The One Big Rule I’ve Been Breaking Since 2012

images-1Since August 2012, I’ve been breaking a big blogging rule. That was when I stopped writing only about books and reading, and decided to open up the blog to new ideas and themes. Since then, I’ve written on a variety of topics: parenting, gratitude, cancer, style, time management, self improvement… the number of categories listed on the right sidebar speaks for itself! I’ve enjoyed writing about all these things, but I’ve always felt that my blog was a bit… well, disorganized. It didn’t have a theme, a niche, a central message. Each post was in a different category from the previous post (with the exception of the blog series). I knew I was breaking a major blogging rule by being “niche-less,” and I was even breaking my own rules, because I personally prefer to read blogs that revolve around a predictable topic or point of view. And yet I continued to blog on a variety of topics, because I liked the variety, and because I didn’t know what my niche should be. I liked blogging about books and reading in the first year, but after awhile, it felt too confining, and I began to get stressed about sticking to the topic. I was afraid that picking a new niche would eventually bring up the same issues.

However, it kept bugging me that I couldn’t define my blog. If someone asked me what it was about, I couldn’t tell them. It bothered me a lot, but I stayed stuck on the feeling that I didn’t want to feel trapped in a particular topic.

Then I had my “A-ha!” moment. (Picture me hitting myself on the forehead, crying, “Of course! Leanne, you idiot!”) I realized that I didn’t need a topic. What I needed was a perspective, a point of view. I had to figure out what my message was, is and should be. To do this, I looked back at my favorite blog series: the gratitude series in November, and the cancer series last month. Those series were really fulfilling to write, appealed to a wide audience, and connected with people’s hearts. That was the kind of blogging I wanted to do all the time. (In fact, I think ending the cancer stories was what started this desire to define my blog, because I missed having the series to define it.)

I kept thinking, and brainstorming, and talking to my family and friends about it. And I think I’ve finally figured out how to define my perspective, both for this blog, and in life:

I want to stay focused on gratitude and happiness, no matter what the circumstances are. I want to believe that everything happens for a reason, even tragedies and misfortunes, and that each life challenge leads to an opportunity. I want to be prepared for those opportunities, so that I can take what comes to me and make the most of it. I want to help others do the same: stay grateful, stay positive, believe in the possibility of living dreams. Through these paths, I want to find, and help others find, the true meaning of life.

I’m still working on distilling this “perspective statement” (or mission statement, if you will) down to a short tagline, so that newcomers to the blog can understand, just by glancing at the headline, what we’re all about here. If you have any suggestions for a short sentence that broadly encompasses the above statement, or if you have suggestions/comments about the statement itself, I would LOVE to hear from you. Please leave a comment or email me at leannesowul@gmail.com.

I’m happy that I’ll be moving forward with a more defined blog, but I don’t regret having broken a major blogging rule for the past year and a half. Blogging is a journey, and I know I needed to go through that journey, through all those different posts, series and interviews, to find my perspective. I didn’t know it in August 2012. But I’m grateful to know it now.

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2 comments

  • Carrie on April 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm said:

    I used to have this concern about having a niche/theme for my blog, but I got over it. I for one think this is one rule meant to be broken! I used to have several niche websites and blogs, but that became a huge hassle.

    When I took a look at my favorite blogs, I realized their subject matter was all over the place. It was the PERSON that attracted me. The topic was secondary.

  • Leanne Sowul on April 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm said:

    That’s really great advice, Carrie, thanks! I like the idea of it being the writer, not the subject, that matters. I’m still looking to clarify my own perspective, though. Maybe it’s more for myself than for my readers.

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