December 8, 2010

Bulk view

Writing about lots of different kinds of things

This entry is part 11 of 19 in the series A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging

The first change off the bat is to just start writing more varied material and see what sticks, an approach that I used when I first started blogging back in 2005 but discarded when the broad patterns became more clear, and found myself niched into “personal development”. If I can find a way to write on broad topics but remain topically interesting to a broad audience, that would rock.

David Seah, A restatement of purpose

(See, even people who’ve been blogging since 2004 are working on figuring this out. =) )

How do you balance varied interests and focused niches?

Some people write tightly-focused blogs. They might have many blogs, one blog per niche, each almost a silo of content. This is good for advertising, but it’s harder to keep track of everything and make sure all the blogs are active.

This is my personal blog. I write about lots of different topics. I use categories to help people sift through the entries for what they want to learn more about, and I make it easy for people to view or subscribe to a few categories I tend to write about a lot. Blog aggregators like Planet Drupal and Planet Emacsen pick up categorized entries from my blog, so I don’t have to worry about being off-topic.

The diversity of topics might result in fewer subscribers than, say, a consistent focus on productivity (or code, or whatever) might, but it has also led to all sorts of wonderfully serendipitous conversations from the intersections of interests. I like this. I like being a real person with many facets, not just a focused and filtered personal brand.

So, what’s my workflow like? I write as much as I can in my personal notes – anything I want, even things I probably won’t post for decades. I might write about a topic several times, as there’s always more to understand. I publish one post a day – an experiment in limits that has been working well for me. When I want to organize a category more clearly, like all of my tips on connecting, I make linking posts, knowledge maps, presentations, or documents. (Maybe an e-book someday!)

That’s how I’m currently working. If you write, how do you balance variety and focus? And as a reader, what would make it easier for you to browse this blog and find things you want?