Everyone has an Achilles’ heel, a weakness that has the potential to undermine all of their positive qualities. Superman had kryptonite, The Wicked Witch of the West had water, Imelda Marcos had shoes. Mine is that I think too much.
Those of you who know me well understand that this is something I’ve excelled at my entire life. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t written much recently.
Lately, the things I’ve been overthinking include: What I should write? How I should write it? What is unique that will draw readers to me? What are my goals as a writer? How does my blog fit into and advance my goals as a writer? What do readers want to read? Who is my target audience and how do I reach them?
Of course these thoughts occur in a less organized way. It goes down more like this:
Me: I really want to write a blog post about my donut.
Internal Bad Cop: OK, but what is the plan?
Me: My plan? To write a blog post about my donut…
Bad Cop: No, no, no. You can’t just write a blog post about your donut. Remember that seminar you went to? The blogosphere is crowded. You can’t just write about anything you want. You have to have a niche, a unique angle, then turn yourself into an expert or a character. Think Happiness Project or The Pioneer Woman.
Me: But I like to write about everyday life as well as food and travel. You know, things that make me laugh or smile.
Bad Cop: No, no, no. WAY TOO WIDE. Think narrow end of the funnel. Like the woman whose posts are all thoughts on Post-It notes. Or that guy who posts photos of beautiful women with douchey-looking guys. People love those blogs.
Me: Well, I could narrow the focus to just food…
Bad Cop: Food? Do you know how many people already write about food? Plus they are much better recipe developers and food stylists than you will ever be. If you’re going to do food, you’ve gotta get specific. Go where no one else has gone before. I know—DONUTS. You want to write about that stupid donut—go for it. But then do it every day.
Me: Write about donuts every day? Seems like that would get a little repetitious.
Bad Cop: In the blogosphere, repetition is a good thing. People will come back if they know what to expect.
Me: I wish you’d stop saying blogosphere. Is that even a word?
Bad Cop: Let me check. Yup, yup. Wikipedia says it’s a word. Urban Dictionary too.
Me: Ok, fine. Blogosphere is a word. But I’m still not sure about donuts every day. Shouldn’t I write about things that interest me regardless of whether I can organize them into a neat little marketable package—or not?
Bad Cop: Sure, if you want to take the risk that no one will ever read it. The least you can do is to make it a little salacious or provocative. Innuendo always gets people’s attention. And speaking of marketing, this would be a good time to think about the monetization of your blog. What might make it attractive to an advertiser or sponsor? What potential products could you sell from your site?
Me: (silent pout for five minutes)
Bad Cop: Ok, ok. How a compromise. Maybe fried food…
Me: I don’t know. Still sounds like it would get very repetitious after a while.
Bad Cop: Repetitious? No way. You could do fried clams, fried artichokes, fried Oreos, onion rings, French fries, fried eggs, fried bologna sandwiches…
Me: But I’m trying not to eat as much fried food. At 50, my metabolism can’t burn off fat the way it use to.
Bad Cop: Do you want people to read your blog or not? Fried chicken, fried Milky Way candy bars, chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, fried rice, fried grasshoppers—and even that stupid donut of yours is fried.
Me: Ok, ok, fried food. So now let me get back to what I was trying to do in the first place—write about my donut.
Bad Cop: Hold on. You can’t write anything yet. You haven’t named your blog.
Me: Shouldn’t I just write some posts first, on the blog that I have? After I see where it’s going I can worry about a name.
Bad Cop: Sure. Do that—If you want to risk loosing out on the best blog name possible. URLs are going fast. In fact, I read somewhere that all the best ones are gone already. Wait if you want. But it won’t be my fault when you get stuck with a loser .biz or a .co url.
Me: Ok, ok. So what do you suggest?
Bad Cop: How about High Frying.com or FryFryAgain.com.
Me: FryFryAgain is kinda cute. Let me check WestHost to see if it’s available…Oh shoot. Taken. By a fryer management company. Whatever fryer management is.
Bad Cop: See. You’re already too late. Someone else has stolen your big chance for blogging success… Your blogging career is over as fast as it started. Wait—what about this: FrydayNightBites.com—you could post once a week—on Friday night…
Me: FrydayNightBites? That’s just stupid.
Bad Cop: Just check WestHost to see if it’s available…Or maybe FridayNightBites instead and your focus is easy finger-food sort of stuff…
See why I haven’t been able to get anything done?