Oh, what to blog about? It’s a tension every blogger faces: Being relevant while also being original. We sit at our desks tapping our pencil—okay so no one uses a pencil anymore… We sit at our desks letting our mind drift into the abyss of social media…
Content is ubiquitous—it’s everywhere. Billions on billions of content is produced and put online each day. In 2010 humanity was creating as much content in two days as it did from the dawn of civilization through 2003. And that was in 2010.
This doesn’t bode well for those of us trying to find something “original” to blog about. I like to think Ecclesiastes—written thousands of years ago—had bloggers in mind as it lamented:
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
There are, of course, exceptions. Maybe you’re a NASA scientist that just discovered a new planet… and aliens. I’d say that counts as original and relevant. Those dang scientists always have something to blog about.
But for those of us who are not scientists, we can can be seriously paralyzed by this search for “original” blog content, especially in the professional realm. And this paralysis is augmented by our fear of what others may think.
Part of the problem is that we may not feel like we’re experts; or we think that since there’s someone out there who knows more, then we have no business writing about it. We remember one of our peers blogged about a similar topic recently and use it as an excuse to avoid the subject.
But there will always be more to learn and—most likely—someone who knows more than us. There will always be other people blogging, writing, and doing things we’re interested in. These shouldn’t be reasons to not try.
C.S. Lewis once wrote powerful words of advice for bloggers struggling to find originality. (You got me—he didn’t really have bloggers in mind). He writes:
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original; whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
An interesting thing happens when we stop trying so hard—we gain perspective and clarity. We experience this everyday, as ideas and solutions often come to us while performing routine tasks like driving.
If you’re sitting around not writing because you’re waiting for something “original,” you’re wasting your time. We each have a unique perspective, and something to share with the world. I’ve attended countless photography workshops, and it’s no surprise that every workshop has a session on editing. Guess what? I learn something new. Every. Single. Time.
Focusing on telling the truth is liberating. Think about what we could do and create and share if we didn’t care “twopence” what others were doing or might think of us? This idea is not only transformative for your editorial calendar, but is transformative for your business.