” as I thought about my answers. I found my way back to the “why” I set up a blog. It is to become my platform, my voice as I combine my desire to write with the knowledge and encouragement that is a part of who I am as a life coach. I am excited for the potential of my blog as I revisit it now with purpose!

    Subject: Relationship Attachments
    Theme: Love, feelings and all that other stuff that makes us act the way we do.
    Writing Voice: Objective, Practical with dashes of humor.
    Objective: To impart knowledge that will help others to understand our patterns in relating to each other and what lays behind the way we form, maintain, and sometimes end the relationships in our lives.


  • Prima Gravigardian Chandra

    Hi Jeff,

    Nice one and very inspiring. I tried this and come to below points. Please let me know if I missed out something (probably because of language issue).

    SUBJECT : Inspiration From Daily Life

    THEME :

    · How can I break this subject down into its various
    There are 7 areas/subject I’d like to cover in my blog : Spiritual, Family, Work,
    Health, Finance, Leisure, Personal Development

    · What do I want to concentrate on?
    From every single event in life inspiration might lead to Personal Development. So, I guess Personal Development will become my focus

    · Is there a specific manner in which I want to attack this issue? What will my writing “voice” be? (e.g. Humorous, sarcastic, practical, anecdotal, etc.)
    I want this blog to be light reading yet heavy enough to stick on people’s head. So I will be easy to read writing, with anecdote.


    My goal of writing is to inspire people to think differently and act differently when dealing with problems/issue in their daily life in any kind of role (a parent, worker, spouse, etc.).

  • Hey Jeff,

    Thank you very much for posting this activity. I have been thinking about this for a couple months now and haven’t been able to come to a clear conclusion. I think I have a good direction to head in!

    Subject: Computer games
    Theme: How K12 teachers can use games to help students learn more.
    Objective: I want to establish credibility as a course designer to sell my game-based learning activities and coaching courses.

    Thanks again!

  • Ae Llantada

    Hello, Jeff. Thank you for this post. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years and I am not satisfied with the audience growth that I’ve been receiving. And the reason for this, perhaps, is that my blog does not have a clear focus. I want to establish focus on my posts but I always struggle when it comes to actually choosing which topic to pick and start working on. I always end up writing about everything I can think of. This post of yours really helped. I’ll establish my focus now. For real. Thanks again!

  • Magdalena Najbar-Ciniewksa

    Hello, Jeff.
    Thank you for your advices. Your words are confirmation for me that plans for writing are important.I did not believe in plans until I started to think about my own blog. I saw that it is impossible to write on regular basis without any kind of plan. I also discovered that many motivation sentences we could find in books in which we don’t expect to find them. As example conneted with plans I’ d like to qoute the great dialogue between Alice and Cheshire from the book “Alice in Wonderland” :
    “Cheshire Puss, would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to?
    `I don’t much care where.”
    `Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
    So, I have to start to care more where I’d like to go 🙂

  • AKB

    I’d love to hear more of your ideas of what it means to narrow our focus, while being getting true to the diverse “portfolio life.”