Saturday, May 24, 2014

How To Be A Blogger: "Finding My Voice"

Not too long ago I decided to start this blog. I wanted to come out of this summer with a tangible product, something I could show people and say, "Look. I did something." I also wanted an outlet for my angst and an excuse to take more photos of myself than I already do. However, breaking into the blogging community as a contributor instead of just a reader felt like a pretty intimidating endeavor and I was in need of some serious support. So, like any self-respecting Digital Native, I started with a Google search. "How to Start a Blog."
This search yielded thousands of results ranging from step-by-step directions for the technologically challenged, to impassioned debates about the merits of Blogger vs. Wordpress vs. hosting a site yourself. There was a lot of technical advice and even quite a bit on how to bridge the gap from hobby to career and start making money. However, the piece of advice that came up most frequently, over and over again, in slight syntactical and grammatical variations, on each and every article was this: find your voice. Figure out what it is that you have to offer to the world that isn't already being blogged about. Find your niche, find your gimmick, and so on and so forth. However, this is easier said than done.

I am 21 years old. I am not the expert on anything. I haven't perfected anything. I don't know what I am going to be doing next weekend, let alone for the rest of my life. I haven't found my passion yet and I don't want to commit to one until I am absolutely certain that it is something I can stick with. How devastating would it be to learn, after first imputing a significant amount of time and effort, that I am not, in fact, a sports blogger. Then, I would have to start all over again.

Additionally, It is already the year 2014. Blogging as a medium and as a profession has been around for quite some time by now. A lot of the obvious themes have been pretty well covered, saturated with individuals and teams who do a better job than I ever would. We don't need another well meaning yet mediocre food blogger on the internet and we do not need another fashion blogger who follows trends instead of setting them. I am not a food blogger, I am not a fashion blogger, and I am sure as hell not a sports blogger. Despite my academic background, I am not a tech blogger either. So what happens when I don't fit neatly into one of the established categories? What happens if I can't find my passion just yet? (Incidentally, there are over a dozen popular blogs dedicated to this very search.)

I have made the decision not to choose a genre or a hook, to go against the Internet's advice and just start blogging. Instead of deciding who I want to be and then constructing my blog's identity around that persona, I am just going to start writing. Maybe, a clear passion will emerge. More likely, I will continue to be slightly scattered and will sustain an interest in a number of diverse things at any given time. I like to think that this process stays truer to life anyway.

None of us have just one passion, so why limit ourselves?