My favourite part of the movie ‘In pursuit of Happyness’ is when Will Smith — playing Chris Gardener — is walking down the streets in his baggy suit and he meets this gentleman in a red Ferrari, who’s just stopped getting ready to go to his office. Will stops him and says, “I have two questions for you: what do you do and how do you do it?”
For ages, I craved some direction for my writing. I’d come across post from people stating how much they are making writing, complete with screenshots of their Paypal withdrawals that were causing my bank account to have major esteem issues. I was sick and tired of being told, “If you want to write, just start!” I wanted to write, all right, I wanted my writing to make money, all right, but where was I to start?
Every time I saw a writing gig and applied for it, the response was always, “Send us your samples.” But how could I have samples if I was not writing anywhere. Then I was advised, “Start a blog!” So I did. And then, me and my blog sat staring at each other like we were on a blind date and no one knew what to say. I took the lowest hanging fruit and started writing my daily experiences on my blog, just the mundane things told in a fun way. I started writing other people’s stories and I discovered that I actually love it. And that people actually read it and loved it. It took me years to find my voice and my blog’s personality.
Are you thinking of starting a blog but you’re a little lost on what to write about, this is for you. If you have a blog that seems to have lost direction and you’re staring at a broken compass, read on to find your True North.
Don’t just get a niche
If you venture into writing, do one that best resonates with who you are. That’s the one that will come most easily to you and will be the most authentic. I attended Jeff Goins webinar this week ad I learned (and unlearned) a few things about writing. I have always believed in getting a niche, and have even written about it here.
However, Jeff gave me a new perspective which I think I like better. He said, “Don’t just get a niche, have content that has a world view”. Let your writing be about the way you see the world, the world from your view point.”
I loved this approach. It invites people to share your world; they may agree with you or think you’re full of it, but it;s your world view.
Is there something you’d like everyone to do or be? If you were to complete this sentence, what would you say:
Everyone can/should ….
Your answer will tell you what you most are passionate about and you should write about that. It may be fellow writers, bubble wraps, acrylic nails or ship anchors — whatever you feel you have been itching to tell the world, write about that. You will find your tribe, people who are just as crazy about bursting bubble wraps as you are.
Find Your Personality
Jeff talked about different personalities that will help you decide the kind of writing you want to do.
Are you the curious type who always want to know and tell people what happened, when it happened, where it happened and why you think it happened? You have a Journalist personality. You can start a blog that focuses on news items told in your own way. In Kenya, think of Robert Alai on Kahawatungu.com. He’s nosy and opinionated and always getting into trouble, but he always knows what is happening where, who’s doing who. Check out other blogs such as www.shitemi.com
If you’re the fearless and dissatisfied with the status quo type, then your have the prophet personality. A blogger with a prophet personality tells the nasty truth about everything that’s happening around the world. If this is you, you should build your blog on that. If Miguna Miguna had a blog, he’d be a perfect example. Or Boniface Mwangi.
This personality is for those who like facts. If your life is composed of pie charts and flow diagrams and you even test you tube videos to see if they actually work as they say they do, you should build a platform on that. If you’re the kind of person who’s thirsty for knowledge, this is your platform. I can assure you there are many nerds and knowledge-thirsty people in the world that will bookmark your blog.
If you’d like to have a mommy blog that tells people the facts about motherhood and baby care, then do it. Or maybe you want to talk to your fellow writers and direct them on the ways to make money blogging. The professor personality is a good place to blog if you’re interested in dispensing knowledge. Little and mama is a mommy blog that can be a good example of a professor kind of blogging.
This blog is basically built on charisma. The people who begin to talk and everyone stops to listen because they have a way with words and with narration. The people who hold people’s attention just by opening their mouth, and they can read a crowd well. You need to have a heart for people to build a blog on this personality.
If you love to talk about exciting things about people and can put it in a way that draws people in, you should focus your blog on that. This is my personality. I love people, I love hearing their stories and letting others know about their stories. Bikozulu is the best I know in this platform. It’s not even a competition, he’s the best, the rest of us are just worshipping at his blog’s feet and eating the crumbs falling from his blog table. Magunga is also really good.
Are the creative type? Do you enjoy creating things and talking about creating things? Then you have the artist personality. A blogger with an artist personality loves to show things he has done, or beautiful things that he has seen done. He builds a blog based on the way they see things. Bloggers with a creative personality have a keen eye for details and aesthetics. These are the kind of people who can watch a dollop of clay on the wheel and make a whole sermon out of it.
Most creative bloggers are creatives in other avenues — photography, fine art, cooking, fashion — and they just blog about their ventures.
Start a blog based on your personality and your interests. Do not force yourself to write like someone else, you don’t know what drives them. When you have build a blog on your personality, you’ll find your tribe, the people that are like-minded and who follow you because you’re authentic. The Ferrari guy told Chris Gardner, “You just need to be good with numbers and good with people.” I’ll also tell you, you just need to be good with words and good with people.
When Chris Gardner was done talking to the gentleman, he stood watching people going in and out of that building. He says, “They all looked so damn happy to me, why couldn’t I look like that?”
You deserve to be happy with your writing, find find your voice, your personality and your tribe.