What do you blog about? Part II

Part I can be found here.

As my long-time, and most of my new readers know, this blog doesn’t really have a single focus.

Well, it does, and that focus is my life.

So, I guess you could say the focus of this blog is the life of a 20-something, cat-loving, runner and everything else in between. But that’s not a *real* topic, is it?

I recently started reading Penelope Trunk’s blog, I find it interesting, insightful and brutally honest. It’s controversial and I agree with some things she says and disagree with a lot of things she said.

Recently she wrote this post – Blogs without topics are a waste of time.

My first thought; ‘Ouch. Thats totally me.’

My second thought; this woman is a 40-something successful professional. I’m a 21-year-old who’s just starting out in the world. Sure, I have a lot of passions – running, healthy living, social media, writing and PR/marketing – just to name a few. Why should I focus in on a topic that in a few years I will want to abandon because maybe I won’t be as passionate about it anymore? Exactly. I plan on having this blog, or a version of it, for a long time. So I don’t see the point in spending a lot of time re-designing it and re-focussing it to be about a certain topic. Especially when I have a good-sized following of readers who clearly ARE interested in reading about my day-to-day life.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my favourite blogs are healthy living and running blogs. It’s just not for me. For now, I’m happy blogging about what I know. And that’s me.

All that being said, in the next few weeks Girl with the Red Hair might be going in a slightly different direction.

In the meantime, check out the updated The Girl page and the new Race Recaps and Must Reads page – the must reads page is especially good for new readers to check out.

So, tell me dear readers, do you agree with Penelope Trunk that any blog without a topic is a waste of time? And tell me again, what do YOU blog about?

33 Responses

  1. Hi Amber,

    About a week ago, you asked a question about query letters on my Quips & Tips for Successful Writers blog…and I finally posted the answer! I’m in Prague, Czech right now, so it took longer than normal to get back to you πŸ™‚ Here’s the link:

    Example of a Query Letter for Unpublished Writers

    And regarding blogging without a topic: I don’t read blogs about people’s lives — I just can’t get into it! I have 5 blogs, all “tips-based”, to help readers achieve their goals and live better lives.

    I’m curious about the different direction you’ll be going in with your blog!

    See you in cyberspace,

  2. tris1978ton says:

    I totally agree with you! It’s hard to blog on a single subject. I am interested in health and fitness too, but when I started blogging about this single subject, I went blank.
    I totally understand why you would start blogging about your own life as a starter, because your life is something you have no trouble writing about. And kudos on the very cool graphics and pics, which keep your blog (or life) interesting to read.

  3. Amanda says:

    Given the name of my blog, I’d say that I write about most everything – but mostly just my life. I don’t like to say I’m a “law school blogger”…I’m just a blogger who happens to be in law school and I try not to write about it too much, because I honestly don’t think it’s that interesting and the majority of my blog friends aren’t law students anyway! πŸ™‚ Variety is the spice of life, right?

    Oh, and I gave you an award! http://teasinglydiverse.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/takin-care-of-business/

  4. Becky says:

    I think too many “random” posts may not be effective – but you needs ones like that every now and then. There are a couple blogs I read specifically for a topic, but I too am in my 20’s and there’s not point in starting a blog about one specific thing if my interest in that is going to fizzle out before I’m 30. I also think you can have more of a variety of followers if you’re not just focused on one thing.

  5. Shannon says:

    I’m with you – I blog about running a lot, but I also blog about other aspects of my life.

  6. erin says:

    I find that if i focus on one single thing, it can get uninteresting to me. and I’m 29! I don’t have that zest to really zone in on one aspect of my life… I’m a dabbler! I’ve always been, and i think I will always be. I’ll write as my life happens. Like my CI happened, but i can’t always write about that, it’s not that interesting to me. now that i’m engaged, I’ll probably be writing about wedding stuff… then after that who knows!

    There are certain blogs that i’ll read – like yours because it’s not so specified. There are others that i’ll read because it is so specified.

    Variety is the spice of life, at least for me it is!

  7. My blog slipped from being about health/weight loss to a mishmash of everything. A little variety is nice!

    I do have plans for a more topic-specific blog in the future, away from the health/food/weight focus I’ve always had…but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    I love your blog no matter what you are writing about, because I can relate to a lot of it. πŸ™‚

  8. mandy says:

    I agree with you. I don’t want to focus my blog on one topic or another. My blog represents me and in all honestly, I am crazy chaotic and all over the place with my thoughts, dreams, and just life. I like it that way. I like blogs that are focused too but for me thats just not realistic at this point in my life.

  9. inkpuddle says:

    My blog has absolutely no theme or topic whatsoever, unless “life in general, dog rescue, and extreme pessimism” count. *Snort.* But really, while I would like for it to be a little more consistent in content, I personally don’t like themed blogs. I gravitate more toward the random ones, the personal ones – the ones where the authors talk about their lives, but in an entertaining or brutally honest and relatable way.

  10. Katrina says:

    I think blah blah blah to the Trunk blogger …….lol There are no rules on blogging, you have the freedom to write what you want when you want. There’s always going to be some one out there that wants to read your stuff. Its all about preference. Some people might like to ask “hard questions” that’s great doesn’t make their blog any better…..or any worse. LOL I thought it was incredibly funny, if everyone wrote the same blogs as everyone else it would get pretty boring. I love your blog, not because we’re friends, because i can relate to a lot of what you blog about. And its not about how old you are, people can be stuffy at any age!

  11. B.o.B. says:

    Well you know I blog about running, but I agree that there is nothing wrong with blogging about life in general. It can difficult to always think up posts just about running.

    That being said I am very careful what I post about my private life. It’s a slippery slope and I for one don’t like being too controversial or hurting anyone’s feelings. Just some food for thought for you.

  12. Katie says:

    Blogging has no rules .

    I think some Blogs will be considered a waste of time to some people. There’s only one person’s opinion of my blog that I care about – My own.

    And yours πŸ˜‰

    But seriously, I think that is a very harsh comment – but she’s very much entitled to her opinion. Remember, you and I both belong to 20sb, where we pride ourselves in knowing each other’s lives and what’s going on. We’re all friends. And friends talk about any/everything.

    So if my blog HAD to have a topic (which it doesn’t) I’d go with “Everything”.

  13. Anais says:

    I totally disagree. Well maybe not TOTALLY. Yours anyways does have a topic I find. It’s managing all of the various things that are going on in your life! I don’t find it random at all πŸ™‚ And as I’ve said before, it’s your blog and others like it that help keep me on track! πŸ™‚

  14. I was a diabetes blogger for years… and guess what: I TOTALLY GOT SICK OF IT. But I didn’t quit blogging. Instead, I started talking about me. Because talking about me, who has a disease, is way more fun to talk about than just the disease.

    So that’s my two cents. My readership does not seem to have fallen. I think we’ve started a new type of blog called “twentysomething bloggers.” I mean, it’s the same as mommybloggers, who talk about random stuff with their kids. We’re twentysomethings who talk about random stuff with our boyfriends and friends and parents and other relationships that may or may not be tied to shoving something out of our uterus. You know?

  15. Jen says:

    I disagree with Blogs needing a topic…I guess most blogs start out based on something…but there have to be other elements tucked in there as well.

    For instance, (in my opinion) Katheats.com is one of THE most popular food/healthy eating blogs out there. At FIRST I tuned in to see what kind of health food she was eating, what kind of exercise she was doing in order to maintain her figure. But that’s not what ALL the posts are about, it’s more like the “gimmick” instead, she leads a fascinating life and is quite cute and quirky which makes me want to read more about what she did this past Friday night than what she ate, you know? So while there is still a purpose, it definitely strays and THAT is what keeps the reader interested.

    You, my dear, have one of the most eclectic blogs I have read – you talk about big issues, trendy topics, running/health, your adorable kitty, and your personal life. I am always coming back because you are relatable and I NEVER know what your post will be about.

    I love variety, and I think your blog should be about YOU – and since most people aren’t one dimensional, your blog shouldn’t be either…

  16. GingerMandy says:

    i think her statement is absolutely ridiculous… there is no way i could ever write a blog based solely on one topic. i’ve tried it and it just wasn’t for me. plus, her tone comes across a bit harsh, i’m not a huge fan of that. there is no right and wrong way to blog. there are things that will make us love a blog or hate a blog, but that doesn’t determine the persons’ success. it’s all about what we choose to write and what we choose to read.

  17. Kelly says:

    I read the whole article because I am really interested in this. I would say in general my blog is a “healthy living” blog- but there are TONS of times that I talk about something else. All the “big” blogs I read do this too including yours. I personally love how yours is about something new all the time and I might be disapointed if it wasn’t. So, don’t switch it, I like it!

  18. Nora says:

    Frankly, I think it’s hard to pick just ONE topic to blog about. There is NOTHING wrong with being a life blogger because a lot of discussion can come from it. Like the post you wrote about body image & models. Or when you were dealing with Eric leaving. Or online dating. So many of those things are about life, but specific subsets of life that are just as important. I’m big into lists so I’ve often thought about doing my blog entirely in list form, but there are days where I post rants or diatribes. Other times I’m completely self-indulgent. I view my blog as an online journal more or less and I’m okay with it.

  19. Amber says:

    My blog is the same as yours. My Life. I have thought about starting a new blog that was “focused” but honestly? I think I would end up getting off topic and write about something else. I agree with some of the above commenters. Blogging has no rules and some people like to take a peek into other peoples lives! I find it is encouraging and many times I come here, to the blogosphere first when I’m looking for a little support. I know I’m not alone! πŸ™‚

  20. Lo says:

    I’ve started reading Penelope’s Trunk and love it. I think she is great. I don’t always agree with her, but I always end up liking her point of view. I read that post as well and was pretty discouraged. I’m truly trying to find out where my blog is going and if I should have a larger focus. I agree when you said she is a 40 year old professional vs. us – a 20 something just getting our feet wet with life in general. I’ve come to the realization that I like writing about my life and although I love followers, I’ve found that my blog has become more of an outlet for me and a way to keep up with friends.

  21. Sassy says:

    I think that…I’m right there with you. My blog is all over the map sometimes. I’d love to focus it a bit more, but I just don’t know what to focus on. Perhaps that’s a trend in my life. Can’t figure out my career passions cuz they’re just so all OVER the map.

    Anywho, my experience and time reading other blogs is that those with one major topic focus tend to be successful. Some don’t go outside the lines of their topic (Academic Chic, What I Wore), but others mix it in here and there (Iowa Girl Eats, Eat, Live, Run). Both kinds are successful in my eyes.

    I think really, you write for you. So, if you’re not happy with what your blog focus/writing is about, then change it for you, but not for Penelope Trunk. πŸ™‚

  22. Ashley says:

    It might be hard to make a lot of money from a blog without a topic, but it’s hard to make a lot of money from a blog no matter what. I don’t know how you could agree that a blog without a topic is a waste of time unless you thought that everything you’ve done here is a waste of time. I don’t think it is.

  23. Carissa says:

    my blog is not exactly focused, it is just about my life, my thoughts, my likes/dislikes… you know! I’ll admit, sometimes I think, is this post a waste of time? haha. But then I get a comment and I know at least ONE person could relate to/learned from or was entertained by what I took time to write, and that’s all that really matters. so no, I don’t think blogs without a specific theme or focus are a waste of time. and honestly, sometimes I get bored if a blog I read is just always posting about the same thing! I like mixing it up. oh, and I LOVE your blog πŸ™‚

    by the way, totally love the new “The Girl” page. especially the new photos you posted. very nice. I like that you can have tabs like that in wordpress. kind of makes me jealous cuz I’m still on blogger, haha.

    oh, and what’s with the cliff hanger?! a “new direction”? what is it? long distance relationships…? hmm, guess I’ll have to wait and see πŸ™‚

  24. Mom says:

    Since you my daughter have started blogging, I have taken up reading blogs. I have read every blog that you have listed on your blogroll. I have to say, the only ones I have continued to read are the ones where people write about their feelings and their lives. I tried to read Penlope’s Trunk, but I find that her blog reads like a rant and they all kinda run together and each post sounds like a previous post with a bit of a different topic. I think a successful blogger incorporates all aspects of their lives into their blogs. People read for various reasons, and those are to either live vicariously through someone else, to learn from someone else’s experience, to acquire knowledge on certain subjects.

    One of your commenters made a comment about tip based blogs. Honestly, how many tips do you want to read in one day?

    Blogging is like a diary to my way of thinking, and reading someone’s blog is like peeking into their diary. You want to see what’s going on in their lives and what is happening. It’s a bit like watching a television reality show, you keep coming back because you are vested in that person because of the way they write and invite you into their lives.

    Each person writes for their own reasons, I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to blog. This is an individual choice, and I sincerely hope you do not feel pressured to change your blog, because quite frankly I love it the way it is.

    Because you are an exceptional writer, you make everyday things seem exciting and you bring us back for more day after day.

    The days you do not post, I am disappointed.

    Love Mom

  25. Amber,

    I think it depends on where you want your focus to be. This blog is about your life…that is a topic, in my opinion. I am a twenty-something, so I find it interesting even when you don’t write about PR.

    I also love Penelope’s blog. The brutal honesty is great, in my opinion. I don’t always agree with her, but I totally respect her for putting it all out there.

    And when you think about it, not everything she writes is really about careers. I mean, life is tied to your career, so it kind of is.

    In my opinion, you are doing pretty good. You have a pretty good following. Your readers are engaged and are commenting. That’s success.

  26. Megan says:

    I blog about EVERYTHING. I’m not at a point in my life where I could blog about one topic I’m passionate about. I’m still trying to find my place in the world, so my blog is all over the place. I definitely don’t agree with Penelope. Blogs with a specific topic can be interesting, but I love reading blogs about 20-somethings making their way through life, random topics and all!

  27. Stephany says:

    I blog because I need a forum to write in. I have no focus – only my life. I write about anything – school, writing, being an aunt, my dog, God, health, stress, home…anything goes! Sure, I could make my blog completely and totally about breaking into the publishing world. Or a blog completely and totally about health and losing weight.

    But I don’t. Because there is so much more happening in my life than those 2 things. (And the former would be so boring to blog about right now!) There are so many different thoughts forming in my head all day. So I blog about what I want.

    So, yes, I agree with you. For me, a 21-year-old college student, a slightly unfocused but completely ME blog is just fine.

  28. shoshanah says:

    I’m with you and don’t really feel like I have a topic. Although I guess you could say sometimes its about what’s its like to move from California to Louisiana, but most of the time it isn’t. Except that its about me and I did that, so maybe it still is. Clearly this is something I’ve struggled with myself.

  29. I totally don’t have a theme either. But it works for me. And the blogs I enjoy most are about miscellaneous stuff. I like the hodge podge that you write about here. If you went w/ a theme, I would actually be really sad! I like the slice of life you provide here!

    What can I say? I ADORE your blog.

  30. i started my blog as a journal. journals don’t always have topics. so i don’t think there is anything wrong with blogging without a topic!

  31. eemusings says:

    Who says “life” blogs aren’t a genre of their own?

  32. Sarah says:

    I really enjoyed reading both this post and the comments that followed – especially your mum’s comment! What the person above me wrote is so true: maybe ‘life’ blogs are a genre of their own anyway.

  33. […] that I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks and it’s also the change that I alluded to a few weeks […]