Here’s a little exercise that I do periodically to help me keep my blog on track.
It’s based upon a typical life coaching-type exercise where you’re asked to visualize your own funeral and write your own eulogy—to think about what you want to be known for after you’re gone. But in this exercise we’re going to do it with your blog.
What do you want your blog to be known for?
I remember doing this exercise on for my first photography blog (now no longer active) six years ago. At the time, that blog was simply aggregating camera reviews from around the Web for readers. It was reasonably successful (it made enough to make me a full-time blogger) but something didn’t feel right about it to me.
So I began to ask myself, “What do I want my blog to be known for?”
I projected ten years forward and began to visualize what kind of photography blog I could have at that point. I made a list (or rather something of a vision/manifesto for the blog)—one that I came across yesterday.
The list was pretty long (quite a few pages) but included the following points:
- a place where new cameras came to unlock the secrets of their cameras
- a place where people came to share their images
- a place where readers would encourage one another in their photography
- a place where readers would share their tips with one another
- a place which people see as being original in its thinking
- a place that was renowned for its advice to all levels of photographers.
There was a heap more points like these—but you get the idea.
At the end of my vision document I also wrote the following observation:
“What I am dreaming of is nothing like what I am currently doing.”
My realization was that my dream looked nothing like the current reality. I had a blog at the time that was largely aggregating and rearranging other people’s content. While it was useful to my readers (as I made sense of the masses of info out there) it wasn’t doing any of the things I dreamed of doing.
I began to toy with the idea of evolving my current blog into this dream, but quickly realized that it would probably be better to just start afresh.
Digital Photography School was born through these realizations and this dreaming.
By no means have achieved even half of what I set out for, but, having these goals and dreams in mind, I’m so much closer than I ever was with my previous photography blog.
In the life coaching exercise when you write your own eulogy, you’re supposed to take the eulogy and compare it with how you’re currently living, so you can identify how you need to change your life to take you to that place.
For example, if you want to be known for being a generous person, but you live an insular life where you never give anything to anyone, there’s an obvious change that needs to be made.
The same comparison can be very illuminating when you do this type of reflection about your own blog.
- If you want your blog to be known for its original thinking and you only ever regurgitate the ideas of others, you need to make some changes.
- If you want your blog to be a place of community and interaction, but you never invite interaction or interact with your readers, you need to make some changes.
You get the picture, I’m sure.
What do you want your blog to be known for—and what changes need to happen if you’re to achieve that?