Finding Your Focus
There are so many aspects to blogging that it can be a bit daunting to begin. Where do you start? Before we jump in, let's begin with you:
Who are you, and what do you want to say?
Most people jump into blogging without being intentional. They just want to get started, but it's a good idea to spend some time considering what you want to talk about – and how you want to say it.
The rule of thumb is this: The more you narrow your focus, the more you broaden your audience.
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), and then an objective (what you want to accomplish).
Here's a practical exercise that will help you walk through this:
The subject is the broadest area of your writing. It can be stated in a word or two, probably. In order to find it, ask 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).
The theme is a narrower version of your subject. It's like a subset of your main topic – a particular area of concentration. 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 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.
Example: How writers can use the Internet to build a platform for their writing.
The objective is the main takeaway. If everything else fails, this is what you want your blog to do. 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. It should be an actionable verb. Is it making money? Increasing your influence? Growing in authority? Write it down.
Example: To inspire people with my stories of international travel and encourage them to get involved with missions and humanitarian work.
As you begin to practice this exercise, 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.
The more you focus on a single objective, the more possibilities for writing emerge. You'll find yourself getting stuck less and less. You'll always have something to write about, because you won't have so many possibilities to choose from.
So, what's your focus?