“Hmm … What should I write about?”
For the first time, the answer to that question isn’t: it depends.
It’s like asking:
Should I cut my hair really short?
When’s the best time to spend a month in Bali?
With red, should I go Chilean or Argentinean?
It’ll come as a surprise to exactly no one that not every question has a straight answer (apart from the last one – you should totally go with: BOTH).
A few weeks ago, a client and I were discussing her blog. She wanted to start writing again and we talked through the direction she could take it in.
We floated around a few ideas and I eventually asked a question that seemed to give her some blogging ideas she was excited about.
I’ll come onto the question in a minute.
But first: for anyone who’s in the same place – whether you’re changing the focus of your blog, getting bored with it, or just starting out, I have news for you:
When you ask the question What should I write about? You already have the answer.
Let me give it to you straight
You’re memorable for a finite amount of time.
Whether you influence thousands of lives through your words or the only person reading your work’s you – your influence won’t last forever.
So don’t approach your writing like it will.
Consider the number of people that are quoted in those smug-know-it-all motivational quotes that randomly show up on your Facebook newsfeed.
Oprah. Ghandi. Tony Robbins (just three I’ve seen today).
Now turn your thoughts to the hundreds of thousands of writers that have produced books, articles and blogs.
Do they all stick in your memory?
Perhaps – if they’ve written something memorable.
And chances are, for the finite amount of time they were memorable, it was because their writing hit your emotions unexpectedly.
Which is why motivational quotes are so effective.
When presented to you at the right time, they give you what you need to get the result you want. They make you feel something.
But again, that feeling is fleeting.
So now you know you won’t be remembered forever, what do you do with that?
First thing you do is stop worrying about what everyone will think.
Will I confuse my audience if I start writing about a different topic? What if someone really hates me after I write something opinionated? OMG! Hate mail! Will anyone even read what I write? If I make a mistake, what if someone points it out and calls my writing bullshit?
That last one happened to me recently. And I’m still alive.
Everyone has an opinion. Let them have it. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.
Second thing you do is answer the question I asked my friend:
What topic would you write about if you didn’t need to tie it into your business?
When there’s no pressure to impress with your knowledge, you don’t need to stay true to your niche, it isn’t a money maker.
This is the topic that gels with your values. It’s the one your gut insists you immerse in. It means something to you. Let it mean something for someone else too.
If you suffer from depression and see nothing useful in what you read – write about it. Create the useful.
When you wish someone would write about how freakin’ lonely it is to be a business owner – be the person to detail it.
What opinions do you disagree with? What angers you when the world makes like sheep and follows that opinion? Write about that.
Here’s the thing with writing about what means something to you:
It’s abundant with goose-bump-inducing intimidation.
Because you’re now being very public with a subject you’ve previously subdued.
And that can bring insecurities to the fore.
Fear of criticism Flinching. Avoiding real conversation. Hiding. Withdrawn. Can’t push those buttons. What if it doesn’t work out?
These insecurities will always exist. Or they’ll be replaced by new ones.
The choice of what you do with them is the difference between packing an emotional punch in your writing, or your words tasting as dry as wallpaper paste.
So pick a side.
Don’t shy away from what your gut compels you to write.
Listen to it.
Because it’s difficult to stand for anything when you flinch down to a crawl.
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