I first discovered blogs when I was pregnant with my first daughter, back in 2011, and quickly became interested in writing one myself. I have always loved to write, and had a few unfinished novels. I came to realize that fiction writing wasn’t for me. I loved to read great stories but did not have one to tell myself.
The creative freedom that blogging offered really appealed to me. I made some notes and thought about some ideas, had my baby, toyed with the idea of blogging a little more but could not decide what I wanted the blog to be about or what to call it. I went back to work, had another baby, went back to work again, bought a house, did a gut and renovation, and could not think about anything else.
I thought maybe I should blog about renovating. I moved house, had renovation fatigue, now what could I blog about? Food blog? But there are millions of those. I have lots of interests but can you blog about a mish mash? Who would come back for that? Who will read my blog? What to call it? And time went by.
I was so bogged down with trying to define my blog, decide on a name, and figure out my “niche” that I kept circling around the same thing over and over again. It made me wonder if maybe I did not actually have anything to blog about.
In March 2017, I decided to shift my focus and put aside the name and the niche. I started brainstorming blog post ideas, it didn’t matter what it was – I wrote it down.
They started to flow.
Ideas would keep popping into my head and I would type them into my phone so that I would not forget them.
People often stopped me to ask where I got this or that so I wrote it down each time it happened.
As soon as I had the opportunity, I added all of the ideas to a spreadsheet which I was using as a gathering place. Later on, the spreadsheet allowed me to group ideas together easily by dragging the topics with a common thread into different columns. I left the top row blank to name them at a later date. Then my categories emerged naturally:
- Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (food related)
- Good Stuff (product reviews and recommendations)
- Chaos Theory (planning and organization to avoid chaos)
I then began thinking about the way I approach these areas.
I love to cook and feed people. Having people over at our house is my favorite way to spend time with them. The kitchen is where I ponder, plan, and relax. It is my productivity space and my refuge.
I want my stuff to work hard, to be useful, have purpose, and be practical. At the same time, it needs to be pleasurable to use. Not everything can be beautiful but it can have thoughtful and appealing design, no matter what it is. This is what I look for, form together with function, and of course occasionally beauty for beauty’s sake as beauty has purpose in and of itself.
I am a planner but I also like flexibility and the option to change course or seize a good opportunity.
Being prepared, particularly if you have young children, provides the foundation for having this successfully.
One cannot plan for everything but just having the basics covered (e.g. being able to pack a kid bag with everything you’ll need in under 5 minutes; having a bank of blog posts at the ready so that if you need to or want to take a week off for whatever reason, you do not have to worry about not posting).
The smallest of actions have impact in the long run.
Prep and planning allows for time and energy to be spent on what is more interesting, creative, and meaningful.
I like to fine tune and experiment because there are so many good ways to get things done and you won’t know what works best for you until you try. The people that make it look easy tend to work at it; adapt, be creative, think, plan, and prepare until it becomes easy and therefore looks easy – like a magic trick.
I then had my blog name, practicalmagic.blog, and my mission is “In pursuit of form and function.”
If you are trapped in the same vortex of indecision that I was:
- Shift your focus and work from the inside out – log everything you could possibly want to write about. This is a creative, judgement-free exercise.
- When you have a good bank of ideas, over 30 at least, then start looking for common threads. Start writing a post. Ideas give birth to more ideas. This will give you the main categories that you want to write about.
- Then ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve? Do you want to be helpful? Provide tips and lists? Review products? Entertain? Criticize and comment? Define your purpose. This will lead you to your niche.
- Name that blog.