Today’s guest post is by Abria Mattina of Bee Splendid
The basics: I’m Abria, a blue-haired freak writing books and designing for print in Ottawa. I have synaesthesia, and I’m a newlywed. I’m an INTJ, which is a fancy way of saying, “naturally opinionated.”
A few months ago I was ready to give up on blogging. I’d been a book blogger for nearly three years, and I wasn’t feeling it anymore. I’d lost interest in my blog and the book blogging community.
I knew I didn’t want to give up blogging. When it was good, it was very good, and I’ve gained some benefits from having a blog. My websites have had a place on my resume for the last three years, and they make a difference to hiring managers — they’re basically large portfolios of writing, photography, design, and web-based promotion.
That left me in an awkward place. I knew I wanted to blog about something, but I didn’t want to be a book blogger or blog in the way I had previously. I doubted my ability to come up with a new concept.
While I was journalling about my conflicting desires — to blog or not to blog? — I asked myself:
What would I blog about? I’m such a dilettante.
That’s a pretty self-deprecating statement, but once I wrote it down, ideas started to flow. It was like I needed to admit to myself that I had a problem, and then immediately dismiss it.
It’s okay to be a dilettante and a blogger, at least in the beginning. In making peace with this idea, I had to learn to keep in mind:
• Expert bloggers in various niches didn’t all start out as experts. They learned over time and shared the journey with their readers. Their blogger/reader relationship was based on sympathy for new experiences.
• Some highly successful blogs hyper-focus on a single, narrow niche, and others blog about many related subjects. Both are okay, as long as the topics don’t sprawl too far apart.
• It’s fine, even normal, to start with a broad range of topics and narrow it down as your blog grows. Some of my favorite blogs started out as general lifestyle blogs, and now they’re firmly working in finance, craft, beauty, or educational niches. Sometimes it takes time to find your voice as a blogger, and to establish what your readers will respond to.
By accepting these things, I gave myself permission to experiment. I launched my new blog, Bee Splendid, with a wide variety of posts. Over the first two months of my blog’s life, I kept my content diverse and paid attention to which topics my audience loved, and which ones they ignored. Now I know which categories and topics I can phase out as I narrow the focus of my blog. Slowly but surely, I’m moving from dilettante blogger to a focused niche — and I’m enjoying the journey.
It’s fine to be a dilettante blogger — at least for a little while. The key is not to finish where you started. Allow your blog to grow as you do; cut out the things that aren’t working; deepen your focus when you find things that do work. You may not even realize it until you turn around and realize your dilettante days are over, and you’ve become the expert you always aspired to be.