I went to coffee with my friend Suzanne this morning and talked with her about trying to find my focus for my writing. I’ve been taught that in order to find your focus, you need to know or find your audience, and I’ve had a lot of trouble doing that. My blog to date seems so random… I just write about my thoughts and interests and I wonder if anyone can really get invested in what I have to say.
I do know that I have at least a knack for telling stories, but I feel that I’ve been at a loss as to how to reach out to people and connect with them. It’s been a struggle for me and held me back from writing more.
Some writers might say that you should write about what you know or write about your passion(s). But what if I have so many interests or passions that I don’t know which one to focus on? I love to write, but do I want to write research-based, informative articles? Do I want to write about my adventures in a creative sense? Do I want to teach something? If you look at my profile and previous posts, you’ll see that interests are: nature, which includes running, hiking, and skiing in the mountains; interacting with my pets, both dogs and cats; baking and cooking; crocheting, drawing, and a little bit of crafting; gardening, but mostly just doing yard work; and music, which is mostly playing the piano when I have a spare moment, but not necessarily following any musician or composer or going to concerts.
I look at other people whom I know: one writes about organic gardening, another focuses on her passion for nutrition and how to live a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating, another talks about his passion for ultra-running. I have passion, but how do I narrow my focus to come up with the content that will actually be: 1) interesting enough for others to want to read, 2) keep people interested enough to follow me and come back to reading my work, and 3) be interesting enough for me to continue writing about it? How did these other people find their focus and find their audiences?
One problem I find is that in our world today, we have so many interests of commitments that pull us in different directions, that it’s really hard to focus on just one thing. We have our work which gets in the way of individual pursuits. We have our individual pursuits which distract us from our work. We have our normal adult tasks which need to be done each day or each week so that our houses and lifestyles and families don’t fall apart.
Something else that I feel distracts us from our focus is that we live in such a digital world, that there are just so many choices out there that it’s hard to be connected to any one thing or group of things. Social media continuously distracts me and draws me in for minutes if not hours per day. I feel that I’m just scrolling through pages and posts and not really getting any tangible information that I can actually use. Articles that I do read need to be less than 5 minutes long, or I lose my focus reading them and move on to the next thing. Gone are the days of sitting down and reading a newspaper front to back, because the way digital news sites are set up, I really only read the top stories or stories related to a search term. There’s so little continuity to the site that before I know it, I’ve worked my way through 5 “related articles” and wonder what I was searching for in the first place. (The term “down the rabbit hole” comes to mind.)
What should I do to find my writing focus and my audience? I call for comments!
And if you’ve made it this far, thanks for entertaining my ramblings.