Should Non-Writers Blog?

I’m a non-writer. In other words, I’m not passionate about writing; I don’t even enjoy it.  That’s probably the reason why I quit blogging a few weeks after starting this website over a year ago.

Embarrassing, right?

I had better luck journaling in my notebook. On a weekly basis for the past year, I’ve been dumping ideas and thoughts unto my journal or the Evernote app. The process has given me unexpected clarity, ideas, hope, and some inspiration. Now that I’ve re-started my blogging engines the plan is to stick with it.

What’s my plan for not quitting? Glad you asked.

This time I’m armed with my “Why” list. A year ago I didn’t know why I was doing this. Now I have a clearer picture of how writing plays a fundamental role in helping me make sense of my crazy journey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not 100% sure of the direction this blog is going.

But at least I have some strong personal reasons keeping me in the game when the pressure to quit strikes.

I don’t know if non-writers should blog, but these are the reasons why I am doing it.

My “Why” list for blogging:

 1. Build A Platform: Imagine jumping from one moving car into another one. And then the second car takes off while the other one falls of a cliff! That’s exactly how I want my career transition to feel (without the cliff part). Seriously though, I don’t plan on being a Foreign Service Officer for the rest of my life. Eventually I’ll retire and even though that day seems distant I need to prepare now. Life should wind up; not down as you grow older. I want to be an entrepreneur for my second career, which has been a passion of mine since I was a punk (around middle school).

2. Clarity:  Writing brings clarity.  I’m expecting this clarity to make my next steps easier to see.  And as my next steps get clearer, I want to narrow my focus to one niche or topic.

3. Find A Tribe:  A blog or online presence is the best way I know to attract and connect with like-minded people pursuing similar aspirations.  The goal is to be more selective or intentional about the people I spend the most time with. The tribe concept comes from Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” and he describes it as a group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.

4. Technology: I don’t wait outside the Apple store for iPhones, but I appreciate technology and gadgets.  I’d like to learn the basics of using WordPress, HTML, and maybe even programming.  John Saddington’s blog series on launching a WordPress site showed me there’s a lot of work to do and learn behind-the-scenes when creating and managing a blog.

5. Inspiration: Encouraging and inspiring people gets my heart pumping. How can I do more of this thru my blogging? If others have figured out a way of doing it, I should be able to do the same. But this requires really knowing yourself, your passions, and what makes you authentic — all things that I’ll be exploring in my writing.

6. Side-Hustle: Imagine making money while you sleep! Sweet, right? An online business or blog makes this possible. It’s too early for me to know how I’ll earn additional income, but it’s one of my goals.  This also fits in with my plans for world domination (preparing for my second career).  In order for this to be a real side-hustle I can’t treat it like a hobby. I need to bring as much dedication as I bring to my day job.

7. Future Author: I want too wright moe better. Okay that last sentence was a joke so stop judging me! Seriously though; I’m not ashamed to admit that writing is not one of my strengths.  Instead of avoiding my weaknesses, like some preach, I’m embracing it.  I’d like write a book someday. And if I start preparing and improving my writing now, it should be easier both to convince myself that I can do it and to actually write it.

8. Acquire Expertise: According to the experts, focusing in one area is really important when blogging. I’d like to start by discussing broad topics and gradually focus on that one subject that I’m most passionate about.  That process should also help me develop an expertise in core area.

9. For My Kids: I prefer that my kids see me fail attempting to do something special than watch me succeed at just getting by. I want to inspire my kids to dream, plan, and take action. The best way to encourage them is by leading the way. I want them to see me as a doer and not a talker. Most people have dreams, but few do anything about it.

10. DNA: There is something in my DNA telling me to go for it.  God didn’t create us to be spectators at the game of life. I believe He created me to be free and fully alive. And to come alive I have to try those things that stir up my soul.

11. Leadership: Leaders share their ideas through books, speeches, blogs, and articles. As a student of leadership, I want to share my thoughts as well.  Leadership is not reserved for military generals, professional athletes, or CEOs.  Leadership starts with self-leadership.

12. Creativity: Photography is my favorite hobby because we can create something beautiful from the routine.  Putting my ideas out there gives me that some feeling I get when creating something.  Creativity is just like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Plus, I want to spend more time creating instead of consuming.

13. Failure: I’m teaching myself to embrace failure instead of avoiding it. I’m not looking forward to failing on purpose, but the best opportunities for personal growth come from situations when we’re forced to outside of comfort zones. It’s only failure if we don’t learn from the experience. Blogging is definitely something outside of my comfort zone.

14. $1 Goal: I want to earn one dollar from this blog within the next few months. Why $1? Because if I can make $1 then I can learn to make $2 and then $3 and then $4… It’s another opportunity to push my comfort zone.

15. Why Not? I heard the most common regret of the dying is not what they did with their lives, but what they didn’t do.

16. Branding: This is my way of defining and creating my own personal brand. We all have a personal brand, but we’re not always intentional about the message.

17. Find My Voice: Even though I love public speaking, I have found that the best way to find my speaking/story telling voice is thru writting. I’m hoping that blogging can speed up the process a little.

Do any of these reasons resonate with you?

Making The Next Move – The Focusing Question

My little chess player.

Chess player

It’s been several weeks since my first blog post. Even though I started with so much excitement the fear has crept back in. Am I stuck or thinking about quitting? No way! But I’m learning that fear and resistance never stop and the more space you give them the more room they take.

Since I don’t have much free time, I’ve been looking for some type of step-by-step guide or resource for new bloggers. I’m trying to avoid wasting time on unnecessary steps and mistakes common to new bloggers.

I’m developing a writing habit so I’ve been journaling several times per week in the morning and taking notes on topics that interest me directly on the Evernote app (AKA my electronic brain). Evernote is free and awesome so get it. 

I read on Michael Hyatt’s blog that most bloggers quit after just a few months. After reading this a thought crept into my head saying something like “just quit now and don’t waste anymore time.” Well, lucky for me, I don’t consider myself a blogger. The blogger label just doesn’t appeal to me.

I just want to do a few things:

  • share my journey
  • connect with people trying to do extraordinary things
  • get clarity on my next steps
  • find my voice (more on this later)
  • write about things I’m passionate about

I don’t have to give myself the blogger label to do this.

The Focusing Question

To decide my next steps I normally list a bunch of random things and put them in order.  This time, though, I prefer focusing on just one focused step. In the book “The One Thing” the author recommends asking yourself the FOCUSING question to uncover your next move.

This is it:

“What’s the ONE Thing I could do, such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

Possible Next Steps:

1. Make an “About” page.

2. Choose a niche or focus.

3. Find a step-by-step guide for new bloggers.

4. Set up an email opt-in.

These are all important, but based on the focusing question,  the most important one now is to find a guide on setting up a blog the right way. Following the steps of someone who’s done it before should reduce some of the frustration and common mistakes.

Am I absolutely sure this is the right step? Nope. But I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on the next move. If it’s a mistake I’ll adjust and continue moving forward.  But the main thing is not to stop the momentum.

I’m considering to buy a short step-by-step ebook called “The First Week in Blogging” for $20 from Problogger that looks perfect. I also got Michael Hyatt’s “Platform” book recently. I’ll review them both and then decide which one to follow first. I get distracted easily, so following one resource with step-by-step instructions will help a lot.

Is there any way you can apply the focusing question to something that you’re doing or trying to start?