Exercise 1


Total time: 25 minutes
Resources needed:Pen/Paper, computer, inspiration.
Goal:To help you establish the theme of your blog

You ever have that feeling like you have something to say, but nowhere to share?
If you are like most people, your spouse is tired of hearing about your latest idea, theory about leadership, or the five best ways to make $500.

One place that does care about what you say is paper. Paper loves what you say and wants you to say a lot of things. In the first lesson we will focus on what you have to say. Some might call this exercise “finding your voice.” We are going to call this, “finding the theme of your blog”. Now is the time for you to write down exactly what you have been wanting to say for all those years.

I remember my freshmen year of college having a seminary student teach one of my classes. He was young and cool and sat on the front of his desk with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other. As he started to teach it struck me that he wasn’t much older than me. At first this was a stumbling block to my learning. I was having a hard time moving him from peer to professor. But as his first lecture went on, he started to show that he knew a lot more than I did about the subject he was teaching. He established his authority on the subject.

When you think about blogging, think about my coffee drinking professor sitting on the front of his desk teaching students that were just a couple of years younger than him. That is what you will work to become on your blog. Some would call this a thought leader or expert, I like to call it an authority. You are establishing your authority over the subject (not over the readers). And as you will find, as any writer has found, establishing an authority over words will be one of the most difficult tasks you will set out to accomplish.

Now for most of you reading this I am going to make the assumption that you have something in mind as to what you want to write about. Maybe you love children’s books and want to provide reviews on your favorite books for moms to read and consider. Or maybe you enjoy developing strategic planning for business leaders and you want to share insights in to your experience with other business leaders?
No matter what subject you pick, you have to have a subject.

When I started my first blog www.thoughtsaboutnothing.com all I had were my thoughts. I was a junior in high school (2003) and started a blog so I could share about my first Coldplay concert (read it here).
I chose myself as the subject of choice. And for some of you, that is exactly what your blog will be about: yourself. There is nothing wrong with being the subject.

Later, as I started to develop my writing and passions, I realized that I enjoyed resourcing people with ideas, products, and designs. That is what led me to start http://www.kylereed.tv. This was the place that I was going to focus on only sharing information that I found useful for anyone looking. I wanted to become the one-stop-shop for resources and ideas.

You might be on that same journey yourself. Going through subjects, ideas, or personal stories to find content that will connect with your readers. May I suggest that you continue down this road? This is the time that you are finding your writing voice; a time where you are working to narrow down your “authority” and a time where you will find out what you enjoy and what you hate.

To the outside world this process looks like you are working on getting content on a blog, but the real process is that you are looking to find what content doesn’t belong on your blog.

For the next 15 minutes we are going to work through finding our authority over a subject. I am a visual learner, so this process involves me writing down every single idea that comes to my mind. Some would call this visual vomiting. In this exercise I would encourage you to have a pen/paper, Evernote file, or a word doc ready to capture what comes to your mind. Don’t focus on one or two ideas, write them all down. This isn’t the time to flesh out every idea, but more about getting the ideas out on paper and out of your head.

 That could have felt like the longest or shortest 15 minutes of your life.

Either way, you now have some ideas as to what the subject of your blog will be about. Before we move on, it is important to focus on the subjects of your blog not the blog posts themselves. You might have experienced something that I just went through in going in to this exercise. I started writing subjects that I wanted to write on and quickly moved in to blog post ideas that centered on a subject. My ideas started to become blog post ideas rather then a subject I could write about.

Check out what I wrote down:
-Fantasy Baseball
-How To Change the World
-First Year Of Marriage
-Becoming A Thought Leader
-Designing Wedding Invitations
-How To Find the Best Deals
-What Does Process Look Like
-20 Somethings
-New Music

As you can see, I started out with some subjects and then right around “Becoming a thought leader” I realized that I was writing out blog post ideas rather than focusing on blog subjects.

This is an easy trap to fall in, but also easy to get out of.
Look at your list. Take out any thing you wrote down that more resembles a blog post versus a subject. Look over your list again. Go through and eliminate anything that didn’t excite you or make you smile when you read it or wrote it down.
Look at your list once again. Put a star next to the three subjects that you would like to consider.

Now the last step, identify one or two people to look over this list and ask them what they think about the subjects you have chosen?

Ask them:
-Does it sound like something you would write?
-Do you see me as an authority over these subjects?
-What am I missing on this paper or word doc?
-Would you be interested in reading about this subject from me?

This is the final process in narrowing down your subject. You need to elicit help from friends and family to help you narrow down your subject. This process might not be easy, but will be very important. Keep in mind, ultimately you are not writing this blog for yourself, but for people. These two individuals will be your first “readers” to your blog.

Congratulations, you have finished with step one to creating your blog.